Before the cellphone, before the laptop, I bought a We'Moon calendar each year and scribbled about everything from appointments to when I got my period. You're getting the picture; I really need to keep track. But you don't have to be a compulsive to-do-list maker, frustrated diarist, sometime doodler, and planner/scheduler to find joy in using a dot journal (also knows as a bullet journal). The system Rachel Wilkerson Miller lays out in her book Dot-Journaling – A Practical Guide: How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-Do List, and Diary That'll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together, is as simple or as complex as you need it to be, and it's endlessly adjustable.
The first step is choosing a journal. I bought the Weather Observer's Notebook put out by Princeton Architectural Press because it's beautiful (one drawback is that it's not spiral bound, so drawing the lines can get dicey, but I'm still feeling it). Then you create pages to keep track of your time in whatever manner serves you best, your handy how-to book by your side with stylish layouts you can add to your journal as you go. The beautiful detail that makes it all hang together is the index in the back; no more flipping through pages for that phone number you wrote down last week. If you want to keep your serial to-do lists in chronological order, list the books you read this year, and keep track of how many times you've been to the gym this week/had a massage/gone to the movies, this is the system for you. You can draw flowers on good days and shade a whole day gray when ashes fall from the sky. This system is versatile, generous, and powerful. I wish I'd found it years ago.