The two-month mark is about a week away so I figure enough results ought to make a proper assessment.

First up, I got the iPad 6 specifically because (at just $10 more than the refurbished mini I originally had my eye on) it is compatible with the Apple Pencil. A fact which to me meant that I could take my bullet journaling digital and thereby continue iterating on my journal being my Number One OCD-management tool.

Timing is Everything

Not knowing I had OCD lead to a lot of issues over the years. Most especially, healthy habit formation. That’s because it takes anywhere from at least 21 days/3 weeks to as long as 250 days/8-ish months to form a new habit.

With my difficulties getting homework done, teacher after teacher would show me some mode of tracking my homework to make sure it gone. They would stay on me about it for the first week, leave me without their guidance for the second week, and then the practice would disappear on me.

Two weeks. It takes a minimum three weeks for a new habit to form and I was only given two weeks to go from training wheels to pure willpower. Not helpful, not that anyone knew this at the time.

I’m pulling these 21-250 days from a pretty recent study out of Oxford that found it takes an average of 66 days for a new habit to form. Hence why I’m feeling good about telling you about this digital iteration (just under two months old now) of my bullet journaling practice (which will be three years old this December).

Space is Essential

My bullet journaling began as lined journals with at minimum 31 lines to a page (for making those calendars). Then it was journals plus migrating all my lists into Evernote for easy reference. Then it was a large orange binder with journals pages I designed/printed myself (once I ran out of loose leaf) plus Evernote.

The binder was meant to save me money on buying more and more journals (which I still prefer to use for poetry-writing purposes, but I’ll get to that later), while giving me a more organized mode of jumping from one “project” to the next using the tabs. But it was a large binder that came to live on my desk and barely leave the house with me because of its bulk.

The iPad is smaller than a composition notebook which immediately makes it a lot more mobile, so now my Number One OCD-management tool is now with me wherever I go. With the Apple Pencil and GoodNotes app I’m able to do all my bullet journaling and note-taking and project-development wherever I happen to be (so long as their charged, which they are always are because I worked that into my daily evening routine). And because I’m able to track more of my day, and iterate on more of my routines, I’m in a better position to take a wider view of patterns at play in my day-to-day and spot exactly what’s gumming up the works (if anything).

Limitations are Invitations to be Limitless

Of course the iPad has its limits. Split screen only splits in two, and only left-and-right with no top-and-bottom option, and it has to be two different apps (it can’t be two of the same app so that you can view two pages of journaling notes simultaneously). But you can have music playing in the background while allowing the “lack of multitasking capabilities” help you to actually focus on what you’re doing.

And focused attention makes for focused work makes for focused results. And I’m all for focusing on one thing til it’s done. Unless I’m stuck focusing on something (but that’s another post for another day, Team Be-In-The-Flow-Forever).

For now, I’m very happy that technology and I are on the same page regarding taking care of my OCD. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s not something I’ll be taking for granted.


Also published on Medium.


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