I've been hearing a lot about "bullet journals" lately, so I decided to find out what they were and how they're used, especially since I am an "analog" person. I checked it out and my reaction was, "Yikes! That sounds way too complicated!" Especially the fancy little "legends" and the index.
Here's what I do:
1. The to-do list: I write this on the back of paper that would otherwise be recycled (in other words, old drafts of my manuscripts) that I cut in half and clip today with a hinge clip. If something doesn't get done on that day, it goes on the list for the next day. You could also use just a cheap blank journal, and then you could write notes in it, too, as seems to be a bullet journal thing. But no fancy little legends for me. If something's important, it goes to the top of the list. Or gets circled. And when the day is done or the list complete, the list goes into the recycle bin.
2. The calendar on the fridge: This is a wall calendar with space enough for short notes hung on the fridge with magnets. Onto this I write appointments, birthdays, events, etc. Easy to see and seen often.
I also use sticky notes on the calendar. I write notes to remind myself of important things to be done soon or by a certain date, or more info about an event, or to remember to take something to an event. These are very visible and hard to miss.
3. My purse datebook -- This is a 2-year monthly planner small enough to fit in my purse. Since we spend time at the cottage, I need something portable, and this is it. I also keep phone numbers in it.
4. Journals -- I don't write down what I do or have done every day, but I do use journals for things like home repair plans and estimates or party planning so I don't wind up with a bunch of notes scattered about the house. Currently I'm keeping track of the Christmas gifts I've already purchased or will be purchasing. The journal is not something I necessarily refer to every day, though, or would want to.
So there you have it, my alternatives to the bullet journal. Of course it means not everything is in one place, and that could be a downside, I suppose. But the calendar on the fridge and sticky notes can be seen by everyone in the house. I don't need to have the long term things like party planning/gift lists in the same place as my to-do lists, and I don't need to keep old to-do lists.
It's like writing, I guess. Pick the method that works for you and if you get joy out of keeping a bullet journal, have at it! But I don't think it's for me.