And Then Came The Bullet Journal

I’ve been in the midst of a war for a long time. There’ve been many battles between good ole’ pen and paper planners, to-do lists, notepads, and notebooks versus phone apps and right now the phone apps are winning (Thanks in part to Apps Gone Free). But just when I began to feel weighed down by technology I was sent a plain and simple, yet detailed lifehack that may be worth a try: The Bullet Journal.

The Bullet Journal is not actually a journal. It’s a method created by Art Director and Interaction Designer Ryder Carroll called “rapid logging.” The premise of this method is to capture thoughts, events, and notes, quickly and without being weighed by emotion. Watch the video to see how the method works.

I conducted a trial run in December with a 2013 planner that was almost at its end and it went well so to start the new year I treated myself to a brand spanking new violet Moleskine journal!


Ain’t she purty? Her name is Betty. Betty the Bullet Journal.

So far the positives outweigh the negatives but there are still a few negatives:

  • I hate to see my own handwriting-but maybe this will inspire me to finally get around to writing like a 25 year-old woman and not a seven year old boy.
  • I feel buyer’s remorse for all of the to-do list apps I’ve bought in the past that just didn’t get the job done and now sit tucked away in folders somewhere on my phone.
  • I’m having to train myself to keep my journal close by all day, everyday.
  • At first I thought I couldn’t really plan for the months ahead but I’ve created my own hack to get around that. (I’ll tell you about it in a little while.)

The positives:

  • I can physically see myself procrastinating: It’s very clear to see tasks that get migrated again and again because I haven’t done them yet.
  • By writing things over and over from the monthly calendar to the weekly calendar to the daily calendar to the pages for specific project lists, remembering these things is easier.
  • The index is awesome. I can basically make a new page or list for any random collection of thoughts e.g. blog post ideas, notes from a meeting, christmas lists, and more on a new page and add it to the index for easy reference.
  • I can condense many days onto one page.
  • I can skip a few days when I don’t really have anything pertinent to do but not feel like I’m wasting paper; I can pick right up where I left off.
  • It’s my first Moleskine!
  • It’s really customizable.
  • I like looking back and seeing everything I’ve accomplished.
  • It feels good to literally check things off my list.

As far as customization, these are some of the changes I’ve made:

  • I added a weekly calendar in addition to the daily and monthly calendars. This helps me break down my monthly goals into weekly task lists that I can then strategically distribute throughout the week-or at least attempt to.
  • I also added a few new signifiers: Things to look up, Things to download, Put in phone/calendar, Put in Pocket, and Quotes
  • A page for dates beyond the current month that I can transfer in later.

So far so good. Im more than halfway through January and me and Betty are still hanging in there. Excited about finding other ways to spice things up (hello Washi Tape!) and looking forward to filling up these pages. I can’t believe I’m only up to page 12.

Any other faithful Bullet Journalers out there? Have any tips or hacks to share? I’d love to hear in the comments.

5 thoughts on “And Then Came The Bullet Journal

  1. Could this be modified to moving stuff over weekly? I have a lot to do, and the turnover is less than a month, but I haven’t ever tried it. Was it hard getting used to remembering the format?

    • Yes it definitely could. I added a two page spread just for every week in the month so at a glance I could see what needs to be done throughout the month and I tabbed it with washi tape to get to it quickly. And because you use a blank notebook and aren’t stuck in a specific format you could always switch it up if you find a different approach is more useful for what you’re logging. Getting used to the basic format was easy. It’s just hard for me to keep up with the signifiers I came up with so to help, I made a legend on the first page.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Productivity Links for 2015 – Week #2 | Boost Your Productivity with Bullet Journal

  3. Reblogged this on saso1250 and commented:
    دي احد الطرق لاستخدام الـ Bullet Journal .. ولكن في النهاية انت غير مقيد باي طريقة والمهم الي ترتاح فيه .. 🙂

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