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What is a Bullet Journal


The design of the bullet journal is credited to New York digital designer, Ryder Carroll. After spending 20 years coming up with the best way to stay focused and organized, he shared his tips with the world in his book,  The Bullet Journal Method, published in 2018. Read an excerpt from his book and interview by INC. at https://www.inc.com/ryder-carroll/bullet-journal-method-how-to-do-mental-inventory.html

Check out the official video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm15cmYU0IM

This very simple system is designed to keep you on track and productive. It can contain as little or as much as you see fit to enter into it. This organizational system now available digitally will help you “keep track of the past, organize the present and plan for the future”.

You can go old school and grab a notebook and start logging as in the above video, but there are new digital software versions that make this task much faster and even searchable!

Here are a few for you to check out:

When starting your journal you first have to think about your motivation for taking on this new task. Your journal will change over time, but you need to think about what your goals are for today, for this week, even this month. Do you want to work towards a new job, fitness goal, learn a new language or track volunteer hours? There are many reasons to start listing daily items to keep yourself on track.

Shop for and select the digital journal software you believe will be the best fit for you. You do not have to worry if it is not the perfect fit. You can change journals whenever you wish. (Note: you may lose your history when doing so unless files can be downloaded and backed up for future access).

The great thing about digital journals is that the indexing will most often be automatically done for you and one of the priorities when choosing your software should be that it is “searchable”.

Keeping lists or “collections”

A bullet journal is a working set of lists that reference items you wish to accomplish. Keep your daily and monthly tasks separate and move undone items forward or allow completed items to drop off after you review them at the end of the month. Keep separate notations for events, tasks, etc.

You monthly log should have a calendar page as well as an accompanying task page.  Use this calendar page for short notes on what happened, upcoming events, scheduled items. Use the task area for a list of the tasks you wish to complete before the end of the month.

Daily logs are the heart of your journal. You will update this section throughout your day, quickly noting items that you need to remember. You do not have to log every day, but this is where most of your overall growth will come from. Looking back on your daily tasks you will see where your productivity is lacking and items that may be dragging you in a direction opposite of where you want to grow.

Other items you can include in your journal are limited only by your ability to think of listing them.

Fitness goals, drawings (if digital app offers this option) video journal, travel logs, bucket lists, books to read, restraints to try, movies to see… the ideas are endless! Some find it enjoyable to have a list of favorite songs while others list what they are grateful for and daily devotions.

Log notes for training sessions, write in new language you are learning, maybe do a mind-map.

List your goals – but leave room for planning to accomplish those goals too! Short term, long term, and each progression- This is including what you will do as these goals are accomplished.

One of the things that is so cool about bullet journaling is the ability to capture all of your thoughts and goals in one place.

Rapid Logging in your journal you will find is most efficient and a quick way to keep your journal updated. You do not have to write a full chapter if you only have to remember to get the dogs meds, pick up dry cleaning and a bottle of wine for dinner party the next day. You can rapid log on any page of your journal.

Set up a simple key that will help you place importance on rapid tasks and keep you more organized

Try these bullets

  •  Place before all tasks

X  Once complete

>Moved to another day/month

< Scheduled

O Event

  • Priority
  • Note – items you want to remember, random thought, quotes, etc you pick up during day

As you can see this will make your list very easy to navigate at a glance. You are free to use as many different bullets (signifiers) as you choose. This is your journal. Maybe noting items by color will work better for you.  For example, if you work from home and you have a web meeting you might note in blue – but if you have to go to a meeting at another location you may want to put in red. Highlighting important items to text and crossing though completed items may better suit your personality.

Digital journals give you the added convenience to log live links for shopping, movies, research, contacts and more. Some even have the ability to enter tasks in by voice.

Don’t forget to review/migrate tasks

The next step is to review and migrate tasks as completed or rescheduled. At a minimum, you should do this monthly, but you may find reviewing weekly will take less time overall. During this time you will want to review if items are not going to be done (things you can drop off your list), if you need to move to a future date, or re-plan an activity or list differently. As you move items into the following week or month you will find that you will be in a better position to choose how you will spend your time.

In this article you have learned more about what a bullet journal is for, and how to set one up. We have given you options on software to download to log your journals digitally. We have also provided you the basic flow of your bullet journal, including information on how to move forward month to month.

Each year you can start a journal fresh if you wish or just continue adding to your existing log. It is nice to be able to search text items such as “Debbie’s Birthday” to be able to add in your calendar for the next year. It can be enlightening to see your personal growth month to month – and year to year. What’s even more enjoyable is seeing items on your bucket list get checked off and adding new ones!

Check out these Pinterest boards for even more BuJo (Bullet Journal) ideas”




We hope you enjoyed this information. We hope that it was helpful and informative enough to get you started on your first digital bullet journal!

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