Bullet Journaling: Everything You Need to Know

By Palak Jayswal, Arts Editor

In the past few months, you may have seen a new trend among your social media platforms or even from your friends and classmates. #BuJo, or as it’s more popularly known, bullet journaling, has taken over the lives of many, creative or not. The rising popularity begs the question, what exactly is bullet journaling?

Ryder Carroll, an artistic director from Brooklyn, is the genius behind this seemingly classic technique, which requires only three things: a pen, a notebook and a creative mind. (Though it appears that the last one is optional). On his website, Carroll has published a bullet journaling manual. He has several modules, tips and tricks for veterans and newbies who are interested in getting involved in the #BuJo movement. This video spells everything out. In the video, Carroll begins by saying, “We keep track of things, the things we’ve done, the things we need to do, the things we aspire to. There’s a lot to keep track of. There are plenty of apps for that, but I needed a system flexible enough to handle whatever I threw at it.”  This is how the bullet journaling method was born.

Carroll divides the process into four separate parts or different types of logs: the index, the key, the monthly log and the daily log. 

First, you need to index your journal like any good planner. On those pages, you keep track of all the things that you wish to keep in your journal. After this step, you will need to make a key for the symbols or colors you wish to use. Next, there’s the future log. Here you can put big, long-term goals you have for the next few months. Once you’ve done this, go back and add page numbers to the bottom and add the future log pages to the index.

Next, you will make a monthly log. On the left page of the spread, put the days of the month and the letters of each day of the week corresponding to the date next to it. On the right page of the spread, you can list the tasks that you want to compete for a particular month.

Then all you have left to build is your daily log. Here you simply list the current date and then the tasks for that day underneath it. Carroll uses a special system to differentiate between types of tasks, which you can read more about on his website. This is his specific process, but there are several different ways to approach bullet journaling, which is exactly what makes it so different from a regular planner.

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The biggest appeal of bullet journaling is how flexible and customizable it is. It fits whatever you want to create for a certain day. Although it can function as a strict planner, there are plenty of examples to show how it can work as a place for a creative outlet as well. Have you ever caught yourself doodling on the edges of pages of your planner during class? The bullet journal can give you a full page to doodle on. Many people choose to catalog their days, hobbies, favorite things and people in their journals as well.

You can add printed images, color coding and decorations such as washi tape or stickers. The bullet journal can be whatever you want it to be. The ideal purpose of the journal is to get you to slow down from the business of your daily life and to focus on little things. Carroll has described this process as “the analog system for the digital age.” Comparable to the adult coloring book phase, bullet journaling is the next big creative thing.

There are a number of journals commonly used for bullet journaling, like the ones available for sale on Carroll’s website. But as he states in his video, you can use this method with any type of notebook.

For further inspiration, I suggest checking out the basics on Carroll’s website and doing a simple search on Pinterest, Instagram or Youtube for #BuJo inspiration. The power to create is literally in your hands.

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