Search the words “Bullet Journaling” on Pinterest or Instagram and you will find thousands of examples of this new organizational trend. Could this system be the answer to my organizational woes?
I buy a new planner each school year. The search for the right one — you know the one that will magically help me to be more organized — feels like an impossible task. There are some great planners out there, but inevitably they offer too much room for some things and not enough room for others. In addition to my planner, I have a separate prayer journal, another place to write down exercise, little sheets of paper all over the place with grocery lists and menus and post it notes for, well, everything!
That’s only the paper lists. I have lists on my phone and long-range writing plans on my computer. The bullet journaling system promises to put an end to notes all over the place by offering a single place to compile my thoughts. It is part planner, part journal, and you create it yourself with just a notebook and a pen.
“You are not confined to a template,” said creator Ryder Carroll, a digital product developer from Brooklyn. “The journal becomes what I need it to be at different times.”
Like me, and perhaps you, too, Carroll found that traditional methods for taking notes and staying organized weren't effective for him. He developed his organizational method over a period of about 20 years. While creating your own planning system may seem overwhelming, Ryder offers instructions on his website at www.bulletjournal.com.
To create your own, you begin by numbering the pages in your journal. You can also buy a journal with the pages already numbered. A basic journal consists of four main modules: the index, the future log, the monthly log and the daily log.
The future log is a place to write down long range plans, trips or deadlines. Move onto the monthly pages for a quick look at the month’s events or tasks. The daily log is where you will put the bulk of your notes. Carroll uses signifiers to indicate whether an entry is a task, an event or a note.
In addition to the daily logs, some users like to create what Carroll calls collections. Put simply, pages dedicated to related items. Some collections I have seen people create include fitness journals, water intake trackers, grocery lists and menus, spending trackers and books they plan to read. The list is endless. Carroll’s current favorite collection is his gratitude tracker.
“Everyday I write down something that I am grateful for,” he said. “It seems very straightforward, but after six months you start to run out of things you are thankful for. It trains you to be more present and really find things that are working in your favor.”