Inspired by the novelist Walt Whitman, bullet journalling has become a global trend that helps users organise and unify their personal goals, professional tasks and interests.
Created by designer Ryder Carroll, who told the New Yorker in 2019 that his methodology was “designed to embrace the chaos that is life,” his approach to journalling aims to offer openness and flexibility.
“I like to describe what I do as giving people an empty house that they fill with their own life,” he says in the article.
With its tendency to align the various fragments of someone’s life, bullet journalling is potentially helpful for those who are often juggling shift work, outside responsibilities, and professional development or further study.
While there are plenty of how-to guides online that take you through setting up a bullet journal, here are three tips from the bullet journal community that can help you optimise whichever form of bullet journalling you embrace.
- Express your personality: According to the article mentioned above, many high-profile journalists have added personal touches to their notebooks, whether it be the way they cross out an article, the types of tasks they add to their organisation list, or even adding small photos.
Jebbie Tomas, a graduate student who wrote about how her bullet journal reflects her personality, recognising yourself in your journalling, is part of what can sustain, if not a regular note-taking process, at least a semblance of it.
“It reflects what stage you are in your life – whether you want to immerse yourself in creativity, imagination, or well-intentioned moments – and it serves as a reminder of who you really are and who you aspire to be,” she writes in Rediscover Analog.
- Make it a routine: Developing a routine will ensure success if you are planning a bullet journal.
According to bullet journaler and blogger The Petite Planner, there are several ways to do this, including incentives, using fun and easy-to-use layouts as well as creative approaches like doodling – it’s up to you, and the utility of these approaches may vary, she says on her website.
“I don’t think there is any one right way or method of creating a journaling routine. Some of these tips might work for you, and some might not,” she advises.
- Understand why you’re doing this: Across the bullet journalling community, there is countless talk of “intention”, whether in the form of your intentions page at the start of the journal or on the official website’s tips to getting a journal started.
To get the most out of journaling, you need to know why you’re using it and what planning will ensure you stick with it.
As Ryder Carroll explains on the Bullet Journal website, knowing why you’re doing something can be its own form of validation for journalling.
“Intentions bring meaning into our lives now, so that we can navigate our lives based on what is as opposed to what may be. They’re powerful tools that we can use to instantly direct our focus for as long as we need.”
Ryder Carroll’s “Bullet Journal” website offers a full suite of instructions (and adjacent products) that will help you set your journal up click here for more information on Bullet Journalling.