Do I Use a Bullet Journal?

What is a Bullet Journal?

In its traditional form, The Bullet Journal seems boring, structured and clinical. It is laced with “productivity” and “to-do lists.” It is black and white, has an index, and feels overwhelming with organization. It could easily turn off someone like me, who responds to color, freedom, and stickers.

The Bullet Journal is a method of list making, task scheduling, and behavior tracking developed by Ryder Carroll. It is fast and easy to do. It is a system of maintaining your actions, and yes, leads to productivity.

Ryder Carroll also stresses the importance of figuring out why you do the things you do, by making notes, journaling, tracking your moods, and engaging with your hopes and dreams. This is where the flexibility and customization comes in. It gives credence to the ideas in your head, and will undoubtedly lead to mindfulness.

The Delicious Jelly Inside

The key to the bullet journal method is not in the “productivity system” of the to-do lists. It is not in the “exploration of mindfulness” either. The delicious jelly inside of the bullet journal method is where the two meet. It helps you to figure out what causes your behaviors and actions, why you want the things you want, and how to achieve them by modifying your behaviors and actions.

Do I Use A Bullet Journal?

Technically, no, I don’t use a traditional bullet journal. My journal doesn’t look a thing like Ryder Carroll’s. I rarely write daily tasks or do “rapid logging” with bullets. The thought of “migrating my tasks” makes me ill, and planning too far in advance does not suit my lifestyle or personality.

However, the tenets of figuring out why for yourself, choosing to do things for yourself, and helping yourself execute those things are very dear to me.

How I Adopt the Bullet Journal

There are some weeks where I really feel the need to follow the structure of a to-do list, and even rapid logging. If I do make to do lists, they are for about a week’s time, which lends itself nicely to my chosen Traveler’s Notebook Insert when I use that. Instead of placing tasks and migrating them day-to-day, I have a master list for the week.

Instead of having a “future log” I have my Start of Year Splash Page. Instead of having an index or a key, I have bookmarks and color coding and stickers and trackers.

Recently, I have been writing everything in a single journal – Minimalist Art Dot Grid Journal currently, but I move around to different journals. This is the basic rule of bullet journaling – keep it simple and all in one place.

That’s what it’s all about

I don’t follow the guidelines that don’t work for me. I don’t do the bullet journal hokey pokey. Even without doing the hokey pokey, I still understand and benefit from what bullet journaling is all about. Because Ryder Carroll made the system so simple, it not only made it more accessible to more people, it also made it more customizable. If you search bullet journal, or “bujo community” on Instagram, you will see that many people like to share their set ups because of the aesthetic they have tailored to meet their needs. Their “bujos” don’t look anything like Ryder Carroll’s, either.

I understand some people might think the beautification of the bullet journal”defeats the purpose” of the simplicity. Some people think taking the time to make your bullet journal pretty is not part of the functional part of the process, but I disagree. It is all functional, and it is all productive. The product is not visible, tangible, or fungible, but it is still a product.

That particular kind of product might not interest you, and that’s okay. You have to figure out what works for you, and leave off what doesn’t. This has been my manifesto through all my journaling posts.

Perhaps you can follow a certain system to a T and that will “work for you,” but I think journaling will be the most effective when you take the parts of all the different systems and make it your own. Your system should cater to your specific needs and be flexible, because your needs can and should change.

It can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole of seeing different ideas from different people, but it is far more important to look within, put in the work to try different things, and tailor those to your needs.

Maybe you will even develop some systems of your own. You can follow your own rules.

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