Bullet Journal 101

Since our blog is about productivity, we cover a myriad of topics related to planning, organizing, and getting things done. One topic you often see us posting about is Bullet Journaling. This page is intended to provide you with a 101 on the topic, and more specifically, how we use it to contribute to a more productive life.


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What is a bullet journal?

The Bullet Journal is an analog system created by Ryder Carroll. It’s an amazing catch-all system you can use for daily planning, project management, jotting down ideas, journaling, and more. In Ryder’s words, it is meant “to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.”

Take a moment to watch the official Bullet Journal introduction video.

Overwhelmed? Not sure how in the heck drawing/writing your own planner could be a productive or effective use of your time? Trust me, we had the same doubts. In fact, when a coworker first told us about this system and I watched the video, I completely disregarded the recommendation.

As a paper-planner addict, I’ve tried most of the popular planning solutions on the market today. I never found one that seemed to fit all of my needs. My needs vary daily, weekly, or monthly based on what is going on in my life. I would also find myself supplementing the planner with another notebook for to-do lists, or digital programs for project planning.

After finding the Bullet Journal Junkies group online, and some great blogs/Instagram accounts dedicated to the practice, I decided to give it a try.

What is great about this system is that it is completely flexible. You can build it to be what you need it to be using different modules, spreads and collections. For a deeper dive into the various systems, you can check out the official website’s overview.

What do I need to get started?

A notebook and a pen – it’s that simple! You don’t have to spend a fortune. In fact, both of us used “test journals” before investing in anything to make sure we liked the system (which I highly recommend). We fell in love with the system and quickly decided to invest in a good notebook and pens. We have compiled all of our favorite supplies on this page, but to highlight a few basics:

I would also say you need some time – carve out an hour or two to read up on the system, and do some brainstorming about what your needs are.

How do I get started?

I see this question asked so much in the Facebook group. My suggestion is to just dive in. If you plan to take a decorative approach, don’t aim for perfection as it will only cause paralysis and prolong you from starting. You are going to have mistakes, you are going to create pages that don’t work for you – move on. The system is built so that every day is a clean slate.

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