Formatting your journal for aesthetics or for function.
Welcome to our second installment in our series about journaling. In this post, we’ll be talking about Bullet Journaling.
The Bullet Journal was invented by Ryder Carroll, a digital designer, as a method of organizing his life. The thought process went as follows: Many of us have multiple different journals, although we might not think of them as such. From planners and calendars to bill planners and budget spreadsheets to sticky notes with grocery lists and movies to watch – all of these in some combination of physical and digital forms – many people have the information of their life spread out everywhere, and thus can find nothing when they need it. Carroll’s Bullet Journaling system combines all of these into one.
Now, his system for doing this is quite rigid. On his website, the link to which you can find below, he outlines exactly how you should format your journal to match his method. But since it’s inception, the Bullet Journaling system adopted by many people has expanded to fit the needs of the individual. So in essence, the Bullet Journal boils down to this:
A Bullet Journal is just an empty journal, preferably dotted or grid, that you can do whatever you want with. It sounds vague, and I hear you saying “isn’t that just any normal journal?” But what makes Bullet Journaling special is that it is all about these things called “spreads.” The basic concept of a spread is that it is a formatted page that you draw out for yourself. Some spreads are calendars – yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily – that you draw out freehand and fill in with tasks, goals, events, or accomplishment. Some are mood trackers, where you mark down how you felt each day – good for keeping on top of your mental health. Some are habit trackers that are designed so that you can keep up with good habits or attempt to break bad ones. To-do Lists, Finance Trackers, Expense Trackers, Gratitude Logs, Brain Dumps, Mind Maps, Bucket Lists, Book/Reading Trackers, Watch Lists, Weight Loss Trackers – all are examples of different spreads that people who keep bullet journals utilize in order to cut down their many journals into one.
There are tons of ideas floating around on the internet, from web pages listing various spread ideas to try to Pinterest photos of the most beautiful, aesthetically pleasing spreads you’ll ever see in your life. The fun part is that all these spreads are designed by you for you. It can be as creative or as minimalist or as practical as you want it to be. And, even better, all of the journals that we’ll be discussing throughout this journaling series can be formatted as a spread in a Bullet Journal, if you’re up for giving it a try.
Resources & Inspiration:
Ryder Carroll’s website (the Learn page that talks about his system)
“Can Bullet Journaling Save You?” from The New Yorker
“Minimal bullet journal setup » for productivity + mindfulness”, video by Pick Up Limes on YouTube
“My 2019 Bullet Journal Flip Through”, video by AmandaRachLee on YouTube
Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook (Black)