• Megan Snedeker

Bullet Journaling - Your New Lifeline

Maybe you've heard the term "bullet journal" or you've seen cute pictures of custom planners on Pinterest. Maybe you have no idea what this is and you're interested in learning more. Regardless of why you're here, I'm glad you are! Bullet Journaling is the most extensive and comprehensive organizational tool you'll ever use. I'd like to tell you why, how it works, and what makes it so revolutionary.

I would like this post to be an all-comprehensive definitive guide to bullet journaling, but I can't. It's too wide of a system, so go out there and do your own research when you're finished here if you still have questions!

That's a little hard to answer, so let's first talk about its origins.

Enter scene: Ryder Carroll.

Ryder Carroll is a busy man who struggled with conventional systems and decided he wanted to take productivity into his own hands and really gain control of his tasks before they controlled him. Thus, the original "Bullet Journal" was born.

Before I continue, follow along on the official Bullet Journal website!

He created a simple "methodoloy" of task-keeping centered around "bullets", hence the name. Typically, bullet journal users will create a key for themselves of different types of bullets to use as signifiers of the tasks. For example, a round open circle is a regular task for me, while an open square is an event.

To create a daily task-list, you would open the next blank page, write the date (for example) at the top of the page, and create a task list based around your key.

Image courtesy of Ryder Carroll and bulletjournal.com

This was the beginning of the system, and still a completely viable way to use bullet journaling! All it takes is a notebook and a pen, and it's fully customizable. Make the bullets things that make sense to you.

Now, let's talk about the evolution of the Bullet Journal.

Ryder Carroll created this beautiful foundation for creatives to flourish, and they took this easily adaptable system and began to both organize themselves and their minds with a creative outlet.

Bullet Journaling, for some people, is now this system that allows for creative expression and a way to keep every aspect of your life in order. Many users like to decorate their pages with stickers, other people love to create gorgeous works of arts in their bullet journal. Other people stick to minimalist styles, and some people blend all of these elements together in their journal. That's what makes this system so cool. You can do whatever you want to with it.

For example, look at a "daily spread" of mine compared to the one above from Ryder Carroll:

I tend to keep a relatively minimal bullet journal, but even with just a little effort my daily entry is drastically different from the above example, but you can still see the skeleton of his system in there.

Now let's talk about the "parts" of a bullet journal - the ways people actually use this to organize every part of their life.

Let me preface by saying these are just common elements I've seen from other users. These are not the only elements available, and you don't need to use any of these. This is why this system is so incredible; it's versatile.

The Year-At-A-Glance

This is the part of your journal that lets you see your entire year however you

need to. Typically, it's kept to one page. This was not a part of the original bullet journal, but it's a pretty common element to see. A lot of people print theirs out and others draw them.

Again, this is where the creativity element comes in. Some users choose to create elaborate sketches on this page, while others just keep to the basics, or some combination of the two.

The Future Log

The Future Log is a part of the original Ryder Carroll system, and a space in your journal for you to record upcoming events. You give each month of the year space, then you can fill in future events as you learn of them.

Monthly Log

Monthly Logs are also part of the original Ryder Carroll system, and tend to come in two forms:

A "Log"

Image courtesy of Ryder Carroll and bulletjournal.com

A Calendar

Image courtesy of Meagahan Gorhon from Productive and Pretty

This is where you record those events coming up in the month, and some people like to have goals for the month listed, notes, deadlines, tasks, or habits to track on this page or set of pages.

Daily Log

This is the basis of the system and only page that is maybe considered "required". This is the bulk of your journal where you record events and tasks to do that day or notes or reminders.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways people set up their daily logs, so I really recommend you google some examples before you start and look for a system that seems to fit you!


This is where Bullet Journals can really become a second mind for you. You can have a tracker for absolutely anything and everything. Anything you want to keep track of in your life, you can put into your Bullet Journal.

Common trackers are:

  • Habit trackers

  • "Mood" and mental health trackers

  • Assignment trackers

  • Movies to Watch / TV Shows to Watch / Books to Read

There are a lot of educators out there who choose to Bullet Journal, which means there are trackers for it:

  • Lesson Plan Schedules

  • Attendance

  • "Focus" Students

  • Semester Charts

  • Want more of these ideas? Look here!

Interested in bullet journaling yourself?

Check out these awesome resources!

You can also look into hashtags on Twitter and Instagram and look at different Bullet Journal Facebook groups.

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© 2018 Megan Snedeker