Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling is a modular set of practices for personal organization. These practices organize schedules, reminders, task lists, ideas, and other organizational artifacts into a single notebook. Though journals are typically handwritten, digital journals can also benefit from the organizational methods and practices of bullet journaling.

Structure of a Bullet Journal

A bullet journal is made up of collections. A collection is a set of closely related information. A bullet journal is made up of four core collections; however, more collections can be added based on the individual journaler's needs.

Core Bullet Journal Collections

  1. Index. A chronologically ordered list of all the collections in the journal, except the daily log collections.
  2. Future Log. A calendar of events and tasks that will occur outside the current month.
  3. Monthly Log. A specialized collection to organize the events and tasks of a particular month. Minimally, it consists of the
  4. Daily Log. A place to rapid-log tasks, events, and notes as they occur throughout the day.

Custom Collections

Custom collections are created to meet some specific need. For example, to plan a project or to track a fitness routine.

Core Bullet Journal Practices

The Bullet Journal website contains a complete introduction to core bullet journaling practices, which I've summarized here.

Rapid Logging

Rapid logging is the practice of quickly jotting-down notes in a bulleted-list format, typically within the daily log. Specialized bullets and signifiers are used to distinguish between different types of notes. Types of notes are typically tasks, events, or information; however the journaler may choose to invent their own types of notes as well.

Common Bullets

BulletTermDefinition
TaskSomething that needs to be completed
oEventSomething that happened or is scheduled to happen
InformationSomething worth remembering. Facts, ideas, observations.

Bullet States

NotationTermDefinitionApplies to
DoneCompleted taskTasks
<ScheduledScheduled for next month or laterTasks
>MigratedMigrated to another collectionTasks
strike throughIrrelevantNo longer relevantAll bullets

Common Signifiers

SignifierTermDefinition
*ImportantSignifies special importance or priority
!InspirationSignifies inspirational ideas and insights

Bullet Journal Practices

Bullet journal practices are intended to maintain focus on what matters through daily and monthly reviews intended to refine task lists and reflect on what matters.

Daily Review

Spend about 5 - 15 minutes to review notes from the past day, update with status and signifiers as necessary, and create the daily log for the day ahead. Do this at either the very beginning or very end of each day.

Monthly Migrations

At the end of each month, create a new monthly log for the month ahead. Start by creating the layout for the next month, then review the previous month to:

  • Mark completed tasks with .
  • Cross-out irrelevant tasks, notes, and events.
  • For tasks you plan to complete next month, mark them as migrated (>) and add them to the next month's task list or to the relevant custom collection.
  • For tasks you plan to complete after next month, move them to the future log and mark them as scheduled (<).

The goal is that all relevant tasks have been copied to the next month's task list, the future log, or a custom collection.

Bullet Journaling Resources

Deeper Knowledge on Bullet Journaling

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

A book by Ryder Carroll, the Bullet Journal Method describes an approach to life management through journals

Bullet Journaling Tips & Advice

Simple tips and advice from lessons learned through years of bullet journaling

Broader Topics Related to Bullet Journaling

Personal Productivity

Tips and resources to improve personal productivity

Bullet Journaling Knowledge Graph