Is Bullet Journaling for You?

Just one example of many from Celeste Bradley Designs
Bullet journaling can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. It’s up to you. According to Ryder Carroll, author of The Bullet Journal Method, available in sixteen countries and counting, and creator of his unique take on bullet journaling; keeping track of daily, monthly, annual to-do’s, can steer you away from living a busy life wrought with distractions to an “intentional and meaningful” life. You become more productive. You reach your goals and even surpass them. As one woman once said to me, “I’ve stopped allowing my life to manage me. I manage my life now.”

Don’t want to stop at a Task Journal? Go a step further and create a Book Log, a Travel Log, a Finance Log . . . you name it.

Carroll’s Method in a Nutshell
Begin with a blank journal, either one you’ve purchased from the Bullet Journal website or any journal of your choice.
  • Index: Open to the first two-page spread and label it, Index, and number the pages as you go.
  • Future Log: Label the next spread “Future Log.” Divide the page in three sections, label the sections by the months of the year. Add log to the index.
  • Monthly Log: On the left page, list down the left side the dates and days of the month;                  On the right page, list tasks in bullets. Add log to the index.
  • Daily Log: On the left page, list the date and day of the week; On the right page, lists the tasks in short bulleted sentences; Events; Notes; Asterisk on important tasks
At the end of each month, set up a new Daily Log; x out completed tasks; migrate incomplete tasks to next month or to the Future Log.

Hooked on Bullet Journaling
At a recent ShopTalk session with the SCBWI-NM chapter (Society of Book Writers and Illustrators), we discussed how Bullet Journaling has helped many of our authors who have been journaling for years. Here are highlights from that meeting:
  • Most if not all of the Bullet Journaling authors have done away with the Index.
  • A helpful article can be found on Kate Messner’s blog by typing in “Bullet Journal.” The article is dated 1/8/2015, and captures how Kate journals in detail.
  • One author journals extensively as a “catchall” for information, keeping track of writing hours spent (with SlimTimer); a collection of meaningful quotes and sayings; her To Do list for life and work; a record of revisions and time spent, which helps her see her progress; gives herself stickers while working on a first draft, the most difficult for her; makes goals of 500/700/1000 words; and even keeps track of family meals so she doesn’t serve the same meal too often.
  • For the more artistic minded of us, search “Celeste Bradley Designs” on Amazon and you will find the most colorful and heartwarming designs for Bullet Journals, and many different types of journals as well. A romance author of many books up until now, Celeste has just completed her first children’s book.
My own journey into Bullet Journaling consisted of what you might call a Day-Timeresque experience. Before we retired, my husband followed the Day-Timer method of keeping track of his To-Do’s, business meetings, etc., and he taught me how to do it. We both kept Day-Timers until almost the very day we galloped off on our new nonworking adventures.

Though Ryder Carroll’s method is similar to Day-Timer, his springs from a different place. He had attention deficit disorder as a youth and created his method to declutter his life and to become more productive.

If you're wondering whatever became of me, you'll be happy to know that I didn't drop off the wagon completely. Once officially retired, I replaced my Day-Timer with a simple calendar and have used one ever since.

However . . . it never crossed my mind that I would need to continue Bullet Journaling. That is, not until I attended our ShopTalk meeting. As the information unfolded that those of use who jot down little bits and pieces of information on post-it notes (you know who you are);okay, and napkins, gum wrappers, whatever paper is available at the time, I began to slide little-by-little down in my seat until I disappeared altogether under the table. No one even noticed my slippery decline. I’m just kidding about that, but I was chagrined to realize that I was one of those itty-bitty note takers! Me, of all people!

So, I came home and gathered the notes strewn all over my desk and put them in piles. I got out my over-sized sketchbook and began to make lists: To Do’s, Books to be Read, etc. I only have two piles to go! But my office is soooo much cleaner and my information is in a place where I can actually find it!

If Bullet Journaling is for you, there is no wrong way to do it. As a retired person I didn’t want to do the cross-outs, arrows, migrating, etc. But I did begin to make lists and when I complete tasks, I cross them out. And believe it or not even though my method is simple, it has already made me a more productive person.

If your interest is piqued, give yourself about 20-30 minutes and visit Carroll’s website:
Image Courtesy of: Celeste Bradley Designs

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter and is working on several projects for children. Follow Linda on Facebook.


Karen Cioffi said...

Linda, I'm so impressed how you take advantage of so many SCBWI events. I have a daily planner, but it just keeps track of my to-do list for each day. Thanks for sharing!

Linda Wilson said...

Thank you, Karen. Yes, I've learned so much at these meetings and am happy to share them with out WOTM readers.

Considering Both the Downsides and Upsides of Writing Reviews

Dear Writers on the Move Readers,   I am busily rewriting my  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically  for a second edition fro...