Bullet Journaling : Why and How

Bullet Journaling is not writing a diary in bullet points. It is much more than that. The concept of Bullet Journal(BuJo) is developed and popularized by Ryder Carroll in his book "The Bullet Journal Method - Track Your Past, Order Your Present, Plan Your Future".
And the book title is not a lie! Before I started BuJo, I used to scribble my notes on pieces of paper, reminders on post its or whiteboard, had multiple lists on Google Keep and Notes, rants and midnight epiphanies in some diaries, some even on email. When I needed them later, I never found them, because I had to search through multiple things - I often ended up rewriting them again. BuJo is a one stop destination for everything on your mind.

Bullet Journal
Bullet Journal


"Journal writing is a voyage to the interior."

Why BuJo:

  1. The most obvious reason is writing(instead of typing or just keeping stuff in mind) is slow which makes you to think and consider things. It declutters your overwhelmed brain which has a hundred tabs open. It sets an intention for your otherwise chaotic day.
  2. As your BuJo evolves(as you do), you get to see what your life has been all about in the past couple of months. Are you actually working on that priority project or is your day filled with trivialities?
  3. As you put down everything on paper, you actually will be able to connect the dots.
  4. At the end of an year, you will have your entire year and the memories recorded forever.
  5. Sure you write what happened in your life in BuJo, but BuJo also sets what should happen in your life. (I swear by this, somehow it makes you conscious about your life and steers it in a better direction)

Quick Overview on How to BuJo:

  1. INDEX: You got to number every page and add it to index. This may seem tedious at first, but without it, you will be lost.
  2. Future Log: 10-15
    JAN:        16-
        MONTHLY LOG: 16-17
        DAILY LOG: 18-
  3. FUTURE LOG: All the tasks & events that fall outside the current month go here. You can divide up the page into 6 cells and add each month to each cell and list down items for each month.
    Jan:
    5-8: Conference
    10: JD Birthday
    Feb:
    20: Submit documents
  4. MONTHLY LOG: All the tasks of the current month go here. On one side of the page is the Calendar, Date+ Day(short form) to slot events and tasks and on the other side, you can list down all the tasks that need to be done or done for the current month.
    Calendar
    Jan:
    1 Su: New Year celebration party
    2 M:  Project deadline
    Monthly Log
    1. Clean room
    2. Submit project
  5. DAILY LOG: This is a catchall for Rapid Logging your thoughts throughout each day.
    Rapid Logging format(Symbol followed by what it signifies)
    - Note
    ยบ Event
    . Task
    x Task Complete
    > Task Migrated
    < Task Scheduled
    . Task Irrelevant
    * Signifier to prioritize an item
  6. COLLECTIONS:  Modules to store related content. All the above 4 are collections themselves. You can add your own custom collections about the projects you are interested in. For example, developing your own website or groceries can be a collection.
    •  Threading: What if I have a list that spans through multiple books of BuJos? Then you write the reference at the end of the page to the list in other book using <Volume No.>| <Page No.>. For example, 4|123 will point to the volume 4 book, page number 123.
  7. REFLECTION: Without this crucial step, you wouldn't know if you are focusing on the right things or just keeping yourself busy. You can probably add a page for reflection at the end of every month(or week depending on how tricky things can get in your life) to see what went well, what didn't and what could have been done to make it better. This is also the time for the next step.
  8. MIGRATION: We may not end up doing all the tasks we have this month. Migrate the tasks(by marking old entries as >) to monthly log or collection and if they fall outside the month, schedule them to future log(by marking as <). Strike off the irrelevant tasks.

MORE:

  1. Gratitude Log: Sometimes we are so busy with our lives that we take people and many things for granted. Gratitude log makes you to look at a new perspective to find something to be grateful about.
  2. Food Log: Are you on diet really? Food logging helps you see what you are actually eating through out the day.
  3. Habit Tracker: Nothing keeps us on track other than a visual streak. Track your most crucial habits in your BuJo.

Tips:

  1. Make sure everything you listed to Future and Monthly Logs is worth the time and energy. You can have a custom collection to dump everything on your brain and then filter out only relevant things to Logs.
  2. Don't mix rants in daily log, thread it to a different page. Keep daily log objective and simple.
  3. If you can't absolutely carry your BuJo everywhere with you, then add your daily log to whatever app(Google Keep/Notes etc) you follow and keep it in sync with your BuJo.
  4. You don't need a fancy book to journal. Just start in any empty book.
You can customize BuJo as you want depending on your personal and professional projects. These are no absolute rules and just a format to make things easier. Add all your lists and collections of your projects including sketching to your BuJo if that's what you like. But just make sure it's not cluttered - then it just defies the whole purpose.

You don't need to worry to make it look perfect. Just start writing, as long as it serves the purpose, don't stress over design. You can always improvise as you progress.

And last, give it a try for at least couple of months before you chuck it.



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