Bullet Journal: Planner, Diary, Sketchbook, Whatever!



The Bullet Journal, as designed by Ryder Carroll.

Kathleen Toblesky, Photojournalist

Getting through school and daily tasks can be a handful. Planners and to-do lists simply aren’t enough to manage the day anymore. Planners don’t fit all your needs, to-do lists get out of hand, sticky notes get lost, and calendars are just forgotten. But what if there was an easier way? Something that combines them and caters to all your needs?


Well, that’s just what the Bullet Journal system was made for. Bullet journaling is a fully customizable, self-made journal that can be used to plan events, set up projects, write to-dos, or just get your thoughts out on paper! The creator of the system, Ryder Carroll, originally designed it to be compatible with his ADHD and ever-changing and busy schedule. It’s a great way for students to manage their time as well!


It operates on one simple concept: versatility. It is completely customizable to the user. If you want to stop your daily logging to do a doodle, then that’s okay! It doesn’t matter because you make it as you go.


But… how do you make it?


First and foremost, you need a notebook. Any notebook will work! It can be lined, squared (graph paper), dotted, or blank. Carroll has partnered with the notebook company, Leuchtturm, for his own ink proof, dotted notebook, but even a composition or spiral notebook will work. Once you’ve chosen your notebook, you will need at least one pen. Additional pens can be used for decorating or color coding as desired.


Ready? Great! Next, you’re going to set up your Future Log! This is a space to write down big events or anything that needs to be done in upcoming months. To set this up, simply take two spreads and split each page into three equal parts, leaving you with a total of twelve spaces for each of the months. This can be done vertically or horizontally depending on your preference.


After that, you have your monthly log. This can be done in multiple ways, however, Carroll designed a method that doesn’t involve calendars: a line for each day of the month on a single page. This is done so you only write your priorities and don’t overfill your day. However, if this layout isn’t for you, a calendar layout will work just fine. Just find what works well and suits your needs. If you need a more visual layout, go with the calendar, but if you focus more on the events themselves, then go with the number list.


With the month out of the way, you can move on to your daily log. As the name implies, this will be where you plan out your daily schedule and write out your daily to-do’s. The downside of planners is that you are only given a certain amount of space for each day, which is often not enough for people with busy schedules. With the Bullet Journal, however, you can write out each day as they come, not needing to worry about space limitations.


This system is great for students because it can be molded to attend to all the overwhelming tasks that they have each day. No test day goes unforgotten, no homework lost in the overflowing folders, and no study schedule given up on. Each day can be planned to a T with no worry of anything going awry.


While it can be daunting to see bullet journals full of color and creative layouts, do not be discouraged! Being fancy is not necessary and is even recommended against when first starting to bullet journal. Its purpose is to be helpful, not pretty. However, if you want to spice up your layouts and you come to understand the process, feel free to have fun with it and explore!


To check out Carroll’s website and personal tips, go to https://bulletjournal.com/.