#52Tech Week 24 and Journaling Week–The Bullet Journal

Today concludes the Journaling Week, and also works as a #52Tech post.

Today’s post is not about a tech tool, but rather, a productivity system which hacks together an analogue method for list task management.

I particularly like the Bullet Journal system because it offers users a free method for not only simple journal planner setup in list form, but it’s stylistically expandable, and can accomplish many other forms of journaling within. And it meets the new findings towards handwriting rather than digital.

Bullet Journal.com

BulletJournal system

At the heart of of the Bullet Journal is a method called “Rapid Logging”. Rapid Logging allows you to quickly capture and parse all the different types of data we’re trying to digest on a daily basis. This technique provides insights that can help you identify what’s important and weed out the things that aren’t. Figuring that out will help focus your time and energy much more effectively. It’s the difference between being busy and being productive. – See more at: http://bulletjournal.com/#sthash.6cN7ocF1.dpuf

Created by Ryder Carroll, the Bullet Journal is a productivity system which hacks a planner journal – typically something like a moleskine notebook – into a series of task lists and collection pages, and provides some elements to work for organising. Essentially it takes a “one notebook to rule them all” approach.

The elements involved are check boxes (for tasks), circles (for events) asterisks (for thoughts or ideas) and signifier icons (stars and other icons which signify additional context) all put into topics – typically a date as a topic.

Indexing and sorting is achieved through quick to note monthly or daily pages, page numbering and an index page to the front. You can therefore just add any page you need consecutively through the journal, and reference it in the index.

The website offers guidance in step by step format, for how to start with your Bullet Journal. Over on Miss Zoot, a comprehensive post on Bullet Journaling also offers a hack listing a new calendar page, and a list of several list pages you may like to track.


Credit: Miss Zoot post.


Bullet Journaling

dee martinez bullet journal weatherThe term “Bullet Journal” is not trademarked to the above productivity system. Many other journalers use the term to define their own journaling systems which use bullet points to document tasks and lists and journaling items.

Many users of the Bullet Journal system, like Miss Zoots above, have also adjusted their journals stylistically or with more icons or tags.

Some examples of this can be found at Dee Martinezes’ 6 month review post on the system. I’ve chosen the weather incorporation image to the left, as one example.

John Cooper is also documented with upgrading the system with a few more signifiers and tips for usage.

Here is a comprehensive Pinterest board on Bullet Journals, where user Sumana M has collated a lot of different example images of the bullet journal – mostly in analog or paper form.

Bullet Journaling is not for the heavy schedulers – who may prefer task management software or To Do apps, or a Dayplanner. But Bullet Journals do allow a place where a quick rundown of tasks to months can be progressed, and also where all those miscellaneous lists (like Books to Read, Bucket Lists, Movies to See, Wish or Gift Lists) can sit.

For those who want to also incorporate other information such as Daily logbook or Done Lists, all in analog notebook fashion, the Bullet Journal approach to setting up a notebook may work quite well.

Analog vs Digital

Most who have read here for a little time will know that I’m a hugely digital fan. However, I also incorporate a lot of sketching and hand-drawn approaches outside of what you mainly see here.

But on Tuesday in the Journaling Week post over the Benefits of Journaling I also touched on the behavioural science studies recently, all of which point towards handwriting and longhand being significantly better for students, note-taking, and memory retention, compared to using digital methods in notetaking.

I love me some apps, plenty of apps, but have a dirty little secret – going all digital all the time means that it’s much easier to push away control, particularly around productivity systems. Out of sight, out of mind.

The Bullet Journal, as a one notebook approach, looks attractive as a method to include handwriting, customisation, daily logs, and the in-your-face nature of having work tasks and done tasks with reviews out there in the open.

Further references:


#52Tech: This was the Week 24 post in the #52tech goal – to investigate and share one technology post once a week for 2014. You can find all the posts indexed via the #52tech tag, or top menu option at hunterswritings.com

4 thoughts on “#52Tech Week 24 and Journaling Week–The Bullet Journal

  1. Love your tech posts as always but this one is special. I’m a writer who needs to write on paper and this system has my name written all over it. Thanks so much for sharing this. I created my own journal today and I look forward to making it my own over time. Awesome links too a true testament to your research, I’ve been all over them and have watched the video twice! My journaling is evolving thanks to you and I love it!

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