If you look around Pinterest and Facebook groups, you’ll see that bullet journalling is all the rage but what most people don’t know is that Ryder Carroll is the originator of the Bullet Journal Method.
Today marks five years since Carroll introduced bulletjournal.com to the world, helping millions of people like myself organize and prioritize the right stuff in our personal and work lives in the face of the dopamine homing missiles of the distraction age.
I’m happy to share with you that he’s giving away two free chapters from his new book which comes out October 23.
You can count me in as one of the people that succeeds from an analog to-do list. I’ve tried countless to-do apps, and none of them push me to get stuff done like the written word.
Keep yourself honest by adopting the bullet journal system, if only to remind yourself what actually deserves your attention.
How a Bullet Journal Works
Here is how it works: you take a blank notebook, any blank notebook. You can, if you wish, buy a special one, but the notebook isn’t the point – the Bullet Journal is a method, not an object. You number the pages as you go along, having set aside a few pages at the front that over time become your contents list. Then each month you handwrite a calendar called the “monthly log” followed by a “daily log” of tasks, events and notes, marked respectively by bullet points, circles and dashes. Each day you manually cross out tasks you have completed and then rewrite the undone ones for the next day.
There are a lot of Bullet Journal iterations out there today but Ryder Carroll is the originator of the practice. According to the video he introduced in 2013, he calls it “an analog system I devised that will help track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.”
Touching is believing. That’s why bullet journals are all the rage. People want to slow down and get everything from their worries, random thoughts, weekend plans, shopping lists, gift ideas, blog topics, exercise schedules etc., all down and out on paper.
Paper works because it is only limited by what you’re willing to put on (and into) it. Paper provides an escape from your devices and does so without compromising your ability to get things done. Paper is safe and secure in that it can be both lifesaving and disposable depending on the circumstances. Paper is versatile, compatible and portable. Paper — simply put — just works.
Boring is the new interesting. We can’t think with clarity with candy-colored apps flashing at us tempting the latest scroll.
A simple pen and paper ask for our attention. And we give it.
Longform doesn’t squander our best thoughts the latest social media refresh. The handwritten word complements the learning process.
Digital is where we source the ideas and paper is where we write them down and connect the dots.
When we use analog and digital tools with intent, they tend to complement each other.
But just because you use a Moleskine notebook for your notes, doesn’t make you the next Hemingway. Just as wearing a suit and tie makes a person feel more intelligent than they are, the tools too can make you feel more professional than you are.
If the material possessions help shape your ambitions, use them. We all want to be like Mike. Just know that the work never goes away, no matter what systems you use to motivate you.