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Bullet Journal: Methods and Inspiration

A guide to the Bullet Journal method of planning, developed by Ryder Carroll, and inspiration for your own.

The Bullet Journal

The "Bullet Journal" method of organization, designed by Ryder Carroll, is made to be simple and task-focused: all you need is a notebook and a pen. If you have found planners with prescribed sections and space to be too confining for your purposes, the Bullet Journal means of creating your own planner can be the solution. Design as you go: if the spread you use one week doesn’t work, fix it for next week. The key to the system is "rapid logging" - track your tasks as simply and as quickly as you can to make the achievement of those tasks the primary goal.

Bullet Journaling gives you the framework; you fill in the rest!

Learn the Basics

How to Bullet Journal video by Ryder Carroll (YouTube)

Bullet Journal Ideas for Students

Key Components of the Bullet Journal System

  1. The Index: Save the first 4 (or 2! or 6!) pages of your journal for the Index, where you write the page numbers of your entries (lists, months; weeks and days if you want to) as you track them so you can find them again quickly.
  2. The Future Log: after the Index comes the list of upcoming events, appointments, tasks and whatever else you want to keep track of in the coming months. Your layout can be simple or elaborate, up to you.
  3. The Monthly Log: In whatever format works best for you, here you list the dates of the month and the tasks to be accomplished/events to be attended on each date. You can also include a box for monthly tasks and other things you'd like to track as the month progresses (assignments? semester-long projects? job searching goals?). This is a good time to review your online calendar, if you have one, to make sure you're caught up with what you have planned.
  4. The Weekly and/or Daily Log: Again, in whatever format works for you, list out the week or each day and track what you need to do. If you find the format you use for this week isn't what you need it to be, change it for the next!


The Bullets

Note: These are listed with Ryder Carroll's original designations, but redo the bullet or its meaning to suit your own needs if you work differently.

X Task completed

Task migrated

Every week/month, look back on what you didn't accomplish the previous week/month and migrate the tasks to the new time frame. Don't migrate a task if it's not worth your time!

< Task scheduled
- Note
* Priority
! Inspiration

Add more as you need/think of them:

  • Assignment bullet?
  • Job-related bullet?

Put the key to your bullets somewhere near the front (after your name but before the Index, maybe).



  • PAPER: There is no official journal/notebook that you must use in order to have a bullet journal. You can use whatever works for you. That said, there are benefits to using a graph-ruled or dot-grid-ruled notebook, given that you will be establishing your own layout and designing works easier when you have something to go by.
  • SIZE: Again, up to you. A5-sized notebooks (approximately 8.3" x 5.8") are popular because they have enough space for a layout without taking up too much room in backpacks/purses/whatever. There are hardcover and softcover versions.
  • BRAND: Popular brands are the Leuchtturm 1917 and Moleskines. Pay attention to paper density (usually some number marked in GSM, Grams per Square Meter, like 80 gsm), which indicates whether ink will bleed through. But if you don't intend on doing much that might bleed through, this is less of a concern.


  • PENS: Any decent fine-point pen will look lovely on your page. If you like color, Sharpie pens are always just right. Beware of ink bleeding through if you use felt-tip pens (such as Sharpies) on paper with a low density (see above).
  • OTHER: Washi tape, stickers, stamps... whatever you like to look at.

Get Inspired or Just Admire: Bullet Journals on Social Media