Tuesday Tool Tip: Bullet Journaling

Colleen Boff over at Library Worklife had a nice post this month on “Get Organized, Reflective, and Focused Through Bullet-Journaling.”  The YouTube link she includes in her article covers how to set up a Bullet-Journal and also includes a video showing how the Bullet-Journal got started via Kickstarter.

The Bullet Journal (BuJo for short) system was created by Ryder Carroll. He explained its evolution in his TedxYale Talk, “How to lead an intentional life.”  In 2014, his Kickstarter campaign raised close to $80,000, and the bulletjournal.com website was born.  And since then, the whole concept of bullet journaling has gone viral, with over one million Instagram posts with the #bulletjournal tag and I won’t even begin to count the Pinterest and Twitter posts.  Then there are the Facebook pages: Bullet Journal Beginners with over 19,600 members and Bullet Journal Junkies with over 126,200 members just to name a few.  And in case you wondered, yes, there is even a Librarians Who Bullet Journal Facebook group (only 22 members at last glance).

There is a significant offshoot of the original bullet journal where artistic individuals have taken the utilitarian pages of the bullet journal and have created works of art with their page layouts.  For example, Tsh, over at The Art of Simple, has a very nice post about bullet-journaling with some beautiful sample pages.  And if you like the artistic bent to your journal, Dawn Nichole Designs has a nice roundup of how-to bullet-journal tutorials that explore different templates and hand-lettering options.  Boho Berry has a multi-post guide to everything Bullet-journaling and a bonus post on using Bullet-journaling for her NaNoWriMo experience.

Want a digital version of the Bullet journal?  Watch this video by Michele Christensen: How to set up a Bullet Journal-style notebook in OneNote.

There are, as with any tool, pros and cons to this technique.  On the Pro side, your bullet-journal can be customized by you to contain all the important “stuff” that you need to have at your fingertips, and it will still be accessible if the power goes out and you are beyond a cell signal.  On the Con side, it may result in you repeating some calendaring and list maintenance if you currently use (and intend to continue to use) other tools.  Also on the Con side, I personally didn’t care for the idea that some used this tool to amass more permanent or ongoing lists, like wish lists, books-I’ve-read, long-term-goals, etc.  My reservation with this usage is that the bullet-journals are of static length and pages can’t be easily moved to your next bullet journal when the current one is full.  I don’t want to lose, or have to copy over such lists, but that is a minor point and such pages don’t have to be included in a bullet journal.

Is Bullet journaling the ANSWER to productivity and self-organization?  Every tool is only what you make of it.  Take a look at a bunch of bullet journals and decide how this might or might not fit into your life.  Does it take more time to keep up with the journal than what you were doing before?  Do you find yourself being more burdened by trying to keep up with the actual journaling than you were before?  Are you, instead, managing to keep up with things easier and accomplishing more than before?  If so, perhaps this is the method for you.

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