Bullet Journal

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This pair of pages shows hand-drawn and hand-written entries in a Bullet Journal. The left-hand page shows a variety of progress bars indicating the amount of work completed on different tasks. The right hand page shows typical bullet journal notation using bullet points (•) for incomplete tasks, exes (x) for completed tasks, and right-facing angle brackets (>) for "migrated" tasks moved to this list from another list. The right-hand page also includes a list of appointments for one week, listed by day and time.
Example page from a bullet journal, showing some typical notations.

Bullet Journal is a method of personal organization developed by designer Ryder Carroll.[1] The system organizes scheduling, reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming, and other organizational tasks into a single notebook. First shared with the public in 2013, it has become a popular method, garnering significant attention on Kickstarter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.[2][3][4]


Bullet Journals are usually handwritten, and kept in a single notebook. The core tools of a Bullet Journal are: an index, rapid logging, logs, collection, and migration.[1] The index functions like the index to a book, or a table of contents, pointing to where information on different topics is located. Rapid logging uses a system of symbols (e.g. dashes, asterisks, circles, etc) to simplify and abbreviate quick task logging. Logs are to-do lists, organized on different time-scales, including daily, weekly, and monthly logs. Collections are lists of related topics such as fitness or diet trackers, list of books to read, restaurants to try, etc. Migration is the practice of periodically updating lists to new lists, such as carrying over unfinished tasks from one month's log to the next.[1][5]

Proponents describe the Bullet Journal as both an effective planning method and a "creative outlet" with a focus on "simplicity and clarity."[6] Good Housekeeping described it as "equal parts day planner, diary and written meditation."[7]

The method requires only a pen or pencil and a notebook, though many users are more elaborate. Commercially-produced notebooks exist that are designed for Bullet Journaling, but any blank notebook will suffice.[7] Users who focus on the creative element may use a more elaborate setup, including a ruler, colored pens and markers, stickers, stencils, etc.[8]


Ryder Carroll began looking for a simple method of personal organization in college in the late 1990s. Diagnosed with attention deficit disorder as a child, he wanted a system to help "move past his learning disabilities."[2][4] By the time he graduated from college, he had devised the bullet journal method. A friend encouraged him to share his method, and he began sharing it online in 2013. It attracted attention on social media, earning $80,000 in Kickstarter funding to create a centralized online community of users. It was the subject of over 3 million Instagram posts by December 2018.[2][3] The method has been influenced by Carroll's experience as an app, web, and game designer, as well as by his interest in scrapbooking.[2]

In 2018, Carroll published a book on the system, The Bullet Journal Method.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Watters, Ashley; House, Abshier. "What is a Bullet Journal (BUJO)?". dummies. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  2. ^ a b c d Mejia, Zameena (2017-08-02). "How the creator behind the viral bullet journal turned his own life hack into a full-time business". www.cnbc.com. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  3. ^ a b León, Concepción de (2018-12-27). "The Art of Bullet Journaling and the Improved To-Do List". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  4. ^ a b Carlyle, Rachel (2017-12-31). "Be the world's most organised woman in 2018..." Mail Online. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  5. ^ "Learn". Bullet Journal. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  6. ^ Moffett, Billie Jo (2018-11-08). "Bullet Journaling: Putting Pen to Paper » Public Libraries Online". Public Libraries. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  7. ^ a b Schumer, Lizz (March 2019). "Bullet Journals". Good Housekeeping. 268 (3). ISSN 0017-209X – via EBSCOhost.
  8. ^ Adamson, Sydney (August 2018). "Bullet Journaling 101". Girls' Life. 25 (1). ISSN 1078-3326 – via EBSCOhost.
  9. ^ Carroll, Ryder (2018). The Bullet Journal method: track your past, order your present, plan your future. New York: Portfolio/Penguin. ISBN 9780008261375. OCLC 1066062588.
10. Fives easy steps to start a Bullet journal!

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