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The Bullet Journal Method

The web is full of inaccurate info about the Bullet Journal Method. Read below to see what it is and how it can it benefit you. We will take you through the method step by step.

The Bullet Journal MethodPin

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Please note: This is an unofficial summary and workbook created to help you understand and apply the principles outlined in the book. For full disclaimer details, click here.

The Bullet Journal Method

The Bullet Journal Method is the official bullet journal book, written by Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal. The book outlines the BuJo (short for bullet journal) method in detail. It explains how and why to use the bullet journal method. Click here to buy the book, here to listen to it, or here for the Kindle version.

If I had to summarize the bullet journal method in one sentence I would summarize it as follows.

Our time is limited so live a meaningful life and focus and what matters.

What is a Bullet Journal?

If you look on Pinterest and Instagram, you might think that a Bullet Journal is just a pretty handwritten planner. However, there is so much more to the method than that. In fact, bullet journals don’t need to be beautiful at all. If decorating your BuJo does not serve a purpose such as to give you pleasure, then you are better off not embellishing your notebook.

The bullet journal isn’t just a notebook with a to-do list and calendar. It is a comprehensive system developed to help you accomplish more by working on less. It enables you to identify what to focus on and what to stop wasting your time on.

The bullet journal method helps you declutter your mind and put your thoughts and tasks on paper and all in one place. Once they are organized, you can examine them, prioritize them effectively, and become more productive.

According to the BuJo method, being more productive doesn’t necessarily mean doing more, and it doesn’t even mean getting more done, being productive means focusing your time and energy on what matters to you.

Although BuJo helps you become more productive, the goal is not to simply become more productive. There is also a lot of focus on mindfulness. The goal is to help you reach the point where you are productive, mindful, and intentional. BuJo helps you live with more intention and find solutions to your problems from within. We usually know what we want and need, but we never stop to think: Where we are? Where we want to be? Why do we want to be there? The bullet journal helps you become more aware so you can answer these questions. The BuJo keeps us mindful of why we are doing what we are doing.

There are many ways to become more mindful. The problem is that they are not always easy to implement. We are so busy every day that we don’t stop to think about why we’re doing whatever we’re doing. That is the beauty of the bullet journal. It keeps you organized and ensures that you are productive, mindful, and intentional. Once you reach that point, you will be on the path to a life you want to live and reach a place that matters and is meaningful to you.

Benefits of the Bullet Journal


As described above, through a process of reflection and introspection, your bullet journal will help you discover: 1. What is important to you. 2. Why it is important. 3. How to best reach the goals that matter to you.

The bullet journal method helps us live with more intention and plan the life we want to live. Many of us go through life on autopilot. We set goals without understanding our real motivation. Before we set goals and work to reach them, we need to understand why we want to achieve those goals. We need to set goals with intention and after giving them enough thought. The aim is to set meaningful goals by understanding what we want and why we want it. When we set goals that matter to us, then we are more dedicated to achieving our goals. It also reduces the possibility that we will work hard to reach a goal only to find that it wasn’t really important to us and we basically just wasted our time. The BuJo method is so much more than a productivity system; it aims to help you reach self-fulfillment and live your life to the fullest.

This process of self-awareness doesn’t happen overnight. It starts when you check in with yourself regularly and learn from past mistakes. This is where the bullet journal method helps you. Your BuJo helps you see clearly where you have been and where you are going. You can study past decisions and actions and learn from them. You can see what worked and what didn’t and how it made you feel. Each day you use your bullet journal, you deepen your self-awareness and improve your ability to distinguish between what is meaningful and what is not. For a detailed explanation regarding the reflection process, see How to Bullet Journal.


Many productivity systems encourage you to create lists but they don’t show you how to use them until they are complete. Instead, you eventually forget about them and move on to your next list. The BuJo system explains how to migrate incomplete tasks and how to examine them to understand why you are not getting them done. Sometimes a task will become irrelevant but you don’t stop to think about it, instead you waste your time doing it. If you don’t get a task done you are encouraged to ask yourself WHY not. Does it still matter? What is holding you back? The migration process ensures that tasks are migrated until they are complete. Nothing falls between the cracks. For a detailed explanation of the migration process, see How to Bullet Journal.

Why use a bullet journal notebook and not an app?

Most productivity methods today use technology to get us to become more productive. The bullet journal method, however, is an analog system kept in a notebook and written by hand.

The act of writing by hand forces us to be more present. It makes us think about what we are writing. It makes us wonder if it is necessary or not. If a task isn’t worth writing down, then it isn’t worth doing it.

Using a bullet journal notebook forces you to go offline and disconnect from the distractions.

The BuJo is also more flexible than productivity apps that are either usually too complicated or too simple. The BuJo can be whatever you need it to be, and it will change if required. It is incredibly personalized, flexible, and versatile.

Writing something down takes a while. Before you write, you tend to think about what you are writing and how to phrase it. This process makes you become more mindful. We often function on auto-pilot and don’t stop to think about what we spend our time on. Since our time is limited, it should only be spent on things that matter. Your BuJo will help you get rid of distractions and focus on what matters.

Bullet Journal Layout

The bullet journal is comprised of modular blocks referred to as “Collections”.

Core Collections

There are four core collections: The Bullet Journal Index, the Future Log, the Monthly Log, and the Daily Log

Custom Collections

In addition to these core collections, you are encouraged to create custom collections as you need them. The collections found in each BuJo will differ according to the unique needs of the user at that moment in time. One month you might be working on a specific project and the next month it won’t be relevant anymore. Collections are very flexible and are used when needed and as they are needed. One of the popular core collections is a weekly spread or habit tracker. See bullet journal printables for ideas.

How to Bullet Journal?

The Bullet Journal Method describes in detail how to bullet journal.

The bullet journal journey begins with a brain dump, which helps you declutter your mind.

Does your notebook have to be beautiful?

If you look at the bullet journals on Instagram and Pinterest before you understand the bullet journal method, you might think that your notebook needs to be pretty and creative. You might even feel intimidated by the designs out there and hesitant to start using the bullet journal system.

Ryder Carroll, puts function over form. He insists that your notebook does not have to be beautiful in order to be meaningful. In fact, he says explicitly that less is more. The embellishments you add to your journal should always serve a purpose. If they don’t and they are just getting in the way, then it is better not to include them. For some people embellishing their notebooks is a creative outlet, or it motivates them. If it is helpful, then that’s great. However, if embellishing your notebook is stressful, intimidating and doesn’t help you, then there is no need to do it.

Ryder’s journals are very simple and functional. They do not include drawings and doodles. Since he studied graphic design, I assume that he is totally capable of including beautiful illustrations in his journal but chose not to do so. As he says, if a design doesn’t serve a purpose, then it shouldn’t be there.

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About the Author
Photo of NicoleMy name is Nicole and I love journaling. I have created many free journal templates and journaling tools that I share on this website. I hope that you will find them helpful too.

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