The Bullet Journalist

All things Bullet Journal, Mindfulness, and Productivity

I am honored to be a part of the show & tell series here at Ryder’s. My name is Trine and I live in Denmark with my husband and two girls from 2010 and 2013. I am an executive secretary in a incredible company working with sustainable health, mostly for women. I like all things simple, from my coffee to my bullet journal. Trine's Monthly Title Page I have always had a love for systems and putting things in order. As I grew up, I dreamt of creating a calendar system holding all the things I needed. Lucky for me, Ryder has created and shared just the system I was longing for. Before I started bullet journaling, I had a small analog calendar and an electric one. I had an app for habit tracking and another for notes. I had one for gift giving, one for projects and another for mind mapping. In other words, I used a lot for different apps and solutions to keep track of my life, my goals and all the stuff in-between. As I discovered the bullet journal system I quickly realised that this could be a way to minimize my planning and tracking. As a bonus, the bullet journal could be my “creative space”. As I continued I realized that I needed a set of rules. I get easily frustrated with myself, and I wanted to be sure that my perfection wouldn't ruin the many benefits of the system. The rules have prevented me from obsessing over the design instead of the function: - Do not tear pages - No ruler - Work around the mistakes - Keep it simple, less is more - Have fun! As time has gone by, I have changed small bits and pieces, but overall I do what I have done since I started. I have a futurelog which is also my monthlylog and my family planner. This log has 5 columns: a column for each member of the family and a shared column for things we do together. I fill in the monthly log over time, but every new month I transfer all appointments from a digital calendar I share with my husband. Trine's Monthly Log in her Bullet Journal I have two dailylogs: a personal and a worklog. I work mostly from home and my work never ends, so I keep the logs separated so I can focus at one without distractions from the other. My personal daily is a “classic” one which encourage me to evaluate my day, every day. My worklog is more of a to-do-list. Trine's Weekly Log in her Bullet Journal I have a list of spreads I like to do in my bullet-journal. I do not do every spread every month, but that is exactly why I love this system. You can do whatever you need when you need it. - I use a habit tracker to cultivate and maintain habits. The bullet journal is a very easy and effective way to be consistent. As I do my daily log every day, I fill in my habit tracker. - I use a timetracker to keep track of three things: sleep, work and appointments. I think the key to a good timetracker is not to overdo it - I think a gratitudelog is a very easy way to be positive. The gratitudelog helps me appreciate the small things - Doodles, drawings and quotes. I love to draw and be creative, but I never got around to do much of that after I became a mother. My bullet journal have changed that. Every month I save a spread for drawing and doodling, and some for quotes
Trine's Rapid-Logging Process in her Bullet Journal Weekly Log Trine's Rapid-Logging process in her Bullet Journal Weekly Log along with some doodles Trine's Rapid-Logging process in her Bullet Journal
A huge part of my bullet journal is not only the notebook but also the supplies. At the moment I am using: Trine's Bullet Journaling supplies - Fountainpen: Twsbi Diamond 580 AL with extra fine nib and Sailor Kiwa-guro nano ink in black - Drawing pens: a Copic multiliner 0.2mm with responsible nib in black and a Faber Castell PITT small in black - Brushpens: TombowABT in baby pink (800) and cool gray (N95) - Pencil: Caran d’ache fixpencil 22 metal My bullet journal is my free space, and something I look forward to fill it in every day. Being a part of the bullet journal community has given me so much joy and I am grateful for all the experiences I have had since I created my first spread.
I’d like to begin with a thank you to Ryder for creating this bullet journal system, without which I would have not found this incredible community of people, and I’m so honored to have this opportunity to write about and to share my bullet journal with all of you.

About Me

Hello! My name is Sarah, and I’m a bullet journalist and hand letterer. I’m a current Computer Science student, and although my studies are very technologically based, I find that the art of lettering, journaling, and planning by hand shouldn’t be something that is ever lost.

My Bullet Journal Story

I first found out about bullet journals this past September through the recommended section on YouTube. The title read “August Flip-Through,” the thumbnail was of an ordinary-looking notebook, and for the life of me, I could not understand why that warranted a 15 minute long video. Five minutes in, I was hooked. I began researching the best pens, notebooks, and materials, reading blogs that reviewed and compared various supplies, and within a couple of hours, I had ordered a Leuchtturm journal, a set of Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, and they were on their way.

Why I Love Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling has made me more organized, more productive, and more positive -- all the while allowing me to be infinitely more creative. The flexibility of the system allows you to add whatever spreads you want, drawing inspiration from any type of style, adapting to fit whatever needs and goals you may have. Whether you want to be more minimal, more colorful, or more decorative, there are so many great sources of knowledge in the bullet journaling community. Prior to bullet journaling, I was focused on lettering and calligraphy, but when I wanted to just letter a quote, I had nowhere to do it and no way to keeping it in-line with that time in my life. I would just have sheets of lettered quotes with no significance other than the fact that at one point, that quote somehow resonated with me. Bullet journaling is an organizational system that welcomes personal creativity to be built straight into it, and your planner can become a piece of art in it of itself.



The Illustrated Bullet Journal of Sarah from @luckyletters

Future log

Anything and everything in the future goes into this spread -- from finals schedules to movie premieres that I’m excited for! The dates that I note down don’t necessarily need to be in order because I just use this spread as a reference for when I set up my monthly overview, which is more in-depth and organized. Future Log Inspiration from The Illustrated Bullet Journal of Sarah from @luckyletters

Monthly overview

I keep my monthly overview pretty simple because most of my tasks, goals, projects tend to find their own spread if they’re extensive enough. I also always come up with a monthly goal -- usually something that I want to work on or a piece of encouragement. Monthly Log from The Illustrated Bullet Journal of Sarah from @luckyletters

Workout tracker

This is my one and only tracker, which is not something you generally hear from a “bullet journalist,” but it’s the only one I think I really need! The notes section allows you to see what workouts you did on each day, so you know to diversify your workouts if you see that you’re getting into a rut. I’ve noticed that most people are intimidated by the sheer volume of trackers that a lot of bullet journalists keep up with, but if you do not think a workout tracker -- or any other tracker -- will help you be more productive or achieve your goals, don’t feel pressured to add it! Workout Tracker from The Illustrated Bullet Journal of Sarah from @luckyletters

Weekly Spread

Because I’m a student, my weekly spreads are very minimalistic to maximize space with an added “Due” flag for every weekday where I can list everything that is due by that day. The “Future” section allows me to jot down any future dates that can then be transferred when I set up for the next week. Weekly log from The Illustrated Bullet Journal of Sarah from @luckyletters

A closer look into the Weekly Log of The Illustrated Bullet Journal of Sarah from @luckyletters


Finally, a lot of the appeal of 1. a dot-paged journal and 2. an extremely flexible journal system is due to my love of lettering and quotes. I cannot express how much I now love dotted pages -- they’re cleaner than the harsh lines of a grid page and provide more guidance than a plain page. Interspersed between the pages of planning in my journal, I like to add lettered quotes or sayings that usually reflect how I’m feeling. Lettering from The Illustrated Bullet Journal of Sarah from @luckyletters



On Reflection

February 28, 2017


“Change is the only constant in life.” -Heraclitus
This truth is a foundational principle for Bullet Journaling as a practice. Practice? Yes, Bullet Journaling is just as much a mindfulness practice as it is a productivity system. Sure, having a system to effectively keep track of what you’re working on is important. What’s significantly more important, and more interesting, to keep track of, is the why. In our daily lives, we’re constantly distracted by all the thing we should be doing or could be doing. We forget to think about the why. The most valuable things in life are our energy and our time. How we spend those resources is really important. The system was designed to be flexible in both form and function to deal with our day to day but also phase to phase. This is where reflection comes in. Set a time aside in the morning and in the evening to review your Bullet Journal. I suggest doing it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The morning reflection helps you to mentally prepare for the day. If you’re anything like me, it also allows you capture all the thoughts that have bubbled up during the night. The AM reflection helps clear and focus your mind. Ideally, you keep your Bullet Journal close-by during the day so you can capture and track things as they arise, but life is life, and sometimes things don’t get written down. This what the evening reflection is for. When you’re about to turn in, simply sit down with your notebook and review the day. Reward yourself by checking all the stuff you’ve gotten done, and log things you forgot to earlier etc. It’s a great way to declutter your mind and unplug at the end of the day. The point of reflection is to make sure that the things you’re pursuing continue to matter to you even as life changes around you. It will help you focus on the why rather than the what. If you want to learn more, you can also check out the TEDx talk I gave below. ___ Image by: Photo by Pepe Reyes

Productivity Coach in a Notebook by Jan @plannerphile

Everyone wants to be more productive; spend less time working and more time having fun. Finding time to do the things that brings us joy is becoming increasingly more difficult. Heck, having time to stop and think about what actually brings us joy seems impossible sometimes; if we stop there's always the fear of missing out (FOMO). Modern life is a swarm of distractions, dinging phones, entertainment on demand; we're scared to disconnect. Sustained attention, that is, thinking deeply about a problem without constantly stopping to text or check social media, seems a distant memory. Chronic distractibility, resembling attention deficit disorder (ADD) symptoms, is what ADD world expert Ned Hallowell calls attention deficit trait (ADT). Productivity Coach in a Notebook by Jan @plannerphile Easily confused with ADD, Hallowell says ADT is not a genetic disorder but is a direct result of modern life. We are capable of sustaining attention, reasoning and problem solving but it's easier to give in to the temptation offered by the ding of a notification and be eternally side-tracked by "busy" work without really doing anything. I believe the pervasiveness of ADT is why the Bullet Journal® has become so popular, but what is it about Bullet Journaling that makes it so helpful for the attention challenged and why is it a great productivity tool for modern life? To answer these questions we need to check in with cognitive psychology. Productivity Coach in a Notebook by Jan @plannerphile Critically, attention is where cognitive function begins. If you can't pay attention to something in your environment then you can't process it and get meaning from it. Being able to disengage attention from one thing and redirect it towards another is essential but rapid shifting of attention back and forth between stimuli comes at a high cognitive cost. "Multitasking" is a productivity myth because research has found the brain is unable to split attention across tasks to get things done faster. If you're talking on the phone, while checking your socials and typing an email and find yourself signing off "love you" to your boss on the phone, you have fallen into the multitasking trap. So if doing three things at once is not quicker then how can we be more productive? Productivity comes by paying attention to a single task and following it through to its completion; we do our best work when we are fully engaged. However, full engagement is easier said than done when we have a million to-dos buzzing around in our heads all clamouring for our attention so we need some way to clear our minds. Daniel Levitin, renowned neuroscientist, in his book The organized mind: Thinking straight in the age of information overload suggests that even when we're trying to focus our attention on one task the mind wanders to incomplete tasks if they're not captured. Levitin suggests the best way stop the mind wandering is by writing down the incomplete tasks in a trustworthy system-that he calls an "external brain". Productivity Coach in a Notebook by Jan @plannerphile Writing down incomplete tasks gives the mind explicit permission to stop mentally rehearsing the to-do item and conserves the cognitive energy needed to focus our attention on completing our priority task. The research also suggests just writing down random thoughts anywhere isn't sufficient, this is why basic to-do lists don't improve productivity; the mind needs to be confident that the system is trustworthy. For our mind to deem a system trustworthy it must be simple, flexible, accessible, and reliable; the Bullet Journal is such a system. Because we can "rapid log" our incomplete tasks, schedule appointments, make lists, take notes, draw diagrams, and index them all in a single notebook our minds are free to focus. Interestingly, research by Roy Baumeister and colleagues (2011) has found that incomplete tasks need not actually be completed to relieve the burden on the mind. That's right, we don't actually have to complete the task - just writing it down on a "Someday/maybe" list in our Bullet Journal can stop all those nagging "musts" and "shoulds" from interfering with our concentration. Productivity Coach in a Notebook by Jan @plannerphile So what about the magic of old-school handwriting? Why can't we just type down everything that's on our mind? That would be quicker and we could move on to doing "real" work, right? Wrong. Interestingly the research finds handwriting is superior to typing in terms of memory recall-in fact 2 times better. Typing may be the best way to capture verbatim information but it is not the best way to remember something. This is because when typing, information enters your attentional system with little conscious thought or cognitive processing so you could actually be thinking about your date last night and still keep typing accurately, not remembering anything you've typed. It seems we need to "do" something cognitively with the information, transform it in some way in order to recall it better later on and handwriting does that. Additionally, when handwriting, our mind is interacting with the information while recording the ideas and actively processing the concepts for better long-term understanding. How many times have you written something down only to truly see the problem for the first time? For me it's the only way out of writer's block, it's also the only way for me to self-reflect successfully. What hasn't been investigated to date is whether typing to-do items into a digital calendar or note system is more difficult to recall than writing it down on paper. In my experience, once typed, anything in my "Reminders" app on my phone is never thought of again, and that's enough proof for me. Productivity Coach in a Notebook by Jan @plannerphile Creating order from chaos is only possible with structure. Hallowell, in his book Driven to distraction at work, suggests a plan, a schedule, and a set of prioritized goals are what allow us to achieve our full potential and writing these down solidifies them in our mind; making them real. In fact research suggests we are 42% more likely to achieve our goals if we write them down. In a recent Evernote podcast Michael Hyatt, productivity expert, explained: "When we write, we get clear. When we get clear, that acts like a magnet that pulls us towards (our goal)". Many creative people resist structure because they feel it restricts their freedom and suffocates creative expression. To the contrary, structure actually allows more room for creativity because once you have a plan, a schedule, and goals you can control the way you spend your time rather than it being frittered away with distracting thoughts, emotions, and behaviours that aren't part of the life you want to live. Bullet journaling combines planning, time-management, creative expression, reflection, and goal-setting; like a life coach in a notebook. Productivity Coach in a Notebook by Jan @plannerphile

So let's summarize

Cognitive psychology suggests bullet journaling is effective for 3 reasons:
  1. Our minds recognise it as a trustworthy system because we're able to write anything down in a single notebook and use a simple, but effective page numbering and index system so we can find information again quickly.
  2. Handwriting allows for mental clarity and a deeper understanding of our thoughts, ideas, to-do's and goals.
  3. It assists us to easily create structure in our lives by allowing for planning, scheduling, goal-setting in a single notebook.
Edward de Bono, inventor of the lateral thinking technique once said: "complexity means distracted effort. Simplicity means focused effort". Bullet journaling is an elegant solution to a complex problem, genius in its simplicity like so many other life-changing inventions. If you haven't tried bullet journaling already start here and we'd love to hear your feedback. P.S. In his book Driven to distraction at work, Ned Hallowell mentions that we need to be cheerleaders for each other in the modern world because we now interact more with screens than we do people and many of us lack the support, encouragement, and positive energy from others in our lives. Cheerleading is central to the success of bullet journaling. Our tribe continues to support and encourage each other to do more, be more, and have more positives in our lives. Let's keep cheering each other on! Thanks Ryder Carroll for the opportunity to write this blog post and to contribute to this growing community.   ____ Image by: jason blackeye

Hello, everyone! Susan here. You might know me as @susiebjournal on Instagram. First off, a huge thanks to Kim, from @tinyrayofsunshine, and Ryder Carroll for giving me this opportunity. Bullet journaling has been a game changer for me, and I am so excited to share my experience and the way I use my bullet journal with you.

My Bullet Journal Story

I often joke that I love the idea of organization and productivity; the lists, the systems, the color coding, the purchasing of items specifically for that purpose . . . it really gets me fired up, but when it comes time for implementation, things always come to a screeching halt. 

No matter how I tried, I hadn’t found a way to get organized in a manner that fit with my nonlinear way of thinking. My mind doesn’t always go from Step 1 to Step 2 and so on.  Often it’s jumping around from Step 1 to “Oh I need to start some laundry,” to Step 2, to Step 3, to “I need to write down the name of that book I wanted to read,” to “I need to find a recipe for fried rice,” to “wait...what was step 3 again?” I have tried a myriad of things to help my productivity, from Franklin Planners to the millions (well, it seems like it) of “to-do lists” and “reminder” apps I have down loaded on my phone.  I have always started with the best intentions but inevitably within a month or so the romance has died and I am struggling to remember why we got together in the first place.

Then, late one night in January of 2016, while deep into a binge of internet scrolling, I came across an article about the Bullet Journal. Suddenly images of us running together in slow motion through a field of wildflowers flooded my mind. Ok, ok, that didn’t really happen, but it did feel like a whole new world was opened up to me. Here was a system that could change and morph into exactly what I needed it to be at a moment’s notice. I headed to the local bookstore, bought myself a Moleskin notebook, grabbed a few pens, and was off and running.


Before we start my walkthrough, I wanted to say that I hope this encourages people who want to start a bullet journal but feel they aren’t “artistic” enough, that they can do this! I love seeing all the beautiful layouts with doodles and calligraphy, but just because you don’t have that in your bullet journal doesn’t make it any less valuable. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in drawing and painting, and I only occasionally bother to draw in my bullet journal. It’s fine; it’s not a requirement. Anyone can do this.


I use my index for things that I know I will reference repeatedly.  I don’t, for example, list pages that contain rapid logging or my monthly logs, since those items either won’t be looked at again once completed or they will just be moved to another page the next month. Also, if something spans a few consecutive pages, I only list the first page number.  I just think it makes it look cleaner.

Susiebjournal's Bullet Journal Index

Future Planning

At the moment I am using a Calendex to schedule future task and appointments.  I have used the original future planning layout and I have also simply skipped making a layout for this and have just used the calendar app on my phone.  All of these work equally as well for me, it just depends on what suites my fancy that go-round.

Susiebjournal's Bullet Journal Calendex

For things I would like to do in the future that don’t have a set date, I have my “In the Near Future” page.  Things that were rapid logged but don’t need to be done right away usually get migrated to this page as well when a new month begins.

Susiebjournal's Bullet Journal Near Future Collection

Monthly Log

I keep my monthly log pretty simple using the original bullet journal method.  On the left I have the days of the month listed vertically with the day of the week listed to the right. Date specific appointments and tasks are listed here.  On the right are the tasks that I need to or want to accomplish this month with the top priority items signified with an asterisk.

Susiebjournal's Bullet Journal Monthly Log

Rapid Logging

I’ve gone back and forth between using dailies and weeklies but never really felt like I was using either to my best advantage. I still use a time-ladder every once and a while to organize particularly busy days, but have since returned to simply rapid-logging things that come into my mind. This allows me to enter things quickly without having to flip to a particular page or collection. I find that my mind is less cluttered this way, which is great since as a stay at home mom with two kids, my mind is often pulled in several different directions at one time.

Susiebjournal's Bullet Journal Rapid-Logging

Bullet Journaling for Parenting

As a parent, I use my bullet journal all the time when it comes to my family. A few ways I use it are:

Notes from parenting books.

Susiebjournal's Bullet Journal Parenting Notes Collection

Homework schedules.

Susiebjournal's Bullet Journal Homework Collection

I also write down funny things my kids say or do. I love having little snippets of them in my notebook.  It’s fun to flip back every once and a while and read about their silly antics!

Another thing I do, which I have heard people gasp in shock at, is let my kids draw and write in my notebook.  We play games, practice writing, whatever keeps them entertained if needed. For me, it is also another great memory.  I love seeing the changes in their handwriting or little pictures they draw.

Susiebjournal's kid's drawings in her Bullet JournalSusiebjournal's kid's drawings in her Bullet Journal


The thing that I really want to convey is that the complete lack of a need to be systematic or orderly is what makes the bullet journal method so great.  My pages will at time have rapid logging, a recipe, phone call notes, and an entry for the #rockyourhandwriting challenge all on the same page.

Susiebjournal's Bullet Journal

This is the kind of flexibility that speaks to me and has made this the most successful method of productivity that I have ever used.

My supplies

I keep things pretty simple.  I use a Moleskine Large Squared notebook, Pilot Razor Point pens in red, black, and blue, and a small triangle that I stole borrowed from my kids’ art supplies.  Occasionally a bit of whiteout tape shows up too, for those inevitable mistakes. Meh, what can you do?

Susiebjournal's Bullet Journal Supplies

Future Log Inspiration

February 07, 2017


The Future Log is a great way to log all the important and fun events you have going on in your life. It keeps all of your future events in one place. Anything that occurs in future months such as birthdays, holidays, trips, meetings, and more would go in the Future Log. It's a simple and easy place to flip to when you need to check when a specific event is happening.The Future Log is located at the front of your Bullet Journal. If you grab an official Bullet Journal notebook, the Future Log is titled towards the beginning to help you get going. You would set up a Future Log at the beginning of each Bullet Journal starting with the following month. For example, if it's May, you would start your Future Log for June since you'd be setting up a May Monthly Log. Each month you would refer to the Future Log to write down any relevant events into the Monthly Log. Update the Future Log as needed. Here is a curated selection of many useful and clever ideas to help you future plan! Ryder’s Method The super simple and easy method to get the months down so you can write in events happening in the future. Ryder Carroll's Future Log solution

Ryder Carroll

With all 12 months  If you want to have all 12 months at a glance, here's one way to go about it. Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 9.58.58 PM


With mini calendars If you need to see the months at a glance, draw out some mini calendar and rapid-log the events as usual. Bullet Journal Future Log by @blackinkjournal



Bullet Journal Future Log by

  Color-coded Need to distinguish between events? Color-coding is a planner’s best friend. Add a simple key at the bottom to know what the colors represent. Bask in the glory of seeing all the occurrences of holidays, birthdays, meetings, and more with this simple visual cue. Bullet Journal Future Log by @cardicreates


Bullet Journal Future Log by genspen on Tumblr


Vertical Future Log Similar to Ryder’s except it’s vertical in a list format. Future Log solution by @honeyrozes


Vertical Months With Dates If you prefer to write down all the dates of the month at once and log in events later, you can easily do that. Vertical Bullet Journal Future Log by @lindaplans


With Mini Months Who doesn’t love mini months? This is a simple way to see the month and the events directly underneath. Future Log solution by @journalspiration


If you fancy a bit of decoration. Bullet Journal Future Log by


With Mini Months and Color-Coding Same as above but with the addition of mini months at the top. To jazz it up visually, you can also toss in some color-coding. Bullet Journal Future Log by @bluelahe  


All Mini Months If you can’t get enough of the mini months and love the idea of writing down events underneath them and want to see the whole year at a glance, this spread is for you. Bullet Journal Future Log by @wineorbread  


Or this spread, to see four months at a time. Bullet Journal Future Log by @howpeculeah


Here’s the whole year with the events to the right done in a few different ways.

Bullet Journal Future Log by @gothamhaus


Bullet Journal Future Log by @black.tea.books


Alastair Method

A very clever column solution to make it easy to rapid-log events and see which month it falls under. Alastair Johnson's Future Log solution for the Bullet Journal

Alastair Johnson

Sideways In case this view works better for you. Bullet Journal Future Log by @raehaus


Color-coded Because color makes it easier to focus on what kind of event is happening when. Color-coded Alastair Future Log method in the Bullet Journal

Unknown source

  Alastair and Mini Months Some handy columns to jot down events and highlight when the events occur. This makes it easy to see how busy your days are. Alastair and months Bullet Journal Future Log by @themollyspace


  Calendex by Eddy Hope A powerful solution to help you naturally write down information about an event on any page and then log that page according to the event day. For example, if you’re on page 93 and need to write down information about an appointment you have on the first of February, you can write down the number 93 on a block on the first of February as you can see below. When that day rolls around, you can flip over to page 93 to see the details about that event. Eddy Hope's Calendex - Bullet Journal Future Log Solution

Eddy Hope

  Color-coded Calendex Adding color and symbols to your Calendex can massively increase its effectiveness in your life. Adding color can help you see vacations, meetings, and more at a glance.  

Bullet Journal Calendex Future Log. Photo by @bohoberry


Color-coded Calendex Bullet Journal Future Log. Photo by @christina77star


Ryder-Calendex Hybrid An idea is to have the Calendex on one side and Ryder’s method on the other. Having these two formats may make sense depending on your needs. Here is December through March in the Calendex and April through July with Ryder’s method. Ryder-Calendex Future Log hybrid for the Bullet Journal by @sunshine.and.stationery


And a colorful version, of course. Bullet Journal Future Log by zunzunblog


Calendex-Alastair Hybrid You can use a hybrid of the Calendex and the Alastair into something like this. Here I placed the exact same months on the left and the right, in their respective formats. The Calendex will help you see what days you’re busy at a glance and the Alastair method will allow you to see the details of the events. Instead of writing down the page number (which you still could) in the Calendex, you would simply add an open circle or signifier (or color-code) for the event to indicate that you’re busy that day. This way you can easily glance at the Calendex to see when you’re busy and you can use the Alastair side to see the details for those events.  Calendex-Alastair Method Future Log hybrid by Kim @tinyrayofsunshine


Alternatively, you could also place different months on each spread if you prefer a continuous approach and don't mind flipping pages to find the details for the Calendex portion.

  Bullet Journal Future Log Calendex-Alastair hybrid by @bohoberry


More Variations

The months laid all around in a quirky way.

Bullet Journal Future Log by @bujosis


Brainstormed Future Log.

Bullet Journal Future Log by @plannersimplicity


A circular Future Log for birthdays and holidays. Bullet Journal Future Log by

Someday Log I designate one of the pages in my Future Log as a "Someday Log" because it is a future type of Collection so it makes sense to write down things I'd like to do someday here. Tiny Ray of Sunshine Bullet Journal Someday Future Log Collection


Bullet Journalists are full of creativity and innovativeness when it comes to their Bullet Journals and the Future Log is no exception.  For more Future Log inspiration, please follow the official Bullet Journal Future Log board on Pinterest. Hope you enjoyed these ideas! How do you future plan in your Bullet Journal?
“Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris.
Studies have suggested that we have 50,000 thoughts every single day. A lot of those thoughts are about - or the result of - the things that we task ourselves with. There are never enough hours in a day, right? As an adult that’s just known as “being busy.” Being busy, does not mean we’re being productive. For most of us, it’s just a state of being functionally overwhelmed. This is the result of the overwhelming amount of choices we have in our modern lives. Though it is a privilege, the freedom of choice comes at a real cost. Each choice requires us to make a decision. Each decision requires focus. Focus costs us our most precious currency: our energy and time. We don’t like to think about how to invest our energy and time, because it’s, well, really heavy. We can’t constantly be running around asking ourselves, “what do you want to do with your life”? It would be dreadfully exhausting. It’s like going to the supermarket hungry without any idea what you want to eat. You walk in and are immediately overwhelmed with the countless choices lining the aisles. You usually end up just randomly picking all sorts of junk off the shelves you don’t need, stuff that gets added to your growing pantry of shame, other stuff gets neglected and goes bad. It’s a mess. Worse, it’s often a waste. Decision fatigue is a real condition and it can lead to decision avoidance. Rather than dealing with things, we keep jamming them into the back of our mental pantry until there’s no more room to think clearly. This causes a lot of stress and anxiety because it feels like we’re losing control. You need mental room to get some perspective. So how do we make room? Like cleaning a pantry, the first step is to take everything out. Externalize your thoughts by decluttering your mind. Sit down with a sheet of paper, and list out all the things you’re working on, should be working on, and want to be working on. Create a mental inventory. This mental inventory provides you with a clear picture of how you’re investing your time and energy. Now ask yourself why you are doing those things. Don’t overthink it. Simply ask yourself are these tasks worth it, or are they meaningless and therefore holding you hostage? I call these distractions. We burden ourselves with unnecessary responsibilities all the time. We’re so distracted by all the things we should be doing, that we forget to ask ourselves why we are doing these things, do we want to be doing these things. Now you have this mental inventory to remind you. For each item, ask yourself two questions. 1. Is this task vital? Think rent, or taxes 2. Does this really matter to me, or someone I love? If the answer is no for both, you’ve identified a distraction. Cross it off your list. As your list becomes shorter, your become less distracted. This process can be really handy before setting up a Bullet Journal. It’s like throwing out all the stuff you don’t love when you’re moving homes. Cut the dead weight. Bring only the things that continue to inspire you. What will you bring? __ Image by: Sylwia Bartyzel
Hello! I'm Elena, also known as @mightierthan on Instagram. I'm very honored to be sharing a peek into my notebook here on the Bullet Journal blog. I owe a big thank-you to Ryder Carroll for developing this system and sharing it with all of us. Another thank-you is due to the vibrant community that has developed around the Bullet Journal.


Bullet journaling came to me at exactly the right moment. In April, 2015, I was a first-year law student, still figuring out how best to get myself organized. I had always been a fan of writing things out by hand, and I was a faithful devotee of paper planners, but I didn't feel like I was capturing everything that needed to get done. Events, appointments, and assignments would go into my planner fairly reliably, but other things got lost in the shuffle. An idea for a longterm project would be stored with the best of intentions in my iPhone Notes app, never to be seen again. A to-do list would be scribbled onto a Post-It and promptly buried at the bottom of my bag, excavated only months later. I experimented with a few different planning systems, but nothing ever stuck. Meanwhile, my combined love of writing and analog things had led me to discover the world of fountain pens. One evening, while I was researching fountain-pen-friendly notebooks, I stumbled by chance on a Lifehacker article describing the Bullet Journal system. I felt like I'd won the planning lottery. This was exactly what I'd been looking for but didn't know how to articulate: an easy, flexible system for unloading your brain and capturing whatever life throws at you. I jumped right in that very night and never looked back. A second revelation occurred when I discovered that a whole Bullet Journal community had cropped up on Instagram, YouTube, and beyond. I was amazed at how many different ways there were for people to make this method their own, from the most minimal of versions to the most decorative. With a healthy dose of inspiration, I started to develop a bullet journal style of my own.


Monthly Elena's @mightierthan Bullet Journal Monthly Log

We'll be going through a typical month in my bullet journal. Here's the first spread for the month of September. On the left side is the classic Bullet Journal monthly view, where the date and days of the week are listed vertically, and the major event taking place on a given day is written alongside it. On the right is a habit tracker, an idea I got from the Instagram community. I list the habits I want to cultivate on the vertical axis of my tracker, and the days of the month on the horizontal axis. Every day that I manage to Do The Thing, I get to fill in the square. It's surprisingly satisfying. A half-filled square means You Tried It—for example, drinking some water but not my full daily amount.

Waiting On & Braindump

Waiting on and Braindump Collections in Elena's @mightierthan Bullet Journal The next spread of the month includes a Waiting On list and a Braindump. The Waiting On list can be used to gather anything that is awaiting a response or action from another party—for example, I might make a note that I'm waiting to receive comments from a professor before I can begin the next draft of a paper. These days, the list is mainly used to track the arrival of my online orders (typically supplies to keep my cat Hermes living in the manner to which he's become accustomed). The Braindump is a repository for tasks that aren't day- or week-specific but should probably get done during the month. This is similar to the monthly tasks list in the original system.


Bullet Journal Weekly Log by Elena @mightierthan Over the past few months, I've phased weekly spreads into my notebook. They're not part of the original method, but I find them very helpful for looking ahead at my week, keeping track of multiple events occurring in one day, and staying on top of recurring weekly tasks and homework. I also list the three or four projects I want to focus on moving forward that week.


Bullet Journal Dailies by Elena @mightierthan Dailies are the bread and butter of the system for me. Every day I write down the month, date, and day of the week and then begin a running tally of tasks that need to get done either that day or in the next few days. I also like to integrate journaling into my dailies.


Bullet Journal Key by Elena @mightierthan I organize the tasks in my Braindump, weeklies, and dailies with context labels, which are similar to signifiers in the traditional Bullet Journal system. Once I've logged a to-do, I'll decide what kind of a task it is, or where it needs to get done, e.g. a phone call, something that requires a laptop, an online order, etc. I will then add the appropriate context label next to the task. The idea is that if I have an hour of time and I'm in the mood to make some phone calls, I can scan down my list of tasks and knock out anything that has a "C" next to it in one fell swoop. I got this idea from Getting Things Done, by David Allen.

Meals & Groceries

How Elena of @mightierthan meal plans in her Bullet Journal This is my version of a meal plan. My eating schedule can be a little unpredictable. Instead of assigning ahead of time what day I will cook which meal, I keep a list of the groceries I have in my fridge, the meals I can make from those groceries, and when things will expire. On days when I find time to cook, I can check to see what's expiring soonest and I will prioritize making a meal with those groceries. After I make a certain meal or use my groceries up, I get to fill in a square.


Project Collection in Elena's @mightierthan Bullet Journal Periodically, I create a list of longterm projects that I'd like to complete within the next three to six months. This is also an idea from <i>Getting Things Done</i>, which defines a project as anything that involves finishing two or more tasks in order to be considered complete. I made this particular list in August, and it's still going strong several months later. As you can see, it's a jumble of school-related and personal projects, in no particular order. Here I experimented with separating out ongoing projects that I want to remain aware of, but that won't ever be complete. I review my projects list every week or so and move my projects forward by adding the next action item required for each into my current Braindump, weekly, or daily, as appropriate.


Bullet Journal changes over time by Elena @mightierthan I leave you with a photo of how my style has evolved over time. I love that my bullet journal is entirely my own. It doesn't have to look a certain way, and if my needs or tastes change it can easily change with me. For now, using fountain pens and cursive brings me a great deal of joy and motivates me to use my bullet journal. At the end of the day, as long as you can read your own writing and get cracking on your tasks, you're in business. That's the real beauty of it.


Notebooks Elena of @mightierthan uses to Bullet Journal One thing I love about the system is that you don't need any particular materials to get started – absolutely any notebook and writing instrument will do. Because I knew I wanted to use fountain pens in my bullet journal, I stuck to journals that take well to fountain pen ink. My first bullet two journals were Midori Travelers Notebook lined refills. This year, I succumbed to the Leuchtturm 1917 craze and was instantly hooked. I use an A5 black squared Leuchtturm notebook, which comes with a pre-printed index and page numbers, as well as two bookmarks. True luxury. Tools Elena of @mightierthan uses in her Bullet Journal For the main writing in my bullet journal, I use a well-loved Pilot Vanishing Point, always inked with Noodler's Heart of Darkness. For the colorful headers, I switch up a fountain pen and ink combination every month—in November I'm using a Levenger True Writer, inked with Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün. To fill in squares for completed tasks, I use a black Sakura Pigma Micron 08 felt-tip pen. Finally, my handy brass ruler, purchased on Amazon, helps me draw straight lines. Thank you so much for reading. I hope you have a happy and productive month.
“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai
In August 2016, a survey was fielded among professional project managers, giving us some terrific findings about how those who work in project management use their Bullet Journals. In that survey, more than 215 project managers shared insights on how projects are managed, tracked and recorded. In December, we fielded a similar survey to those working in the education sector. More than 300 educators ranging from first-year kindergarten teachers to tenured university professors to public school superintendents, provided insights into how they are using a Bullet Journal on the job and the difference it makes for them in their careers. One of the questions I often see on the Facebook group for Bullet Journal Professionals is whether to assign the same journal for both work and personal use. We began our survey with this question and, as you can see by this chart below, more than two-thirds of educators (62%) stated they use the same journal for both work and personal. 27% of educators use separate journals for their work and personal activities. And, about equally divided, educators either used a Bullet Journal solely for personal or work purposes at 6% and 5% respectfully. Bullet Journal for Teachers As we saw with project managers back in August, educators were split evenly at 50% on the question about whether a Bullet Journal is a sole method for organization and task management. Bullet Journal for Teachers analysis by Todd For those who use a Bullet Journal exclusively, survey respondents indicated the top uses include: Notes and Notetaking – 16% Journaling – 11% Planning – 9% Ideation – 9% Tracking – 7% Collections – 6% The variety of professions in education is quite numerous. Most everyone knows that teachers play a huge role in K-12 education. However, there are many other career paths. According to the US Department of Labor, the number one sector for employment is in elementary and secondary schools. Further, four of the top twenty-five sectors are in the broad education field. From our survey among educators, 74% surveyed are full time professionals and K-12 teachers made up 38% of the job titles. 24% of those answering our survey identified themselves in the “Other” category. Some job titles named here included speech pathologists, music instructors, university lecturers, nurse practitioners, curriculum developers and many more. Bullet Journal for Teachers analysis by Todd Bullet Journal for Teachers analysis by Todd US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2014 Educators have jam-packed schedules with little downtime during the day. So we wanted to know, with these demanding schedules, do educators still find time to work daily in their Bullet Journals. We were not disappointed. A full 85% of educators surveyed stated they use their Bullet Journal on a daily basis. Another 10% answered they used their Bullet Journal at least weekly. So, in spite of their challenging and dedicated schedules, 95% of educators are using their Bullet Journals at least weekly or daily to better organize their lives. This exceeds the percentage of time that project managers use their Bullet Journals by 10 points, based on our August 2016 survey of that profession. Bullet Journal for Teachers analysis by Todd Here’s the interesting point about all of this Bullet Journaling: a full 93% state that using their Bullet Journal as an educator makes their lives easier or significantly easier. This statistic is a very convincing leading indicator of the effectiveness of the Bullet Journal as an organization and management tool in the education profession. As one educator noted, “I find it difficult to track all of my classes and schedule in any other system (other than the Bullet Journal.)” Bullet Journal for Teachers analysis by Todd In an open-ended question, we asked educators to share with us about what was logged in their Bullet Journals. We wanted to discover how Bullet Journals were making their professional lives easier to manage. The answers were as widely ranging as job titles in education. Meeting Notes is the most used purpose for the Bullet Journal among educators. The top ten list of uses includes: Meeting Notes – 31% Log – 16% Schedule – 15% Daily Tasks – 14% Lesson Plans – 13% Task Lists – 10% Parents – 7% Events – 7% Professional Development – 6% Tracker – 5% As much as we track and log so much about our daily lives in our Bullet Journals, there are still activities and matters that are not recorded. We asked educators what aspects of their job were not captured in their Bullet Journals. Surprisingly, we saw that several items which were noted by some educators as most often tracked are also noted by other respondents that are NOT tracked. The top ten list of matters that are not typically captured in respondents Bullet Journals include: Contacts – 34% Notes – 23% Students – 18% Lesson Plans – 15% Attendance – 5% Logs – 4% Reports – 3% Appointments – 2% Research – 2% Grades – 2% While we are all aware that the core Bullet Journal modules – Index, Future Log, Monthly Log and Daily Log – are ideal building blocks, we wanted to understand how educators felt about these and what they were using on the job. When asked about the modules of the Bullet Journal, 45% of educators said they were using all four modules and less than 4% of educators stated they were using none of the original modules. The percentages here seem to suggest that the system that Ryder Carroll created has merit for educators. Bullet Journal for Teachers analysis by Todd When asked which module specifically has the biggest impact on their day-to-day job as an educator, by far and away the biggest winner here was the Daily Log with 65% of educators surveyed indicating this module is most relevant. The Daily Log is followed by the Monthly Log at 18% relevancy and the Future Log trailing behind at 7%. Bullet Journal for Teachers analysis by Todd Beyond the core modules, the pages and spreads used by educators are quite varied as noted in the word cloud below. While many of these are to be expected, some of the more creative answers from educators included pages to record reading lists, meetings with school board members, funny things that students say, a scrapbook of student drawings, daily affirmations, rehearsal planning, inventory lists, educator tools, research, writing prompts and so many more. An educator’s day is never dull or short of things to track and record.


The American philosopher and education reformer, John Dewey, stated, “Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.” The Bullet Journal method that we know and use was created by Ryder Carroll to help him focus and become more successful in learning and life. As noted several times in this article, an educator’s schedule is very demanding. But as this survey shows, the Bullet Journal method is relied upon by educators to organize and manage their professional lives. As one educator noted about its advantages for organization, “My Bujo replaces everything I used to write down on a million pieces of paper!” There are so many essential tools – many of them digital – for educators these days. But like Malala Yousafzai’s quote at the beginning of this article, a pen and paper-based system can indeed enhance productivity and often change the world. Education is a noble profession but one that can be enhanced with the method that Ryder created for himself and appreciated by us all. Coming up this year, be on the lookout for surveys that will be fielded to investigate other industry sectors and how professionals are using a Bullet Journal to improve their productivity and organization on the job. Until then, Happy New Year … and Happy Bullet Journaling! --- Header image by: Holly Mindrup
 First of all, I would like to thank Ryder for giving me the unique opportunity to present my Bullet Journal and of course for bringing such a terrific system into our lives.

My Bullet Journal Story

In order to organize my life and to keep track of everything, I have tried many different planning-systems without finding the right one for me, up until this year. Before I heard anything about Bullet Journaling, I've tried using a classical binder planner with pre-printed inserts, a classical calendar and I've also tried several apps on my phone. However, none of these options really worked for me, none of them gave me the structure I was looking for. At first, all of these options seemed great, and I put great emphasis into making it work by decorating everything with washi tape and some doodles, but after a week or so, everything got dull. It seemed like something was not working for me in trying to organize my life. While again looking for a new method to try out, I randomly stumbled upon the Bullet Journal which instantly enthralled me. Suddenly I was going through Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube to figure out how to start and what I need. When I noticed that many others uploaded their first tries to Instagram, I thought it might be fun and helpful to do the same and that is how my Instagram account @Journalspiration was created.


In the very beginning I enjoyed vibrant spreads, but after a while, I more and more tried to follow a minimalistic look. One key reason for that change was that I figured out that my Bullet Journal is not only supposed to be aesthetic, but also that it is supposed to be functional and efficient. That is the reason why I would describe myself as a Minimal Bullet Journalist nowadays, but I will let you make up your own mind:



I couldn't wait to finally get started, and without further ado, I created my first Key (Foto). Apart from some minor layouts like events, priority and research, I still use the system up to this day. Bullet Journal Daily Logs by @journalspiration

Future Log

One of the most important pages in my Bullet Journal is my future log (foto). I use the future log every single day to keep track of appointments and events or to write down some notes for next year. Bullet Journal Future Log by @journalspiration Just like on my Bullet Journal, I started the future log very colourful which I have continuously scaled down. The reason for that specifically was that I felt like the more effort I put into making the layout appealing, the more difficult it became to actually see what was happening each month. With the current layout however, planning and checking the future log is straightforward.

Monthly Overview

Every Month I create a classical overview to keep track of everything and furthermore to plan everything in a more detailed way than in the future log. Besides keeping track of my schedule, it gives me the opportunity to focus on the most important To-Do's for this month. To create the monthly overview I use different stamps, just like for my future log. Using stamps has made my life so much easier. Creating a spread now takes about 10 minutes rather than an hour like it used to. Bullet Journal Monthly Log by @journalspiration Bullet Journal Monthly Log by @journalspiration

Daily Planning

Contrary to others, I skip doing a weekly overview. I am completely satisfied with the combination of a daily log and a monthly view to keep track of everything. Since my very first tries, I always used a timeline. It helps me to remember my appointments and To-Do's and furthermore to structure my day, I guess I am just very visual. When producing the timeline, I match my To-Do's and my appointments to the time they are either scheduled or when I just feel like that would be the right time to complete them. By doing it like this my day follows a certain flow what I really like and need to be productive. Apart from time tracking, I plan my Instagram posts, which have become a substantial part of my daily life, and my meals - every time I have no clue what to cook, I can just flip back a few pages and get inspired. Just like in the Future Log, I use different stamps to ease and accelerate my planning. Bullet Journal Daily Log by @journalspiration Bullet Journal Daily Logs by @journalspiration Bullet Journal Daily Logs by @journalspiration


Besides my usual "Calendar", I create all kinds of lists and spreads for anything that comes to my mind. One example of that would be my Job Application Tracker. Right now, as I will soon graduate in architecture, I am facing one of the most intense challenges in life: finding the first job. In order to find a job, I have to start applying quite soon, and most people know how messy that process can get. The Job Application Tracker has so far been a great help in keeping the overview of everything. Another example would be my packing list; I love to travel, and right now I travel all over Germany and to London from time to time. The challenge in that is to always pack for the right conditions. Therefore, I created a packing list which helps me to plan what things I need, depending on the season or even on events I am going to. Those are just two examples of many more spreads I have created over the last 6 months, which you can explore on my Instagram account, if you're interested! Job Application Bullet Journal Collection by @journalspiration Bullet Journal Job Collection by @journalspiration Bullet Journal Adventure Collection by @journalspiration Bullet Journal Adventure Collection by @journalspiration

My Gear

- Nuuna Notebook by brandbook - Muji Gel Pen 0.38 - Stabilo Pen 68 - Studiol2e Stamps - VersaMagic Dewdrop Chalk Ink Pads - Protractor Bullet Journal Tools of the trade by @journalspiration
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