23 October 2018
Understand that I use the word “cult” with the utmost respect and affection. Bullet journaling is a system of planning, note taking and listing that was created by Ryder Carroll based on the idea of a single bulleted item being set within the larger context of tasks and events.
I first came across bullet journaling when I was a freshman in college and stressed over the prospect of needing to step up my game from just using my planner. I ended up not needing to use it and continued using the planner that my mom gifted me for Christmas every year. Then I transferred to UCCS and realized I was in over my head and needed to step up my game in terms of being organized.
Entrée bullet journaling. It started out with just a few planned lists and a ball-point pen I had lying around, a few strategic lists and hand-written page numbers that accidentally skipped page 76 though 82. Then I added a weekly spread for things a few days but not a few weeks ahead. And then I saw some cute banner doodles on Pinterest that I copied into my own.
Now I can say my entire life is organized and relies upon a notebook which is both impressive and pathetic in different ways. It’s not like I can’t remember anything on my own or have decried the use of electronic and online organizers. Yet the tactile sensation of writing things down, sometimes multiple times, is the way that I commit things to memory.
I also appreciate, time and motivation permitting, my bullet journal can act as a creative outlet. Anyone who knows me also knows that Halloween is my most favorite time of year, but I don’t necessarily have the time, energy or funds to deck the halls with bones and cobwebs. A few sales and plenty of impulse control led me to come into possession of a few sticker books and washi tape rolls.
In turn, this led to a wonderfully spooky dozen pages in my bullet journal. My bullet journal is my home made of paper and ink. Bullet journaling is more than repetitive lists spruced up with stickers.
There is a prominent community of bullet journal users across all major social media platforms spanning the world over. These community members have introduced many elements to Carroll’s utilitarian framework. One such attribute includes habit tracking.
Habit tracking can range anywhere from sleep logging and daily task check off to the incredibly popular mood tracker. The mood tracker is a system which keeps track on an individual’s mood on a day to day basis within either a grid or diagram format with symbols or colors coordinating to the individual’s mood on a personalized level. For this reason, those who struggle to keep up with daily habits and mental illness find the bullet journal system a comforting source of stability.
When an individual is first starting out, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of possibilities and sources available. What is important to remember is that bullet journaling may not work for everyone, but the flexibility of the system means that it can for many. The purpose of the system is to work for the person using it, not anyone else.