Bullet Journals: What Are They, and Why Should You Care?

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If you’re an avid fan of Instagram and Pinterest, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve come across a picture or two of a Bullet Journal; a notebook filled with lists, doodles and calendars, all arranged and designed in a beautiful way. Unless you’ve already become aware of the organizational cocaine that is Bullet Journaling, you might not have understood what you were looking at.

Why are people taking pictures of their personal notebooks and why should I care? Both of these questions will be answered in this brief overview of the purpose and the possibility of bullet journaling.


Originally created by Ryder Carroll, Bullet Journaling is a note-taking and life-planning system that encourages its users to utilize the process of rapid logging to streamline life-planning. Did that explanation help? Of course not. So, let’s get a little more specific.

In order to start Bullet Journaling, you need only three things: a notebook, a pen, and a basic understanding of rapid logging. Rapid logging, created by Carroll, is a system that requires four components: topics, page numbers, short sentences, and bullets. Each topic usually has its own page, where you journal about that specific topic, and a page number, in order to keep your topics organized. Within each page, you use unique bullets to categorize the various notes that you might take throughout the day.

As you can see, each bullet has its own purpose. Have a task you need to accomplish? Use a regular bullet. Need to move that event to another day? Add an arrow.

But how does this all come together?

This is just a simple example, but if you embrace the system and mold it to fit your needs, it can be very useful and motivating.


Now that you’ve seen the basics, you might be wondering what all the hype is about. I mean, it’s just a bunch of bullets and sentences, after all. But you see, the excitement surrounding Bullet Journaling is its malleability. The simple format that Ryder Carroll invented is very translatable, and it can be used for many diverse purposes. Because a Bullet Journal is entirely your own, you can incorporate whatever you want into it. This can include a space for regular journaling, a log of your monthly workouts, a highly thought out schedule for your next food and Netflix binge, or anything else you need to make your life easier. A Bullet Journal can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. The goal is organization and efficiency, so whatever works for you is what you should do with your Bullet Journal. For example, I’ve included a picture of some of the spreads that I personally find most useful, but don’t think you have to follow these. Your Bullet Journal is your own creation. Make it work for you.

For some inspiration, please feel free to check out the following Instagram accounts. They are all unique and they might spark a bit of inspiration for you. (Just beware, because once you fall into bullet journaling, it’s hard to escape. You’ve been warned.)

AmandaRachDoodles (https://www.instagram.com/amandarachdoodles/)

Boho.berry (https://www.instagram.com/boho.berry/)

Minimalist Bullet Journal (https://www.instagram.com/minimalistbulletjournal/)

Arik Hardin is a senior majoring in English with focuses in communication and popular culture. When he isn’t planning for his future career in publishing, you can find him crocheting another scarf, watching Disney movies and cuddling his dogs. You can follow him on Twitter at @arikhardin2.

Tags: bullet journaling, instagram, life-planning, organization, planner, student life, tumblr