Bullet Journal Method: Live and thrive

Influencers divide into two groups: ones that already changed the world and ones that are about to. This second group does not have to change the world’s thinking or invent a groundbreaking technology, they only have to share their idea with the rest of the world. One of such people is Ryder Carroll who designed the system called bullet journaling. You may have heard about it briefly or maybe you noted it in a category of another planner some artsy girls are using and moved on. Or maybe you’re here because you know the idea.

Ryder designed his “planner” over 10 years ago now and has been doing an incredible job showing it around the entire time. His book “Bullet Journal Method” is in stores for a month now and I don’t believe it is a finish line neither for him nor the system. Being a bullet journaler for over three years, I wasn’t keen on reading this book from the moment that it was announced. I assumed I knew all the tricks there were in the classic system. There was a time when I spent hours on YouTube or Pinterest searching for inspiration or new ideas I could use in my notebook for. After so many years, it felt redundant to learn about bullet journal all over again.

bullet journal bujo ryder carroll

But in recent weeks I felt completely overwhelmed with my life. Nothing seemed to work for me, tons of planners, ideas and other “helpers” stopped working in an expected way. Bullet Journal stopped doing its magic the way it used to, either. I felt exhausted all day. I was a corpo-zombie working eight hours a day and returning home just to watch shows or simply sleep. My job became a burden of sorts and I felt guilty all the time because I had no energy to work on my blog or even read a damn book. Bullet journal stopped being a friend and became an enemy that wanted me to do something with my life. My tiredness and everything that came with it was ricocheting me with guilt and shame hence I was feeling even worse.

By the time, Ryder’s new book was released. I took that announcement as another piece of unnecessary info and kept on my busy and exhausting life. Luckily, after a couple of days, I finally decided to check a review of the book by one of the bullet journalers whose ideas I’ve been adoring from afar. She was talking about the influence the book made on her even though she seemed like she reached the mastery in the field. What the hell did I have to lose? I ordered the book on Amazon as a set with this badass ninja stealth notebook that not only had a matte black cover but also black-painted edges.

bullet journal bujo ryder carroll leuchtturm1917 leuchturrm notebook

I don’t recall the last book I’ve read so fast. It took me a week to go from cover to cover and make notes at the same time. It gave me inspiration and a head full of ideas on how to improve my life. Or at least organise it better. Don’t get me wrong, I hate all these “personal growth” books which should change your way of thinking and make your life perfect just because you read them. “Bullet Journal Method” is this kind of book and if I wasn’t aware of the system I probably would never touch it.

The key to convincing me it wasn’t another crappy life-changer was not what Ryder was talking about but how. He wasn’t the influencer in the contemporary meaning of the word, nor hadn’t he tried to patronize a reader. He was a simple guy who doesn’t try to change my life with some magic system but rather tries to inspire me to find what works best.

The system

I’ve seen bullet journal changing a lot in these three years. The video available on the official page is updated to way simpler and more minimalistic way than it used to. The one I used as a reference is completely gone and replaced by the updated version. This one shows not only the system but the “upgraded” Leuchtturm1917 notebook for bullet journaling. Ideas such as boxes were replaced by dots to simplify rapid logging and focus on what is actually important. But the main idea hasn’t changed a bit. Explaining the system all over again by me is pointless, so just watch the video instead:

It is not a hard thing to do. It takes a notebook, a pen and a few minutes to make it work. So why the whole book?

As I mentioned, bullet journal evolved. A lot. Ryder may have given the idea, but his followers had brains of their own. The beauty of personalization and using the journal to their personal purposes made wonders in bullet journal community. The challenge of the blank page made a lot of people creative to the depth of it. And although it is breathtaking to see the beauty of their journals, it is also very much intimidating. I saw a lot of people give up bullet journaling because they don’t feel artsy enough. It didn’t really change by telling them it didn’t need to be. Here I am with a statement: I have the ugliest bujo in the world. I don’t share it, I don’t draw in it, I make it as pretty as I want it to be. I don’t care. It is what my planner should be. Messy. So my brain isn’t.

But aside of this sad aspect, the community around bujoing is incredible. There are terabytes of videos on YouTube, photos on Instagram and articles around the web. The amount of ideas is getting out of hand. I think this is what made Ryder update the system and made more out of it in the book. I can easily recognize all the ideas, names and spreads I’ve been checking on the Internet this whole time. Bullet journal was adjusted dozens of times to work for each person separately. And it is amazing. What Ryder covers in the book is how to actually start doing it. And how to keep strong in our personal lives.

He was speaking about the main ideas in TEDx speech at Yale University here:

The book also explains broadly the questions most people can have in the digital era. Mainly – why notebook, why writing, why keeping it analogue. Most of these questions could be answered by trying this out themselves, but for all the gimmick lovers of the twenty-first century, it can be tough. What was most valuable to me were the guidelines. The Bullet Journal Method not only state the ideas behind the bujo but also helps out making first steps in it. Ryder highlighted some questions which should help anyone start and continue their journal.

So after giving all the film reviews and pop culture related stuff, why am I writing about such stuff here? Well, to make people aware. Because someone who is not like me can simply ignore bullet journal or never even hear about it. I would like to inspire you, at least hopefully a minor number. Secondly, I use it for all kinds of pop culture related activities: shows I’m watching, films I want to see and what’s most important: my blog. And I am certain that a lot of people will find a way to use it differently and maybe, just maybe, it will be an answer to a bothering question you’ve been trying to deal with. My point is – there’s no pain in trying, eh?

bullet journal bujo ryder carroll leuchtturm1917 leuchturrm notebook

The images used are from official bullet journal site.

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