The Bullet Journal Method

It’s January 2nd, are you over the whole resolutions/self improvement thing yet? Are you feeling overwhelmed and like giving up? Yeah, I feel that. But I’ve got way too much on my plate to give in to that, so for the last few days I’ve been working my way through The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.

At first I was kind of resistant to reading this book. Did someone really need to write a whole book on this? I mean, yes, this is the guy who came up with/formalized the method, but bullet journal tutorials are all over the internets. I’d even been experimenting with bullet journaling for a few months with varying levels of success. It was just that – the varying levels of success thing – that finally convinced me.

And I’m totally glad I did. Most of the bullet journal content you see on Instagram and Pinterest is only tangentially related to Carrolls method. They take the basic framework and use it as a canvas for self expression. That’s great, and I’m totally envious of those super pretty spreads, but it doesn’t actually help me get my shit in order. This book, however, lays out a method that just might work.

The basics can be found in the book and on the website, so I won’t go into them here. But there were a few key take aways:

    Use is more important than style. Carroll says that ‘whenever you find yourself obsessing over getting every little thing perfect, remind yourself it’s just a tool. It’s what you’re building that counts.” If a part of the journal is not working for you, don’t use it. Try something else. Stop tracking that thing. Reevaluate your priorities.
  • Use/create an index. If you’re keeping track of things via an index, then its not necessary to have all like things next to each other. That frees you up to use every single page and to use as many pages as you need for a given topic. For example, I use my journal to take notes when I meet with my advisor. With the index, I can just make a note of what pages numbers they’re on, I don’t have to set aside a chunk of my journal off the bat for those meetings.
  • Don’t track junk information. Do you need to keep a detailed record of every recipe you make? Or every TV show you watch? What about how many glasses of water you drink in a day? There are reasons why any or all of these things could be useful to track, but that is going to depend on your specific situation. I find it pretty easy to manage my water intake without a tracker, but I often find myself tweaking recipes and forgetting what I did. So, a water tracker is junk information for me, while a recipe collection with notes would be super useful.
  • Create small projects or “sprints” to test out ideas. I tend to decide I want to do things and jump in fully right away. These things then get incorporated into my identity which makes them hard to stop even if I’m no longer enjoying them. Carroll recommends setting up small projects so that you can find out if a direction is right for you before you commit fully. These projects should last a few weeks and have a defined end. It’s the different between “I’m a yogi now” and “I’m committing to a 30 day yoga challenge.” If, after 30 days you realize you hate yoga you can still feel good about completing that goal, but you also have a clear stopping point and can move onto something else.

So, while unlike my other posts this isn’t a book about fashion, but I know I’ll be using it to help me write my fashion related dissertation, plan my wardrobe, and keep track of my various sewing projects over the next few months. I’ll keep you updated on how I’m using my “bujo” and if it’s helping me spend more time doing things I value and less time mindlessly surfing the web.