Bullet Journaling For the Lazy and the Busy

I started bullet journaling in September 2016. I haven't given up this hobby yet. Hence it's safe to say that it's worth clinging on to because God knows I am lazier than a sloth. Bullet journaling is different than your old school journaling which is of documenting your daily activities and requires writing longhand which is usually multiple pages if you have a happening life (quite unlike mine). I came across this concept while feeding my dormant pseudo-artsy side on Instagram. Today I'll tell you how you can get started on bullet journaling.


The idea is to keep a journal through bullet points. It means you don't have to write longhand or even full sentences. Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer living in Brooklyn, New York, took more than 20 years to develop this perfect journaling method. 


1. So what product should you use to kick off this new hobby, you may ask. Should you use lined pages, moleskin or plain white sheets? Just use whatever makes you want to write. When I say whatever, I mean whatever, even loose pages. All you need is a pen and paper and you are good to go. 

2. For starters, write a whole calendar for the year in one single page or two pages side by side. This step is optional, I am adding it since I find it convenient.

3. Then you make an index in two columns - subject and page number. 

4. The next page is going to be your "Future Log". You can do this in many different ways. You can write 365 days separately or use my version - in 12 different slots for the whole year, under the heading of each month, write the important tasks you are looking forward to. For example, under May, you can write "14 - Mothers' Day" and "24 - Jurisprudence Semester Final". This way, you won't be ever forgetting the birthday of that one sensitive cousin who raises hell if not wished at exactly 12 AM.  

5. In the next page on the left, start your "Monthly Log". First write the monthly calendar by putting all dates in single vertical line and the first letter of each day. Now, on the page to your right, list all the tasks you need to accomplish this month in bullet points, like "Go to the dentist", "Purchase running shoes", etc. Then go back to the index and add this page number there as your "January Monthly Log".

6. After that, set up your "Daily Log". Here, you finally start making entries under particular days. Your entries are everything that you want to remember to stay organised. They will be either tasks or appointments or a note respectively indicated by a bullet, circle or dash. If your task is significant, i.e. "Buy roses for Sokhina", then mark it with an asterisk.   

7. Now that January is over and you have become comparatively better at adulting, repeat from step 5 again for February but in this case, skim through the log of January to see which task you couldn't accomplish. Assess if the incomplete task is still worth your time, if not then pen through it. If you have to complete it in February, put a right arrow ">" beside it and add it in the "February Monthly Log", if it can be done months later, say August, then put a left arrow "<" beside it and add it in the Future Log under August. Ryder Carroll describes this process as migration which helps you filter out tasks that are not worth your time.


You can use your bullet journal for keeping notes and lists as well. Throw in a "To Be Read Books" or "To Be Watched TV Shows" list in there and add it in the index. This is known as "collection". Keep track of your expenses in your daily log, design monthly trackers to see whether you have actually been massaging you hair with coconut oil every Friday like you promised yourself in the beginning of 2017. Make a boredom buster list, things you need to save up for, places you want to visit this year, assignments you need to catch up on, your weight loss chart and so on. There are hundreds of layouts for your logs on the internet.  

There are two kinds of bullet journalists - those who simply use it to stay organised and those who enjoy its aesthetics. The objective is to make you more productive by ticking things off the list and getting rid of the 29 sticky notes on your laptop screen. It may seem difficult at first but actually is super fun. Though it's already a few months into 2017, it's never too late to start being a better adult.

Anupoma Joyeeta Joyee is a perpetually sleepy Law student who emotionally identifies with ducks and occasionally sets out on writing sprees. Feel free to rant to her at [email protected]  


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