Journaling has always been a popular pastime – it's a great way to with stay organized, to practice self-care, to reflect – all that good stuff. But recently, it's become more than just a method to getting thoughts out of your head and onto a page. Enter the Bullet Journal, a system of journaling that involves an visual layout, from the simple to the complex, and so much more.

Origin Story

The bullet journal was created by Ryder Carroll as part of his search to live a more intentional life. In his Ted Talk, he discusses his childhood struggle with A.D.D. and how he found ways to focus his attention, find solutions, make good decisions, and lead his desired intentional life.

Getting Started

The social media following around bullet journals is huge, and tons of inspiration can be found on social networking sites like Instagram and Pinterest. The best way to start, however, is with the bullet journal website and companion app.

How it works 

Bullet journals are designed to increase productivity and make life easier, more organized, therefore leading to more intentional decisions and thought. They use a specific type of journaling called "rapid logging." Their website explains this method by saying that "note-taking and traditional journaling take time; the more complex the entry, the more effort is expended. The more effort expended, the more of a chore it becomes, the more likely you’ll underutilize or abandon your journal. Rapid Logging is the solution." 

How it looks

Rapid logging is divided into sections. The ideal layout is illustrated in a step-by-step visual process on the bullet journal website, and can also be seen in the various images on social media of bullet journals. The sections (topics, page numbers, short sentences, bullets) are what make up the bulk of the journal, and offer a loose guideline which, once understood, can be interpreted by users, creating a wide array of visuals, uses of color, and so much more. 

Making your own

The bullet journal tagline is "all you need is a notebook and a pen..." and it's true. Along with the website, Ryder Carroll also released a free reference guide for creating and maintaining a bullet journal that users can download and view as they start their journey. There's also a huge following on social media, which creates an open atmosphere of sharing, which can often help people struggling to maintain their journal, and allows for a flow of ideas. 

Bullet benefits

A simple google search of "benefits of journaling" brings up tons of links to credible news outlets and sources. Journaling has been shown to help with achieving goals, reducing stress, and encouraging mindfulness. The bullet journal seems to be the perfect experiment for those who want to start (or re-start) the journaling process, but don't want it to be too time-consuming. As a process, the bullet journal can be as complex or as simple as each person wants it to be, and offers the added benefit of creativity to the already positive journaling process. 

A bullet journal seems like, at the least, an interesting experiment and, at best, an increasingly positive lifestyle change. Either way, it's worth a try.