What's the Bullet Journal anyway? – designist
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What's the Bullet Journal anyway?

Posted by Anne Lynott on

Bullet journal for professionals
A while ago we noticed a lot of customers looking for the dotted paper version of our Leuchtturm notebooks. But we didn't know what was going on until one customer told us with much excitement about her 'bullet journal'. Turns out there a new trend among us fastidious notebook keepers that is based on a simple and clever series of bullet points. The system was devised by digital product designer Ryder Carroll a few years ago. It combines systems of note making, planning, aesthetic creativity and organising. Using, and how to use, your 'bullet journal' is fast becoming one of the interweb's hottest new fads, but is a genuinely adaptable, inventive and – most important of all – useful tool. Once I watched a couple of videos, I was sucked in and began my own bullet journal journey. I was so nervous about starting my brand new, clean notebook that I began with a 'pen test page' near the back, so I could see which pens I preferred and whether they bled through the pages (nerdy already).

Bullet Journal key and pen test page
Bullet journaling is basically a systematic method of keeping notes. There are common features and characteristics that define bullet journaling, a kind of starting ground from which you can elaborate, extend upon, or come up with your own new procedures. The usual traits of the practice include rapid logging, which basically means writing succinctly, and using a key for your entries like mine above. The framework of the system is one where you number each page and keep an index at the start, with daily, monthly and future logs that keep track of every note, task and event. This is why people love the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks, as they have an index and numbered pages already included. You could use bullet journaling for work, or an event like a wedding, or just your own personal day to day stuff.
Leuchtturm soft cover notebook

Any kind of journal or notebook will do, though the dotted paper helps you keeps things neat and draw tables or graphs easily. A whole online community has grown from the activity, including some who put loads of time and thought into the calligraphy and aesthetic. It's definitely worth checking out some of the videos before you start as some people have incredibly creative and useful layouts to share. But you can be as simple, complex, ornate, or basic as you like in your bullet journal, it's whatever works for your needs. The point is to use it as an aid that will increase productivity, and even though it takes a few minutes each day and probably an hour or two at the start of each month to properly set up, it will increase efficiency in the long run.

Bullet Journal sample monthly spread
The aspect of it being an old fashioned analogue system (pen and paper), which is somehow a perfect fit for the Instagram or SnapChat age, is also an interesting and oddly lovely feature of bullet journals. It's also great because you can start at any time of the year without leaving blank pages. So why not start now?! Have a look around these vids and articles to get a glimpse of some people who share their entries across social networks...

Here's Ryder Carroll's video explaining the original system

And these articles will give you more of an idea of the ins and outs.

http://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/blog/how-to-bullet-journal

https://newrepublic.com/article/134486/humble-notebook-flourishing-iphone-era

So now, stick on the kettle, grab your favourite pen and that unopened notebook sitting on your desk and get designing your future!


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