The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future

The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future

by Ryder Carroll

The Bullet Journal Method: Track Your Past, Order Your Present, Plan Your Future provides an invaluable system for retaining focus, becoming more productive, and living in the present. Bullet Journaling will help the readers declutter their minds, become more mindful, and organize their thoughts, plans, and goals. By creating the four core Collections, the Daily Log, the Monthly Log, the Future Log, and the Index, the readers will be able to maintain a clear and objective perception of their responsibilities, goals, and dreams. 

Summary Notes

The Preparation

“Each decision, until it’s been made and acted on, is simply a thought. By externalizing our thoughts, we begin to declutter our minds.”

The Bullet Journal Method is the perfect tool for anyone who desires to be sharp-minded, focused, present, and mindful about successfully managing time and energy on a daily basis. 

Being overwhelmed by thousands of pieces of information while living in a digital age interferes with our ability to maintain focus on our responsibilities, goals, and dreams. As a result, we lose clarity, our attention span gets shorter, and the items on our to-do lists pile up. 

With so much on our plates, we seem to struggle to make even basic decisions because we start suffering from decision fatigue.

The best way to fight decision fatigue is to get a clear perspective of your life through the Bullet Journal Method. You need to understand what your responsibilities are, but also, what you want to do, i.e., your goals.

Although there are a lot of apps that can help you organize the information in your head, it has been scientifically proven writing by hand helps us retain more information and allows us to engage more with the text. Plus, our journals can be whatever we need and want them to be: a planner, a sketchbook, a book of affirmations and goals, etc.

Actions to take

The System

“Once the event is over, take a few moments and use the time to your advantage. Sit for a while and give yourself a moment to process what you heard.”

Rapid Logging is an integral part of your Bullet Journal (BuJo). It’s an excellent method to become more mindful and present in your life while it happens. Choosing topics for the content you will log is essential because it makes the entire journaling process more effective. 

Once you’ve thought of a topic, write it at the top of the page, right next to the page number. The following are examples of topics: “Shopping List,” “Birthday Party,” “Vacation,” etc. Topics are used to provide a brief description of the content, to make it clearer, to create an agenda. 

Having written the topic, start writing the bullets. Bullets are short and concise sentences that are connected to a specific topic. For example, instead of writing: “Call Mary S. to let her know that the sponsorship for the sports event has been secured,” you can log: “Call Mary S, re: sponsorship secured.” 

Any entry in your BuJo can be categorized into three groups: tasks, events, and notes. Tasks are the things that need to be done, events are experiences, and notes are used for information that you wish to remember. 

Use different bullets to indicate that a task has been set, completed, migrated, scheduled, etc. Apart from bullets, you can use crosses, arrows, etc. to make distinctions between the tasks.

Since events are different from tasks, use an empty bullet to represent them in your BuJo. Keeping track of past experiences is important since we often base our present and future decisions on past experiences.

Finally, use the dash to log notes. It can be highly beneficial for your professional and your private life to take time after an experience to write down your observations, feelings, and thoughts. Thus, you can put information into a broader context and make more sense of it.

Actions to take

The Practice

“Don’t let fear dilute your life. We must take it upon ourselves to grow. We grow by learning, and we learn by daring to take action. There will always be risk, because we can’t control the outcome.”

The process of achieving our goals can be daunting especially if we feel a strong fear of failure. Fear can prevent us from taking action and it can hinder our personal growth. 

The Bullet Journaling Method can help us capture our thoughts and desires every day, and it can bring clarity when we try to devise a plan to achieve our short and long-term goals and ambitions. 

In order to make the most of BuJo, create the four core Collections: the Daily Log, the Monthly Log, the Future Log, and the Index.

The purpose of the Daily Log is to unburden your mind and share your thoughts on a daily basis. The Monthly Log is used for tasks and experiences that should happen in the current month, and, as such, it’s used as a reference. The Future Log contains information about set tasks that fall in the more distant future. The Index, which should be written down on the first pages of your journal, contains information about page numbers, topics, etc.   

When developing other collections, such as the Goal Collection, keep the timeframe for achieving your goals in mind. Separate your goals into five categories: goals you wish to accomplish in 5 years, in 4 months, in 3 weeks, in 2 days, and in 1 hour. Go over your goals and prioritize them. The long-term goals are logically more challenging, so divide them into tasks that can be completed in shorter periods. 

If you tend to procrastinate, then start the day with the most important task in your daily log. As a result, you will unburden your mind early in the day, and you will be more focused on the remaining tasks.

Actions to take

The Art

“Trackers are a great example of how we can take larger goals and deconstruct them into smaller actionable steps.”

Apart from creating the four core Collections, you can create other Collections, or even customize existing ones. 

One of them can be the Tracker Collections, which is highly popular and widely applicable. Tracking activities and events can help us see how we spend our time and energy. Thus, we’ll be able to have a more objective perception of our lives. Trackers are an excellent way to follow our progress, especially in accomplishing our goals. Since larger and more complex goals can be broken down into smaller bits, trackers can help you assess your past and current success.

The Monthly Log can be customized to include a habit tracker. For example, if you wish to develop new habits, you should keep track of activities that you can do in order to achieve this goal. If your desire is to learn how to cook, then make sure to add cooking activities to your Daily and Monthly Logs.

Actions to take

Don’t just read. Act.
Read comprehensive summaries and discover carefully compiled action lists for active learning