The Bullet Journal Method

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  • [status:: read]
  • [rating:: 4.75]
  • [added:: 2023-02-13]
  • [started:: 2023-02-13]
  • [read:: 2023-02-20]


4.75 ⭐ A really good read. I got unto the bullet journal after seeing Evan write about it a fair bit. In certain areas I prefer paper much over digital: I write out programming problems on paper and prefer keeping track of D&D sessions with a pen. If I take these notes already naturally, I might as well collate them into a notebook. My todo-list situation has also been a bit all over the place. I used a barebones system with Todoist which works fine but doesn’t spark a lot of joy. So, I am giving the bullet journal a crack!

(At the point of writing this I am not even a week into the system, so hard to say yet how I will go.)

The book comes in a really beautiful makeup and tone of voice. I appreciated the small illustrations and how it itself is structured in some areas like a bullet journal. That got you hands on with the system. The system was explained concisely.

I was surprised by the amount of intentionality that goes into the bullet journal system. I enjoyed reading the ‘The Practice’ part, which was a great compilation of productivity advice. If you want a starting point to 101 productivity principles, this is a pretty good one.

As a believer, some worldview aspects missed the mark a bit but that is easy to recognise, confront and redeem through a Biblical Worldview worldview. Overall, I was positively surprised by this one. I expected a Bullet Journal manual and instead got a book filled with practical as well as philosophical wisdom.


  • Connects the long life of Okinawans to Ikigai

Mental inventory

Divide a paper into three sections jotting down what comes to mind:

  • Working on
  • Should be working on
  • Want to be working on

For each entry, ask yourself:

  1. Does this matter (to you or someone you love)?
  2. Is this vital?

If you struggle to answer that for a task, all yourself: “Would there be any real repercussions if this task never gets done?”

Things you need to do: Your responsibilities Things you want to do: Your goals

Rapid logging

  • Keep it short and concise
  • Keep it objective: the idea is to give yourself an objective account of what happened to look back on
  • Events (° bullet) signify both scheduled events and what happened in the day

Monthly log

Calendar page can be used like a calendar. You can slot in events ahead of time but he prefers afterwards because things can change. This way, it acts more like a timeline.

Yearly Migration

Ryder recommends to start a new notebook each new year, no matter how full the previous one is. There is something about starting with a clean slate.

Breaking down tasks into sprints

This idea comes from Agile methodologies.

Project → Sprints → Tasks

Sprints are…

  • Self-contained,
  • a week to max two weeks long,
  • able to be started with minimum barriers

Reflection questions after sprints

  1. What am I learning about my strengths, my weaknesses?
  2. What’s working and what isn’t?
  3. What could I do better next time?
  4. What value was added to my life?

Start tasks from curiosity

  • What do I want to do?
  • Why do I want to do it?
  • What small thing can I do right now to get started?
  • What small step can I do to move this forward?
  • What could I improve now?

Daily Reflections

AM Reflection: A Time to Plan

  • Put down bubbling up thoughts
  • Review pages of the current month

PM Reflection: A Time to Review

  • Scan through today’s day log
  • Reflect on each item (‘Why am I doing this?’)

Monthly Migration

  • Set up new Monthly Log
  • Review tasks in the past month’s pages
    • Transform guilt into curiosity: “Why is this task still incomplete?”
  • If a task is still relevant, migrate it in one of three ways:
    1. Transcribe to tasks page of new monthly log. Mark old as “>”
    2. Transcribe into a custom collection. Mark as “>”.
    3. If it is date-specific and outside the current month. Migrate into future log and mark as scheduled: “<”.