Original New Orleans Art by Debbie Ainsworth

My New Obsession – Bullet Journal

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an Organization Junkie! I’m a list maker, a planner, the kind of person who has a notebook beside her at all times, and keeps a drawer full of her old notebooks (dated, of course). Before the notebook came a series of calendars and planners, some cheap, others ridiculously expensive. None ever worked out, because they didn’t completely suit my needs, or I got busy and didn’t keep up with them. There’s nothing so depressing as a gorgeous planner with lots of empty pages in it. The problem with the notebook is that while everything’s together in one place with no skipped pages, it’s really hard to find information I need quickly. The Bullet Journal system takes care of that problem.

The Bullet Journal method is the brainchild of Ryder Carroll, a very bright young man whose organizational approach is after my own heart. If Bullet Journaling is something that interests you, I urge you to visit Ryder’s website. I’ll include a link to his site at the bottom of this post. He explains everything so simply. Plus, he has a lot of video tutorials that are so, so helpful. While Ryder currently has an “official” Bullet Journal, all you really need to start using the system is a notebook and a pen.

Bullet Journal Supplies - ArtByDArt

The system features something called “Rapid Logging,” which is taking notes in short, concise one line sentences or tasks, with a signifier, or bullet, in front of it to let you know what to do with that information. This is pretty much how I use a notebook anyway. I really liked the addition of bullets, like a circle for an event, or a question mark for something I need to research. The bullets are called the Key, but the heart of the Bullet Journal is the Index.

Bullet Journal Key and Index pages - ArtByDArt

The Index, or Table of Contents, combined with page numbers, tells me exactly where to find information in the journal.  Ryder’s method involves setting up a series of logs, but they are all optional and customizable. First is the Future Log, which is basically the year at a glance pages. Next comes the Monthly Log, Weekly Log, and Daily Log. Any other information I want to keep track of are called Collections. Ryder has a very simple way of setting up these spreads, but they can also be much more complex if desired. And of course I desire, but more on that in future posts.

My second favorite part of the Bullet Journal method is what I like to call the “one spread at a time” aspect. A spread is the two pages I’m looking at when I open the notebook. I don’t need to set aside a chunk of pages for the month of September (where I’m PLANNING to log every week or day of the month, but turns out I don’t need that much space, or I get busy and don’t fill it out) before I can take notes for something else. Nope. I can just turn to the first empty spread to start collecting notes for marketing ideas, and then continue September on the next page. I record the first through last pages of September in the Index, and I put in the page number for my marketing ideas collection on a separate line. If I’m looking for something that happened in September, I can flip through all the pages from beginning to end. If I’m just looking for my marketing ideas, I can flip straight to that page without having to flip through the entire month of September. And no empty pages!

Bullet Journal Collections - ArtByDArt Bullet Journal numbered page - ArtByDArt Bullet Journal Indexing Collection Pages - ArtByDArt

At this point during my research, I was already in love with the idea of Bullet Journaling. Then I found out you can decorate it. I’ve been giggling like a little girl with her first coloring book ever since.  I’ll show y’all some of my decorating successes and failures in upcoming posts. Another great thing about the Bullet Journal system is that I’m not stuck with one layout. If something doesn’t work for me, or I just want something different, I can change it. Check out the basics of Bullet Journaling, and then stop by here for some planning ideas. Below is a link to Ryder’s website. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook (ArtByDArt) or Instagram (@realartbydart).

Bullet Journal Tutorial by Ryder Carroll