Valley’s Bullet Journal Primer

No, it’s not a weird name for a weapon, nor is it a notebook riddled with holes, as its name might lead you to believe. The Bullet Journal is the newest life-planning organizational tool on the metaphorical block and Valley is here to tell you everything you need to know.

According to its creator, Ryder Carroll, a digital project designer from New York, the Bullet Journal (BuJo for short) is “a customizable…organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above.”

An introduction video on the BuJo website describes the journal as a way to help “track the past, organize the present and plan for the future.”

In an interview with, Carroll explains that the idea for the BuJo came as a result of his struggles dealing with a learning disability that made it hard for him to focus and “capture notes [the same] way that [his] mind worked.” After years of development, Carroll came up with a system that worked well for himself and realized that it could also be adapted to be used by others—hence the Bullet Journal was born.

So, how does it work?

If you’re an avid doodler, a calligraphy enthusiast or just someone who likes having somewhere to write down literally everything, the BuJo might be for you.

The first thing you’ll need is a plain notebook, preferably with dots or lines in it rather than blank pages. Then, you’ll need a nice pen and a ruler to make boxes to write in. After that, you can gather markers, colored pencils, even paint to decorate and color code as you go.

The first page in your BuJo will be an index. This is followed by a future log, a monthly log for the current month which includes a calendar in list form on one page and a task list on the other, and a daily log. Your daily log entries will consist of tasks for that day, separated into categories as divided by a key that denotes tasks (with a bullet), events (with a circle) and notes (with a dash). Things that are super important get a star next to them.

At the end of each month, you start the whole process over again with information about the next month. As you move day to day, you ‘x’ out things you’ve completed, ‘migrate’ the ones you haven’t to farther down the line in your future log and put a line through things you no longer plan on doing.

These are the basics of the BuJo. Many people have expanded on these ideas with their own ways of doing things such as having one page dedicated wholly to inspiring quotes, memory sections where they paste things into the BuJo like a scrapbook and monthly calendars for meal planning, water intake or pages read in a book. A simple browse of the #bujo and #bulletjournal tags on Instagram delivers over 100,000 pictures of people’s individual journals; the same is true on pinterest. Youtube is also full of people showing ‘flip-throughs’ of their BuJos.

Corrall says the BuJo is constantly evolving with each person that uses it, so it’s up to you to create your perfect format. Otherwise, there are always the free planners they hand out at the student involvement fair. Happy planning!

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