using the bullet journal to organize my life

I’ve been using an organization system for many, many years now to help my keep track of my life and organize my studies. You may have seen photos of it floating around the web, complete with fancy pens, nice calligraphy, and beautiful artwork that’s impossible to recreate.

It’s called the bullet journal.

My November calendar.

While I also subscribe to that method of bullet journaling — which has evolved into it’s own kind of thing — I’m here to tell you that the concept of the bullet journal is actually very simple, and a lot more practical than the pictures you see above and online.

The bullet journal is a organization system created by Ryder Carroll, and the only things you need to bullet journal are a pen and an empty journal, and it doesn’t even need to be a fancy pen or journal. The most popular journals tend to be Moleskine, Leuchtturm 1917, Rhodia, and Scribbles That Matter. I won’t go into detail about the system itself, but I encourage you to visit Ryder’s website,, to learn more.

The bullet journal system has five main components:

  • Index
  • Future Log
  • Monthly Log
  • Traditional/Rapid Logging (To-do lists)
  • Collections

The future and monthly log are basically calendars.

Traditional or rapid logging is just a fancy way of saying ‘writing a to-do list’, except each task is listed as a bullet point. You mark off these bullet point according to if you’ve completed the task, pushed it forward, or more.

Photo credit: Ryder Carroll /

A collection is pretty free form, and can be anything from grocery lists to reading lists to an address book. This is where it becomes more useful to students, because you can create spreads to track your assignments, when your finals are, and more.

The most important thing about this system is that you write everything in order of how it occurs. For example, you might have your weekly spread interrupted by a grocery list. This is perfectly fine, because there should be an index at the front listing where everything is, for easy access.

I like using this system because everything in my life is organized in one place. I can use collections to create spreads like the one below, in which I am able to see an overview of all my assignments in one place and get a sense of how I’m doing in class. I always know what event is on which day, and what I need to do in the future.

It also helps that it looks nice as well!

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