Monday, February 19, 2018

Do You BuJo?

by Paula Gail Benson

Have you heard about bullet journaling or “BuJo” as some practitioners call it? I hadn’t until I read an announcement from Fiction Addiction, an independent bookstore owned and operated by Jill Hendrix in Greenville, S.C. Jill is offering a course about bullet journaling on Thursday, February 22, at 6:00 p.m. The cost is $25, which is redeemable on a purchase of supplies available that evening in the book store. If there is sufficient interest, an afternoon course will be offered.

Advertisement for the Course Offered by Jill Hendrix
From the advertisement, I could see that bullet journaling could be used for keeping a calendar or agenda. I wondered, why offer this course in February instead of at the beginning of the year?

Then, I began reading about the subject. At, I learned that bullet journaling was described as “the analog system for the digital age.” It was developed by Ryder Carroll, a “digital product designer living in Brooklyn, N.Y. Mr. Carroll has trademarked the names “Bullet Journal” and its abbreviated form “BuJo.” Rachel Wilkerson Miller, a writer, editor, and blogger, also based in Brooklyn, N.Y., has written several books about the technique, which she calls “dot journaling,” maybe because practitioners are encouraged to use notebooks with dot grids as a guide for their own creations. Ms. Miller has been criticized in her Amazon reviews as appropriating trademarked information that Mr. Carroll has available free online. You can take a look at her website at and compare it with Mr. Carroll’s site to see what you think.

Anyway, bullet or dot journaling is a do-it-yourself organizer that can include as much or as little information and structure as the preparer wants. Ryder Carroll has some great videos to explain how to get started in his online section Bullet Journaling 101. They are simple, straight-forward, and concentrate on the focus--how to be efficient in organizing your life. They set out the method without complicating it with any artistry a preparer might wish to bring to the process.

What is the method? According the Mr. Carroll, through bullet journaling you can track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future. First, number the pages of your journal. Second, label the first few pages as “index” so that you can list where you’ve written certain items throughout the journal. Third, create a future log, diving two pages into a six-month or longer organization where you keep lists of tasks and events that must be handled. Fourth, use two pages to make a monthly log, with a calendar on one page and a task list on the other. Fifth, through a short hand system, you can list what you need to accomplish. A filled in dot is for a task (which later can be “x-ed” when the task is completed). A star next to a dot means the task is important. An oval signifies an event (and can be colored in when the event is over). Indicate notes (things you need to remember) by a dash. Sixth, at the end of a month, set up the next month’s log. If you have tasks that have not been completed, consider “migrating” them, either forward into the next month, or back into your six month projection. Mr. Carroll uses a greater than sign > if the task goes to the next month’s list and a less than sign < if it goes back into the six month projection.

Many aspects of one’s life can be included in the bullet journal: obligations for home, work, or school; routines or patterns such as exercise, diet, or writing; and personal reflections, like journal entries. A cottage industry seems to have grown up around bullet journaling, very similar to accessories for scrapbooking. You can purchase books, pens, and stencils to help you create a very unique product.

In some respects, I see this as a natural off shoot of the adult coloring books, only instead of being just relaxing, bullet journaling combines creativity and productivity. Not to mention it encourages a generation that grew up with computer graphics to take a chance on using those old fashioned tools of pens, pencils, and rulers to sketch out their own destinies.

After learning about the method, I understand how it’s adaptable and can be started at any time. I’m tempted to try it. How about you?


  1. Hi Paula, I've been wondering about bullet journaling, and now I'm tempted to investigate further. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

  2. Joanne, thanks for your comment. I'm like you, tempted to try it. We'll have to compare notes!


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