Bullet journaling trend gains popularity

February 6, 2018

An assortment of colored gel pens and thin-point markers lie to her side. Two pages are illustrated with arrow-shaped bullet points and intricate, careful calligraphy. Detailed illustrations and tables line the outer margins of the pages, filled in with the full range of the rainbow. ‘October’ in cursive script is inscribed on the top, and below, the life of Mona Lee (12) is plotted out into 24-hour increments.

Bullet journals, with their artistic, handwritten and individualized layouts, are just the latest trend in time management.  

Ryder Carroll created the Bullet Journal, a individualized and personalized planner, in 2015 as a method to stay focused and be creative and to encourage self-discovery.

“There is a place for everything that pops into your head because our brains aren’t always linear. We tend to think they are, but they’re not,” History teacher and bullet journaler Donna Gilbert said. “So you’ll be thinking about an activity or be planning out the various aspects of things you have to do, and then something else can pop into your head.”

An example monthly bullet journal spread tracks schoolwork, meetings, social engagements, moods and daily habits. Bullet journals often contain monthly and weekly spreads and can keep track of whatever suits the journaller.

Bullet journals consists of empty pages with light bullets points, or dots. Journalers can organize their the pages into weekly or monthly sections, akin to those in a traditional planner. Other than time management, the blank pages can also be used for jotting down notes, writing reflections, setting goals, tracking habits and drawing.

“It revolves around entering the same events a couple of times into a journal, like there are ‘future events’, ‘monthly events’, and ‘weekly events’ [sections],” Gilbert said, “You do this repetition and as you complete a task or some meeting or event, you either migrate it if the meeting changes to a different day or you ‘X’ it out and delete it.”

Senior Mona Lee also uses and designs her own bullet journal, making weekly and monthly spreads to track her tasks, assignments, moods and habits.

She started the bullet journaling habit in spring of her junior year and watches videos of other journalers online for ideas and inspiration.

“I don’t like planners because it’s so blocked. I felt like I lost interest in it really quickly,” she said. “With my bullet journal, if I’m drawing or if I’m setting up my spreads on my own, I’ll be more likely to fill it out myself. I’ve tried other task management systems but I’ve felt they were just too plain and too cold. With my online software, I felt like I was just copying and pasting my PCR [school homework website] in, and there wasn’t much flexibility with the program itself.”

Bullet journalling has become increasingly popular in recent years. A bullet journal is made from an empty note- book that, in lieu of lined or graph paper, has just bullet points. Bullet journallers on social media document their journal spreads, which in addition to performing the traditional functions of a planner are also often used to track moods, habits and general goals.

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