Page from a bullet journal
Photo credit: Chloe Leibowitz, 2018 bullet journal.

What’s that? Bullet journal? Let me guess. You have zero idea what I’m talking about!

I got my first bullet journal about 3 years ago. It was a gift from a friend who knows I like my life organised. When I opened it I found a blank book of dot grid paper. A beautiful, empty notebook. She told me to look up the concept and that would tell me what it was!

So what is a Bullet Journal?

I dutifully did as I was told and went ahead and watched this video by Ryder Carroll, who created the original Bullet Journal system.

I always show this video at my workshops to get things started – even though I can see a slight panic start to set in for some people due to the level of detail involved! But the reason I do is because we are all different, and therefore different approaches appeal to different people.

Essentially, a Bullet Journal is an analogue system to record everything you want it to. It can house your diary, to-do lists, recipes, notes, projects, reading lists, birthday lists, party plans, packing lists, thoughts, feelings, gratitude. Whatever you want!

And, despite Ryder Carroll’s video with instructions, the way I’ve come to look at it, and how I teach people about it, is there’s no right or wrong.

Whilst most people at a workshop will find some nugget(s) in that video to help them create their own system, they will also start to explore the concept in a way that suits their thinking and personality.

Unleash your creativity.

The joy for me in using a bullet Journal was most definitely in the fact I could tailor this book to my needs. How many beautiful looking ‘done for you’ journals have you shelled out for? Only to find that actually, in reality, the layout and spaces to record specific things doesn’t really work for you? I’ve lost count of the ones I’ve tried!

Once you get an idea of what you want to use your Bullet Journal for, you can start to find creative inspiration.

It’s worth noting that so many people I meet at my workshops tell me that they are not creative. And I understand what they’re saying. What thrills me though, is that almost every time, they leave smiling, and feeling very creative! How is that possible?

Well, over time the bullet Journal has evolved into a somewhat beautiful and creative practice. People spend so much time making their pages look beautiful. A list of books you want to read can suddenly become a beautiful book-case with actual books on it. Movies you want to watch can be displayed in pieces of popcorn. A monthly calendar for April can be prettified with stickers, stencils, tape or colouring in.

The right mindset

Sound a bit whacky? Maybe so. When I first started, bullet journaling was one of those activities that had me feeling some guilt after I indulged for a couple of hours on a Saturday. What I didn’t realise then, but most definitely do now though, is that keeping a bullet journal and spending time on its creation and development, is the best purposeful, mindful activity (and downtime!) that I could have imagined. And I came across it by accident.

Clients who have adopted the Bullet Journal now use it religiously to keep themselves organised, but have also noticed the calming benefits:

Not only has it given me a new way to organise my life, and business, it is also such a therapeutic way to spend time, absorbed in creativity. I highly recommend these sessions and am looking forward to keeping my journal going to see how it evolves.


Getting started

A bullet Journal has no rules. You can take what you want from Carroll’s system, but make the rest up as you go. You can use a journal for a year, 6 months, 3 months – whatever length of time works for you.

To give you an easy way to get started, here’s a linkto some useful products, including the specific journals I like to use myself. I also have a workshop coming up in April, you can check that out here.

We Are Tabono will also be hosting Bullet Journal workshops very soon as part of our Masterclass series. Sign up here to receive updates as events become available.