Bullet Journals

The Bullet Journal Method – Ryder Carroll

“In other words, the more decisions you have to make, the harder it becomes to make them well.” Page 36.

Personally, I write down stuff so I don’t have to remember it, but that’s I style I used ever since my first portable digital device in 1993 or so. I did, and still do, carry a small notebook, but let’s be serious — digital. Minimal organization and smallest electronic signature.

Reading the text about Bullet Journals suggested I write it down, so as seen here.

  1. Does it add to the human condition?(1)
  2. Does it add to my bottom line?

The conclusion? If it does not bring joy, happiness, or help others? Then don’t do it. Not an original composition, but one I like — and try to embody.

Take comfort in daily rituals.”

Reading about aspects of the bullet journal methodology made me remember a half filled notebook, I still have, with the date and the approximate mileage and minor notes, like “Pleasant Valley,” which tended to be my eastern terminus when walking the old Town Lake trail. So, with variations on themes, I’ve done something like this, off and on, over the years.

“If at some point you feel overwhelmed, take a step back and start by implementing only the pieces that make sense.” Page 49.

Core of what I teach — usually about astrology, but, you know, whatever. Shrug.

Bullet Journals

Part of this is material that I’ve adopted over the years, goes back to that collection of quotes that I have, with its weird title, Pink Cake. Its inception was introduced to me in a literature class, as an idea leftover from Victorian authors — or maybe earlier.

As nature always finds a way? Or, as water always seeks its own level? I started the quote collection before it had a title. Just the thinest extant example.

One of the original purposes to this very weblog was to serve as a momentary reflection, goals, desires, observations, and notes about life. Write it down so I don’t have to remember it all.

I did zero research, just got the book from the library and started to read through it. As I was reading along, more bits and pieces of my own education started to show up, like reading actively, rather than passively, underlining, notating, and so forth. By extension, one writing teacher taught me to write about whatever I was reading at the time, in a journal format. Exercise became habit, and habit that served me well during the intervening years.

The calendar options reminded me about how I worked with what I’ve got, started with a two-page spread in a paper-based calendar, and I would enter salient events and appointments, doing my best to keep it to a single word entry, and not too many events scheduled for any one day. Was easy, at one time, travel — even within Texas — travel would get a whole day on the planner. Made life simpler. For a weekend show, that meant either Thursday or Friday was travel, work Saturday and Sunday, then give Monday a whole travel day, too. With my only frequent travel being more like a commute, San Antonio to Austin and back, the frequency of travel is greatly reduced, still, it’s an ingrained habit.

The idea of writing down the odd bits of daily minutiae carries a burden.

“Many poor decisions are born in the vacuum of self-awareness. We get so caught up in the doing of things that we forget to ask why we’re doing them in the first place.” Page 104.

So performing a daily, weekly, and monthly review and annotation of a to-do list, written by hand, that’s the great secret?

”Studies suggest that only around 2 percent of the population is psychologically able to multitask. The rest of us aren’t multitasking; we’re simply juggling.” Page 123.

In its simplest form, this is a handwritten to-do list format that carries forward with the weight, or weight-saving, process of daily review, like active pruning.

Thought: buried in my oeuvre, there are rich snippets and nuggets of material — ideas that I thought would be longer projects or basis of some novella. Only to discover, the material fits well within my predefined frameworks. (2)

“Change is critical to productivity and growth—personal, professional, or otherwise.” Page 130.

Can one affect change with grace?


Each week, for close to a decade, I’m guessing, I’ve been part of a “MasterMind” group. Helps. Helps a lot, and in the course of the half-dozen years? Timing is a little iffy, so work with me, but in the ensuing years, I’ve learned about setting goals.

So delving into the back half the Bullet Journal material, I realized that some of this, I do now, almost by rote. Habit, over the years, ingrained by the idea of setting attainable goals then knocking them down, and feeling good with a sense of accomplishment.

There was one passage about work, and those of us who are self-employed, we understand this well. Time management, and toiling towards productive goals.

In my own example, what I was thinking of, setting simple goals that are measurable and time-dependent, then being part of group that I am responsible to — for my own — policing and either reaching the goal, or calling it quits. The group itself has no investment in my ability to attain the goal, but the group is supportive.

Typical, cheap, knock-off post-it notes, each week, I’ll have one up. Last December, I had the same note, even changed the note itself, but the same goal stuck for almost a month, as I wasn’t being productive in that area. I eventually reached the goal by breaking it down into smaller, more attainable clumps.

Part of the process the also described in Bullet Journel.

All of this is mentioned in the text. So this has motivated me to refine my methods, but no, this isn’t entirely new to me. Just a slightly different version with goals in notebooks, now.

Bullet Journals

“You can’t plan your way out of failure, but you can greatly increase the odds of success by doing a little legwork before you dive into your project.” Page 194.

Does greatly assist me in seeing so much of the material spelled out in a thoughtful manner. Helps to focus.

Bullet Journals

So is the methodology and its ensuing fray worth the effort? For me, yes, but this could be something else, too —

Or is this all just a way to sell fancy office supplies?


The Bullet Journal Method – Ryder Carroll

The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future

(1) I would define “add to the human conditions” as blandly generic term that covers the idea — ideals — that an action contributes to the betterment of society as a whole, or certain individuals at no cost to others.

(2) My “format,” as much as I follow one, is merely a weekly horoscope, weighing in around at over 2,000 words each week. Then the various weblogs, but those have no definitions, rules, or constraints as to length, topic, clarity, or function.


First image and possibilitysecond image and idea.

Pink Cake: The Quote Collection – Kramer Wetzel

Pink Cake
  • Aperture: ƒ/1.8
  • Camera: iPad Pro (11-inch)
  • Focal length: 3mm
  • ISO: 250
  • Location: 30° 17′ 52.39″ N 97° 43′ 2.89″ W
  • Shutter speed: 1/60s

About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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