Richard Cheesman

14 Aug 2022

The Updated Bullet Journal Method

He who controls the clutter, controls the stuff

Here’s a short, updated overview of the Bullet Journal method by Ryder Carroll. This is a method that grabbed my attention a while back. Obviously, having been diagnosed with ADHD, I wanted to try to find methods and processes that could help me mitigate and manage my specific symptoms.

As somewhat of a fan of minimalism, I saw Bullet Journaling (BuJo) as an over-the-top process. This was in large down to the Instagram BuJo crowd who produce these ostentatious, flashy spreads which are more akin to works of art than a journal process.

It really put me off them for a very very long time.

Ugh.  Way too much going on here in this BuJo Ugh. Way too much going on here - must take ages keeping it all up to date…

I mean, looking at this page is a horrible complicated mess. Does the squiggle mean it’s crossed out? It’s done? It’s important? What about the colours - does each shade represent something different in priority, task assignment or what? Why are some events marked with dotted boxes but similar ones are marked and underlined instead?

Looking at this one singular example, it was easy to be put off. Even with an appreciation for people’s artistic endeavours it was really hard to translate this example to my own needs. I chanced upon searching once more after I discovered someone who also railed against this ‘overcomplicated’ BuJo method, desiring something far more manageable and simpler. And understanding they too had ADHD, they saw that the simpler a process that creates a positive end goal, then the better it is for the ADHD brain to use. After some searching I discovered some articles within Rediscover Analog’s Bullet Journal section that got me looking more into it. I somehow found the updated video above and it was an eye-opener.

It was so damn simple.

It didn’t need hours and hours to prepare a page and have everything super colourful, tons of marker pens and stickers and labels or all that shit. It just needed to be functional for myself.

I’ve been developing my own methods over the last few months - not super consistently (because ADHD), but it’s always a very easy tool to pick back up, open a new page and just start. I’ve used it to also track some longer term projects through the use of ‘collections’. I thoroughly recommend if you’re interested in this process without the extra “fluff” of having to own a veritable craft store worth of materials to get his book and read that instead.

I only have a Scribbles That Matter journal, a Midori ruler (because they’re super nice and small), and my main note-taking fountain pen or a fine-liner. Yes, I did also get a blue/red/green fine-liner set, but these are not really critical and making my tracking pages work in ‘monochrome’ has been invaluable. This means if I’m away from home without all my typical stationery stuff nearby, my BuJo doesn’t fall apart because I’ve lost some fucking asinine stickers or whatever. A pen/pencil and a ruler. Heck, I don’t even strictly need the ruler, but my ability to draw straight lines is somewhere far below abysmal.

So get his book if you’re interested, look up Basic Bullet Journals on Reddit, and if you like what you see, try it out on some loose leaf pages. That’s what I did and went straight to a journal very quickly. Took me about an hour setting up at the most, and a lot of that was more down to me forgetting and re-reading and just double checking everything. I’m sure a normal functioning brain could do it in less than half the time. Heck, setting up a new month now takes me less than 5 minutes and that includes copying the information from the previous month!