Happy October! We’re back again with our third installment of Ask the Bullet Journalist, where I do my best to answer any of your questions. In this month we cover:

  • The structure of the Bullet Journal
  • Collections
  • Internal Threading
  • External Threading (threading between notebooks)
  • Falling off the Bullet Journal wagon.

Please leave any questions you may have in the comments below for episode 4. Enjoy!

About Ryder Carroll

Ryder is the creator of the Bullet Journal. He's a Brooklyn-based digital product designer and art director.
  • Curt Ebersole

    Ryder, thanks for these insights into threading. I’m just finishing my first journal and panicking a little bit about make the jump to Volume 2. This is very helpful!

  • Theresa Petermann

    Glad I heard your info about threading now. I will be starting a new journal the first of the year and I would not have thought to number my journals. Taken care of now. thanks as always for sharing.

  • Producer2

    Is there an app on Android? I looked, and several mention Bullet Journal – but not sure if any one of them is the “official” app.

    • There’s no Android app as of yet. They’re still looking for an Android developer (as stated in the video).

    • Earnest Ma

      Hello, fellow bullet journaller and android user 🙂 ..Nope. So far, the “Bullet Journal Companion” is only available on iTunes 🙁 but they’re looking for an android dev.

  • Manuel Alvarez

    Ryder, it would be possible that you could translate or subtitled in Spanish all the episodes. Thank you

  • LaShonda Hodges

    Another great video. Threading is so simple and helpful tool to maximizing organization across a single and multiple notebooks. Thanks.

  • linda_marie

    There were a couple of things you mentioned that grabbed my attention today. I am working on my second or third bullet journal… As you could guess from that statement, I am having memory issues big time. At this point I think (and hope) they are stress related. I also believe that technology is “fuzzying-up” my brain and I am becoming overwhelmed. I truly believe the bullet journal can help this, but I am having trouble staying focused on using it… Maybe threading will help, since my earlier years at bulleting have been much more successful… At any rate, I am toying with the idea the threading might help…

    The other thing is “falling off the wagon”… I’m wondering if there is such a thing as a support group to help with keeping me focused. In addition to “memory problems”, I suffer from ADHD and get sidetracked quite a bit. I keep trying different strategies, but all that seems to have accomplished is not remembering how they worked out… (I know keeping this things in my journal would help — but I get busy and don’t write it down.)

    LOL I know psychological counseling is not what this group is for! I do need some practical ideas, though! Thanks!

    • Stephanie S

      Hi Linda-Marie, I started bullet journaling for similar reasons, my journal allows me to function as if I am normal, keeping appointments, writing checks, running errands, basically not letting other people down. Whatever I suffer from, it seems to run in my family (siblings have it, children have it), and I heard it said the other day by a guy in school studying for a PhD that the field of psychology has not kept up with the science of how sensory integration affects thinking and emotion. For example, veterans suffering from PTSD or brain injuries are treated at VA hospitals using vision therapy techniques and, believe it or not, acupuncture, because counseling doesn’t do the job. ADD/ADHD can be misdiagnosed vision issues (ten percent of the population has convergence insufficiency), or rooted in poor nutrition (due to poor gut absorption, not necessarily diet). Check out the office of the developmental optometrist near you. I’ve also used NAET, GAPS diet, essential oils, organic/non GMO foods only, DNA testing (for MTHFR) and homeopathy. Good luck, and God bless.

      • linda_marie

        Thank you so much for your post. You’ve mentioned so many things I hadn’t considered. I’m not sure there are doctors in our town who would consider any of this — not to mention if Medicare would pay. I do go to an acupuncturist when I can afford it and she has prescribed some Chinese herbs to help with my IBS…

        I’ve followed you on disqus. I hope you don’t mind. I’d love to look some of this up and maybe talk to you again.

        God bless you, too!

        • Stephanie S

          Sure thing. Samaritan cost sharing will share the cost of alternative medical treatment, as well as conventional allopathic. It cost us more monthly, but my kids are receiving help now. It opened up choices, however they are strict about excluding pre-existing conditions. The brain-gut connection (ie. brain injuries are associated w/gut issues) could allow treatment of a previously undiagnosed neurological condition which addresses the gut issue. This is a long book but well referenced https://www.amazon.com/Isnt-Brain-Working-Revolutionary-Understanding/dp/0985690437

          • linda_marie

            That looks like a pretty good book. I may try to listen to it on audio. Thanks!

    • Anita Alexander

      Love this post, don’t have answers because I relate to what you say. I have the same hopes for BJ.

      • linda_marie

        Bless your heart, Anita. I don’t know what your life situation is, but some of us never seem to have a quiet, thoughtful minute. There are constant interruptions and life moves at the craziest pace imaginable. I think it would help if I could stay off of the computer, telephone, etc., but when it’s necessary for one’s job, it’s very difficult. How long have you been using a BJ?

        • Anita Alexander

          Hi Linda, Thank you 🙂 I haver been doing BJ for about a year, still working out how to make it work for me.
          The plain fact is that I don’t have enough time to do all I want to do in the mornings AND still get enough sleep.

          The things I would like to do are: exercise, short mindfulness meditation, get the house in order, do ONE thing towards a project I am working on, and get ready for work.

          I would have to get up about 5am, which means going to bed 9pm, which means not spending time with my children.

          Except for getting ready for work, all those things are activities that if I don’t do them in the morning, they are not likely to get done. That just seems to be the way I am, once I get into the day I get swept up and the other personal things fall by the wayside.

          I know I’m not alone in this issue, I have read a lot about it. And you are alluding to that as well.

          Bless your heart too Linda. I still find it amazing to connect across the world with lovely people I don’t know. (I am in Australia)

  • Mary K

    This was a very helpful page, because I had just gotten to the point that I would be asking this question. I am a person with dozens and dozens of previous notebooks (dating back to probably 1990) that have good information in them but I never know exactly where to look for it. From now on, I can keep track! Yay!

  • Kit Fry

    Thank you. Another great episode. It’s like you pull my questions right out of my head!

    I saw the official bullet journal at barnes and noble yesterday! That’s so awesome! I got there with my son at least weekly.

  • Sergey Moldavskiy

    Thank you so much for this post. Thank you for spreading your idea of bullet journaling. It is so liberating to be able to write stuff down in chronological order without feeling constricted because I skipped a day or a week. Keep up the good work.

  • Carole Satterly

    my daughter told me about Bullet Journaling and my first question was about transference of information between journals. I realized she thought I was a bit off since 1) I hadn’t even written one page and 2) I had been using planners and scraps of paper for years with no thought of keeping the information! I also saw all these highly decorated pages and thought ‘i don’t have time for that”. thankfully I just bought the book and started in. What a life changer! I no longer am chasing down scraps of paper with bits of info. that black book goes with me everywhere. I can check immediately to schedule appointments, note future events, plan trips, etc. I keep what my husband calls the ‘paper of all knowledge” in the back slot. it has important numbers on it for when we travel or just need to have the info when out and about. I tried to fancy up the pages and decided that just isn’t me. just keep it simple. I am less stressed, I get more accomplished and by writing things down my brain is free for other stuff. And I am just a housewife. I no longer work outside the home and yet the Bullet Journal works in the home too. thanks Ryder for sharing. love the humour too, the first time I missed a few days I thought “I am doomed!” but I tell myself this book is for me and no one else. it just doesn’t matter how i use it as long as it is a useful tool to me. so much freedom when I live that. thanks again.

  • Karen Merrell-Berg

    Thank you for the info! Definitely going to download the app. Love the idea of threading. I have been using my bullet journal for about 4 months. Still learning every day. My bullet journal is so helpful for my life. I am a crazy busy creative with too many projects at any given time. It helps me keep track of goals for myself, my family, my home and my various business related projects.

  • iOS 11 Jailbreak

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Hoarses

    Thanks for the video I enjoy them on time that I don’t have, anyway I was wondering if you had any tips or something when using a bullet journal for school. I once made some science notes on my Bullet Journal for a test, but it seems like I don’t have any time to do more notes. My time seems to slip out of my fingers.

  • lalampen

    Great video – very helpful. A question I have is where to put meeting notes? Do I put those in my daily log? I feel like no, because the meeting notes can get pretty lengthy. What do you recommend? Thanks!!

    • Drew Robinson

      I don’t see why they can’t just have their own page, then just make a note of it in your index. that way you have easy access to where they are when you need to reference them.

      • lalampen

        Thanks for the idea. New to this concept, so would it be a new collection / two page spread?

        • Drew Robinson

          exactly! if the notes take more that the two page spread that’s perfectly fine. That’s the beauty of the Bullet Journal system, the pages aren’t prestructured(for the most part) so if you need a few pages for notes you just turn to the next blank spread. If the notes take more pages, that’s fine. Just make sure you put it in the index so you can find it later.

  • Jonatan Skogsfors

    Hi, I’ve just started my first bullet journal and I have a question about future planning beyond the new year. If I have a future plan spread that covers the rest of the year this means that for every month I have less and less months to reschedule actions to. In December I will have none.

    Do you have any tips for planning beyond the current future plan horizon? On a computer you would typically have a rolling horizon but that doesn’t sound feasible in a book.

    • DelosTech

      Actually, this is the real beauty of the bullet journal isn’t? You do not have to restrict yourself to a specific range of months for the future spread. It is December, my future spread happens to cover the first 1/2 of 2018. But when I setup January, the month will be January and the future spread will run Feb to July, 2018, and so on.

      Another thought, if you need more space for future planning would be to do a 2-page spread for three months, or a 4-page spread to cover a total of 6 months, an so on.

  • I’d like to journal in my bullet journal and write morning pages, but am afraid my tasks might get lost then in between the journal writing. How do you think a diary or morning pages can be integrated to bullet journaling?

    • Marla James

      I prefer to keep separate notebooks–a cheap spiral for sloppy, free-flowing, writing (morning pages) and a separate bound journal for logical recording. “Gems” mined from the morning pages can always be preserved later.

  • Yona Shira

    You know that a lot of female bullet journalists spend more time on decorating within their BuJo then for the initial purpose of planing their lifes. It would be interesting to hear your opinion about this decoration addiction of some (mostly female) bullet journalists.

  • Debi Tan

    Another great episode! Love the threading topic and most especially the falling off the wagon part. Great way to reiterate what BuJo should really be about.

    My question is, do you have a clever idea on how to mark follow up tasks within the day. Say for example, I called and didn’t reach the person I needed and had to call back again. Mostly on a follow up basis similar to this where your question is still not answered or the task is still not done. A double >> ? I don’t really have any ideas that works well with the bullet like how handy the x and > are. I’d like to mark it to say I’d already done it but I want to be able to go back to it without having to rewrite the task. A migration within the same day instead of a migration to another day. Sorry if I’m overthinking this.

    • Julijet

      If it helps, I only migrate when I turn the page. If it means I have to rewrite items it can provide impetus to get them done or put on future log instead rather than rewrite on the turn of the page. I don’t have a day spread but a running list.

  • Deborah Nam-Krane

    Love the idea of threading. I’m also grateful that your spread is simple and spare. I don’t have time to decorate my spreads!

    If possible, I’d like to see more thoughts on the most efficient ways to use the Bullet Journal for brainstorming and turning branches of thoughts into a coherent, more linear plan of action.

  • Rachel Failla

    Hello! I have been bullet journaling for about 6 months now and I was wondering if you had a suggestion for good markers that I could trust to use that won’t bleed through? I saw one person post an illustration in a bullet journal using Tombow pens. Would you suggest using Tombow?

  • sepuku

    With the advent of Machine Learning Kit on iOS, are there plans to have the ability to perform character recognition on the photos of your indices (much like Evernote does), so you can search for specific things?
    I’d love to eventually be able to take photos of my full spreads at the end of one, to have a digital copy of it on my phone too, and to be able to use the search functionality to hunt through pages for long lost items/quotes/memories/tasks/people/phone numbers/etc. Obviously these dont need to be editable, thats all done within the Bullet Journal itself, but maybe have the option to “re-take photo” for a specific spread and overwrite the version thats currently stored.
    Store the data in iCloud, and then you can have an iPad app too? 🙂

    I stumbled across bullet journalling from an article on lifehacker. I’ve moved between different “productivity systems” so frequently, that they made me less productive as I just couldn’t find something that worked for me. Bullet Journalling has helped massively, and i’ve stuck with it longer than any other productivity system. Plus, compared to the others I’ve bought and paid for in the past (OmniFocus and Things 3 probably totalling around $250 worth of apps), its by far the cheapest, and fully adaptable…

  • “Bullet journaling isn’t about being perfectly organised, but bringing your attention back to the day, back to where you are right now” – resonates with me! I love this quote, very helpful.

    One thing I’d like to know is how people operate when they work as part of a team with shared digital calendars. The month view has never worked for me because my calendar is constantly updated – the month view gets out of date quickly. Even the week view still requires me to check my digital calendars for updates. I wonder what others do – is it worth updating and maintaining the month / week views? Of just use the digital calendar for these things and bullet journal for the daily schedule / notes etc? I much prefer using the bullet journal during a day instead of my phone but I feel like if I don’t regularly check ahead on my phone calendar I’m likely to miss something that’s been added.