“The day you stop learning is the day you stop living.”
– Albert Einstein

If I had to name my favorite thing about bulletjournaling, it would be its flexibility. As my needs change, so does my Bullet Journal. Since a lot of you’ve been asking me what my Bullet Journal looks like, I thought I would share some things I’ve been trying out. Before we hop in though, I want to be clear, these are not “updates” or “changes” to the system, they are merely methods I’m trying on for size. You guys don’t get to have all the fun!

To start off, I’ve been trying a dedicated Index. Naturally, I use the official Bullet Journal notebook, which conveniently features two full spreads for the Index. The first spread I use the standard way. The second spread, however, is now dedicated to my wonderful day job. Over the past year, my job description has changed, and with it, my responsibilities. There are many rapidly moving parts to keep track of and I’m hoping this will simplify things.

Now, confession time: my Future Log is really a brain dump. I use mine as a way to capture project ideas that really excite me, but have no time for. My Future Log is basically a slow cooker, heating things until they are ready or are no longer on the menu.

The rest of my experiments are based on my new year’s resolutions. I’ve decided to cultivate two new habits to improve both. So in the Monthly Log’s calendar page, I’ve created a minimal habit tracker. Simply leave the three columns open by the book’s spine (opposite the date). Two of the columns sport a letter to indicate the name of the habit (i.e. “E” for Exercise). As you complete your tracked task, simply X it out like you would any other task. Additionally, I place a key at the bottom of the page so I can easily remember what habit I was trying to form during a given month later in the year.

Ryder's Monthly Log

Keeping in theme with tracking, I’ve added both a gratitude and food tracker to my Daily Logs. I have three notes for things I’m grateful for, followed by  “B”,”L”,”D”, “S”. This stands for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Even when I don’t have time to cook, I can remain mindful of what I eat.

Ryder daily log set up

I started out with telling you what my favorite thing about the Bullet Journal is. Let me close by telling you what I think the most important part of the Bullet Journal is: getting to know yourself better. I’ve learned a lot about myself from reviewing my journals. I see what worked, what didn’t, where I’ve succeeded, and where I’ve failed. It’s about clarifying what truly matters to you so you can plan accordingly.

About Ryder Carroll

Ryder is the creator of the Bullet Journal. He's a Brooklyn-based digital product designer and art director.
  • So exciting to get a peek into your Bullet Journal, Ryder! I love the simplicity and effectiveness of it. The columns on the month log are a great way to keep it all together. I really like how you added the gratitude and food logs straight into your dailies, great way to keep from flipping all over the place (which I tend to do haha). My favorite part has to be how you add sub-tasks to the various facets of your day as action-items, it reflects your pensive nature 🙂 Thanks for sharing this with us! The flexibility and reflective way about the Bullet Journal is soo great, I love it!

    • Ryder Carroll

      Thanks Kim! I was thinking about doing a post about “nesting” tasks.

  • Thank you for sharing, Ryder. I have been using BJ for almost a year now and I love it. This year in January I also started logging my gratitude tracker and it is a thing that also works for me now.

    • Ryder Carroll

      Happy to hear that it’s working out for you 🙂

  • Daniel

    Thank you for your new ideas. I want to integrate my gratitude thoughts in some weeks into my bullet journal. But currently I still use the 5-Minute-Journal. There are still a few pages free, before I will change in this area completely on my Bullet-Journal. Just a litte question. Do you use an online task manager, too? I don’t think that I could integrate all my tasks completely into the BuJo.

    • Ryder Carroll

      I do when I work with teams. Sadly paper just does not lend itself very well to that. I also use GCal for heavy scheduling, again because I usually have to coordinate with teams.

      • Lidz

        Hello; I have been struggling for years with “online BJ vs manual BJ” if I can call them this way! As well as Personal vs Business/ online and manual again!! I still cannot find best way to smoothly juggle between them!! I keep on forgetting to log important things in each! The electronic BJ are mandatory as I work with various teams! At the same time, I still havr the need to write things down In my BJ notebook! Have you covered this subject before? Do you have valuable advice on this subject? I have tried many things but don’t find an easy way to combine all those BJs together!

  • Erika Ramirez

    LOVE! i just started bullet journaling 1/15/16 and i thought it couldn’t get better but it just did =) you have a great way of nailing what the essential minimal steps are technically and visually and that’s what creates the magic for me! i may be new and this may have been asked a million times, but can you use a “collection” as a section for meeting notes? i know i can take notes consecutively while rapid logging, but i find as i go through my work week ideas pop up that i want to discuss at our weekly mtg. out of habit i have a spiral notebook at work for just that wkly mtg and i jot it down there, but could i start a collection the minute a topic pops up for me and then go back to that collection once the actual mtg happens to continue on and take notes?

    • Ryder Carroll

      Hi Erika, thanks for the kind words. Yes, you can use collections for meeting notes, it’s actually one of the best use cases. You are “collecting” related notes essentially. In my Index, I will have an entry like “Acme Co Meetings” then list all the page numbers of all the meetings that relate to that project. hope that helps.

  • Agata

    I’m pretty new bullet journalist as well, in a few days I’ll start my second notebook and I wonder how my life was possible before:) I’m adding my gratitude log in dailies too. BTW I discovered today, your dad is Jonathan Carroll, he was (and still is) very (and I mean VERY VERY) popular in Poland and I’m still re-reading his “The Land of Laughs”:)

    • Ryder Carroll

      Hi Agata, I’m glad that its working for you! And yes, he’s one and the same. My father always speaks very fondly of Poland. We actually collaborate on some his covers together, and it’s a lot of fun.

  • fessjarmer

    Just started my bullet journal today, and really looking forward to this new journey of better organisation! Thanks Ryder!

  • Fauzan Raymond

    Dear Mr. Ryder, are you have a family relationship with Lewis Carrol the creator of Alice in Wonderland?

    • Agata

      Fauzan, Ryder’s name has two “L” ‘s, so I don’t think so, BUT his father is a (very good) writer too: Jonathan Carroll:)

      • Fauzan Raymond

        Oopss…I didn’t notice that. 🙂
        My bad….

  • Fauzan Raymond

    Dear Mr. Ryder, What’s the different between Future Log and Monthly Log? Sometimes, when I have somthing to schedule later time, I write the item at those two section.

  • Jenny Leiser

    Are you super slim? Because my food log would crush yours

  • Shalonne Werthessen Halstead

    Love this habit tracker! The ones I’ve seen before are far too involved with ziliions of boxes to check. This one is perfect!

  • Ravi Achar

    I have one major confusion with daily log.i write the to do tasks as and it comes every day . But many may remain incomplete each day. So how do I start each day looking back seeing open items and make a list again saying these open items I will do today. Can I know if anyone faced my dilemma and how it is overcome ?