Analog System Turns Blank Pages into Optimal Productivity

Bullet Journal community funds new collaborative website for note-taking method in the digital age

At a young age, Ryder Carroll was diagnosed with a disability which made it difficult to learn in traditional methods. He scattered notes and ideas across a collection of post-its and doodles that had no cohesive organization. Over two decades, he designed and experimented with methods that would result in greater productivity. Carroll continually iterated the principles over time to develop efficient note-taking techniques. Even with the introduction of time management apps and online task-masters, Carroll felt most stimulated by a blank page that he could reimagine with a pen.

After years of testing diverse tools, Carroll invented the Bullet Journal, an analog system that combines digital principles with a hand-written notebook. “Bulletjournaling” acts as a way to organize a wide range of data from prioritizing to-do lists, tracking personal goals and organizing daily and monthly calendars. The method of structuring ideas and notes can be adapted by anyone who wants to ‘record the past, organize the present and plan for the future.’

To document how to utilize the Bullet Journal system, Carroll created a webpage for a like-minded community of individuals who find value in the physical journal. The site describes the best methods for logging and sorting data, such as a thoughtful use of signifiers to provide further context to a bullet point list. You can simply add a star to signify priority or an exclamation point to highlight an inspirational note.

The system offers ways to plan daily and monthly calendars that most effectivity organize your events and tasks. Carroll recommends drafting monthly calendars at the start of each month, and using the consecutive blank page as a task sheet. The process makes it simple to identify which unfinished tasks at the end of each month can be checked off as irrelevant and which should carry over to-do at a later time.

The entire system is organized by an index so that you don’t lose track when your journal starts filling up with ideas, events and notes.

An original tutorial video gained 500,000 views from a global community of Bullet Journalists, who began to offer their own ideas and insights to the beautifully developed system. The site proved to be an invaluable tools for thousands of people who applied and adapted Carroll’s techniques to their own blank canvases.

The positive response inspired Carroll’s Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the next version of the website: a more intuitive and smarter platform that will offer simpler ways for users to contribute new methods to the system. The website will serve as a free library of information for productivity methods with new videos, resources, tutorials and more.

The project quickly reached above and beyond its $10,000 fundraising goal, and backers of $25 or more will receive a Bullet Journal Notebook specifically designed for campaign supporters by Leuchtturm1917.

The newly-developed Bullet Journal site will serve as a wiki-sourced platform for productivity, and continue to grow and evolve with the community of viscerally inspired.

Bullet Journal / Kickstarter