Thinking About a New Planner for 2016? You May Prefer Bullet Journals

I once refused to start my summer reading project in high school until I found the perfect planner for the impending school year. While this was a successful method of procrastination, the real root of the obsession comes from my love of both office supplies and organizational methods. If you’re anything like me, you feel like your life is a made just a bit brighter by color coding your tasks and checking things off of to-do lists.

My alphabetical-order-loving heart stopped a little the moment I discovered bullet journaling. The concept is fairly simple. Instead of trying to make premade planners and calendars work for you, the idea is to create your perfect blank slate from a simple notebook. Not only do you have your monthly calendar and task lists all in the same place, but the bullet journaling system allows you to contain reference lists such as “Books I Want to Read” or “Dog Friendly Restaurants” in one handy book.

This video from the founder, Ryder Carroll, goes into depth about the setup of the traditional bullet journal:

While it may not seem that keeping all of your to-do lists in one place is a particularly revolutionary idea, the index and monthly pages add more method to the madness. As someone who rarely thinks in a strictly linear fashion, I find the bullet journal method of organization to be perfect. If I need to make a list of ideas while I’m in the middle of my daily tasks, I can just flip to the next empty page and mark it on the index.

Another benefit to bullet journaling is the flexibility to be as creative as you want. Many artistic types turn their journals into visual masterpieces to stay inspired. When your to-do list is as pretty as some of these are, it might be easier to tackle. In addition to keeping you organized, bullet journals are unique to planners because they also function as a memory keeper. You can add pages of monthly memories, daily gratitude lists or just combine the organizational aspects with more traditional journal keeping.

After you get the basics mapped out, there are several ideas to keep your notebook (and yourself!) full of inspiration. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Weekly meal planning
  • Savings goals and budgets
  • Favorite quotations from the books you read
  • Packages you are expecting
  • Internet passwords
  • Study sheets
  • Goal tracking

Switching to a bullet journal instead of a traditional planner has definitely cleared my head. If I feel anxious before falling asleep because of tasks I know I need to do the next day, I go ahead and write them down in my daily log. Personally, I find a weekly log with a combination of meal planning, budgeting and goal tracking to be helpful as well. Rather than just having a template set ahead of time, this system allows me to have creative tangents in an organized way.

Photo credit: Bullet Journal


natasha p
Past Member about a year ago


Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a year ago

This may also work in 2018.

Christine J.
Christine J2 years ago

Too hard. Write it on a piece of paper and cross it off when it's done.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Peggy B.
Peggy B3 years ago

Good to know.

Debra Phillips
Debra Phillips3 years ago


Ree O.
Ree O3 years ago

It looks confusing to me, although it is nearly bed time for me. I've saved the link and will look at other people's examples. Thanks. :)

Valerie A.
Valerie A3 years ago


Trish Ohran
Trish K3 years ago

I started with saving the passwords on my computer. I write goals in my mailbox and keep mail them to myself or put them in drafts where I put a lot of song lists