What should I be doing with my life?
How the Bullet Journal Method book by Ryder Carrol got me to think about my life’s purpose and direction.
For those of us that use the Bullet Journal system, we fill our books up with daily and weekly tasks and tread a fine line between being productive and being busy. After reading the Bullet Journal Method book (twice!) it has helped me reevaluate my whole outlook on life, and working towards a direction I want to be moving.
Two months ago I looked back at my completed daily tasks and there wasn’t a single item on the list that made any impact on the following day. I caught up on laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, prepped all the meals, etc, and I would need to be repeat everything the following day. It felt like my days were being compartmentalized and I would never get the chance to move forward.
Stepping back for a minute, if you haven’t started bullet journaling, here is a quick summary of the process:
The official tagline of the book and the system as a whole is, “track the past, order the present so that you can design your future.” When I read this book the first time, it felt like these tag lines and others like it throughout the book were simple passages. I didn’t give them any thought and moved through the text to the more interesting stories about Ryder and other artists he mentions. It was upon my own reflection that these simple quotes started to make sense.
The term ‘intentional life’ is not new to Ryder’s writing as he had a TED talk on this very subject and it is well worth the time if you haven’t seen it yet.
This book is expertly written and it includes so many references to scientific resources that it does an incredible job at explaining how and why the system works. While parts of it can be dry, it avoids adding unrealistic promises or hooey to the book which I prefer. As you work though the steps you find yourself and the book acts as a wise mentor showing you the way, without getting in the way.
The section that surprised me the most was toward the end of the book when Ryder talks about putting the system into practice. He wants the best for all of us and his writing is at times, inspiring. When he writes, “If you don’t do, if you don’t dare, then you rob the world-and yourself-of the chance to contribute something meaningful.” The time used for reflection in our journals is key to the purpose of the system. While it takes time to do this, it is one reason why it works so well and keeps us all on task at the greater life purpose. I like the Bullet Journal App as a gentle reminder to take some time each day.
If you don’t have time to read the hardback book, the audio version is a perfect substitute and is read by Ryder himself. He is a great narrator and to hear him tell the story about his apartment flooding and losing his portfolio, you can hear the pain in his voice. You can find the audio version HERE.
Now that you know why I think you should read this book, here is how Ryder laid it out.
Introduction into the BuJo system and the tools you will need to begin (i.e. a notebook and pen)
II. The System
Beginners guide to the BuJo layouts (Index, Future log, Monthly log, Daily log, Rapid logging, Collections and Migration)
III. The Practice
Learn what you are in control of, the meaning of each thing, what is worth your attention, and why.
IV. The Art
Custom collections to fit specific needs
As I mentioned in the beginning that my daily tasks were dominating my time, I have made great progress in looking forward and using my future log more to work towards future goals. I found that by creating more time in my day for personal development I am happier, even when working on the same mundane tasks. By waking up at 4:30am each day and running while it is just about light outside, I have taken control of my life and feel amazing for it.
I can’t recommend this book enough as it brings together some incredible ideas and science behind getting organized and leading a better life.
If you are interested to start reading, Ryder has recently launched a huge book giveaway. Read more and enter HERE.
You can also find the book on Amazon HERE.
To help you get started on your own Bullet Journal, I would like to host a giveaway of four Leuchtturm1917 notebooks as seen in the image below. Please enter the contest below for your chance to win!
Drawing will be on June 21 at 12pm EST. (US entries only)