Bullet Journal Method Book Review


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.

Leading an intentional life is about keeping your actions aligned with your beliefs. It’s about penning a story that you believe in and that you can be proud of.
— Ryder Carroll

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.

BuJo App

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.

Book Elements

Now that you know why I think you should read this book, here is how Ryder laid it out.

I. Preparation

  • 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


Moving Forward

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!


Giveaway Signup

Drawing will be on June 21 at 12pm EST. (US entries only)

The trick to being productive in 2017...

2016 To Do List

Is wrapping up 2016.

Before moving forward into the New Year, consider finishing up your to-do list in these final days of 2016 and organize your work-area to be ready to start anything next year.

A few things to consider while organizing the spaces you use on a daily basis:

  • Put away everything on your desk and wipe off the surface
  • Pick up all the clutter around your home and find bins/storage for things you want to put away
  • Clean up your car and clean out your trunk
  • Clean out your work bag

Doing these small tasks helps the hippocampus region of your brain and frees it up to focus on more important items, like moving short-term memories into long-term.  I wrote more about this in an earlier post here.

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  Clear off as many items from your 2016 to-do list as possible

Clear off as many items from your 2016 to-do list as possible

Finally, look back at 2016 and decide what you regret not doing last year. Commit to this in 2017 and do it. Don't let another year go by living with the weight of not doing what is most important to you!

The Volt Planner is a great notebook tool for 2017 as well.  Check it out  here .

The Volt Planner is a great notebook tool for 2017 as well.  Check it out here.

To help with getting ready for the New Year, I recommend a book by Chris Bailey, The Productivity Project.  Mr. Bailey has demonstrated his knowledge and experience through his blog at where he writes about testing all manner of productivity tools and systems. This book is a great summary of the outcomes and worth the money to have only the useful options and examples laid out in an engaging format. 

I appreciate the open source writing style that shows the truth behind how he arrives at his conclusions and take-always. This is what sets this book apart from any other productivity book as this allows the reader to actively learn and retain the most important teachings of the book.

The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to free up more time to work on projects they care about.

The Productivity Project is available on Amazon HERE

Find more information on Rule of 3  here.

Find more information on Rule of 3 here.

I had a chance to ask Mr. Bailey what he thought people should focus on when looking to 2017 and his response hit at the core of his teachings around time, energy, and attention.

I think one of the most powerful ways to accomplish more—whether on a daily basis or in general—is to work more often with intention. My favorite rule for doing this is the Rule of 3—where at the start of every week, as well as at the start of every day, you think forward to what three things you’ll want to have accomplished by the time the day and week are done. We should do this at the start of every year, too. Instead of creating a massive laundry list of things to get done, for 2017, choose just three goals. This will help you separate what’s important from what isn’t to really decide what’s important and meaningful to you.


Chris Bailey's latest TEDx talk is a great introduction to his year of productivity experiment.

To help get you started working on your own three goals for 2017, I encourage you to leave a comment below with the things you will be focusing on. As an incentive, I will send a copy of Mr. Bailey's book to one lucky winner chosen at random, to be announced this Friday, Dec. 23rd. I hope this will encourage you to get working on your goals with intention and purpose!  

Cheers and Happy Holidays!