WTF is the Bullet Journal, and will it change my life?

Is this new diary system the answer to all your problems?

I’ve been subject to much scrutiny in the Marie Claire office… Aside from the fact I dress like Morticia Adams/Courtney Love circa ‘92 on the daily (perfect Halloween costume ideas, right?), what everyone wants to know is what the hell is in my mad, colour-coded, super-organised diary AKA ‘The Bullet Journal’?

What is a Bullet Journal?

The Bullet Journal is a new system taking internet geeks and organising wizards by storm, after being created by Brooklyn-based designer Ryder Carroll, who spent 20 years developing the method so he could stay organised. Essentially, it’s a modern Filofax – a place to dump all your thoughts, organise yourself and also involve your creative side. We love a life hack, shat’s not to love?

So how do you do it, and does bullet journaling work? Basically, it’s a coded system for organising your thoughts, but it’s essentially a DIY journal, that does, I have to admit, take a little effort to perfect and create. The journal itself can be any notebook you like. It’s the system that’s the interesting part. I’ve moved mine on from the original way of doing it, below, just to personalise it and make it super useful to me. Once you get going though, you’ll never look back.

Firstly, watch this video for an overview – these are the basics, and might not seem hugely inspiring just yet.

How to do the Bullet Journal method…

1. Get the right notebook. That’s all you need, because with this system you ditch your twenty million half-started notebooks and put everything in one place. I repeat, that’s one notebook, with everything in it. The popular choices are Moleskine or Midori Traveller Notebooks (mine’s the latter.)

2. You can make you own rules in terms of what goes in and how you use it. I mean, there’s a basic formula for keeping track of things (see the video above) but I’ve included lists for tracking my meals, meditation, exercise and downtime too. That’s the beauty of this system – you personalise it.

3. Get planning. Invest in some nice pens, a ruler, a mechanical pencil (you will mess up when you start) and go online for inspiration – there are tonnes of videos and Pinterest boards about Bullet Journaling to get you inspired and send you on the way to creating your own bespoke diary.

And here are a few shots from mine…

Below: My weekly diary – obviously it gets much more full than this…It’s only Monday! This works much better for me than a traditional diary or outlook diary where I can’t tick off what I’ve done and plan tasks in as easily.

bullet journal

My weekly diary

Below: I made this stick-in sheet on word, and put one in each week straight after my weekly diary/calendar page. I find it helps to keep my weekly goals in mind and stop one area of my life taking over completely. Sometimes I stick in little quotes depending on how hippy I feel (see bottom right). I love craft so this way of diarising also scratches my creative itch too. A lot of people use Washi Tape/stickers etc to jazz theirs up and encourage them to stick to using one, fun, system of organisation.

Bullet journal

My bullet journal

Below: My March planner and master task list. This way it’s eays to see at a glance what you’ve got going on that month. I find it useful to see how much spare/relaxation time I have (never enough, sadly).

bullet journal

My March planner and master task list

Need more inspiration? Watch this video from another Bullet Journal fan, Sophie Hurden on how to get super organised with your new Bullet Journal:

I was inspired to start Bullet Journaling after seeing blogger Ree Ree Rockette’s video below who gets arty with hers.

Anyone else a Bullet Journal fan? Tweet @marieclaireuk @itsmeanitab 

Fancy giving it a try? Get more info at


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