Digital Garden

Bullet Journal

The Bullet Journal is a popular method of logging and note taking through the day using a dot-grid notebook, pen, and paper. My method for Bullet Journalling follows lightly upon the ideas expressed by the original.

The Journal Itself

The Daily Syntax for the Bullet Journal is used both in my Bullet Journal itself (a Traveler's Notebook) but as my [[software engineering labbook]]. However, a seperate note articulates my usage of the later.

The basic structure of my Bullet Journal consists of a title page and index with my name, dates covered, and contact details. Each spread is numbered in the lower left -- the Goulet notebooks have 32 spreads per notebook. 3M flags can be used to bookmark important collections or pages.

The basic structure of each spread is a daily log. The fortnight number is indicated somewhere, and each day of logging is seperated by a line and the date.

Some spreads are used for special collections.

I do not keep the future or monthly collections per the Bullet Journal site, a I prefer to keep these logs in [[Todo.txt]].

Daily Log Syntax


• Finish The Two Towers
•• Fix restic backups
!x Complete WaniKani lesson 
> Hike Bear Mountain
• ~~Go to store~~ 
+ Phone county recorder


• Task to do
•• Task in progress
x Task completed
> Task bumped to the future
• ~~Striked task~~
+ Future task, prioritize during nightly review

Each line in the Bullet Journal contains a single item representing Task, a Note, or an Event each marked as a bullet. Additionally, I add a forth type: the inbox. The focus is on rapid logging. When an task or event occurs, they are noted down with no particular grouping or ordering.

Represented by a bullet (“•”). These are atomic, actionable items that can be in one of some states: to do, in-progress, complete, struck, or bumped/migrated.
Represented by a circle ("◦"). These are time-based events that either occurred in the day or are scheduled to occur (denoted by "@"). They can be in the states of upcomming, complete, struck, or rescheduled/migrated.
Represented by a dash ("-"). These are any factual observations that we want collated in an easily accessible location.
Represented by a plus ("+"). These are new tasks or events, not occurring in the same day that should be addressed during my nightly review.

The tasks and events may enter into several states which are represented by markings either to the left or overtop the initial bullet. They are:

To Do/Upcoming
The default representation
Denoted by adding an additional bullet ("•") to the left of the task or event. These are for ongoing tasks that need tending several timess throughout the day.
Denoted by crossing out the original bullet or circle.
If the task or event is cancelled, then draw a line through it
If a task is moved to the future, or an event is rescheduled then denote this by drawing a greater-than symbol overtop the original bullet or circle.
An exclamation point added to the left of a task or event denotes that this is an important item to complete today
Brackets or Indentation
I also liberally use brackets or indentation to group together a cluster of related tasks, notes, or events

Special Collections

Collections tend to occur in the [[software engineering labbook]] as it is used for tracking progress across multi-day tasks that require many atomic tasks. I prefer to keep the Bullet Journal as a collection of atomic tasks.

Ocassionally, a larger project might arise necessitating the creation of a collection. In this case, I dedicate a spread in the Bullet Journal for that project, mark it with a name, and articulate any number of tasks, events, or notes related to that project. I use the daily task bullet as a reference to the collection and managing the many chains of nested tasks outside of the daily log.

A few common special collections might include:

  • Shopping List(s)
  • Quarterly or Annual Goals
  • Long-running Household Projects
  • Travel Plans and Execution

The Monthly Habits Collection

The Monthly Habits Log is a single page in each notebook in which I track 3-5 habits that I am attempting to cultivate in any given month. These could be reaching a particular step goal, meditating for a given number of minutes, or getting to bed at a reasonable time. Any daily habit that I want to form.

Generally we can fit three months onto a single page in the habits log by dividing the columns of the page into three equal sections -- one for each month. Each column is then labeled with the habit(s) I wish to keep. The rows are numbered 1 to 31 and a horizontal line seperates the weeks. During my nightly review, if that habit was cultivated in the day, a bullet is placed in the coresponding square.

Successfully cultivating all of my daily habits results in a rectangle grid of bullets. Gaps in the grid reveal weeks or periods in which I failed to cultivate these habits.

External References

  1. Bullet Journal, Bullet Journal. Retrieved 2020-11-10.

Linked References