Have you ever picked up a book expecting to learn one thing but then have a mind-shift happen? The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll was in my life at the right time and the right place. As you may recall, I have been on the hunt for the “perfect” planner for my life [work/personal/everything] and failing miserably. I have previously tried #bujo but not in a faithful or organized manner. This time, I wanted to lay the foundation for success so I went to the source!

The Bullet Journal Method || Ryder Carroll

One would expect a book about a planner/tracking system to be a bit analytical and process-based. This is but also so much more than systematic. Ryder Carroll unfolds the process behind his design methodology while providing the psychology and social theory behind the system. It is an insightful and impactful text. It was almost like peeling an onion. And, yes, some tears were involved.


The Bullet Journal Method is set-up similar to an actual bullet journal. The book is broken into five sections, the:

  • Preparation – an overview and some activities to get your mind ready for the system.
  • System – the nuts and bolts of the system and how the processes work.
  • Practice – decodes the whys of bullet journaling and the psychology and social theory of the system.
  • Art – ways to take your #bujo practice to another level
  • End – wraps it all up and provides some answers to FAQ about the system.

Layout and/or interesting features

As I stated in the summary, Ryder Carroll has the book set-up like a bullet journal so that it is a living document to help guide the practice. Additionally, he provides numerous examples of how to set up various logs and collections that provide the foundation for the system.

Furthermore, he provides guided practices so that you can see the process unfold and recognize its inherent value. Examples of how others have implemented the system are also provided.

One thing that I really enjoyed about the book was the ease of flipping between the pages to go back and forth to see the idea or concepts in practice. Page numbers are noted to refer you back/forth throughout.

Biggest takeaway

Like any new tool or resource, you have to give the practice and process time to fully reap the benefits of it. Time and time again, it is suggested to give the system two to three months to get the swing of it. Furthermore, he advises strongly against going beyond the basics for the first three to six months.

We get so caught up in the doing of things that we forget to ask why we’re doing them in the first place. Asking why is the first small but deliberate step we can take in the search for meaning.

Ryder Carroll

The most surprising takeaway for me though was hands down the fact that this book spoke to me. I was truly just looking for a roadmap to set up a bullet journal for 2020. I got that and so much more. There are so many thought-provoking ideas, concepts, and quotes throughout the book. Not to mention, this book also helped to hone in on my 2020 word of the year.

The most surprising takeaway for me though was hands down the fact that this book spoke to me. #BuJoMethod Click To Tweet

Area for improvement

The book encourages you to join the community and follow along on both the website and the use of hashtags to see how others use the system. However, I think it would have benefited from an appendix with a few more visual examples. The beauty of the system is its analog nature so going online to see it in practice feels a bit disconcerting.

Would I read it again?

In a single word, absolutely!

Oh, I should go a smidge more in-depth? Okay. Yes, I plan on rereading this book a lot since over time my bullet journalling practice will become richer and this text provides a great road map.

What should I read next?

Next on deck is Marie Forleo’s Everything Is Figureoutable. It is the book for one of my professional learning communities triannual book clubs. By the way, triannual means three times a year, I had to look it up. HA! I need some recommendations for some books for pleasure though, so drop me a line or comment with some ideas.

Back to the Shelf!

Ready to see if I sink or swim with #bujo? Do you think I will succeed? Interested in trying it out for yourself? Then you should follow along with my journey by subscribing to the newsletter or join in the discussion on Facebook.

Aforementioned, I am giving the system a solid three months of dedication and then I will reevaluate, probably using a process similar to a SWOT analysis.

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