How to Bullet Journal for Your Health
I went along to a talk yesterday with Ryder Caroll, creator of the Bullet Journal Method and author of a new book by the same name. It’s a runaway success that originally evolved to help Ryder cope with symptoms related to ADHD. As a designer, he polished the system over and over again so that it focussed only on the essentials.
At school I was one of those people who would create elaborate study plans, only to discard them and wing it. I went through a phase a few years ago where I would try a myriad of productivity journals and apps, and eventually come back to good old list-making. The Bullet Journal Method first piqued my curiosity a couple of years ago, thanks to talented designer Cerries Mooney, who has worked on my visual brand. I loved the idea of the approach, but felt overwhelmed with the abundance of washi tape and arty things that people were using on Pinterest and Instagram. Some people talk about ‘planner peace’ which is the calm you feel from looking at order within a journal. However I think it’s akin to the curated world that Instagram can show, a world that’s not sustainable.
The new book reignited my interest in this method, as it appeals to themes of mindfulness, organisation, minimalism, productivity and stationery.
What is a Bullet Journal?
If you haven’t come across it before, The Bullet Journal Method helps you to ‘track the past, order the present and create the future’. It’s essentially an organised notebook to capture important information, and a practice of reflection to stay productive and intentional.
Listening to Ryder yesterday really helped me to understand the ‘why’ about the process. It’s not about the pretty images and hand-lettering unless you want it to be. Digital information, although useful, can leave us on autopilot. The practice helps to go within, create more space and reflect. It helps to assess how you are spending your time and energy. Life is so very fast right now. It makes sense to have ways of staying in the moment, and this is definitely a good system for that.
Writing by hand is more connected to our feelings, and a sensory experience. I justify this as a reason to splurge on the right implements (Traveler’s Notebook, Rhodia or Leuchtturm) with a rollerball or fountain pen. Forgive me for being picky, but dotted paper gives me a balance of freedom and structure. Blank pages feel too open, lines are ok for text but grid paper feels too restrictive.
How to use the Bullet Journal for Health
The first step is to watch the video where Ryder explains the system he created. It’s a 5 minute video and you can get a notebook and pen and set up the system as you watch the video.
I’ve found the Bullet Journal helpful for tracking important goals such as exercise, meditation and staying on track with supplements.
On Instagram there are people that have used this approach during fertility treatment, pregnancy, chemotherapy, weight loss and to help with mental health issues such as anxiety.
You can create a tracker for daily habits such as:
eating more green veg
getting to bed earlier
curbing screen time
The Bullet Journal Method is used by hundreds of thousands of people all around the world, in a generous community that share ways of personalising the approach. It might seem like the next big fad, akin to Marie Kondo’s Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. However a story Ryder told was really sobering. A boy was having a seizure and his mum was beside herself with panic. She couldn’t answer the questions that the Emergency Services asked her. However she had two pages in her Bullet Journal of her son’s symptoms, condition, medications and other vital information at her fingertips.
I’d love to hear if you have tried the Bullet Journal Method and how you got along with it.
Bullet Journal Resources