Bite the Bullet Journal

With the beginning of a new year, let alone decade, there can be a strong desire to get one’s life organized and begin again. Quite right. For a few years now, I’ve been fascinated by the growing popularity of bullet journaling, or rapid logging, and its potential for incorporating different techniques of data visualization. In addition to this, I appreciate the Bullet Journal ethos of making mindful intention a part of its process.

The genesis of the bullet journal was born out of Ryder Carroll’s creative solution for working with his learning disability. A system he created in order to generate more focused productivity for himself. 

I slowly developed the system over time to capture notes in a way that my mind worked. Something flexible enough to deal with different types of content. I had a learning disability that did not allow me to focus very well. It’s something that I’ve been challenged with for most of my schooling. Notes started as either a blank page with no template or as a super rigid template which I didn’t understand or enjoy.

If this is enough to whet your appetite already, then check out the website: It contains an array of helpful information and how to get started, even a handy video!

In this day and age, the Bullet Journal method can appear unique as it does require a physical notebook. A Companion app is available, however, the physical object is an important factor of its practice and these journals are easier to come by nowadays, especially the Leuchtturm1917, that is popularly associated with bullet journaling. To begin your journey, Lawrence's own Wonder Fair is an excellent location to procure Leuchtturm1917 journals, as well as, all the accoutrements (pens/markers/stickers/washi tape) that your heart desires. In addition to carrying the Bullet Journal Method book and official notebook, they offer many, many alternative options as well. The possibilities at Wonder Fair feel nearly endless!

Perhaps the process of bullet journaling does not appeal to you and that’s okay. This was a similar experience for Rachel Wikerson Miller, editor of Life at VICE and author of Dot Journaling--A Practical Guide. In her book, Miller presents her system, a tri-monthly format marries together the planner, to-do list, and diary formats into one cohesive location. And should doubt creep in about her dedication for this, she clearly has feelings when it comes to journals, in particular, the Hobonichi Techo.


As one may have realized, the act of journaling, or organizing your life, is a personal and individual process. It's important to remember that this can be an opportunity of discovery, not just for what system might work for you, but what you want to bring focus to in life and that requires time. So regardless of what time of the year you may find yourself, enjoy this journey and should find yourself seeking inspiration for various ways to communicate information visually, check out a list I created here. Good luck!

-Ilka Iwanczuk is a Readers' Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.