Why is everyone crazy for #bujo? What you need to know about ‘bullet journaling’

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Do you BuJo?

There are plenty of apps to keep track of your tasks, events and schedule, but sometimes writing it all down on paper is still best to make sure what’s important doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

If you’re scratching your head at the term “BuJo,” do not panic, the answer is here, or rather in the countless blogs, Instagram posts, Pinterest boards and more dedicated to the simple-yet-innovative journal that seeks to streamline your calendar, task list and notes all in one place.

Here’s what you need to know as you dive in:

BuJo is actually short for “bullet journaling.” Brooklyn-based artistic director Ryder Carroll is credited with this new way to jot down ideas and tasks using two old-school tools: pen and paper.


So what is the difference between a bullet journal and a weekly/monthly planner? Well, for starters, the flexibility of a Bullet Journal allows it to be customizable to each person’s needs, so whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, an architect or a project manager, you can stay on top of your past, present and future endeavors.

You may have so much to do in May while not so much in October, for example, so you can feel free to devote more pages and space wherever you need it. (Most printed planners already have a specific space and don’t allow that flexibility.)

How does it work? There is a key section, an index section, a future log and the monthly and daily sections. There also are collections, but we’ll get to that in the end. Don’t worry if it starts to sound complicated because it’s not, so let’s take it step by step:

The key section is like the “legend” of your journal, and you’ll use it to decipher what’s ahead.

Carroll suggests these guidelines:

• A black dot indicates a task
> A forward arrow means a task that has migrated over from a previous list or month
< A less-than sign indicates a task that has been scheduled for a specific time
O A circle means an event
- A dash is a note to one’s self
* A star adds special importance to a note
Drawing an eye means “look into”

The Index section includes topics with different task lists, notes and dates. These topics are also called collections. Say you’re planning a birthday party for your son. The index topic would be “Son’s birthday,” and you would list the number of pages where that topic is covered. If you run out of space in one page, just go to the next available space in your journal and write the page number next to the collection.


On your future log, you can write some main events or tasks coming up for the next six months or a year, depending on your needs.

Once you create your monthly and daily calendars, you can incorporate your tasks, and if you haven’t completed a task, just migrate it to the next day or when you want to complete it. You can choose to change sections as much as you need to, whatever makes more sense to you.

On there is a full explanation. “It may seem like a lot of effort to have to rewrite items over and over, but that’s intentional. This process makes you pause and consider each item.” Whatever task doesn’t seem important enough to keep moving it to the next day/task list, just “x” it out.

You can use any notebook or journal you prefer, but some who do bullet journaling prefer dot grid paper notebooks.

Here are a few that we like:

ThePlumUmbrella sells a set of three monthly journals for $16, and includes two blank calendars.

The Dot Grid Journal by Behance includes “action stickers” for $17.50.


And this set of 3 — one each of ruled, grid and “to-do” formatted paper, for $24 at,