Bullet Journaling for Beginners (and Impatient, Unartistic People Like Me)

One notebook and just 15 minutes a day can change your life

Melody Wilding, LMSW
6 min readMar 9, 2018


Credit: María Garrido via flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

This is Part 2 of a two-part series on bullet journaling, exploring the rise of its culture, its many uses, and the benefits of this productivity practice.

When bullet journal creator Ryder Carroll first developed the BuJo method, he had no idea it would inspire a productivity craze. In Part 1, we explored the rise of bullet journaling, including its massive base of followers. Many BuJo lovers swear by the system as a way to organize and archive their lives.

But getting started with bullet journaling can feel overwhelming. Scrolling through images of perfectly illustrated journals on Instagram might be discouraging. Especially if you’re like me and regard yourself as completely unartistic.

Whether you think you lack skills, time, or patience for BuJo, Carroll has a reminder:

“Forget about what you see online. It’s not about how it looks; it’s about how it feels, and, most importantly, how it works for you.”

In other words, don’t worry if your handwriting looks like chicken scratch. You don’t need to learn calligraphy or buy up every supply at the craft store.

It also doesn’t matter if strike marks fill your journal. In fact, that’s a sign you’re using bullet journaling as intended — as a single, ever-evolving life log to manage the present and plan for the future.

Bullet journaling is flexible enough for crazy-busy productivity enthusiasts and can even complement online tools. As long as you have 15 minutes, a pen, and a notebook, you’re ready to go.

Below, the basic building blocks of BuJo are explained so you can take advantage of its powerful benefits today. We’ll also cover ways to set self-consciousness aside and sustain the habit.



Melody Wilding, LMSW

Author of TRUST YOURSELF. Executive coach to Sensitive Strivers. Human behavior professor. Featured in NYT, NBC, CNN. https://melodywilding.com/book