Why are bullet journals so popular? (with Alec Fischer)

This week we’re going to learn about the bullet journal, a system of organizing your thoughts and tasks into a written notebook. The bullet journal has grown into a viral social media and YouTube sensation, and by the end of this episode, filmmaker and bullet journal user Alec Fischer will help us learn why the bullet journal is so popular, and how you can easily start one of your own.

What's a bullet journal anyway?

Bullet Journal® (or BuJo® for short) is a system created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer living in Brooklyn, NY. Through many years of trial and error, Ryder created this simple journaling system of symbols and pages that anyone can use to get their thoughts on paper. You don’t need any kind of special notebook, and you can get creative with the page spreads you choose to suit your needs. Now at first, this doesn’t sound like anything special, but what’s crazy about the bullet journal system is how popular its become. There are YouTubers with six figure followings dedicated solely to creating beautiful bullet journal spreads, and countless Pinterest articles and Instagrammers sharing their favorite bullet journal ideas with the world. So the question becomes, of all the notebooks and all the journals in the world, why is this one so insanely popular?

What you'll learn
  • How the bullet journal system works
  • “Who does the bullet journal work best for?”
  • “Do I need to be artistic to start a bullet journal?”
  • Learn how to use the bullet journal not only for tasks, but also for your mental health
  • Learn more about one of Alex's favorite spreads, the Year In Pixels
  • How to start a bullet journal of your own!
This week's guest

Alec Fischer

Over the past eight years, filmmaker Alec Fischer has focused on using the medium of video to empower silenced voice, and he has formed global networks of social change-makers, educators, and media professionals striving to make the world a better place.

Today, Alec is here to talk about one of his upcoming projects in particular, his documentary called BUJO, a short piece that explores the story of how the Bullet Journal system was created. Alec is an avid user of the bullet journal himself, and you can see excerpts from his journal on his massively popular instagram account, @FischrJournals. 

This week's “Try It Out Challenge”

Start a Bullet Journal

This week’s “Try It Out” challenge is, of course, to try creating and using your own bullet journal. All you need is a plain notebook and some pens, or maybe some markers or colored pens if you want to get creative. Watch the official Bullet Journal “Start Here” video first (5 min):

What do I need to get started?

Any notebook

There's no right or wrong choice here. Choose a notebook you like, and consider if you'd prefer blank pages, lines, or a grid. I personally use the Leuchtturm1917 Medium Size Hardcover A5 Notebook – Dotted Pages – (Choose Color).

Something to write with

At minimum, you'll need a pen or a pencil. You're also welcome to add in colorful markers and pens if that sounds fun for you, but remember that those are just extras. (You don't need to be artistic to bullet journal.) Here's what I use:

Once you try it out, let us know how it goes! Share a comment below, or you can submit an audio submission. We may feature your thoughts in a future episode.

Episode references

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