Tony Wolski

The Bullet Journal Method - Ryder Carrol

What a fantastic resource and book! I’ve been journaling for years, and I get immense value from observing my thoughts, writing about what’s bothering me or a problem I’m stuck on. But there’s always been a disconnect between what I discover through journaling and the actions that arise from it. My organisational methods have gone through so many iterations and digital tools over the years, each promising so much but ultimately failing in one way or another, forcing me to abandon them. This book and method provide a compelling answer to my issues with digital organisation. The Bullet Journal Method not only outlines the process of Bullet Journaling, but explains why it is such an effective method. Disconnecting from online distractions and information overload, giving yourself time and space to think, reflect and plan. The Bullet Journal method has completely changed my life.

My notes

Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s account every day… One who daily puts the finishing touches to his life is never in want of time. — Seneca, Moral Letters to Lucilius

In the most connected time in history, we’re quickly losing touch with ourselves. Overwhelmed by a never-ending flood of information, we’re left feeling overstimulated yet restless, overworked yet disconnected, tuned in yet burned out.

The simple act of pausing to write down the important minutia of one’s life goes far beyond simple organization. It has helped people reconnect with themselves and the things they care about.

The Bullet Journal method will help you accomplish more by working on less. It helps you identify and focus on what is meaningful by stripping away what is meaningless.

As Daniel Levitin writes in The Organized Mind, information overload is worse for our focus than exhaustion or smoking marijuana.

When you open your notebook, you automatically unplug. It momentarily pauses the influx of information so your mind can catch up. Things become less of a blur, and you can finally examine your life with greater clarity.

The Bullet Journal will help you declutter your packed mind so you can finally examine your thoughts from an objective distance.

Through Bullet Journaling, you’ll automatically form a regular habit of introspection where you’ll begin to define what’s important, why it’s important, and then figure out how to best pursue those things.

Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us. — Richie Norton

We need to understand what’s actually driving our motivation before we ascend. (Start climbing a mountain).

The number one regret was that people wished they had stayed true to themselves.

We can’t be true to ourselves if we don’t know what we want, and more importantly why, so that’s where we must begin.

You can view your Bullet Journal as a living autobiography.

Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. — William Morris

Inevitably we find ourselves tackling too many things at the same time, spreading our focus so thin that nothing geets the attention it deserves.

Left unchecked, decision fatigue can lead to decision avoidance.

We need to reduce the number of decisions we burden ourselves with so we can focus on what matters.

Journal writing is a voyage to the interior. — Christina Baldwin

Our notebook serves as a mental sanctuary where we are free to think, reflect, process, and focus.

The palest ink is better than the best memory. — Chinese Proverb

Why is it so important to craft notes in your own words? The science suggests that writing by hand enhances the way we engage with information, strengthening our associative thinking. It allows us to form new connections that can yield unconventional solutions and insights. We’re simultaneously expanding our awareness and deepening our understanding.

The long way is the short way.

True efficiency is not about speed; it’s about spending more time with what truly matters.

If we forfeit the opportunity to learn from our experiences, we condemn oursleves to repeat our mistakes.

Giving your page its Topic provides the opportunity to pause. What will you capture in this space? What’s its purpose? What value will it add to your life?

Over time your Index will double as a “table of context.” It provides you with a bird’s-eye view of how you’re investing your time and energy. It’s a map of all the things you’re saying yes to.

Yes means work, it means sacrifice, it means investing time into one thing that you can no longer invest into another.

There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all. — Peter Drucker

Productivity is about getting more done by working on fewer things.

Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the painter who dares and who has broken the spell of “you can’t” once and for all. — Vincent van Gogh

If you don’t do, if you don’t dare, then you rob the world — and yourself — of the chance to contribute something meaningful.

What is avoidable, however, is being perpetually haunted by all the things that could have been if you had only dared.

It’s the lack of attention that’s often responsible for the rubble of cringeworthy decisions weighing on our conscience.

Convenience, however, often comes at the expense of understanding. The less time you spend examining things, the less you know about them. When it comes to understanding how you spend your life, it’s important to slow down and take the time.

For everything we say yes to, we’re saying no to something else.

As Bruce Lee once said, “It is not daily increase but daily decrease; hack away the unessential.”

… “the so-called ‘real world’ will not discourage you from operating on your own default settings, because the so-called ‘real world’ of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self.”

Success often feels surprisingly empty.

None of us can know with any true certainty what will make us happy. In fact, it turns out that we’re pretty lousy at guessing how something will make us feel, thanks to a phenomenon known as impact bias: “the tendency for people to overestimate the length or intensity of future feeling states.”

So we place blind bets, gambling away our money, our time, and our sanity in the pursuit of happiness. It seems the harder we try to be happy, the more elusive happiness becomes.

“Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing.”

We can do no great things; only small things with great love. — Mother Teresa

… “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” indicated success “better than any other predictor.”

…the more thinly you slice your attention and time, the less focused you become. The less focused you become, the less progress you make. This is why you may feel like you’re not getting a lot done even though you’re “super busy.”

When applied to our daily lives, kaizen can become a critical change agent. By bringing our attention to the little things, we can effect change while we avoid overwhelm. All we need to do is solve one small problem at a time.

“Mistakes are a great educator when one is honest enough to admit them and willing to learn from them.”

Every day, once a day, give yourself a present.

As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. — Mahatma Gandhi

Without even realizing it, you can spread that negativity to your partner over dinner, and even to your partner’s colleagues the next day, one study found.

“You’re either the person who creates energy. Or you’re the one who destroys it. — Seth Godin

If you know the why, you can live any how. — Friedrich Nietzsche

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. — W. L. Sheldon

Every day, ask yourself small questions. Figure out some way in which you can improve. Then format the answer as a Task or Goal and log it in your Bullet Journal. Each task completed is experience gained. Keep track of your progress. This way you’ll be more likely to actually take action.

Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration. — Jeffrey Zeldman

If there’s nothing to be learned from the information in a Collection, it provides little value, and chances are you’ll lack the incentive needed to maintain it. Don’t waste your time tending Collections that won’t add value to your life.

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. — Antoine de Saint Exupéry

…design your templates in a way that a stranger could easily understand what they’re looking at.

Every new iteration of your templates should undergo some scrutiny. What worked? What didn’t? What little things can I change to make this work better for me? By keeping templates lean, it becomes easier to identify opportunities for functional improvement. Keep it simple. Keep it focused. Keep it relevant.

Legibility is not just about what we put on the page, it’s also about what we leave off.

You need to learn how something doesn’t work in order to design something that will.

…the underlying focus for most successful trackers is to monitor progress toward an intended goal.