Hello Brains! It’s been a year since I made this video about the bullet journal and a lot of you’ve been asking for an update so let’s do this. (intro music) I still use my Bujo, it’s still not fancy, and it’s also helped me in a lot of ways. I actually just finished writing an article about it, and why I love it, which will be out soon. I also ran into some trouble with it because, a) when I was waiting tables, it was really inconvenient to go digging through my backpack every time I thought of something I wanted to remember, and b) I still found myself needing a digital calendar to be able to sync up with other people’s schedules, and I wasn’t really sure how to use the bullet journal in combination with a digital system. And of course it’s one thing to write down the stuff you need to do, it’s another thing to work up the motivation to actually do it. So I thought, hmmm… I need a bullet journal expert. Who do I know? (ding) This is Ryder Carroll. He invented the bullet journal and he offered to come on the show and answer all of my bullet journal questions. Ryder also has ADHD, so first of all, #ADHDandSuccessful! Second, when you put two Brains together and they get excited they tend to talk. And talk. And talk. So much so that sometimes the sun goes down. So, the lighting changed. Sorry about that! Okay, let’s do this! Ryder Carroll, help me! First of all how did you come up with the bullet journal? (Ryder) The bullet journal is a response to the organizational challenges that I faced starting when I was a kid when I was diagnosed with ADD. Back then, there was like no internet and there were very few resources available to me, so I was kind of left to my own devices. I just had to figure out ways to get around my challenges And I did that by not accepting that I would always be the last in my class, or that I couldn’t do this, or that I couldn’t do that, the bullet journal is the result of just trying out many different things. I mean, what you see as the bullet journal today exists only at the very tail end of a million failures of things that didn’t work.
(Jessica) So it didn’t come out of your brain fully formed be kind of had to do trial and error and figure out what worked for you? (Ryder) I don’t remember the last thing that came out of my brain fully formed that really survived. You know what I mean? It evolved one challenge at a time. Like luckily I didn’t have to face all my challenges simultaneously in life. (Jessica)One of my biggest challenges with the bullet journal system is that I also do have to use a digital calendar. I have a Google Calendar. I’ve got a team I manage and so if I put something my bullet journal they don’t know that that’s happening, so how do you actually have an analog system in a digital world? (Ryder) Hmm, It’s a good question It’s actually something that people ask me about a lot, in my case what I do is I use bullet journaling predominantly, during the day at least, as a capturing mechanism. So I just offload things into my bullet journal really quickly, including dates. Then I will find a home for them. Like if I need to schedule something, I’ll write that down. And then how I schedule it will probably happen in the calendar because it relates to other people. You put it in your bullet journal as the first step. (Jessica) So do you still use the monthly log? (Ryder) So for me the monthly log is actually a way for me to log events after the fact. So on this day, I went to dinner with this person, on this day I completed this assignment, and then it gives me a bird’s-eye view of what happened that month. (Jessica) Yeah, no, I like that. Edward, and I just planned out December and before we did, I was like well let’s actually look at November, let’s look at what we intended to accomplish and what we actually accomplished and see if we can’t learn anything maybe where things went off the rails because they do, (Ryder) Sure, always.
(Jessica) probably for everybody, but especially if you’re perfectionist. We are both perfectionists in recovery. It’s really hard for things to stay in the time boxes that you allot for them. I don’t think that there’s ever been a month where I did everything that I intended to do. But I’m curious, having tweaked and honed your system, is there a month when you’ve done everything you planned to do? (Ryder) Never.
(Jessica) Are you are you better about accomplishing everything? No? (Ryder) Never.
(Jessica) That actually makes me feel better. (Ryder) No, it’s not about being perfect. It’s just about getting a little bit better all the time. I think getting in the habit and acknowledging the fact that any progress is progress is important. Acknowledging and celebrating the fact that you actually did some things. Start questioning why things happened. Why did I get this done? What little thing could I do better next time? Why did I not get this done? And it’s not judgement, it’s literally an objective questioning. And you’re like okay, because I took on too much, I can reduce that next time. You’re finding opportunities to improve.
(Jessica) Which is a lot more productive than just beating yourself up, right? (Ryder) Yeah, like I feel that people punish themselves as a way to become okay with the fact that they didn’t do some stuff. You know, like by feeling bad about this I’m making up for the things I didn’t do. I think we all have that but when the reality is like that doesn’t help anybody. Your actions are the only thing that matters. What will you do now that you know this? I think that’s what really matters. (Jessica) What do you do if you can’t find your bullet journal, or it’s in the next room, or it’s in the car, or it’s at your friend’s house, like do you have another system for capturing things besides your bullet journal? (Ryder) Well, that’s one of the reasons I developed the app. It sounds like a shameless plug, but this is the reason I decided to– (Jessica) No, wait, wait, hang on. There’s an app? (laughing) (Ryder) Yeah.
(Jessica) Guys there’s an app! Okay, no, I’m super excited about this. Tell me about the app. (Ryder) Yeah, so it’s called the Bullet Journal Companion, and it was designed as an extension of your notebook. It’s like for example if you don’t have your notebook with you, I wanted to be able to capture anything that, you know, my tasks, my events, keeping in mind that I wanted to just temporarily use the app. So what I did is I designed a mechanism where you can write things down in your app, and then they will go away within 48 hours, so they evaporate, essentially. So if it’s worthwhile, you’ll transfer it into your notebook, and if it’s not, then it’ll disappear. (Jessica) That’s so smart and so scary. That’s awesome. (Ryder) Another thing the app does is remind you to check in with your bullet journal. So you can set two alarms for your AM and PM reflection. You can do that for two different times on the weekend as well, for those who like to sleep in, but basically all it does is remind you to check in and shows you all the things that you’d written down in the app, reminding you of how much time you have left before they go away. (Jessica) That’s brilliant. Where can I– is that iOS and Android? (Ryder) Only iOS for now, Android, hopefully next year.
(Jessica) Cool, well, I have iOS. You’re out of luck Edward.
(Edward laughing) (Jessica) That’s really exciting. I’m downloading that like right now So, the bullet journal, I can see how it helps with remembering the things that we’re not super excited about. How do you find the motivation, personally, to do the things that you’re not thrilled about having to do? (Ryder) Couple tips that I have, put it first. Like if there’s something you don’t want to do just do it first thing in the morning. And that doesn’t mean the hardest thing, but it’s the most challenging thing. Like maybe it’s writing that email, or like doing your taxes, or whatever the thing is you really don’t want to do, I always try to do that first. And that helps a lot because by the time you’re done with it and like everything else that day is gonna be more fun. (Jessica) What was your other tip? You said you had another tip? (Ryder) A lot of times when you don’t want to do something, it’s because you think you can’t. Big challenges. They’re either emotionally challenging, or like practically challenging. I try to break down larger challenges into much smaller, actionable sprints. If I have to do this really big project, or I have to do this thing that I really don’t want to do, what can I do today? Just to start chipping away at this piece. And once you start seeing that these things can be tackled much more granularly, it seems much more doable, and it works for good things as well. Like writing down “plan vacation”, that’s too much. You know you’re never going to be able to do that. (Jessica) Yeah, I always, I always suggest that to people, like if it’s a big project break it down into steps. But there was something I really loved about what you just said, which is even if you’re not feeling up to breaking a project down into steps, like maybe you’re just in a place where you just don’t even want to look at it, just saying, okay, what part of this can I do? Because no matter what the project is, there’s something that my brain will answer back. Like well, I guess I can like open my laptop. I guess I can do that, right?
(Ryder) Right. (Jessica) Like, what part of it can I do? I love that. So in general the bullet journal just kind of helps you figure out you, really.
(Ryder) Yes. (Jessica) Like, figure out what works for you, and what doesn’t. It’s a really brilliant system. I’m so happy that you came and talked to us about it. Thank you so much. (Ryder) Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me, I really appreciate being here. (Jessica) Ryder was really kind to answer all my questions, but I thought maybe you might have some of your own. So, I’m sure that my community, because so many of them do use the bullet journal, will have more questions. Would you possibly be willing to answer a few at some point? (Ryder) I would be delighted to, absolutely. (Jessica) Leave your #Bujo questions in the comments below, and maybe Ryder will answer one of yours! What else? I’m also working on a video on how to create and stick to habits just in time for the new year. And I want to send huge thanks to my Brain Advocates and all my Patreon Brains, because you all are the reason I got to check off “quit my day job” in my Bujo. (ding) If you haven’t yet, check out the Patreon feed. We’ve got goodies! See you next week. Bye, Brains! Question time! Hey, can you keep the merch store open till January 1st? I want to use my Christmas money to buy stuff! Actually, that’s a great idea! And, uh, we’ll even leave it open till January 2nd, just in case you forget. (outro music)