Column: Bullet journals organize, provide creative outlet


After laying out her supplies, junior Christi Norris prepares to work on her bullet journal. Norris has bullet journaled since February of her freshman year. “Bullet journaling has allowed me to stay organized with my school assignments.” Norris said. “It has also helped me improve my grades by writing all of my due dates and assignments down.”

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If you Google the phrase “bullet journaling,” images of intricately illustrated notebooks and planners pop up. This creates the illusion that bullet journaling is only something for those with infinite amounts of time, funds and creative ideas.

Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram and other social media platforms make bullet journaling appear to be unattainable, but in reality, it is a customizable method of organization that can also be a creative outlet personalized for unique personality and taste. 

I began bullet journaling two years ago, in February of my freshman year. My mother took me to a women’s group meeting at my church where a family friend of mine taught the group about bullet journaling and how it became a way for her to stay organized while maintaining creativity. I was instantly inspired while flipping through her fancy, detailed pages. 

After going home from that activity I convinced my mom to order a dot-grid journal off of Amazon so I could start my bullet journal as soon as humanly possible. A few days later when my journal arrived, I pulled up the large Pinterest board I had already started and got to work. 

Bullet Journaling is a system invented by Ryder Carroll that focuses on allowing you to “track the past, order the present and design your future.” Most bullet journals are a combination of a journal, planner and sketchbook, but a bullet journal can be a combination of anything you want.

The most appealing thing to me was that it was me in control, it wasn’t a planner that I bought that didn’t have enough space per day, or it was so boring that I never used it. Putting time in every week to create ‘spreads’ and add to my bullet journal made me actually want to use it because I was the one making it and setting it up. 

My bullet journal serves mainly as a planner but sometimes I will track my sleep or my college savings progress, or notes from a conference.  My bullet journal is a place to make sure I know what assignments I have and know what birthdays are coming up, but also gives me a place to have a creative outlet without having to sit down and do an entire painting.

Sitting on the floor of her art room, bullet journalist and junior Christi Norris reminisces on the different themes and spreads she has created throughout all of her journals. Bullet journaling is a system invented by Ryder Carroll that focuses on “tracking the past, ordering the present, and designing your future.” Norris uses her bullet journal as a way to be creative, organized and productive.

My current and third bullet journal illustrates how my method of journaling has changed. When first starting, I tracked anything from my sleep to my mood to my habits but now I only track things like savings. My bullet journal focuses on things that I know I will follow through with. When starting bullet journaling, I created a lot of spreads that I didn’t use, and now I have refined my process to mainly use my bullet journal as a planner. I still keep pages where I can set goals or make bucket lists, but I am mindful with how I use the page space. 

Bullet journaling has allowed me to stay organized with my school assignments, and improve my grades by writing all of my due dates and assignments down. Journaling keeps me organized and grounded throughout my week of juggling school, work, newspaper, family, friends and everything else.

Using a bullet journal has improved my life exponentially, and it is something anyone can do. You can find inspiration for your bullet journal anywhere from the official Bullet Journal website to Pinterest, Instagram, or Youtube. Take inspiration from others and do what works for you because bullet journaling is something for anyone and everyone. 

Do you have a bullet journal?

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I use my bullet journal for these purposes:

  • A planner
  • Tracking school work
  • Setting and tracking goals
  • Creating bucket lists
  • Writing about trips and vacations 
  • Tracking my savings for college 
  • Tracking expenses
  • Journaling
  • Drawing/ creating art 
  • Collecting dried flowers, dried leaves, movie tickets, and other things to remember things
  • Anything I want


Where I find inspiration for my bullet journal:

  • Pinterest (Search up Bullet Journal
  • Instagram (Search up #bulletjournal or #bujo or #bujoinspiration
  • Youtube (Bullet Journal, Amanda Rach Lee, )
  • TV shows I like (Avatar The Last Airbender, Gilmore Girls, etc.)
  • My surroundings (things going on in my town or in my life)
  • The seasons (I always do an autumn-themed month and sometimes I’ll do summer ones or winter ones)  
  • Nature (I love doing spreads that remind me of things like the mountains or the beach etc.)


Some of my favorite bullet journaling supplies include these items: