The Bullet Journal method: How it works

Now that you know the Bullet Journal is for you, and that you have put together some supplies and ideas, the next step is to get acquainted with the system.

The system of the Bullet Journal was invented by Ryder Carroll and is used to rapidly and efficiently log tasks and activities in the journal. As such, M. Carroll came up with a simple legend and different modules to categorize the different types of entry.

The legend

The legend divides entries into three categories: tasks, events and notes. This is how you write them in your Bullet Journal:


Tasks are what you want to accomplish at a given moment: basically, your to-do list. When the task is complete, you write an “X” through the dot. If the task was scheduled at a later date (for example, the task “call dentist to book an appointment”), you put an arrow head pointing to the left on the dot. On the other hand, if the task was not done at the time it was supposed to, you put an arrow head pointing to the right once the task was reported.


To maximize organization, the Bullet Journal is divided into sections called “modules”. These modules allow to separate entries by category. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of modules you can include in your Bullet Journal, as well as some examples of ways to use them.

The index

The index is used at the beginning of the Bullet Journal to write down pages and their page numbers. It allows to easily find the pages you need.

Future log

This module is used to write down events happening in a distant future. A general overview of each month is usually included with the events and appointments scheduled a few months or weeks in advance.

future log
Future log with a yearly calendar, made by @PlanWithAdy.

Monthly log

The monthly log is used to outline the coming month. You can use it to write down monthly tasks, appointments, events, etc.

My Monthly log of June. Page 1 and 2 of my monthly planning of June 2018.

Weekly log

The weekly log is used for the same reasons as the monthly log, but on a weekly scale. The weekly log is not included in the method as explained by Ryder Carroll: however, a lot of Bullet Journalist use it, as do I.

Daily log

On the daily log page, you write down the events of the day, tasks to be done, notes about the day, etc. It’s mostly where the legend and the “to-do list” principle are used.

The Daily logs I currently use. A column per day, with the list of things to do that day.


One last important principle of the Bullet Journal method is the migration. It consists of rewriting tasks and events to “migrate” them. For example, a task that was not completed the day it was planned is rewritten into the next day’s log to be accomplished then. When the task is migrated, you put an arrow head pointing to the left on the dot.

Another example of the use of migration: an event that was planned a long time in advance is written on the Future log and is added to the Monthly log of the month it was scheduled in. Indeed, it is important to verify the Future log before setting up the Monthly log.


The Bullet Journal method invented by Mr. Ryder Carroll is simple but complete. In this article, I did not explain everything in Carroll’s system because there are certain elements I do not use. As such, for further explanations on the Bullet Journal method, and to learn about the elements I did not include, I invite you to visit the official website of the Bullet Journal.

Do you use the exact Bullet Journal method, as explained by M. Carroll? Or have you updated it to fit your needs? Let me know down in the comments! 🙂

Until next time !


New to the Bullet Journal? Here are my other articles for beginners:


  1. melanie says:

    Hello, Melanie, from another Melanie 🙂 Thanks for the explanation of how this bullet journal thing works. I appreciate it!

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