Adventures in Coding

Bullet Journaling Basics

productivity bulletjournal tools journal

Where do you start with bullet journaling?

As a developer with ADHD I've found myself frequently talking about bullet journaling. It has become a really popular tool with uncountable YouTube videos surrounding different people's methods. You many be asking yourself "what is a bullet journal?" Bullet Journaling is a technique created by Ryder Carrol, a digital product designer and authoer that was diagnosed with learning disabilities early in life. He created the technique for himself through years of trial and error, and now has a website where he shares his methods. I will summarize here but I highly recommend reading more on his website and watching his YouTube videos as he goes into far more detail than I intend to.

Bullet journaling is a type of rapid logging that can allow for tracking of tasks, events, and data in an imperfect format. The central design uses different bullets for tasks, notes, and events in order to track your day. While the basis is rapid logging, there is also a periodic activity called a migration where you periodically go through the days since your last migration in order to gather missed items, and evaluate when they should be done if at all.


A collection is a pair of pages that is viewable together when the book is open.


These are signifiers giving type to the item being logged and drawn to the left of the log entry in such a way that bullets are stacked above one another (unless nested) and clearly set apart from the beginning of the log entry. The focus of rapid logging is to make entries when they occur and not to worry with organizing entries by type.


In order to harness the power of the logs, it is important to go back and address tasks that haven't been completed. It is recommended to perform a migration at the end of the month. If you do this when you create your monthly log then you can easily migrate the tasks that need to be done soon into the task page of the monthly log. If the item is something that should be scheduled further out then you can migrate it to the future log.

Next Steps

I haven't personally taken the next step of buying the two books that are available on the website, but after having used my bullet journal for more than a year I have made a few modifications to fit my life.

Many people find that using different colors, stickers, or other things help them. The only remotely artistic improvement that I've made is that I use two different colored inks. I use a black ink for headings, and any drawn dividing lines, and a blue pen for everything else.

Sprint Log

As a member of an agile team, I thought that it would be beneficial to track stories in this way. I was ultimately unable to figure out a good way to do this in a manageable way with daily tasks. The premise was basically that I would have a collection where all of my stories were listed with subtasks so that I could track the work done on each and keep track of things to circle back on. I still had tasks that were unrelated to track daily and found myself still keeping a daily log which felt a bit cumbersome.

Weekly Log

Instead of a daily log as described on the website, I adopted a week based style which I've found helpful.

Left Page

At the top is a table for my daily tasks so that I can mark them as completed or cancelled. It helps me to not only remember to do the things everyday, but also looking back to see what I missed. I got tired of making the same few tasks on everyday.

Employer Mail x x x x
Client Mail x x x x x
Daily Standup x x - - x
Agile Manager x x

Below this is a notes section that section off for the larger tasks that I'm working on. I've adapted my sprint tracking efforts from the failed sprint log to bring the story names into this section and allow myself to track next steps when I come across them.

Right page

Here I do the exact things that would be in a daily log as described before, but I find it helpful to have them grouped in blocks of weeks instead of the generic daily log which could have an entire month of days running together however they fit on pages.

My Custom Collections

Related topics: productivity bulletjournal tools journal

← Home