Carnegie Public Library

The Carnegie Public Library offers a free adult program on bullet journaling for better organization.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Carnegie Library gave a presentation on the method of bullet journaling as part of their adult programs. Tom Potter, teen and adult services specialist and Trinidad History Room coordinator, presented to a dozen members of the local community.

According to Potter, bullet journaling was invented by Ryder Carroll, author of “The Bullet Journal Method,” and helps him to organize tasks, workflow and important dates. Carroll markets the bullet journal as a way to “track the past, order the present, [and] design the future,” while describes it as “a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system.”

Potter broke down the essential components of a bullet journal and how best to organize it to tailor to your needs. Potter recommends using any blank dotted journal, which you fill in yourself, including headings and page numbers. The journal begins with an index which will help you find any section you might need. Then you include a future log, which houses long-term goals and dates.

This is followed by a monthly log, a calendar that includes the month’s tasks, dates, appointments and goals. After the monthly log, you begin your daily log, which you fill out each day as a sort of “To Do” list with essential items that must be completed, as well as tasks you wish to complete. Some people, according to Potter, even have a coded bullet system, in which different shapes of bullets (stars, circles, dashes, etc.) signify different types of tasks. Anything not completed can be bumped to the following day if you so choose.

The reflective aspect of the bullet journal, Potter said, comes into play with migration, where at the first of each month, you review any unfinished items to either move forward to your next monthly log or discard. This organization technique is the “difference in being busy and being productive” according to Carroll’s book, and has proven another popular method in the ranks of self-help books such as Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” or Regina Leed’s “One Year to an Organized Life.”

Potters advice for those wishing to start a bullet journal is to, “Make it anything you want, make it personalized. It depends on what you need it for.”

Potter first learned about bullet journaling through a Library Association webinar and has been using his since last October.

“I’ve never been organized very well before this,” Potter said. “I find this refreshing, and I just enjoy doing it.”

For him, it means keeping up with your work in the present as well as fleeting thoughts about future errands and responsibilities.

“There’s something really cool about not being reliant on a computer, knowing ‘if I put it in my book correctly, it’s taken care of,’” Potter said. “When you write something down, I think it registers better.”

Library Cataloging/ILL Specialist Sierra Howard also uses a bullet journal as a way to keep track of her schedule as well as be creative and artistic, as she includes drawings and illustrations in hers. Howard said you can find plenty of examples online, especially on Pinterest, for a more aesthetically-driven journal. She said this method takes a lot of the stress off when you have long-term work or school projects that need to be broken up, and that it would definitely be helpful to students.

Howard gave examples from her own journal, where she also uses it to track habits, such as reading, exercising or practicing an instrument.

For those wishing to begin journaling, the library is hosting a journal-making class on Feb. 14 at 3 p.m. as part of their free adult programs. Attendees will be able to make personalized blank journals out of old books, and all supplies will be provided.

Track the past, order the present, design the future

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