Goulet Guests: Spotlight on Ryder Carroll, Creator of the Bullet Journal

We’re happy to bring you all another awesome ‘Goulet Guests‘ today. Brian was able to Skype with Ryder Carroll, creator of the Bullet Journaling System, which is a method of note-taking and personal organization to help you focus on what’s most important in your daily life. Ryder has developed this system over the last 25 years and has really picked up steam the last few, especially within the fountain pen community.

Goulet Guests - Ryder Carroll, Bullet Journaling

In this episode, Brian & Ryder talk about the ins & outs of the bullet journaling system, his relationship with Leuchtturm, finding motivation, and a host of other interesting topics! Here’s an overview of the questions they talked about:

  • What is ‘Bullet Journaling’ what does the system entail? (0:53)
  • Lately, there has been a resurgence of people wanting to go analog, is that something you have always had as a part of your life that you wanna bring forth? Or is it more of an opportunistic thing you noticed in the last few years? (1:52)
  • What experience have you had with fountain pens specifically? (3:44)
  • How did you link up with Leuchtturm?  Any plans at a future collaboration with them? (5:54)
  • The bullet journaling community has grown exponentially – did you ever imagine that this is where it would come from (your willingness to give the information about bullet journaling to the community)? Or is that what you set out to do from the beginning? (11:55)
  • What is the profile of someone who could benefit from the bullet journaling system? What is your take on the whole community? (13:40)
  • Are you linking up with other bullet journalers in the community? Who are some of the people that you are working with? (16:18)
  • Is the bullet journaling system more about effectiveness than it is about efficiency? (19:33)
  • Having recently launched your own app, that seems to counter the analog types that bullet journal. How is this app going to help those people? (26:40)
  • What is your personal process on a daily or weekly basis for people who are interested in just starting out? (31:59)
  • What is your take on failure and how has that affected where you have ended up in life? (36:46)
  • What is it that most inspires you out of all of this? What impact do you want to leave on the world each day? (41:19)
  • Now that you have a TEDx Talk out there, you are putting yourself out there for the Bullet Journal community – Is that a more natural place for you? Or is this a new adaptation for yourself? (44:28)
  • Where does your fire or motivation come from? (46:56)

Be sure to check out the Bullet Journal website, and follow Ryder/Bullet Journal on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, & YouTube! You can also find past Goulet Guest interviews here.

Let us know what you thought of the interview in the comments below! Have you tried the bullet journaling system?

Write on, 
The Goulet Pen Company Team

2017-10-11T01:56:08+00:00 July 11th, 2017|Goulet Guests|14 Comments
  • Ted

    Great interview. Thanks for sharing it. I use a very pared down version of bullet-journaling. Like Ryder said, what is important is being simple and using the tool to meet you right where you are. And like he seemed to intimate (maybe say more bluntly than that), not every one who uses the approach needs to be an accomplished artist or master of organization (cuz, why then use this journal?). Be you. I do all of this in an Inky Fingers pocket notebook. Very pared down! 🙂

  • David L.

    I have never tried bullet journaling before. I make a list of things to do, underline or put a star by the important things, and check them off once they are done. I looked into bullet journaling before, but not in depth. At the moment, I’m content with what I do, but may change in the future.

    • Tom Johnson

      David, I used the same technique as you for decades using Daytimer and Franklin Planners at work to manage my schedule. I probably made separate lists for managing individual technical projects in more detail (things to do, action items), but never came up with a specific technique like Ryder has. Bullet Journaling would probably have help me in those days.

  • MP

    I discovered Bullet Journaling through Goulet thanks to their Bullet Journal package sets at the same time I was rediscovering fountain pens. I love it!

  • jsbutterfly11

    Brian, How do we get the Match up Calendar you have posted on your wall? As a stationery nerd, I would love to have that calendar in my office!

    • David L.

      Same here!

  • Tom Johnson

    This was a great Goulet Guest Spotlight, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing both or you discuss your philosophies of bullet journals and how analog techniques can compliment and enhance our digital techniques to improve our lives further. Ryder is very charismatic and passionate with bullet journaling. I would probably have adapted a bullet journal technique for my work planning and executing complex technical projects. Now retired my Midori Passport notebook’s planner works very well for me. I use it when I update my large journal. One take on some of these principals that I want to incorporate in my journal (which is simply a record of my experiences, thoughts, etc., not for planning) is to incorporate some codes/symbols or graphics in the entries so it will be easy to find older entries. Plus, I may number the pages (retired – I have time) and insert an index in the back of each journal. These journals are heavy leather bound Italian books with heavy quality paper, so I have to number the pages myself. I have been underlining some of the more important records with Blue Ghost ink in a Preppie marking pen which helps find things quickly. I just view the journal under UV and leaf through it quickly. An index would be so much faster. Thanks for a very informative session. I would love to know which fountain pens are Ryder’s favorites!

  • Sara Mueller

    I came to the bullet journal via the ‘How to ADHD’ videos when I was looking for things to help my nephew. I can highly recommend those videos, but specifically the one on bullet journaling for this purpose. The system is gigantically helpful and I love it.

  • Cory Schmidt

    Is there an Android version of the app in the works?

  • AnneP

    I haven’t tried bullet journaling, but it calls to my organizing side. I appreciate that Carroll championed efficiency. Being efficient in order to make life better is still a good thing–being efficient in a fast-paced, anxiety-inducing, there is too much email kind of way–not so much.

    Completely off-topic: Is that a Thursday Things calendar I see behind Brian? Oh, the terrible envy!

  • Jerry C

    I forget how I stumbled upon Ryder’s site last year but I tried it & think he’s brilliant…and as he pointed out, don’t get overwhelmed by the artistic ones you see…that’s not the point. THAT is what made me give it up. I wanted mine to be attractive but I’m just not that artistic and it got too discouraging. I wish I could get myself sorted so I could enjoy things more than I do. I set goals that are impossibly high to reach. Been a life-long problem. 🙁

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      I hope you can come back to it one day and be able to utilize the Bullet Journal system, Jerry. I can understand the discouragement about not looking like the super artistic ones. I have felt the same way. But if it works well for you, hopefully, you’ll be able to use it again.

      • Jerry C

        Thanks Lydia. I’ll give it a shot again at some point but have gotten involved with brush lettering on top of trying to learn Spencerian so I have a pretty full plate at the moment. It’s just discouraging to see some of the most incredibly artistic journals and mine looked like I dunno what kind of mess

  • Uniotter

    Finally got around to viewing this, and Brian, have to thank you for another “added value” video. I was really impressed with the spirit behind bullet journaling, and had no idea how deep it actually went. I found it to be a very inspiring interview — thanks to both Ryder and Brian for sharing that!