Pro Q&A: Ryder Carroll, Inventor of the Bullet Journal – Part 1 of 2

This week on the Pro Q&A we are so proud to host the creator of the Bullet Journal®, Ryder Carroll. Ryder has had an influence on literally millions of people, making lives better, more organized and productive with his system of journaling and record-keeping. This is a two-part series featuring some special announcements and a better understanding of the man behind the Bullet Journal®.

Bullet-Journal-1

BJP: Ryder, first of all, it’s great to have you sit down and chat. I want to thank you for the incredible Bullet Journal system that you have created and advanced and for being the spark that has ignited a large and connected community of Bullet Journalists. Ryder, you have been a great inspiration to so many of us in the Pro community and yet I feel like we don’t know a lot about you, the man behind the Bullet Journal. We have so much to cover in our time together that this will be a two-part series. More on that in a little bit but first, let’s begin by having you share a little about yourself and what you do professionally.

RC: Thanks for having me! I was born in Vienna, Austria and lived there until I left for college, where I studied graphic design and creative writing. Now I live in New York City, working as a digital product designer for Idean.

Ryder Headshot
Ryder Carroll, Creator of the Bullet Journal

BJP: Can you give our readers some background on how you developed your system and, more specifically, how you have built a business around the Bullet Journal?

RC: It was a very slow iterative process fueled mostly by stubbornness and frustration. I had crippling A.D.D. when I was young, making school a painful experience. My teachers said I was “very creative” through gritted teeth. I just didn’t compute the way others did when it came to taking notes and learning. Existing methods and templates didn’t work for me, so, piece by piece, I designed ones that did. That collection of solutions is what you see today. Now I’ve turned my efforts to creating tools that teach others how they can overcome their challenges with the Bullet Journal®.

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BJP: The background and history of the Bullet Journal are fascinating to me and our readers. Talk to us though about how the system has changed or evolved since you created it. And, further, maybe touch on how your company has evolved as well.

RC: In short, the biggest change is purpose of the Bullet Journal®. The Bullet Journal® system was never designed to be shared, but it was designed to be adaptable and forgiving. Those qualities allowed it to remain effective and relevant over the years. It’s these qualities that seem to have resonated with others as well. Bullet Journalists have mapped my framework to their own lives with incredible ingenuity. The impact that it’s had on some people’s lives is transformative, and I never anticipated that. It’s very humbling and inspiring. My goal moving forward is to develop better ways to teach the Bullet Journal system.

BJP Note: For those who haven’t viewed the introduction video to the Bullet Journal®, please take a look here

BJP: The changes you discussed make me want to ask you about the changes you have seen in the Bullet Journal community. For instance, the number of news articles about the Bullet Journal and, most importantly, strong social media support has spawned so many new users and niche communities like the professional community here. What do you think when you see all of the various ways that people are using the system you developed? What does the community mean to you and the Bullet Journal?

RC: Frankly the communities are everything. They taught me how diverse the applications could be. It’s been an incredible learning experience and allows me to more clearly see what I can be doing better.

BJP: Let’s transition for a minute to talk about the big “B” – Brand – Bullet Journal. I see a lot of people posting pictures of their journals in Facebook groups, on Instagram and Pinterest. Many of these people are referring to their journal as a Bullet Journal but many of them look far removed from the system you pioneered. Many of these journals that people refer to as Bullet Journals are not even using your system. What do you think of that? What does it do to the brand, Bullet Journal, when the brand name is being misused or misrepresented?

RC: Though I encourage people to make Bullet Journal their own for personal use, it’s important to provide accreditation when sharing it with others. I ask this on behalf of those new to the system who may be encountering it for the first time. It’s important for beginners to get a good grasp of the basics before making it their own. The best way to do that is through BulletJournal.com

Most people just see images of beautifully designed notebook pages. However, those don’t provide the full picture. The Bullet Journal® is more than a system; it’s a practice that provides clarity through focus and reflection. The methods I’ve shared have been deeply considered and refined for over two decades. The brand is designed to protect and maintain the integrity of this practice, so that it can continue to provide value to Bullet Journalists. I can only do that with the help and support of the community.

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BJP: Well, one of the other reasons that you and I are sitting down today is to make a big, joint announcement to not only the Pro community but the entire Bullet Journal community. Ryder, do you want to share this news for everyone?

RC: I’m really excited to announce that Bullet Journal Pros will be moving to Bulletjournal.com! As of next month, Bullet Journal Pros will be a recurring column, featuring all the great content that you’re used to from Todd. He’s has done a wonderful job creating an invaluable resource for the Bullet Journal® community and I couldn’t be more excited to join forces with him in this collaboration.

Todd.Profile.2015
Todd Foutz, Bullet Journal Pros

BJP: Thank you, Ryder. I am so thrilled to be a part of Bulletjournal.com and continue our focus on professionals. We will be reaching a wider office and have an opportunity to better understand how professionals are using the Bullet Journal system.

We are going to continue to host our Facebook group for Pros as well as our Instagram feed. However, we are shutting down the Pinterest and Tumblr pages. I am truly looking forward to the move and restriping our social media pages.

BJP: We have covered a lot of ground here today. But we are far from done. As I mentioned at the top, this is a two-part series. Today we have heard from Ryder on the history of the Bullet Journal and the importance of the community that has been built around it. We’ve also covered the importance of the Bullet Journal brand and how important it is for users to understand the system, the use of the brand name and protection of that brand. We’ve also been very proud to announce that the Pro community will be represented officially on The Bulletjournalist blog beginning in August. 

At The Bulletjournalist I will continue to bring you interviews with professionals and, in the months to come, begin to roll out special programming for the strong industry segments in our community of project managers, educators, marketers, HR professionals and more. We will feature tips and advice for professionals and those wonderful spreads that professionals are creating in their Bullet Journals.

In Part 2 of our interview with Ryder Carroll, we will hear about some exciting new developments with the Bullet Journal and some enhancements to the website. Further, we will take a look into the crystal ball and talk about the future with Ryder and the vision he has for the Bullet Journal, the website and community.

This next part of our interview will be coming up in August and will appear exclusively on The Bulletjournalist

We will be sharing more on social media, but if you would like to receive a reminder when the new post is up, please let us know here.

Until then, get back to work!

Additional Resources

  1. To purchase your official Bullet Journal Notebook, visit

http://store.bulletjournal.com

  1. For information on the official Bullet Journal Notebook, visit

http://store.bulletjournal.com

  1. All the basics to get started with Bullet Journaling can be found here on the Bullet Journal website

http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/

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Author: ProJo's

Serving professionals who plan, organize and manage work with a paper journal. #ProJo

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