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Digital Bullet Journaling in ixnote

Ryder Carroll developed Bullet Journaling to help him manage tasks and ideas using a physical notepad. He first introduced the concept of Bullet Journaling (Aka BuJo) in a blog post in 2013. The idea quickly gained traction online, then in 2018 he published his New York Times bestseller - The Bullet Journal Method - Track the past, order the present, design the future.

While Ryder espouses the benefits of a productivity system that sits apart from our perpetual distraction devices, digital Bullet Journaling is a viable option for those who require greater security.

Bullet Journaling was designed to work in a physical notepad with a pen, so in theory, any digital note-taking app can be used. In this post, however, I will explain why a node-based knowledge graph like ixnote is a more suitable vehicle for digital Bullet Journaling.

The basics

The elements of a Bullet Journaling system are:

  • The index - is essentially a table of contents, a page at the front of the notepad that tells you the page number of each monthly Log and collection. As we have full-text search, this node is unnecessary, but I have a root node called Bullet Jornal.

  • Monthly Log: - A page to log tasks and events coming up in the month. I have a monthly log node that's connected to all that month's tasks.

  • Daily Log: - A page to log tasks and events coming up in the day. I have a daily log node connected to all of today's tasks.

  • Collections - Also called projects, are pages for all tasks connected to a larger project.

  • Future Log: A page for tasks you don't want to forget but don't need to do this month.

In a more traditional note-taking app or outliner, a task can only exist on one of these pages. However, in a graph system like ixnote, tasks can be linked to as many as you like. A single task can be linked to multiple projects, plus your monthly and daily logs as needed.

I don't link projects (collections) to my daily log node because I don't see a project as something I can complete today, but I do link tasks from live projects to my daily and monthly log nodes.

As you can see from this screenshot, "[] another new task for today" is linked to my Daily and Monthly Logs, plus the "Big Project" collection. Having the context visualized this way helps me see how today's tasks contribute to the completion of larger projects.


Migrating tasks from one day to the next, up to the month log, or forward to the Future Log is a big part of the Bullet Journaling methodology. The friction of writing and re-writing a task as you bump it from one page to the next forces you to reevaluate it. That friction keeps your logs clear of crud.

There is less friction with a digital system, as linking and detaching nodes is quicker and easier than re-witing them, but I try to maintain a habit of reviewing the tasks in my daily and monthly logs first thing each morning.

ixnote specifics

You can choose any string or emoji to symbolize a task; for me, it's [], and [x] when completed. Tasks that no longer needs doing are changed to [o] so there's a record of the task and the decision to skip it.

Tip: if you add [] to the body of each log node a search for [] brings up all open tasks and the log nodes - simplifying the migration process.

Finally, in the ixnote setting page, you can add [x]. [o] and any other strings you would like hidden when you click the # button - an easy way to show and hide completed tasks.

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