How to Start a Bullet Journal for the Apocalypse

By | Productivity

Bullet Journal

It’s the zombie apocalypse: you’re probably wondering how to start a bullet journal. Unless you’re Bear Grylls, or a Navy Seal, nothing in life has prepared you for this level of life-or-death decision making. A bullet journal makes it easy for anyone to stay organized in the new apocalyptic reality.

What is a bullet journal?

A bullet journal is a productivity system designed to keep track of every aspect of your life. It is a journal, to do list, notebook, and planner, all in one place. The concept was created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer from Brooklyn, NY. In his words, the goal of the bullet journal is to “track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.”

Most of the bullet journals you’ve probably seen online look very pretty and complex. A bullet journal does not have to look like it was made by someone on Etsy with watercolors and $40 felt markers. In fact, Carroll’s bullet journal tutorial video only requires a notebook and a pen.

Is a bullet journal right for you?

Image by Stefan Keller

Everyone works differently. For some, using a regular planner works for them and keeps them at max productivity levels all year long. If you’ve never had success in keeping a planner to stay organized, a bullet journal is worth checking out.

Benefits of using a bullet journal in the apocalypse

  • Stay on top of repairs needed for your apocalypse stronghold
  • Organize your notes on local resources and zombie sightings
  • Track food and water rations to maintain adequate supply levels
  • Keep up with your daily gardening routines to ensure consistent crop yields
  • Schedule meetings with rival gang leaders to form alliances and trade resources
  • Have a written record for your successors to learn from in your eventual death during a zombie attack

The bullet journal system

One of the attractive features of bullet journaling is its simplicity. Below are the basic bullet journal symbols and components that make the system work.


The index is the table of contents for your bullet journal. It gets added to as you progress through your journal.

Bullet journal key

There are three different bullet types: tasks, events, and notes.

Bullet journal symbols

  • dot = Tasks
  • circle = Events
  • dash = Notes
  • star = prioritizes a bullet type (add in front)

Organizing tasks

  • Task completed = “X” out task dots
  • Task migrated to next month = right arrow
  • Task with lower priority = left arrow (gets moved to the Future Log)
  • Irrelevant bullets = strikethrough with a line


Future Log
The future log is a six-month outlook from the current month. It is a list of tasks with lower priority that are to be completed at a later date. This helps you to get rid of distractions and focus on tasks that need your immediate attention.

Monthly Log
The monthly log is a bird’s eye view of the month’s tasks, and the time you have to do it in.

Daily Log
The daily log is a day-by-day breakdown of tasks that can be more detailed. Carroll refers to this method of jotting down tasks, events, and notes as rapid logging.


Collections are task lists of all the things you need to get done, or collect. Examples include: a shopping list, or a to-do list for starting your apocalypse herb garden.

Watch the video below to see how all of these components work together.

What you need to start a bullet journal

A dotted or squared notebook

Anyone can make a bullet journal using a dotted or squared notebook. You can find these online or at a local retail store.

The Notebook – The “Official” Bullet Journal ($24.95)
Moleskine Classic Notebook ($19.95)

A pen

This depends on preference, but for me, I prefer black, gel ink pens like the Pilot G2, for writing. These give a smooth writing experience and are clickable, meaning there’s no cap that you can lose.


Photo by Estée Janssens

I know that I’ve ragged on the Etsy-style of bullet journaling, but hey, it’s your life and you can do what you want. For fancier folk, you can use colored markers to prettify your bullet journal. Some people recommend using a pencil to draft out fancy layouts first. Others have recommended keeping white out handy, to get rid of mistakes.

These items aren’t necessary to get the productivity benefits of your bullet journal. Who knows, there may certainly be times during the apocalypse where there is nothing to do for days or weeks. Making an elaborately-designed bullet journal is a good time-killer.

In closing, a bullet journal is a great way to stay on top of tasks during the zombie apocalypse. Do you have any other methods for staying productive? Let me know in the comments!

22 Responses to " How to Start a Bullet Journal for the Apocalypse "

  1. Lyanna Soria says:

    Having a bullet journal is great and I do this all the time as well. It keeps me organized and those are wondeful ideas especially for those new to bullet journalling.

  2. Interesting ideas and I am a fan for apocalytic movies, Thanks for the ideas and keep it up! – Knycx journeying

  3. Anna says:

    I like the concept of a bullet journal, haven´t heard of it before! It´s great when you can have the journal, to-do list, notebook, and planner, all in one place. Thanks for the inspiration|

  4. katrina m gehman says:

    those are great ideas. having a journal def helps. i know when i keep one it helps me stay on task.

  5. Elicit Folio says:

    Loved your how to video! I thought about starting a bullet journal to track my goals! This was just the motivation i needed to try one.

  6. Stephen says:

    Love love love this idea, got so many notebooks I can do this with

  7. bullet journaling sounds like a good idea. I have never heard the term before. i do like the photo example you got from Estee.

  8. Melanie williams says:

    I have not done a journal since I was younger. This is something to consider for sure, as used to love writing in them

  9. Wendy Polisi says:

    This is a really great idea. It is so important to be prepared for anything.

  10. Kuntala Bhattacharya says:

    Keeping and maintaining bullet journals is a real good habit. You can track your activities well and complete them properly. Penning down things is a great idea.

  11. Marysa says:

    I would love to start a journal and have some focus on my thoughts. I am definitely a list kind of person and it would be helpful to write things down.

  12. Keeping a journal is an important thing to track my activities. It is also a great help when someone is forgetful. By keeping a journal, we can be more reflective. It also helps us to know what to prioritize. By that, we can spend our time more wisely.

  13. this is really effective. can make one efficient helping one to save a lot of time! <3

  14. Nilakshi says:

    I created a bullet journal for April but couldn’t complete it. I feel so unhappy about it. Your post is like a reminder for me to work on it. Thank you, so much

  15. Emily says:

    This is so cool! I have often wondered how long my supplies in my pantry would last for if I was ever in a situatiuon like this. I would definitely have to track rations amongst other things. I have learnt a lot with this post!

  16. Wow! I love journals. My pregnancy journal I used binder file it came out awesome.

  17. Kathy says:

    I use my bullet journal every day. I got a good laugh out of this. Everything feels like the apocalypse right now! LOL

  18. Surekha says:

    I’m a big, big fan of bullet journaling. It really helps keep me on track. I love your angle on this post.

  19. Ann says:

    I have been thinking of starting one, but I am not much journals I have figured… I do beloved I am better at quitting them 😛

  20. Matt Taylor says:

    Cool idea for a journal. I need to start one of these for sure! Thanks for the tips.

  21. I would love to try this system I’m starting to use the block scheduling but I think this will be a good addition

  22. Interesting! I never thought about keeping a bullet journal. I do have a notebook recording all of the events and stats of the pandemic 2020. It’s history in the making for sure.

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