How to Set Up a BuJo Future Log

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Bullet Journal Method" by Ryder Carroll. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is a BuJo future log? How do you set it up and use it?

A BuJo (or bullet journal) future log is a way to keep track of future events that wouldn’t be in your immediate schedule—such as birthdays, holidays, and appointments. Ryder Carroll, the author of The Bullet Journal Method, says the future log is an important part of an effective bullet journal.

Here’s how to use a future log in your bullet journal.

Bullet Journal Future Log

For tasks and events more than a month away, Carroll recommends using the “future log.” The BuJo future log acts as a waiting list for all future tasks and events you don’t want to lose sight of. For example, if you’re currently in the month of May, your future log might house tasks like “Buy Christmas gifts” or events like “Real Estate Conference, Oct. 10–13.”

Carroll argues that the future log aids your planning by showing you what will require your attention in the months to come. It provides plenty of foresight, which lets you change plans and goals as your needs and values shift. For example, imagine that when examining your future log, you notice that there are numerous weddings scheduled for the summer. Because you’ve realized this far in advance, you can avoid over-committing yourself and prioritize attendance at the ceremonies of only your closest friends. 

The Benefits of Planning Ahead
Carroll praises the future log’s ability to give you perspective and adjust your plans accordingly. However, there are additional benefits of planning ahead that he doesn’t discuss.

First, planning ahead can boost your productivity. Planning on paper holds you accountable and keeps you motivated, presumably because you’ll see your goals every time you open your journal. Additionally, spending a few moments planning ahead saves you time that you can then spend on the things that matter most. 

Planning ahead can also improve your mental health in several ways. First, it can reduce stress by encouraging you to take an active (rather than passive) role in your life. In addition, it can help you live with more intention because writing out your thoughts and plans forces you to slow down and be in the present moment. Finally, planning ahead can be a significant mood booster because it reminds you of all the good experiences you have to look forward to.

Setting Up and Using Your Log

According to Carroll, your future log follows your index and spans from pages 5–8. To set it up, title the first page and add it to your index (for example, “Future Log: 5–8”). Next, divide each of the four pages into 3 boxes, totaling 12 for the entire year. Then, label each box with a separate month.

To utilize your planner, explains Carroll, you’ll add any future tasks and events that fall outside of the current month into the appropriate boxes. Future tasks could include scheduled obligations (such as “call to wish Grandma a happy birthday”) or goals (such as “read the collected works of J.R.R. Tolkien”). (Shortform note: While Carroll’s instructions can serve as a helpful guide, you aren’t limited to his format when setting up your future log. Many Bullet Journalers have created variations on the traditional setup to suit their own needs that you can look to for inspiration. For example, for a more minimalist design, create a yearly calendar on a single page and color in dates that have important events or tasks rather than writing them out. Or, if you desire more space, dedicate an entire page to each month rather than dividing each page into three boxes as Carroll recommends.)

How to Set Up a BuJo Future Log

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  • A comprehensive guide to using the Bullet Journal Method
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  • How to extend the method beyond productivity to a practice in mindfulness

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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