How ADHD Helped Me Create the Bullet Journal Method

When the usual systems failed me, my ADHD led me to create something new

Ryder Carroll
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readOct 16, 2019

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Photo: Dang Nguyen/EyeEm/Getty Images

II haven’t spoken much about my experience with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and recently I’ve been asking myself why. After all, without my ADHD, I wouldn’t have come up with the Bullet Journal Method. Maybe the best way is to tell my story is for me to describe what ADHD has been like for me. Of course, I can only speak to my experience, which may differ from others’ experiences.

Having ADHD is like trying to catch the rain.

Imagine you’re in a small hut on a wide-open field. As the storm approaches, you prepare yourself to head outside and catch the rain, just like everyone else.

You step outside and your attention is drawn to the darkening sky. The first drops of rain fall. You catch one, then another. The storm picks up, and the rain falls faster. You miss a drop, then another. Soon there are so many things raining down that you don’t know which drops to focus on. Do you go for the ones coming from a distance, or the ones closer to you? The ones within easy reach, or the ones you can get in position for? The more you frantically deliberate, the more drops you miss. Still, the storm grows ever louder — then lightning strikes.

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Ryder Carroll
Human Parts

Creator of the Bullet Journal®. NYT Best-selling author and digital product designer, living in Brooklyn, NY.