Bullet Journaling: The Answer to ADHD and Autism Organization Challenges

Piles of mixed-up papers. Missed deadlines. Stress-based blow-ups. Sound familiar? Executive Function Disorder (EFD) impacts the majority of people with ADHD and Autism (ASD). Thinking is often inflexible. They struggle with organizational skills and time management. Good news…Say goodbye to Post-it notes. 

Bullet journals help both problem-solving and memory. They’re a journal/planner hybrid dubbed “the analog system for the digital age.” Here’s how to make them a positive part of your life with ADHD and Autism.

What’s the problem?

People with ADHD and Autism experience difficulties anticipating, planning, enacting, and retaining information. Challenges continue into adulthood. Executive function impairment restricts goal attainment, time management, and the ability to maintain focus. These difficulties manifest in a variety of ways

  • Starting tasks or activities.
  • Remembering/identifying essential tasks.
  • Doing things based on past experiences.
  • Focusing on a single task at a time.
  • Estimating time to complete tasks.
  • Shifting tasks to adjust to changing situations/circumstances.

EFD isn’t a cause of ADHD or Autism. It’s more like a set of associated symptoms that coincide with the disorders. There is no cure, but specific, targeted strategies can limit the impact. Bullet journaling can help to mitigate these challenges and more!

Why is organization important?

Organization requires efficient and effective uses of energy and resources. Did you get the job done with a reasonable amount of effort? The answer is sometimes difficult to find. Use measurable targets to analyze your organizational performance.

  • Time management
  • Goal setting
  • Self-motivation
  • Analytical problem-solving
  • Strategic planning

Whether verbal or non-verbal interactions, people must share and receive information effectively. It is an ongoing challenge for folks diagnosed with EFD. Interacting on time is essential, as is prioritization. Accuracy must be maintained as well. How do “our kids” do on that front? They consistently struggle in many situations.

Chronic disorganization is a clinical term that describes home, school, and the workplace. With teens and adults with ADHD and Autism, we see it everywhere – lost items, messy drawers, self-care. It can be a “messy brain” too. Gathering information, taking stock, and structuring for evaluation is difficult. Bullet journaling provides systems to change responsive behaviors.

Executive function impairments run rampant in people with ADHD and Autism. These deficits make handling tasks a challenge. Having a systematic approach provides a supportive foundation. The Bullet Journal Method is the answer used by many professionals.

  • Identify
  • Plan
  • Organize
  • Complete
  • Reflect

Bullet Journaling 101

Digital task-tracking apps offer many potential benefits over self-tracking with paper notebooks. However, they are often rigid and do not allow for creative, customizable approaches. Bullet journals provide meaningful and practical connections that benefit the ADHD and autistic brain. The trick is to identify the whats and hows.

Looking at YouTube videos or on Pinterest, people may get the wrong idea about bullet journaling. You don’t have to be an artist with paint and washi tape. All you need is a notebook, paper of any kind, and something to write with. Just check out this video from Ryder Carroll, the bullet journal method’s creator. Yes, he has ADHD.


Bullet journals are great for people with executive function difficulties. This monitoring system keeps them on task, helps avoid thought overload, and helps to stay on top of things. Keep it simple at first. Just make sure to check in daily.

  • Store ideas/brain dumps.
  • Remember and complete ideas.
  • Incorporate easy planning.
  • Minimize forgetfulness.
  • Keep journaling/reflections all in one place.
  • Provides a creative, customizable depot.

While bullet journals rely on making lists, they’re also a great place for images. Doodle, add pictures, or mind map. Keep a detailed schedule to help budget time. Facilitate communication (face-to-face, documents, email, video chats). It improves abstract comprehension, supporting other deficits resulting from executive functioning deficiencies.

  • Making/adhering to timetables.
  • Avoiding procrastination.
  • Integrating gifts/talents.
  • Incorporating mindfulness practices.
  • No multitasking!

Bujo tips for ADHD and Autism

Check out this video done by someone who knows (How to ADHD) – WHY THE BULLET JOURNAL IS THE BEST PLANNER FOR ADHD BRAINS. In addressing executive functioning challenges, it’s excellent for autistic brains too!

Organizational skills can be tough to manage for people with ADHD and Autism. As it is not an academic subject, organizational skills are rarely taught in school. Students lack abilities leading to low confidence and failure. Difficulties trigger avoidance as a result of unrealistic expectations. We need to provide simple structures and bullet journals include a creative platform at the start. It’s a personal information system that incorporates self-creation.

Daily Entries

  • Tasks
  • Events
  • Notes


  • Balance/manage workload.
  • Provide a bird’s-eye view.
  • Forecast challenges.
  • Include habit trackers


  • Appointments
  • Deadlines
  • Goals

Future Log

  • Identifying important dates.
  • Planning future tasks and events.

Bullet journals support working memory, facilitate goal attainment, and maximize management/planning. Use these tips to support your practice.

  • Be resourceful.
  • Create a workspace.
  • Organize/centralize tools.
  • Prioritize what’s important.
  • Provide logical sequencing.
  • Helps to visualize the day.

With a bullet journal, teens and adults with ADHD are empowered to work toward personal, professional, and educational goals. It also provides a framework for mindfulness and reflection, while helping to reduce stress. A bujo is worth a try.

Start this mindful design practice in three easy steps. Get a notebook. Grab a pen. Have fun!


Copyright © 2023 by Edna Brown. All Rights Reserved.





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