One of my goals for this year was to improve upon my organization. After researching different methods of de-cluttering one’s life, I decided that bullet journaling would be the best course of action for me. I figured that an artistic, visually interesting approach would fit well with my personality and give me the opportunity to create my own planner.
In the past 3 months, I’ve realized that bullet journaling has a lot of benefits. In my experience, planners bought in the store haven’t always fit my needs. I like having lots of space to doodle, brain dump, journal, and track my habits. However, starting the bullet journaling process was a bit more challenging than I had originally realized, and finding inspiration for the types of pages I wanted was difficult. I’ve figured out a pretty good system since. My pages are not the most beautiful, nor will they work for everybody, but I figured that I would offer some advice.
What You’ll Need
A bullet journal (duh). You can start with any kind of bound book. I have found that books with dotted pages work best as opposed to blank ones, because the dots help you to format your pages neatly. However, if you are more bold or more creative than I am, blank pages will work fine. I ordered mine off Amazon for about $10!
Pens! You can use any kind of pen for your bullet journal, but I prefer a lot of color! I use Mildliners and micron drawing pens. There’s a lot of freedom here.
Ruler (suggested for making clean lines)
A calendar (to make sure you have your days right)
Time! Setting up your bullet journal can take up a lot of time, depending on how in depth you decide to go. I usually do mine while I’m watching Netflix at the end of the day, or when I need to relax.
I started my bullet journal with a future log. I made little calendar pages to plan out my year. I use it as a space to record birthdays, holidays, and other big events.
I then created a Semester Overview. I wrote down my schedule and blocked it out because I’m a visual person. I left a space to record my grades to track my progress from midterm to final grades, and dedicated a place to reflect on the semester at the end of it.
For each month, I do a calendar that takes up two full pages. This is a good space to doodle as well, but it’s also good for giving an overview of due dates, class cancellations, and other monthly tasks. I also make sure to create a page for monthly goals, and another for a “brain dump” (not pictured). I’m guilty of using my “brain dumps” for evil when I doodle on them in class, but what else am I supposed to do? *cough*
Finally, for day-to-day operations, I make planner-style pages. I use two full pages per week. I leave space for checklists. At the bottom of each page, notice I make little habit trackers. I fill them in with black ink when I do the things I want to do, like go to the gym, complete my homework, and call home. On the bottom of the second page, I make lists of daily goals and check them off when I complete them.
BONUS: For finals week, I created a special page that listed the times, assignments, and my study plans for tackling each final. This has helped me to wrap my head around the inevitable mental breakdown will occur at some point and prepare for it in advance!
Bullet journaling is amazing, and it has changed my organizational life for the better. I would highly recommend doing it to anyone who enjoys art and planning!