Creatively Organized - A Guide to Bullet Journaling

With final exams just around the corner and a mountain of work ahead, there is no better time to try and get organized. Whether you are looking to make your weekly schedule more fun or are just totally lost when it comes to organization, this guide can help lead you in the right direction. Bullet journaling is a relaxing and creative way to organize ideas, an agenda, final exam study time, document recipes or even plan a vacation (which we will all need by the time the semester ends). Whatever you are looking for, this guide will help you create a cute and customized schedule that fits all your organizational needs! 

While bullet journaling tends to be done in a blank journal, there is no need for a clean slate if you don't want one. I personally tend to use an agenda and then work with the space provided. It serves as a basic outline with plenty of room for creativity. 

Bullet journaling can be extremely personalized. Above is my schedule before and after I made it unique and my own. Some commonly used elements are specific colors and symbols to denote certain activities or responsibilities. For instance, my work schedule is in dark blue with a star next to it. My extracurricular responsibilities are teal with checkboxes beside them. Anything in the far right "To-Do" column with a weekday listed has a corresponding colored asterisk in the left weekday columns. Other notable elements might be the way my homework section is arranged, with subjects and weekdays listed along with checkboxes and room to add specific tasks.

Personal scheduling elements can also shine in a bullet journal. For instance, a typical Sunday task for me is meal prepping. To make my journal cute and fun, I drew a little chef's hat next to this task. Another personal element is my "goal of the week" to hit the gym. Leaving a line next to that goal allows me to keep track of how many times I go. These additions to my bullet journal make it cute and personalized but also help me to stay organized. An additional component I find beneficial is creating a key to use as a reference for what specific symbols, patterns, and colors indicate.

If you are feeling ambitious with your creative organization skills, or have something you want to organize that may not apply to a weekly agenda, this is an example of what starting from a blank slate may look like in bullet journaling. For this example, I created my tentative final exam week agenda. Feeling overwhelmed by the workload finals carries is extremely common for me, but I find it is possible to avoid with some simple organization. Bullet journaling can fill this role while also acting as an outlet of creativity and relaxation in a time of stress. Better yet, it still counts as being productive! 

My exam week schedule runs in a similar way to my weekly agenda, with color-coding, checkboxes, and fun personal elements that add some pizzazz to an otherwise drab agenda. Adding borders and cute fonts alongside bright colors is a great way to approach this full-on bullet journaling. When I was first starting out, Pinterest was a great resource for specific decorative elements and fonts to try, and I still refer to it for fresh ideas. 

Another big part of bullet journaling is experimenting. This can be explored with colors, fonts and other personal decorative elements like borders, flowers, polka dots and the like. Doodles that correspond to the specifics of your bullet journal entry are also super fun to test out.

As great as this form of creative organization seems, however, starting out can seem daunting or even unappealing. Thankfully, there are ways to ease into using fancy fonts and creating cute doodles. There is no shame in starting with pencil and working your way up to markers or pens! If you are still struggling, there are some great YouTube tutorials and channels that will help to creatively guide you as well. If you are feeling hesitant with the hands-on side of bullet journaling, that's okay too! Adorable organizational stickers are available so you can start out slow with your bullet journaling. 

While nothing, not even bullet journaling, can completely override the stress of a busy schedule, final exams, or planning a big event, it can function as a fun and helpful method of organization. Sometimes, in itself, getting organized can be an asset that sets productivity in the right direction, and bullet journaling is a customizable and creative place to start.