After years of being a planner addict and scheduling my weeks on paper, I was introduced to the bullet journal method. It's a super convenient and creative way to make sense of all the things piling up in your life. Often, these dotted notebooks are divided into monthly layouts, weekly spreads, lists tracking different habits and more.
There are no rules for how you can organize your life on paper. I love having everything in one place to reference when I need to reference something, do a brain dump or plan for a week. There are so many apps, online calendars and programs out there, but nothing quite beats paper and a pen. Sometimes we just need to uncomplicate life and get back to the basics.
Need to be more grateful? Make a gratitude list. Finals coming up? Write down all your assignments. Want to become more disciplined? Start a plan. Want to go on an amazing trip this year? Track your money and save for it!
Bullet journaling as a way to not only stay organized but to also physically document your day (which is extremely helpful for students).
1. You get to choose how you plan your week out.
It's a bother to get a new planner and not be able to use all of the functions. In my experience, the weekly layout section is either too big, or far too small for my needs. But with a bullet journal, you can plan our own week just the way you like and decide how much space your chosen features need.
2. All your notes are kept in one place.
I am constantly trying to remember things I need to do, tell people, research, get next time I'm out or tasks that are due. Instead of having a ton of notes in my phone and sticky notes with random scribbles on it, I can keep them all together. This prevents me from losing important information (like when a bill is due) and being stressed because I can't find what I need.
3. You get to lay out your entire month how you choose.
Throughout a week, as I think of things I need to do or that I have planned for the neat future, I jot them down in an extra area I have in my weekly layout. If its a quick task, I try to do it that day or week. But, if it's an more extensive project, I keep it in that column so I can move it to the next month's spread if necessary. When someone asks me if I can get together soon, I can glance at the current month and the next month to get an idea of what I'll be doing.
4. You can track what you're spending and saving.
I'd say I generally make wise financial decisions, but sometimes I don't realize how much I'm spending until I see it on paper. When I say "no" to something, I'm saying "yes" to another. When I say "yes" to something, I am also saying "no" to another thing. It's all in your decisions whether we are getting closer or farther away from where we want to be.
5. Tracking assignments and due dates becomes way easier.
The days of being late for an assignment or test should be far over with all the methods we have. When your teacher tells you about an important date or assignment, get in the habit of writing it down right away to later transfer to your bullet journal. Keeping up with my syllabus during my college years has been one of the most helpful things I've done! Keeping the GPA up one task at a time (sent in before the due date, of course).
6. Staying on top of your to-do list has never been so easy.
Start with making a list. Don't worry about prioritizing as you write; just write down all the things you need to get done. Then you can read your list and number each item in terms of importance with number one being the most important and number 10 being less important. I make myself really think about the importance of each item and if it's time sensitive. I may need to shop for my summer internship and catch up with a friend, but I'd probably be less stressed doing those if I was caught up on work and school first.
7. They give you a place to track your habits.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm better keeping up with work and school than I am my own habits and health. I decided this had to change, so I started to think of the areas that I needed to pay more attention to. My water intake, social media use and my workouts were specific areas that were suffering. Now I keep up with my goals and tracking my progress through charts in my bullet journal.
8. You'll be able to hold yourself accountable with your goals.
Failing to plan often means planning to fail. It's super easy to forget what goals you made after the first of the month or year. Write them down in one place so you'll be reminded of them and be proud later on of all you have accomplished!
9. You get to personalize how you keep your budget.
I'm a writer and college student, so a typical budget doesn't work for me. Being in between jobs makes it difficult to find a plan tailored for my specific needs. Some months, I do fairly well financially, but others I can just pay a few bills and save a small amount. Creating my own budget in my bullet journal enables me to build just what I need without anything unnecessary.
10. Above all, you keep a record of your favorite moments, memories and days throughout the year.
There are few things I like more than looking back on memories and moments from the past. Jotting down something positive, memorable or even bittersweet makes me grateful and remember things I had forgotten. I don't want to ever get so wrapped up in how busy I am that I don't fully live in this beautiful life.