The Bullet Journal: Your Best New Organizational Tool During University (and life!)

Photo credit: studygemz.tumblr.com
Photo credit: studygemz.tumblr.com

Ever found yourself caving into the pressure and stress that comes along with university life? Or if you feel your university life is surprisingly easy to handle, how about your personal, professional life, on top of that? It can be difficult to juggle assignments, exams and extracurriculars, along with personal achievements, tasks, thoughts and habits. If your mind is muddled with keeping track of this spectrum of tasks, along with the dates that correlate with them, you may find your brain lacks the freedom to actually get around to doing the tasks. Just thinking about them on a loop, on a daily basis can make anyone’s head spin!

Sure, you can jot down the tasks on a wall calendar or your iPhone’s Note app. Or, if you’re more handy with a notebook, you may juggle with a few notebooks, each dedicated for its own unique purpose. However, just having to manage and flip (or scroll!) through all these tasks can give you a bit of a headache. Some tasks may slip your mind as you swipe open your iPhone to jot it down, only to be distracted by that WhatsApp notification from your friend.
Bullet Journal

Enter the Bullet Journal –you may have heard about the massively popular trend; you may have seen your roommate flipping through his notebook at the beginning and end of every day; you may have even seen the YouTube video of the Bullet Journal which exploded online last year, and been too intimated to try your hand at it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=246&v=fm15cmYU0IM

Well, we’re here to tell you to spare just 5 minutes of your time and get with the Bullet Journal hype! It’s so worth it, you’ll thank us when you begin ‘migrating’ your tasks at the end of each month. Seems like a bunch of mumbo jumbo? Let us present to you, the Bullet Journal:

The What

It is your planner, calendar, notebook and journal –all in one. The idea, first launched in Spring 2016, leans more towards the simplistic side. It is so simple, it’s innovative.

The Who

For anyone with a million tasks to accomplish, deadlines to meet, or even yoga classes to attend(!), a Bullet Journal is ideal. As university students, a Bullet Journal is the answer to your prayers –read on to know why!

The How

1. Get a hold of the basics

notebook and a pen

A notebook and a pen (or a pencil) would do, when you’re starting out your very first Bullet Journal.

Bonus Tip: If you want to get creative, you can choose a number of different coloured pens and highlighters as well, which can be useful to mark out different dates, subjects, etc. in your Bullet Journal as well (more on this later!).

2. Make an index and mark page numbers

Photo credit: buzzfeed.com
Photo credit: buzzfeed.com

The first two pages of your notebook will be your index. Subsequently, number out all the pages of your notebook, so that it is easier to track them –don’t worry, it will only take you about a minute or two to mark all the odd number of your notebook.

Bonus Tip: For every page you use throughout your Bullet Journal, don’t forget to go back and mark those pages on your index, so you know exactly which page to flip to for a specific day, month, or collection, etc.

3. Map out a Future Log

Photo credit: bulletjournal.com
Photo credit: bulletjournal.com

A Future Log is merely a fancy term for your yearly calendar. Turn over your page from the index, and, using a pen and ruler, create a calendar with all the months of the year; here, you will be filling out any tasks and reminders taking place in later months, instead of the current month.

Bonus Tip: Every task, appointment, birthday, event and deadline you write out in this journal would be in the form of a bullet –that’s where the journal gets its name from! Every time you manage to finish off a task, just put a cross across the bullet point (or fill in the box if you choose to make boxes instead of bullets).

4. Monthlies, Weeklies and Dailies

Photo credit: creativesavingsblog.com
Photo credit: creativesavingsblog.com

The two pages after your Future Log, you would create a monthly calendar of your current month. On the left-hand side, you would list down all the dates of the month (along with the corresponding day of the week, if you like), and list down the appointments, birthdays etc. next to them. On the right-hand side, you would list down the tasks you wish to accomplish throughout the month.

After the monthly calendar, you would next make a weekly calendar of the following week, and, after that, your dailies, as each day passes.

Bonus Tip: Your Bullet Journal isn’t merely about tasks, appointments, deadlines; you can include things you wish to accomplish, such as the number of days you hope to exercise in a week, your possible meal plans, etc. in your logs, as well as events that transpired, people you met –much like any diary entry!

5. Migration

At the end of each day, week, and month, when you are planning out your next one, you would look back at the previous one, of tasks you did not manage to accomplish, and transfer them to the next day, leaving out tasks which you no longer deem important, and crossing out tasks you have completed. This process is called migration.

6. Collections

Photo credit: thelazygeniuscollective.com
Photo credit: thelazygeniuscollective.com

Here comes the journal aspect of your Bullet Journal: throughout the duration of your use of it, you can write out lists of ideas, events, people, habits, etc. Just turn to the next page and make a list! Collections like these can be of books you want to read, internship applications you have sent out, a list of things you need to buy for a friend’s upcoming birthday; the possibilities are endless!

Bonus Tip: As a university student, Collections can be an extremely useful way to list out the subjects you are taking, along with the exams and assignments which go along with them, as well as making sure you haven’t missed too many classes for a particular subject.

Pro-Tips

Once you feel like you have the hang of it, you can get creative and more detailed with it.
1. Signifiers
While listing down tasks, items, etc., you can make use of different signifiers to easily sort them out. For example, you can use a dot, a box, a heart and a star for different types of tasks, such as a box for habits, a star for deadlines. For subject deadlines, make use of highlighters! Align a specific colour with a subject, and highlight the date on your monthly calendar, so you can easily know which subject assignment is due that particular day.

2. Threading
Here’s a scenario: throughout your journal, you have three collections of books you want to read, on different pages. You can write out the different pages on the index, of course. But instead of having to flip to the index every time to check which page is next, on the first page of the collection, next to the page number, write out the next page number in the notebook to flip to for the collection, and so on! Life made easier, essentially.

3. Get artsy!

Get artsy

While many of us can’t really brag about our art skills, many others make the Bullet Journal their hobby (search up the infinite #bulletjournal on Instagram to see just what we’re talking about). You can make use of different coloured pens and highlights, stickers, Washi tape; write out inspirational quotes and make designs and doodles. Personalize your Bullet Journal; make it your home!

The Why
Get organized
We all know the feeling of helplessness when it comes to managing your academic and personal life at the same time. We can’t say this enough, but a Bullet Journal is the absolute perfect way to achieve this, with all your deadlines, habits and thoughts in one place. Think of the convenience!

Flexibility
Being able to customize your notebook is part of the fun in owning a Bullet Journal; you can even have an entire page of doodles, since you don’t need to go by any set of rules as you would be obliged to with most calendars and notebooks. Its flexibility too comes with the idea that, for example, if you believe you don’t need to include any daily logs, don’t! Keep with your weekly of monthly logs. If you don’t have anything going on the next day, you can just choose to skip it. Even the way you choose to organize your logs, is up to your own imagination, creativity, and convenience; with no rules, you can wing it any way you like

It’s Therapeutic
Get artsyHere’s something we bet you didn’t know: journaling has been proven to help you sleep better! Having all your thoughts dumped in one place, your calendar and deadlines organized, you don’t have to constantly worry about them. Moreover, coming back to your journal at the end of the day to mark off the tasks you managed to accomplish gives you a feeling of inner satisfaction and pride.

So what are you waiting for, pick up that empty notebook lying next to you and give Bullet Journaling a go –it may just change your life.