Student life: Bullet Journals…

So how do I maintain a busy school life on top of working full-time and having a pretty packed social life?

Is there a secret?

Not really.

Everyone has been bullet journaling since like 2010. Its turned into a pretentious art craze where you spend more time decorating the damn pages than using them to help you.

For those of you who don’t know what a bullet journal is, it’s basically a freeform planner. You get a blank notebook of some kind, and format the month and day pages by hand. It’s kind of like ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’ thing, because so many day planners out there don’t have space for the things some people need in day to day life, like planning time for social events outside of work or school or including pages no one uses these days (address book and phone numbers by hand).

While I admit that the craze over aesthetically pleasing journals is fun to look it, a real bullet journal looks like shit.

Mine looks like shit

Why?

I don’t have time to keep up an aesthetic while I’m commuting and working and doing schoolwork. Which is what the bullet journal was intended for. Being too busy to care about meaningless formatting.

Does bullet journalling really work?

Some days. If I remember to update it. There’s no right or wrong way to bullet journal, but there are ways to make it work for you. 

It takes time to get the hang of bullet journalling, between setting up your own format and then getting through the cluelessness of spreads and what will work for you and your life.

I honestly love using mine to keep track of what’s due when and to make sure my schedules for work and school are lining up right. 

So how do I set up my bullet journal?

I buy a cheapo journal from the retailer I work at (since I’m there a hell of a lot). Then I crack open to the first page. I relish the fleeting moment of aesthetics and productivity.

Then I begin my spreads. I start with a month 2-page spread. I make a little calendar for the month and list out important days for the month, like birthdays, holidays, etc. On the second page, I write out appoitments or meetings I make throughout the month, as well as test dates and project due dates.

Each class gets a color code; for example one class is exclusively green in my journal. Everything for the class is written only in green. Depending on whether I’m beginning the semester that month or halfway through, I’ll write out my class schedule and syllabus due dates for each class (in corresponding color). If I’m halfway through the semester, I’ll just note important dates for my classes for that month.

Then comes the daily spreads. Each day gets it’s own page. For each day, I block out what time’s I’m either in class, commuting, or working. I also make two columns; what’s due that day and what’s coming up that week. This really helps as I get things done and have free time, I can start working on projects or reorganize my notes.

I do my daily spreads throughout the day. So if I have a couple minutes between classes, I’ll update the spread for due dates that the professor has extended or start setting up my spread for the next day.

I have to keep every day as planned out as possible since I do have very little free time.

Does bullet journaling really help? I’m not entirely sure. Some people swear by it. Me, I just need something that works better than a mass-produced planner where half the pages I won’t use because they don’t apply to my life and my day-to-day. I love having everything written down somewhere so I can look back and kick myself after I miss something that I should’ve remembered.

And sure, who doesn’t like looking like that bitch in class, pulling out a cutesy little journal and jotting down something and looking super put-together and ‘on top of it’.

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