An Attempt to Plan Your Planner: Bullet Journaling

When we are already two months into 2018 is it too late to talk about new year’s resolutions? Let’s assume it is never too late to do something beneficial for yourself, shall we? One of my resolutions was to become more organized and actually stick to my organized self. With this goal on mind, I have bought a new agenda at the beginning of every year for some years now. However, I could only use these yearly agendas for a week – at most! Then I came across with a craze called bullet journaling.

I did not buy any agendas this year. Did I give up my hopes on becoming organized? NO. I have simply discovered a way that works for me and that’s why I am writing this post. To share the bullet journaling experience with other students who try to become more organized and less anxious about their to-do lists.

Now if you look up ‘bullet journal’ on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest you find thousands of results. At first they may seem intimidating with all the fancy notebooks, pens and pencils, elaborate embellishments, doodles, washi tapes etc. You do not have to get fancy unless you want to! The trick is to find something that works for you. My journal is so simple. I only use a blank notebook with three different colour pens. But If you have the talent and patience you can go ahead and make an aesthetically pleasing journal too! So what is this bullet journaling that has taken stationary lovers, getting-organized-freaks (ehem ehem) by storm?


What is Bullet Journaling?

Bullet journaling, simply put, is to plan your planner. Sounds funny at first but it is a personalized method you can employ to figure out your chores, studies or simple reminders. It was discovered and named by a person who has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and unlike digital apps or traditional agendas, bullet journals do not have a certain templates that you have to follow. The aim is to keep it simple and keep it together.

The main feature of the bullet journal is rapid logging. As the name suggests, your entries are put down as notes, tasks, events and you use a  different bullet to distinguish among these. A task („take out garbage“) gets a dot bullet, a note („roommate is out of town“) gets a dash, and an event („a birthday party“) gets a circle. If you want to take it further you can use x to mark ‘done’, ! to emphasize importance, > if your task is not completed but pushed to next day etc. Like everything else in your bullet journal, it is upto you.


What is in a Bullet Journal?

As I have mentioned before, the main point of bullet journal is that it is completely personalized to your own needs, so you are free to put down whatever you want in it. Since the goal is to keep it simple and keep your mind from wandering, the more purpose your bullet journal has the better it is. It can be a planner, a to-do list but a diary too, as well as doodling space.

What I have found useful is to divide my journal in sections before actually moving into daily tasks. I have a “year at a glance” section in which I have divided a page into 12 months, noting any major event or deadline. Then I have a page for more general “brain dump” and “ideas” without any date or deadline. Then comes my tracker for reading where I write down the book’s name, author and the dates I read them. Remember this is personal, so you can add as many trackers as you need. Trackers for exercise, budget, meal planning, shopping list, water intake etc. You just need to know what you need!

Then I move on to weekly/daily section where I divide page into seven days with the related bullets for the day. I prepare a new 7-day page every Sunday with days and dates. It helps me to look into the following week, prioritize my tasks and calm me down about the number of things to do. I carry it around with me and write down any new event, task or idea that comes up during the day or x any other task I have completed.


Why Should You Start a Bullet Journal?

I know I am not alone in this but if you are like me, at any given moment there are 500 tabs open on your brain regarding what to do –from insignificant tasks like taking out the garbage to more major tasks like paying your tuition fee, and these thoughts keep you occupied racing through your mind during an important lecture or simply at lunch you are having with your friends, you my friend, need to keep calm and start a bullet journal.

I think this might be the longest I have actually kept a planner and stick to it, so I can confidently say this is the method that works for me. It is a great way to track behaviour and habits. It has helped me to spare a little time every day to think on what I have done and what I will do. Most importantly, it has helped me to get things done without being overwhelmed by them and tossing my journal away. It is easier to make one than it sounds, I promise. So grab a notebook and your favourite pens and give it a try.


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