Get super organized with a bullet journal

College can be challenging, but these tips can help students enjoy their time here. Photo: Taelar Pollmann The Sentry

A bullet journal fosters creativity and organization that can be personalized to anyone. Photo: Taelar Pollmann The Sentry
The most diverse, creative, customizable planning system

As school systems across the country switch to remote learning, most students are becoming even more attached to the digital world. While digital planning and organization systems like Google Calendar may seem most convenient, the physical planning system of bullet journaling offers students a much-needed break from the screens while also being a fun creative outlet. 

In recent years, the bullet journal system has gained increasing notoriety for its signature blend of creativity and productivity. Coined by digital project designer and father of the bullet journal, Ryder Carroll, bullet journaling offers a blank canvas for its users. The original guide operates solely on bullet points (hence the name), which are used to create to-do lists, shopping lists, bucket lists, and just about anything else. According to their website, “The goal of the Bullet Journal is to help its practitioners (Bullet Journalists) live intentional lives, ones that are both productive and meaningful.”  

Bullet journaling is fully customizable to the extreme, making it more effective for most people who don’t always love pre-made planners or digital planning systems. Want a daily to-do list? Easy. Want to block the hours to keep on a schedule while working from home? Do it. Don’t use it for a day or two? No guilt over empty boxes or a blank screen. Just pick up where the journal was left off.  

And for the creatives out there, bullet journaling can be so much more than just bullet points and tick marks. It’s like a grownup coloring book but with more practicality. Break out the calligraphy pens, the glitter pens, the stickers, and make something that inspires joy, even though what’s really on the pages may be a towering to-list. Hey, at least there are pretty colors.  

A bullet journal doesn’t have to exclusively contain school/work-related content. Bullet journalists can also incorporate more creative, lifestyle pages, like “Books to Read,” favorite recipes, and lists of self-care acts to refer toWhile the current stay-at-home order makes many activities impossible, a bullet journal is also a great place to write down things to look forward to once the quarantine is over, which is a great way to boost positivity. Additionally, bullet journals can be used in the same way a regular journal is used by incorporating daily sections for writing, which is a great way to relieve some stress.  

Still skeptical? That’s okay. Digital planning systems work great for some people and can easily be used in conjunction with some kind of physical, handwritten activity. Handwriting, as obsolete as it seems nowadays, has a multitude of benefits. According to a study published in the Journal for Educational Psychology, handwriting usually leads to better recall, meaning fewer forgotten assignments, advising meetings, and coffee dates with the cute human that works in the bookstore.  

Bullet journaling doesn’t have rules or structure. It’s the ultimate anarchist planning system. There are no real how-to guides, but here are some tips on how to start:  

  1. Get a notebook and a pen. Spend as much money or as little as desired.  
  2. Go on Pinterest, look at some weekly layouts, monthly layouts, collections, even just little doodles.  
  3. Try out ideas: nothing has to be done in advance, so if something doesn’t work, change it!  
  4. Don’t try to make it perfect.  
  5. White-out is a lifesaver.  

Happy bullet journaling!  

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