Let's face it: college is stressful. One of the most stressful things about it is having to deal with time management and organization all on your own. Your extracurricular activities aren't scheduled neatly after all your classes for the day are over, and there's no one there to remind you not to spend $100 you don't have online shopping or that you haven't eaten anything besides Nutella and Oreos in the past two days.
Sometimes I get lazy with my organization, and it can make me feel like I'm digging myself a hole that will be pretty hard to get out of. But the one thing that always makes me feel like I've got my life together is my bullet journal. With the studyblr community growing on sites like Tumblr and Pinterest, these visually appealing organizational tools may seem intimidating, but once you take the time to start your own system and stick to it, it can make a world of difference. In organizing almost every part of your life, it really is amazing what you can do with a blank notebook.
1. Time Management
The most obvious way to use your bullet journal is for scheduling and time management. The reason why I love my bullet journal is because it provides so much more flexibility than a normal planner. The layout is totally up to you, whether you decide to plan by the week, day or hour. The color schemes and layouts are totally up to you, and can be tailored to whatever you will be able to keep track of best.
There's a reason why bullet journals have become such a popular trend over the past few months: when they're done right, they're beautiful. The beautiful handwriting and doodles seen on all the "studyblrs" on tumblr seems intimidating to replicate, but anyone can make a successful (and aesthetically pleasing) journal with patience, creativity and washi tape.
Bullet journals are useful because you take them one page at a time. That means that in between planning pages, you can use the book as a traditional journal. Personally, I think it's a lot less pressure when you don't have to commit to the same format on any page, and it gives a lot more freedom for creativity to experiment with different styles of journaling, incorporating art, quotes, poetry or whatever else you're passionate about.
4. Goal Tracking
Bullet journals are also effective in keeping track of long term goals in addition to planning day-by-day. It's a huge motivator to write out all of your big goals in one place, and can help keep you on the right track towards all of them, from final exams to a job or internship you're looking towards in the future to keeping up a new fitness routine.
5. Habit Tracking
Another helpful tool I've picked up from bullet journaling is habit tracking. Keeping a visual of all the things I'm supposed to do throughout the day, like cleaning my room or devoting a little time towards a big assignment, are very helpful. I have also found that this is a good way to deal with anxiety, because it can make you feel more in control of and on top of your whole day. Being able to actually see how often you do the things you're supposed to is a great way to actually getting yourself to do them more often.
Bullet journals provide with a ton of leeway to go back and forth between pages to work on, and this makes it possible to have certain pages constantly in progress. For example, taking a few pages to list the books you've been dying to read, the shows you're trying to make time to watch, and the bands you're dreaming of seeing in concert. You only need to start these off with a few things, and it can always be added to as your preferences grow and change. It's fun to watch as the lists grow, and satisfying to cross items off of them.
7. Quotes and Inspiration
Personally, I like to turn to other people's words when I feel stressed or need to work through something, so my journal is filled with pages of quotes, either about a certain topic or by a certain person. Affirmations and positive energy always have a place in a good bullet journal, because it's always encouraging to have little pieces of motivation to look back on when you need a push to get through the day.
Bullet journals may seem like a lot of work to keep up, which can make it super intimidating to actually start one, but trust me, it's more than worth it once you do, and I've been more productive than ever since I started one myself. All you need is a blank notebook and a little creativity, so get out there and get organized!