By Rose Martin
College life can be extremely stressful. Balancing multiple responsibilities, projects, examinations, extracurricular activities, work and social life is an overwhelming experience for most students, often causing them to lose sight of their long-term aspirations. Every student struggles with effective time management and organization amidst the chaotic college schedule, which may contribute to stunting his/her career growth. If you are looking for a simple and effective way to organize your life, bullet journaling can help you manage your tasks and set your priorities right, putting you on the fast track to success.
A neat and organized bullet journal with intricately-designed pages and handwritten notes speaks volumes about your personality. Though bullet journaling isn’t easy, it is a quick and effective technique to get a grip on your life, inspiring you to stay organized, creative and productive.
Here are seven valuable bullet journaling tips that will help you stay organized and manage your time, enabling you to build a bright and successful future.
Determine your objective
Before you dive into bullet journaling, it’s crucial for you find your motivation. Determining your expectations and motives for starting a bullet journal will help you document your life events and goals in an effective manner. Moreover, your primary and secondary objectives will determine the format of the journal, enabling you to include the necessary sections or collections.
For instance, if your primary objective is to organize your college life, your journal must give due importance to your lecture schedule, the study time, the extra classes and the examination schedules. You could have other objectives of starting a journal, namely planning your diet and workout sessions and/or monitoring your savings and expenses.
Focus on the basic elements
The index, the collections, the rapid-logging, and the migration make up the basic structure of a bullet journal.
The index typically takes the first page of the bullet journal that helps the journalist to organize the various sections or collections, ensuring easy navigation through the journal pages. Make sure you include all the important topics with the corresponding page numbers and leave enough space for sections you might want to include later.
Every page in the bullet journal is given a topic that serves as a means to organize similar ideas. These topics are referred to as collections which may utilize several pages of the journal. The three main types of collections are –
- Future Log – This section is used to note down events and appointments in the future
- Monthly Log – This section enables you to organize your month using the calendar page and the task page. The calendar page must have enough space to enter short notes or events that you need to remember.
- Daily Log – This section helps you manage your daily tasks, events, and notes in order of their occurrence.
Depending on your objectives, collections can also take additional forms, namely meeting notes, shopping lists, expenditures and mind maps.
- Rapid-Logging: Rapid-logging helps you make entries in the short-form notation using bullets and signifiers. You can use the task (indicated by a dot), the event (indicated by an open circle), or the note bullets (indicated by a dash) throughout the collections to signify whether they are scheduled, changed, or completed.
A few examples of signifiers are a star symbol (*) for priority tasks, an eye for ideas you need to explore, a dollar sign ($) for purchases, and an exclamation mark (!) for a new inspiration.
- Migration: Migration helps you review your performance and filter out the tasks that haven’t been accomplished. It is typically done at the end of a month when preparing the next month’s log. Evaluate whether the unfinished tasks are still crucial and worth doing and migrate them between collections on a monthly basis.
Further reading: Six Helpful Time-Management Tips for College Students
Use signifiers and doodles creatively
Embellishing your bullet journal with signifiers and doodles will make it look arty and appealing. Signifiers give the bullet points an additional context, enabling you to enter short notes in a creative manner. Elements such as dots, circles, dashes, stars or asterisks, crosses, right and left arrows and exclamation marks help you chart out the daily, weekly, or monthly plan quickly and easily.
Invest in good-quality tools
For bullet journaling, you will require tools such as a notebook, pens, sketch pens, rulers, Washi tapes, and stickers. These tools will determine the life and the attractive appeal of your bullet journal. Moreover, good-quality tools will help you stay committed to the cause, motivating you to use them creatively in your journal.
Invest in archival-quality paper that is acid-free, enabling you to keep your handwritten records safe and fade-proof. Most bullet journalists seem to prefer notebook brands, namely Leuchtturm 1917, Moleskine, Rhodia and Essentials. Pigment and ink pen brands like Sakura Micron, PilotFriXion, Staedtler Triplus Fineliner and Uni-ball Jetstream can help add a touch of color and creativity to your journal.
Don’t go completely off technology
Traditionally, a bullet journal involves penning down your daily activities, events and future goals. However, amidst your demanding schedule, you may miss out on some important events or deadlines. Use digital tools such as Google Calendar, Todoist and Evernote along with your bullet journal to manage your appointments, project deadlines and tasks effectively.
For instance, at the beginning of the month, enter your monthly plan in the Google Calendar and use your bullet journal as a daily tool to compile and monitor the tasks, the events, and the goals by referring to the digital calendar.
Using the best of both worlds (on and offline) will help you organize your life and focus on your professional and personal goals.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with bullet journaling
Bullet journaling is a creative journey in which you constantly need to experiment in order to come up with the most effective organization style that meets your needs. Since you are new to this process you may be tempted to follow the various formats available online. Regardless of whether you try the original Ryder Carroll style or other contemporary ideas, remember to experiment and be open to change. Retain what’s working for you and get rid of formats that are not helping you achieve your objectives.
Get inspired, but avoid comparison
The internet is full of inspiration with millions of Instagram and Pinterest users posting gorgeous bullet journal pages. It’s ok to refer to them for a few creative ideas, however, avoid comparing your journal with others. Every person has a specific objective for maintaining their bullet journal and the format will change accordingly.
Comparing yourself with others will disappoint you and stop you from trying new things. Your bullet journal is unique to you and must meet your requirements. For instance, if you like to express everything using symbols and doodles, nothing should stop you. Similarly, if you prefer scribbling your goals instead of using symbols, go ahead and do it.
College life is all about planning and organizing tasks, managing time effectively and setting objectives that help you realize your purpose in life. Use the above-mentioned bullet journaling tips to take control of your life and build a bright career.
Rose Martin is an editor at Book Siren. Book Siren helps readers learn about various book publications and authors. Rose likes to travel with friends and family. Her main interests are music, reading novels and fitness. Reach out to Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.