Hello, my friends! Hope you’re all living your best lives and thriving through everything going on. I am waist deep in university work despite only just completing my first official week (after two weeks of ‘essential skills’) but I thought I’d update you on the bullet journal I kind of started and I’ve somewhat been using these past few weeks.
So, first off, I finally got round to doing something I said I wanted to do, which is a big deal in itself because everyone knows I’m all talk and no action.
I began a bullet journal of sorts to keep my life together and plan better, and I have to say, it’s been great for me because I can personalise it exactly how I like and I wanted to go through it and show you how I started it up and how I’ve been laying out my setups.
I’m using a B6 sized notebook from Muji which is dotted (essential for the cute bullet journalling pics) but it was still relatively cheap (essential for all the students out there). I actually really love this for journalling purposes because it’s just super cute and I’m a sucker for nice, high-quality stationery. My only slight qualm with it is the wire-bounding which can be a bit annoying when you’re trying to write very close to the edge, but generally, it doesn’t bother me.
Also, something you should know about me is that I’m really not artistically inclined in the slightest, but I like my journal to have a minimalistic, pretty look about it. Basically, that’s code for ‘I used pretty pastel highlighters excessively because I can’t draw or do anything that would make my bullet journal picturesque otherwise’. Regardless, I think the beauty of the bullet journal is how simple it can look, yet still be an incredibly functional piece of work. Okay, I’m done making excuses now, please enjoy the good stuff!
The inside cover page has my name and contact details on but it’s a boring page with little to add to the overall effect so I bypassed it.
This is my contents page, which has been an incredible failure, mainly -but not exclusively- due to the fact that I’ve not even numbered my pages yet. Sometimes I really don’t know why I do this!
That’s not to say it will never be used, I’m sure once I get round to it, it’ll be an integral part of the process, but right now I feel a bit weird putting other things and ideas down in my journal so things are running pretty chronologically as of right now.
Here’s a pretty end-of-2018 calendar to sink your teeth into! I spent ages trying to calculate box sizes to make it all fit and miraculously, everything ended up pretty much like I was expecting on this page. Although, funny story, you can see that I highlighted the Friday column as well the weekend days columns, but that was a mistake because I didn’t properly check what I was highlighting and ended up doing it on Friday first. No panic, however, because I changed the colour up and did the weekends too. I find this to be a nice overview of the rest of the year and I do flip back to it often when I need to refer to future dates.
A big September calendar with very few events listed because I’m sure my exciting social life is obvious enough. Personally, a monthly calendar is vital for me because I like to see the whole month at a glance, especially now that I’m back in full-time education with a proper timetable that changes every week almost. You can see I had a little monthly goals box but I can’t explain, it just made me feel a bit strange thinking and writing monthly academic/social goals, especially so early into university life. I did urge myself to make at least one, which involved making a long-term friend, and I never actually ticked it off but I think I’ve made a few long-term friends now, so I should probably go back and tick that.
The next few pages involved me making various notes and to-do lists, which is honestly the real, nitty-gritty stuff that makes up the bulk of my journal, because my whole life seems to revolve around lists nowadays. You can see that I made a to-do list that spanned a whole week, which I found to be super helpful to look at the bigger picture, but I haven’t done that again since. I have gotten into the habit of making a master to-do list for every weekend now because there’s always so much to do, and I often try to distinguish which day I want to get specific things done on because I feel like it makes me more productive, seeing as I hold myself accountable to complete all the tasks I have for that day.
Something I also recommend doing with big to-do lists is to prioritise which tasks are the most important, which I did on my weekly list by numbering the four most important tasks from one to four. Pretty simple for sure, but quite effective at keeping a strong focus on the important tasks.
I have to also point out how pretty those pink and purple colours look together! Truly a match made in heaven. My friends have been making fun of my affinity for pastel highlighters and my fixation with the illusion of productivity but I must demand, who could possibly look at those wonderful colours together and not immediately feel a lightness in their chest?
Another monthly spread, for October this time (how fast is time flying nowadays!), which is really nothing special. You may note that I didn’t include a monthly goals box this time, not because I don’t have any goals, but I felt like I didn’t want to write them down for the sake of writing them down. I have a consolidation/reading week coming up very soon which is exciting because I’m looking forward to catching up with all my notes and relaxing a little bit, seeing as there’s very little downtime during term time.
My only weekly spread so far! I had a bit of extra time the Sunday before this week started and I thought I’d make a little plan of my week because that’s the kind of stuff I like to do on Sunday evenings. Anyway, I kind of anticipated having slightly more events during this week which is why I have so much extra space at the bottom, but I never really ended up doing much, or if I did then I never wrote it down. I did like this layout for the week but I can’t imagine doing it every week. I think having my timetable integrated into my calendar and being so easily accessible by phone makes me a little hesitant to do weekly spreads because they feel pointless.
It does look kind of cute though and I find the process of journalling to be quite therapeutic so I may do it again based purely on how nice it makes me feel, but in terms of practicality, it’s not great.
Some more basic to-do lists, with the first one being the list I made for this weekend. Besides the fact that I haven’t completed nearly as much as I hoped to this weekend, these are pretty similar to the lists I’ve made before.
When dealing with making lists for specific cases, I like to separate the content from other, more logistical, stuff that I have to do because then I can have my journal open while I do my work and make a list of everything I don’t understand as I go along, but it doesn’t get mixed up with other things I need to do like reminders to reference where I get information from and to condense notes.
One last page I’d like to include is a very specific study plan that I made for a study day I intended to do. So for this, I divided all the questions I had into time slots based on how much needed to be done for each question, including extra time for breaks both during the sessions and between different sessions.
I think, in an ideal world, when I’m more aware of how long I need to spend on certain things, this would be a great idea but I ended up not sticking to this timetable at all and I worked way over my allotted finishing times for a lot of questions.
Despite that, however, I remember feeling super stressed before I made this because I felt like I’d never get all the work done, but I felt significantly better after I’d divided my time up and I persuaded myself that I had enough time to do everything. Things were very overwhelming at that point so this made me feel more at ease that I could do it all, and I did manage to finish it all that night, despite not sticking to any of the time limits. (let’s carefully omit the part where I finished at 1am!)
Overall, my journal has been very much focused on my studies and is more of an academic planner than anything (especially as I’m using it to recap whole cases now too) but it has been fun and useful. I can imagine my way of doing this will evolve over time, hence I titled this one ‘episode one’ and I’d love to share any future changes I make to my technique or process. A lot of my life right now has been trying to settle into a routine and figure out processes for everything going on so I hope I can get there eventually, with every aspect of my life.
Thanks for reading,