If you’ve been in the studyblrcommunity for very long you’ve probably heard of a style of planner called abullet journal. At its core it’s designed to be a catch-all for the varioustasks, appointments, thoughts, and lists you create as you go about your day, allowing you to quickly jot down a note or to-do and be able to remember and either complete or expand on it later—if you want to learn more, you can go to the creator’s website, bulletjournal.com.
However, as with any system, everyone has taken and modified it in their own way to fit their needs. I’ve taken the basic concept and modified it to fit my needs as a student on a quarter system, with work, classes, and extracurriculars to keep track of.
I use a Piccadilly essential notebook for my bullet journal. It’s essentially a bargain Moleskine; it’s about a third of the price, but likely about as durable. It also has better paper, in my opinion. Mine’s a little run-down simply from being dropped and thrown into my backpack over six months but it’s held together pretty well, considering how much I use it. Mine also has graph paper, as I find it easier to make my calendar pages and keep everything nicely lined up with all the little squares. I also use post-it flags with mine to mark important pages: purple is this quarter’s schedule and classes, blue is the current month, and green is “project pages”, i.e. any lists or notes I’ll need to access often
My index is on the first real page of the bullet journal. Looking back I wish I’d skipped to the next page, as this one is attached a little funny, but oh well. I mark down all my months, quarters, and list/note pages in here. Even after seven months it’s not a very long list as I tend to use my journal as more of a day-to-day planner than a book of lists, so it’s mostly just months and quarters her
For each term of school I make a quarter spread. Here I put down my weekly schedule for that quarter, including classes, work, and clubs, as well as brief information on each of my classes. You can see I had kind of a packed schedule this past quarter! For each class I like to write down the professor’s name and what sort of assignments and tests we’ll have; for example my scientific computing class (green) had only biweekly quizzes and homework, while math (orange) had midterms, a final, and weekly homework, which I noted. From this spread onwards everything is color-coded. Work is always highlighted and sorority events and tasks are purple, and anything super important, such as exams or deadlines, is red. Classes tend to rotate between the same three or four colors (because I like them and chose them to contrast against each other); for this quarter scientific computing was green, mechanics of materials was blue, dinosaurs started out pink but went to light blue (I got a new pen) and linear algebra was orange. Next quarter I’ll use three of those same colors for my new classes
On to the monthly spread. I like to do this sort of visual calendar instead of the one originally described for the bullet journal, as I’m more of a visual person and this kind of calendar helps me see amounts of time better. Once more things are color-coded, though I tend to just use red, purple, and highlighter, as only larger events get put on this calendar. I also like to put a diagonal line through completed days so I can more easily track the passage of time (I just really like marking things off, okay). The opposing page is the monthly overview; it tends to be pretty short because most of my tasks and events are due/planned weekly. This is really just for longer-running tasks, ones which don’t have to be done within a short amount of time, and for making note of events past this month. The original bullet journal system doesn’t really do too well in terms of planning past the current month, so I’ve adapted it to have future events marked on the monthly pages. Since I don’t really plan out further than about two months in advance this works just fine.
This is my main change to the original system: the weekly spread. Since my homework is due weekly and I have very short terms of only about 10 weeks, I tend to think more in terms of weeks than months; ergo I needed some sort of weekly to-do list. This list has EVERYTHING due that current week, as well as things I should be thinking about/working on for the next week, and events for the current and next weeks. You can see my color coding system in action here, with important things marked in red, and everything else marked in its appropriate color. You can also see my symbols for different things. If a task has a couple of smaller subtasks (like studying for my CEE exam) I’ll move those task boxes in one square so they’re nested under that task. I also tend to write the shorthand of my classes in front of each task as well as color coding them; it’s probably overkill, but I started out doing that and just kind of stuck with it.
For most short-term lists I’ll just use a post-it note or a page from a notepad, but for things I’ll need to reference for a while or I want in a safer place, I’ll make a new page for them in my notebook. I usually skip pages between weeks and months so I’ll often just use one of those for the page instead of going ahead of my current week. Here’s a couple examples of these kinds of pages.
A list of things I need to work on as chair of my sorority’s social media committee. As you can tell I’ve been a bit swamped with other stuff and unable to work on these much, heh. Note how this is a mix of tasks and notes, sometimes with subnotes fleshing out a certain task.
A page of brainstorming for a job interview last fall. I basically wrote down all sorts of examples of my various strengths and successes, as well as tried to think of possible questions and how I could answer them truthfully yet stressing my qualifications. I felt a bit more prepared after doing this sort of brainstorming, as I was able to more easily answer a question because I’d thought about examples beforehand. (For those of you who are curious, I did get the job and have been happily working it these past few months :) )
My study plan for finals during winter quarter. I basically wrote down all sorts of tasks I wanted to do to prepare myself and from that figured out what to do each day to use my time most efficiently. After I took each final I would color in all the boxes for that class, even if I hadn’t fully finished that task, and put a check next to the name of the class. It was a nice way to see my progress. I’m happy to say I did very well on all of my classes this quarter; only one was slightly lower than expected, but for the most part I was very happy!
And that’s my bullet journal! Let me know if you’d like more explanation/pictures of anything, or have questions! I’d be happy to oblige. :)