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The organization method that can take you from the brink of failing to the Dean’s List

Bullet journaling, the all inclusive planner, has taken the internet by storm, and for good reason.

It’s cute, fun and helps you get organized, even if you’re a messy person by nature.

The journal is designed to appeal to the creative spirit.

If the strict organization of off-the-rack planners drives you crazy, or you feel the need to constantly add your own doodles and designs, bullet journaling is for you.

Here’s what you need to get started:

Fine-tipped pens

To use the bullet journal, you need to be able to write tiny, thin lines in small spaces.

Personally, I live for pilot G – 2 pens, and the 0.38 in black are a perfect size for bullet journaling.

Colored pens

Again, G – 2 is life. This metallic colored set will help up your bullet journaling game by using color for points of reference, and allowing you to add more life to the doodles and headers that make the journal your own.

Dotted-lined journal

The bullet journal’s dotted-line design is more important than it appears.

It helps you to form perfectly straight lines and shapes without having to conform to the restricting barriers found in a lined journal. Plus, counting the dots helps you to make evenly spaced sections and center the page.

Ruler

For those people who want to get really meticulous, a ruler allows you to form more perfectly straight lines.

Once you’ve gathered those necessary materials, you’re ready to get started journaling.

The bullet journal is made up of six parts, all equal in importance:

Index

You want to number your pages and list what you’ve written in your index. The idea is that you’ll create pages you reference again and again throughout the month. Numbering your pages and listing what they’re about in your index helps you to quickly access them. Page one begins after the index.

Future log

On pages one through four, create a Future Log for the next year with equally-spaced sections for all 12 months.

Here, you can log your long-term goals, dreams and dates of importance. It’s a broad overview of things you hope or plan to get done in a year. Here’s your spot for birthdays, travel plans and anniversaries.

Month

On the fifth page put the name of the month you’re currently in at the top center of the page, then write all the days of the month down the page.

Here, you schedule important events going on that month. This is the page for your hard deadlines, where you can quickly see when things are due and add them to your daily plans accordingly.

The page next to it is your Tasks/Goals page for the month, where you can write a longer description of the things you need or want to achieve that month and mark them off as they get done.

Personal/Habit Tracker

This is particularly important for those of us who lack motivation for everyday, important tasks.

You list the things you want to achieve that month, and then have a chart of all of the days. You fill in the box once you’ve done that task for the day and at the end of the month you have a visual representation of what you’ve achieved.

I like to combine it with a mood tracker so I can see how my mood correlates to my productivity and goals.

Daily

Your daily entries are your most frequent and most important entries.

Here, you list the day and date and then your to-do list. Mine consists mostly of tasks I need to achieve, and events I’ll be going to.

This makes for a comprehensive to-do list, ordered for importance, so you can check things off as you go along with your day.

It’s helpful to write your to-do list the night before or the morning of and add to it as the day goes on.

Misc.

Here’s where you can get creative.

The bullet journal is meant to be a one-stop shop for your quick and frequent ideas. You can add journal entries, grocery lists, story ideas, bucket lists, a list of things to watch, read and listen to and anything else you can think of.

It’s also great for design purposes, like story-boarding a website or creating graphs and charts.

It’s important to remember that it’s your journal and it should apply to your specific interests.

That categorizes the “journaling” part but here’s where the “bulleting” comes in.

Key:

Finally, the ultimate tip to keeping your journal organized is to have a comprehensive key of your bulleting system.

The original bullet journal guru, Ryder Carroll a digital product designer, has a comprehensive list of his bulleting techniques on bulletjournal.com. Here is my take on it.

Little squares mark specific tasks on my to-do list. Once I’ve completed them, I mark my progress by checking the box.

If I didn’t get it done but plan to add it to tomorrow’s to-do list, I put a little arrow through it, indicating it’s been re-assigned. If I decided not to do it, I cross it out all together.

I mark an appointment with a triangle and then I apply the previous rules.

Specifics can be added as well. For example, if the task or event is particularly important, like the most important thing on the list, I’ll add an asterisk next to it in a bright color.

If there’s something that needs to be remembered about the event or task, I write a note underneath it indicated with a bullet.

The amazing thing about the bullet journal is being able to flip page to page and see how they all interact with and influence one another.

When creating today’s page, look back at yesterday, what did you forget? How well did you do on your daily tracker? How were you feeling yesterday and how did that relate to the workload?

The most important thing to remember about the bullet journal is to be honest with it.

Even if your journal looks perfect, if you’re not really following along with it, your life won’t look half as good.

It’s tempting to check everything off to make your daily feats look better, but don’t do it. If you really follow the journal and use it every day, it has the ability to completely turn your life around.

About The Author

Julia Browning

Julia Browning is a senior studying journalism at Florida Gulf Coast University. She’s lived in Florida her entire life and plans to expand her geographical horizons after graduation, writing about her experiences along the way. Aside from writing articles for entertainment and lifestyle, she also enjoys writing creatively and is always in the process of researching a story. If Julia’s not in the newsroom she’s probably buried in a book, in a Netlfix binge that’s gone a little too far, or cheers-ing with her friends at happy hour.

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