Thursday, August 4, 2016

Why You Should Use a Bullet Journal if You're in School

Something you see in pretty much every set of school-related tips is to get a planner. So yeah, I guess you probably already have that part down. But what about a bullet journal? A bullet journal, or bujo for short, is a completely DIY planner-journal combo, and it's a great thing to have as a student, whether you're in high school or college. Like a regular planner, it helps you keep your life together when it comes homework, tests, and other dates and tasks, but it also keeps your mind in order when it comes to random lists and other miscellaneous things. But if you need more convincing on why you should use a bullet journal if you're in school, read on!

So what even is a bullet journal? To keep it brief, the system created by Ryder Carroll is a "method" with all the functionality of a planner, but you can also stick in it whatever else you want. Since it's not a pre-made thing, you can use as much or as little space that you need to for each spread, and you can utilize whatever sort of layouts you want that are necessary to your own unique life. To read a more in-depth explanation, I suggest checking out the official bullet journal website. For more real-world examples/uses, you should look through my setup posts.

I, myself, am currently in high school, and I started using a bujo in the April of this year. I know it's pretty cliche to say this, but implementing the bullet journal system into my daily life has kind of changed it for the better. These are six reasons why I use the bullet journal as a person stuck in high school, and they are reasons why you, my fellow student, should use one, too.

PS: if you are confused what a certain term means - or just what the heck a "bullet journal" is in the first place, you should look through the official Bullet Journal website or the bujo/planner dictionary post by Pretty Prints and Paper.

My spread for this month - I did a setup post for August! //

1. Keep track of dates

This is a bit of a given, but with bullet journals and all other types of planners, you can keep track of important dates. I use monthly spreads and the future log to help me remember about various tests, quizzes, due dates, birthdays, field trips, concerts, school breaks, and pretty much any other event that's day-specific.

But why is a bullet journal superior in this aspect? This situation may sound a little familiar to you: you get to class, and crap! - you forgot about a test, and you neglected to study for it the night before. It still happens even when you wrote it down in your planner a week before, aka the day your teacher announced it. However, this hardly happens to me anymore because of daily planning in my bullet journal.

Before I go to bed, I write down any events, tests/quizzes, and tasks that will happen in the next day. I make sure to refer to my monthly spread, and not just go by memory, in case I forgot about anything, e.g. the above example. Because of this, I make sure that I'm fully prepared for and informed about the next day. Nothing can sneak up on me, and I can do any late-night lucubration (how's that for a word I learned in school?) if needed.

Part of my weekly spread from a couple of days ago //

2. Actually get crap done

As my fellow bullet journalists know, there is nothing more satisfying than checking or crossing an item off of your to-do list. This itself is a bit of motivation to get things done. But again, this is something that all planners are supposed to help you with. However, I find that to-do listing in a bujo can be a lot more hardcore and flexible, as is the very nature of a "DIY planner." Many people add their own bits of organization to their daily pages of task lists to make it their own.

Some people color-code different classes or different areas of their life. A lot of people, including myself, use a habit tracker that gets filled in at the end of the day to make sure that they encourage basic but still important things done, for example eating healthily or practicing my instrument (click here for ideas of things to track). Some people mark the top-three major tasks of the day that just need to get done; personally, I put an asterisk next to anything that's especially vital, such as that project that's due in a week and still hasn't been started yet.

3. Plan out work

Speaking of projects, planning them out is something bullet journals are specifically good at. Whether it's a project for school or a major room clean-out, outlining is an incredibly helpful way to ensure productivity. I like to break big things down into small steps in order to avoid getting overwhelmed. You can also create a calendar or schedule for a big project or review for finals. 

In my bujo for example, I created a blog editorial calendar (which is basically a written-out schedule for blog posts and blog post ideas). It helps me get an idea of when I should post which posts, and consequently when I should be working on said posts.

One of my favorite headers that I've ever done //

4. As an artistic/creative outlet

Admittedly, this is one of my favorite parts about having a bullet journal. I enjoy hand-lettering and calligraphy and making things pretty, though there aren't really many appropriate occasions to do such things. Fortunately, since you make every part of your bujo, I am allowed artistic freedom within the pages. I find it very fun to make cute headers, splash colored gel pen, markers, and watercolor throughout the notebook, and use fun washi tape. This is quite evident in my bullet journal posts and the Our Journey in Journals Instagram account.

Though drawing or calligraphy is not for everyone, you can still use stickers, stamps, washi tape, fun pens, etc. to add pops of color and creativity. You can even use it to practice your handwriting! This can make it more enjoyable to do mundane planning or look at your bujo, which just encourages you to use it even more.

My favorite monthly memories spread so far //

5. Memory-keeping

Something I have admitted to myself, primarily due to the influence of my parents and various other Old People, is that my time as a student will probably have its moments that I'll want to look back on in the future (and reminiscence on when I was merely a wee child). It's also just fun to look back on the memorable things that happened in the month, which is why I love my monthly memories spread so much.

Along with putting things in a monthly log or memories spread, some people also like to put things as a note in the daily log (e.g. "watched the Bourne Identity today). Another thing that some people do is a monthly "current favorites" page. In it, they'll put what book/book series ("currently reading"), TV show ("currently watching"), and what music ("currently listening to") took up the majority of the month for them. It can be fun to look back on it in the future and think to yourself, "Wow. I had really crappy taste in music back then."

6. A place for all randomness

And finally, the reason why most people are drawn to bullet journals over a normal, pre-printed planner: you can put whatever the heck you want into it. You can put lists, or "collections" as they are referred to in the bujo world, of movies you want to watch, favorite blogs, wishlists, trip packing lists, episodes watched of a TV series, books to read, etc.

As it pertains to school and being a student, there are a lot of random lists and information that deserve a home somewhere. Important school-related or student life stuff that can go in your bullet journal includes:
  • Your course schedule
  • The room numbers of all of your classes
  • Teacher contact information
  • Teacher office hours (especially necessary to know if you're in college, though not important in high school)
  • Bell schedule, particularly for weird delay days and half days
  • School supplies needed
  • Private lessons paid
All in all, every one of these random collections, planning spreads, etc. help give you peace of mind. They make it unnecessary to remember everything in your head, which in turn allows you to focus on the task at hand. Having a bullet journal lets you get everything important down onto paper and in one place. Consequently, this will improve your mental health by lowering stress caused by forgetting to do something important or the frustration of not remembering a pertinent piece of information, allowing you to do more with your life.

I hope I was able to convince you to use a bullet journal for school, no matter if you're a student yourself or a parent of one. If you belong to the second group, then you should send the link to this blog post to your child for a not-so-subtle hint to get their act together ;)

Join the vast, rapidly-growing (and happy) bullet journal community, a group that encompasses people of all types of lives, including many students in high school or college. And trust me on this: you won't regret it!
mae-mae han

Why do you use the bullet journal system? Tell me below in the comments!

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