We’ve all seen those beautiful bullet journals that somehow e v e r y o n e on the internet has. Are you even a valid studyblr if you don’t have a bullet journal? (hint: yes.) But, if you’re like me, you have not a single artistically creative bone in your body, nor the time it takes to use it.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that the bullet journal spreads we see throughout the internet are gorgeous, but for many of us they’re simply not realistic. If it’s designed to save time, why waste time designing it?
Today I’m gonna share with you my super simple bullet journal system. This isn’t a hard and fast set of rules, but is simpler approach to bujoing that you can adjust to fit your needs.—Also, some people may say that this doesn’t fit the “requirements” of a bullet journal, but “simple bullet journal” ranks higher on the seo list than “simple planner” and we’re looking for them views baby!
Aight this is where you can truly go ham with creativity and personality expression. I have very much done the complete opposite of that and gone for a brown card cover with gridded paper. That pretty much tells you all you need to know about my personality.
But the gridded paper—oh the gridded paper! The grids are the t i n i e s t you’ll ever see on this planet. I’m talking eight and a half squares per inch. Normal graph paper is four to five squares an inch—massive. With tiny squares your handwriting is forced smaller and neater (and in my case, more legible). And!! with more lines on a page you can pack more in and waste less paper!!
The book is size A5 so you’re not terrified of ruining an entire page and you waste less space if you flip the page to start a new one. It also fits in mini backpacks and most handbags so I can take it with me when I’m not in the library the whole day.
Overall: 9.5 / 10. The only complaint is the slight yellow tint of the paper but that’s nothing white balance can’t fix for them studyblr pics!!
I keep it classic with the black muji 0.38 gel ink pen. It’s my favourite pen to use if I’m writing quickly because it doesn’t smudge (I’m a lefty and it’s nice to be able to read what I’ve written afterwards).
Also there is something deeply satisfying about flipping through a notebook and it containing only one type of pen. Though!! If you’re a lad who likes to use multiple pens and colours and highlighters then go wild bby! Again, this is all super customisable but I save time and sanity by only using one pen.
That’s literally it those are the only supplies I use.
the set up
Surprise: I don’t.
I find that setups are too restrictive and allow too much space for certain areas / days and not enough space for others. I have tried to use them in the past but I end up just getting too bored / frustrated with them. Even when creating my own setup, I still end up just as annoyed with them a few days in.
Instead, I write on a day to day basis, adding in specific pages that may be helpful as I need them. I don’t even use a table of contents, which is super surprising bc ya girl loves a good tableau de continents. If there are specific pages that I really need to keep track of, I’ll use a sticky note to physically mark that page. Though I do try to avoid doing so when possible.
Something I wanted to mention: I don’t plan exclusively with my bullet journal. For all of my appointments and long-term scheduling, I use google calendar. That means I keep the info on things happening far away in the future out of my bullet journal, which allows me to focus on each day as its own session.
I do, however, tend to make a chronological list of important events if I’ve got a busy time period coming up, such as exams. In this list I write every time-dependent appointment that I have to or want to go to.
The only emphasis I use within this list is a highlighter to mark exams. This way I can organise my study sessions around these appointments before the exams. The only other future-related sections in my bullet journal are lists of exam dates. Can you tell I’m a student lol.
When it gets closer to exam season, I make a massive calendar in which I can see exactly how many days I have left to study. Exams go in with colour-coded titles so that they stand out, and other important due dates get written in too.
My daily “setup” is super simple yet also flexible. I write the date. Underneath the date I write “events,” followed by a list of the predetermined events, using empty checkboxes as the points. After that I write “to do,” accompanied by the list of to dos, using hollow circles as the points.
I never limit myself to a certain amount of space for each to do list. If I want to write something else in my bullet journal, I will flip to the next page. This allows me to add more tasks if I finish something or come up with something else to do. It’s especially helpful on study days where I am trying to procrastinate doing something so I write a different task down and finish that one first. Feel productive even when you’re very much not!
In order to mark tasks as finished, I fill in the empty circle with my pen, then cross the item out using one line. For some reason I prefer that only the tasks that are left to do are legible. With events being over, I just fill in the square completely. It’s super simple and effective, as your attention is drawn only to those tasks you still need to do because they’re the only things listed that are still legible.
I tend to set up the dailies on the morning of that day, that way I can be more certain of how I’m feeling and of the plans for the day and plan accordingly.
For the weekends, I tend to not have any events occurring due to the fact that my degree doesn’t leave any time for one of those so-called social life’s. Because I tend to spend my entire weekend in the bib, I mostly just write the title as “this weekend” and then list the todos, because what is the weekend if not one very long day to devote to studying.
When I say I’m consistent, I mean c o n s i s t e n t (I’m a Capricorn for Pete’s sake). I write anything that isn’t a daily set up or one of my events pages like I write my todos: list format with hollow circles that I’ll fill in when the time comes. Most of the time this is stuff that’s floating around my head or topics in a lecture that I need to cover or specific flash card types that I want to make (there are at least six of these in there currently).
And that’s that. My super simple and efficient bullet journal that is nowhere near as pretty as some of the others we see over on the tumblr dot com. One thing to note, the purpose of a bullet journal is to keep you organized and save time, not to be the most beautiful one out there. Keeping that in mind, I wish you the best of luck in your bullet journaling endeavors.
We’d love to see how you guys use your bullet journals or derivatives thereof, so feel free to tag us on twitter, either of our tumblrs, or send us a pic in a comment below!
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