Students should invest time in bullet journaling

Bullet journaling is an excellent way to keep track of many things, as well as being a positive contributor to mental and physical health


Kristen Garrett, JAG photo editor

Last week, I was talking to my friend over text during lunch and she said she wanted to start a bullet journal and, like countless other people, I thought, What in the world is a bullet journal? A journal you write really fast in? Later that night, I sat down and did some research into the very thing that would reinvent how I managed my time. Bullet journals are fantastic tools that everyone should test out.

By Kristen Garrett
Monthly logs help track of important dates and any goals that you may have.

For anyone who does not know, a bullet journal is a type of journal that functions as a notebook, diary and a planner at the same time.The idea is to use a variety of bullet point-like symbols in your journal that you can quickly use to keep track of things like goals, plans or events on yearly, monthly and daily levels. You can also keep track of other things you have interest in, like good songs or movies.

With so many things to keep track of, bullet journals can get very busy and can seem disorganized. For this reason, all good journals start with an index that keeps track of what content is on each page. The very first page after the index functions as a key where keep track of the various bullet symbols in their journal and what they mean. After that, the journal is free to be filled with whatever your little heart desires.

In regards to the yearly, monthly and daily logs, updates should be made accordingly. Yearly logs can be updated as things arise, while monthly logs can be adjusted on the first or 31 of each month. Daily logs should be updated at the end of each day, as well as any goal tracking logs based on the current day.

Understanding how the journal functions is an important first step in starting a bullet journal. There is a lot of creative freedom with bullet journaling, and you put in as much time as you feel like putting in. After the initial setup of my journal, I find it only takes me five or 10 minutes every night to record what I got done on my monthly page and update the bullets on my daily page. I might take longer if I decide to draw, but that is not always the case.

It sounds premature, but I have seen my life change over the past couple days since starting the journal. Since giving bullet journaling a try, even in the first few days, I have seen a big difference in myself and how I go about my day. From getting home from school until I go to bed, my schedule has changed so much and I could not be more proud. Since starting, not only have I begun to track things like my eating habits and sleep schedule, I’ve also noticed a change in my overall mood and stress levels. Let me tell you, the wonders that my journal has worked for me have been outstanding and have convinced me to share the brilliance of bullet journaling with all my friends.

By Kristen Garrett
Updating your journal doesn’t need a specific time and can take however long you want it to.

First of all, my mental health has improved tremendously since I began. In the yearly section, I added ‘stay positive’ to my list of goals I hope to keep in January. On top of that, I started a list in the monthly section under January called good things where I write one good thing that happened each day. Even the cover of my journal serves as a reminder to slow down when things get hard by telling me to live “one day at a time” I mean, I even started a quotes section where I can put inspiring or encouraging quotes that I can reflect on whenever I need to. All these little things have driven me to look for the best in every day, no matter what happens.

Everyone struggles with negativity in their life, whether or not it is every day or once a year. Being reminded and reminding yourself through reading and writing in a bullet journal can help boost your mood, provide a place to vent and relieve stress.

Stress is a big one that I struggle with. I get assigned work, overthink what I have to do, panic and crash when I get home. Unfortunately, this leads to procrastination and more stress. Since the introduction of my journal, however, I have started to list off my assignments in the daily section under the date for the day. My journal uses an open circle for something that needs to be done, an “X” for a completed task and a greater than symbol to signify that the task has been moved to a different day. At the end of the day, I can reflect on everything I got done and realize how far I’ve come. I also feel less guilty about moving small tasks like watering my plants forward a day if I had more pressing matters to attend to instead.

Besides the mental relief that bullet journaling has offered me, it has also had a physical effect as well. My monthly section utilizes a calendar for goals I have for each day. If I complete the goal, I get to color in the box for that day. With the motivation of coloring and getting a sense of accomplishment, my journal has driven me to drink more water, eat healthier and get more sleep. I have also returned to meditation, which, combined with the other changes I have made, has cycled back around to positively impact my mental health.

By Kristen Garrett
At the end of the day, it is nice to look back on a completed list and to see everything you accomplished.

In regards to healthy eating, I have recently started a diet. While it has been hard, I have adapted well to it. As most diets go, eventually you hit a breaking point and have a cheat day where you eat what you are craving without shame. With the help of my bullet journal, I have noticed a trend in how long I go before I cave and indulge. This has helped me begin to work breaks into my diet to ensure that I keep my diet rounded by adding back in some of the things I have been trying to cut out.

While the journal may not work out for everyone, I still encourage everyone to give bullet journaling a try. Even for the least busy, laziest person on the planet, I feel that bullet journaling could shed light and benefit their life. As stated, you put as much time into your journal as you feel like putting in. With minimal commitment, results could still be given the opportunity to take root and thrive. Whatever your commitment level or cause, bullet journaling is a fun hobby that is worth a shot. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up reaping the overwhelmingly positive benefits.

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