Getting More Out of Bullet Journaling!

Suppose you identify as a bullet journalist. If you don’t, try this resource to understand better, then continue reading. But let’s just say you do. Like me, you probably admire the bullet journal (or BuJo) system because of its expeditious and analog features. The BuJo denotes versatility, simplicity, speed, reliability and… creativity? Record scratch. Some BuJo-ers don’t recognize the last bit.

On the web, one can find any number of articles: how to repair a sink, when the next Spider-Man movie comes out, or even the moon’s phase on January 26th in 2040. However, the most invaluable resource I have found on the internet remains an impeccable community of imaginative planners, just like me (and maybe you).

Outside of the year-and-a-half I’ve spent bullet journaling, six months of it passed in solitude. The only person I knew who followed the planning method (apart from Ryder Carroll, who created the BuJo)? Myself. The possibility of a population of others with similar ideas existing never occurred to me… until I stumbled upon it one day.

My social media accounts amassed negative messages of toxic, hyper-materialism before discovering the genuine magic of the bullet journal community. Now as I scroll through my feed, my mind eases. I smile because of pretty planner spreads among political gobbledygook, selfies, and memes.* I save useful ideas with screenshots or the save tool on Instagram. Additionally, I have a playlist on Youtube related to journaling which I can quickly reference if needed.

By scrolling through Instagram feeds and watching Youtube planning videos, I discovered this community, which began contributing to viewable examples long before I even started using a notebook. Sharing personal ideas (on Youtube or Instagram) provides positive, valuable new skills to partakers. At least, it helped me learn a few pointers.

I discovered, primarily, that anyone from any background at any age from ANY country can give to the community. Also, the aesthetics don’t matter; skill levels certainly do not discount you as an artist or planner. The BuJo community, in general, presents itself as a group of vibrantly creative individuals who seek a practical approach to organizing such artsy energy we all carry with fervor.

Then vs. Now

Above, my very first weekly spread compared to a more recent spread. Notice the change in color, the different bullet system, and the little quote I added after gaining inspiration from others.

Now after describing the community, you might want to know, “How does this apply to me?” Often, people lose their excitement about BuJo because it gets boring; they don’t think the format works for them (even though you can make it whatever you want), or they “don’t have enough time” to make aesthetically pleasing spreads.

Seeing other’s posts online shows BuJo users that 1. Anyone can do it and 2. Its customizability goes beyond simple functionality. For this reason, I encourage anyone and everyone to share their creations online. Including anyone reading this who just discovered the flexible planning system five minutes ago when they opened up this article. Yes, you, my friend.

Perhaps you stumbled here and you have no idea what on earth this thing is and you’re starting from square one. Good news! You’re in the right place. I’m going to walk you through exactly what a bullet journal is, where it came from, and what it can do for you.”

-Shelby from littlecoffeefox.com

Reading something like the above quote can comfort many new BuJo users. People like Shelby, who created Little Coffee Fox, inhabit in every part of the internet, and their brand thrives on the need for creative inspiration. If you want the kind of audience who constantly seeks out unique innovations, I highly recommend applying yourself to this community.

Prefer Instagram? Using the stories feature helps add little blips of information, polls, or even mini showcases of your work. Adding photos to your feed (particularly if said photos relate to planning or art) not only looks neat but helps and inspires others. People viewing your work and enjoying it might encourage you to post more for the mollification of your audience. In turn, you can continue growing your talents, of course making some online friends along the way.

Should you gravitate toward Youtube, recording explanatory videos can benefit new bullet-journalists who have a desire to learn. Showing viewers your ideas will help with planner’s block.** Videos such as plan-with-mes, flip-throughs, or topic-specific spread ideas (such as spreads for students or a holiday prep collection) help me the most.***

The above video helpfully answers questions new bullet-journalists might have… a quick tool you can keep in your pocket for later reference or find online easily. The creator, who speaks in the video, provides his personal insight to viewers curious about the BuJo method. We can take his ideas, utilize them, and discard what doesn’t serve us.

Both of these platforms, regardless of personal preference, benefit artists/planners in a multitude of ways, but they can also build your personal audience. Furthermore, if you aspire to have a group of followers who enjoy the same activities you do, social media gives you a place to shine. Of course, more platforms exist than just Instagram and Youtube; I just happen to use these sites. Feel free to explore this community anywhere, either online or in person.

Not quite sold? Planting our own inventive works out there can challenge us, a step of intrepidity many people fear. When you achieve that, when you put out your ideas and art, you automatically show you have more certainty regarding your output than previous occasions. Creativity has the power to make others braver, but you must initiate it yourself. I wish you luck.

*A spread means a page set-up in your bullet journal! An umbrella term that wears many hats.

**Planner’s block: that moment when you don’t know how you want to set up your next day, week, month or year. Or when you just get bored with how your bullet journal looks.

***A collection means a sort of module you can use in your bullet journal to house multiple pages of related ideas. Thus, a holiday prep collection could house a shopping list, recipes, decoration designs, a wintry playlist, or a budget tracker.

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moment of silence.

Five seconds. That’s all they get, five seconds.

Five seconds to remember the good times, and the bad.

Five seconds to think of all that mattered to them.

Five seconds, tick tick tick tick tick on the clock.

Then it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming, with chemistry tests and baseball practice and history essays.

Why don’t we hold a vigil? Is it too hard to take a day off from the typicalities? It’s normal to move on, yes. But it’s not normal to pretend as if no one has died.

D. I. E. D. Two people are gone. Like it or not, we must embrace that two members of our student family are missing from us. So is it right that we simply go back to studying and taking classes and doing homework?

For god’s sake, who can do homework when your friends are dead? 

But then again, what would they want from us? What if they want us to keep going, in their honor?

Maybe it’s okay. Maybe we should go back to the day-to-day. Maybe everything will be alright if we just keep moving. Keep going.

Just, while you continue to move, don’t forget to remember. Remember how funny Eric and Nathan were, how kind they could be, how good they were. Good kids who, unconnectedly, both lost their lives too young. Far too young.

As you go along, into your days and weeks and months and even years, keep remembering the good; don’t let it put a damper on your step for too long, though it’s perfectly okay to be sad. Be the remembrance that they deserve. Let yourself smile like they smile, laugh like they laughed, live like they lived; with good hearts and strength.

Love on a friend today. Love on anyone and everyone today. Say a prayer with a friend of a different faith, write letters with a possible enemy, make a pact to always reach out for help with someone you used to be friends with but don’t know so well now.

This is no time to fall apart, Titans. This is a time for strength in the Titan family. Strength around your own family, strength within yourself and your friends and faculty.

Be strong. Love loudly. Be proud of the ones we must remember. And keep going, for them.

the ultimate girlboss playlist

I’ve made a lot of playlists in the past years since spotify blessed my life, so I thought I should share one with you all. It’s the first day of September, so why don’t we start this month off with a girlboss playlist?

  • Dawn-filous, ROBB
  • Stars and Moons-Dizzy
  • Audio-Sia, Diplo, Labrinth, LSD
  • Weathered-Jack Garratt
  • Way Down We Go-Kaleo
  • Problems-Petit Biscuit, Lido
  • Solo-Oh Wonder
  • First-Cold War Kids
  • Perfect Places-Lorde
  • Castle-Halsey
  • Homemade Dynamite-also Lorde
  • Girl (feat. Claire)-Brennan Henderson, Clairo
  • Aqua Blue Honda-TYLERxCORDY
  • Feel Good Inc-Gorillaz
  • Cruel World-Active Child
  • Blood // Water-grandson (MY FAVORITE SONG RIGHT NOW)
  • River-Bishop Briggs
  • No Good-Kaleo, Vinyl on HBO
  • Grave Digger-Matt Maeson
  • Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene-Hozier
  • Jungle-X Ambassadors, Jamie N Commons
  • Do I Wanna Know?-Arctic Monkeys
  • Chelsea Dagger-The Fratellis
  • Can’t Stop-Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Howlin for You-The Black Keys
  • Numb-Linkin Park
  • Yellow Flicker Beat-(can you tell I like Lorde)
  • I Wanna Get Better-Bleachers
  • Trouble-Cage the Elephant
  • Dark Eyes-Danielle Parente
  • Higher-The Score
  • Collider-X Ambassadors, Tom Morello
  • Hell or Highwater-Addie Hamilton
  • Wild Horses-Bishop Briggs
  • Thought Contagion-Muse
  • Sucker for Pain-Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, Logic, & Ty Dolla $ign

enjoy the bops.

-rachel

back to school: bullet journal spreads

Being a student who uses a bullet journal is so difficult sometimes! On one hand, we want the aesthetically pleasing and functional abilities of the bujo, and on the other, we want to have time for sleep, activities, and studying. Of course, there’s a way to solve this issue… Student spreads that are efficient and take very little time to make! Today I’ll be sharing with you twenty spreads that YOU can make in a short amount of time.

  1. A study tracker: All this studying and no way to track it? Say no more! Create a weekly tracker with the days of the week on the x axis and the hours you study on the y axis! I actually like to do this in 30-minute increments, but that’s personal preference.
  2.  A budget page: This is actually quite simple. Write the month, your budget before fixed expenses, subtract your rent/subscriptions/etc., and then you’re left with what you can use for groceries, school expenses, personal image, and random stuff.
  3.  Mood tracker: Being that stressed and busy all the time can truly take a toll on our mental states, so make a creative mood tracker! For August, I drew a bunch of light bulbs that I’ve color coded to match different moods.
  4.  Passwords page: Self explanatory, but I think we can all relate to forgetting at least one password! If you’re a high school student especially, it’s VERY easy to lose track of all the accounts your teachers have you set up. Keep ’em in one place.
  5. Doodles: A little creativity never hurt anyone. In fact, drawing (even if it isn’t good) is a great way to destress from a long day of classes.
  6.  Master task list: Take it way back to the bare bones of the journal and simply write out everything that’s happening for the month. All the events, tasks, reminders, and mumbo-jumbo you have going on. All of it.
  7.  A basic essay format: Remember this rule: if you write an 8-page paper, it should have 16 paragraphs total. Subtract your intro and conclusion, and this means you need to write 14 main body paragraphs. Create 14 points that match your thesis, back it up with three pieces of evidence each, and you’ve got a bare essay.
  8.  Savings page: Suuuuuper simple. Just write what you’re saving for, and in increments of your choice, write how much money you need to save. Highlight each number as you save it.
  9.  Self-care emergency list: An absolute must for those days when you feel grossly unmotivated or tired. Write the things that always make you feel better.
  10.  Master assignments calendar: If your teacher is nice and gives you a syllabus with due dates (most of my teachers don’t :/), write them down by month, color-coordinated by subject. Flip to this page every day to see your assignments and assessments.
  11.  Schedule info: Even if you know you won’t have to look back to see what time your class is, you never know if you’ll need your professor’s number/email or the room number your class is in!
  12.  Studying routine: Try and set a day/time each week that you’ll study for a specific class. Have a list of ways you usually study for certain subjects, and stick to them! (Try multiple ways though because studying one way can get boring)
  13.  Cleaning routine: I find that a clear space = a clear mind. If you write down that you always do laundry on Sundays, clean the bathroom on Saturdays, and vacuum on Mondays, I can promise that your home or even your dorm will stay in working order.
  14.  Goals page: Every studious person needs to be working toward some goals! It doesn’t matter if you’re at school or not. Write down on a fresh page: A. What your goals are, B. How you plan on accomplishing them, and C. How you’ll know they’ve been accomplished.
  15.  Assessment page: Remember #10? This is its cousin, but it’s solely for assessments. Tests, quizzes, labs, and projects all go under this spread. Add them by course or by month, and always write the due date. Optionally, you can write down the grade you received or a timeline to complete/study for the assessment.
  16.  Line-a-day: I find it helpful to write down the important tidbits of every day of the month. If I applied for a job, made an important phone call, watered my plant… I can look back later and go, “oh, that’s when I did that!”
  17.  Gratitude spread: It can be difficult sometimes to focus on what’s good when you’re stressed and exhausted from your workload. Gain a bit of perspective by forcing yourself to write down the things you’re grateful for.
  18.  Study tips: I see a lot of study tips and think, “that’s neat,” but I never put them anywhere… So that means I never use them. Don’t be like me.
  19.  Dream board: Gain a bit of inspiration for your future by creating a dream board! I like to go on Pinterest and find aesthetically pleasing images relating to my interests. For example, when I was decorating my notebooks, I searched “aesthetic french” or “aesthetic history” and some really nice photos popped up! I printed them off and covered them with clear packing tape. Just paste ’em in your bullet journal if you don’t want to be as extra as I am.
  20.  Quotes page: And of course, what’s the school year without some motivational quotes? Lame! Find some funny but motivating quotes that will get you through the toughest moments. I especially like, “You are not only studying for your future, you are studying to change the world.”

I hope those inspired you to change up your bujo and maybe make life a bit easier if you’re a student! Love ya,

-rachel ❤

back to school: start your engines

I’m back after a long hibernation! I hope you’re doing well. I recently gained quite a few new friends here, so I would like to greet you and welcome you to my humble webode. (Also hi, I make up words.) Here in ‘murica, we’re starting (or have started) school. I thought that, it being August first, it would be the perfect time to post about the mindset one should have going into the first day, week, month, or even semester of classes.

Intention

Now I know it’s a difficult thing to narrow down, but perhaps it’s something you can think about… Setting an intent for the beginning of the school year is almost like picking a theme for the New Year. (Funny enough, that’s when I started this blog officially.) For example, if you are going into high school, you may want to resolve to make new friends. A freshman in college could aim to get involved. A senior in high school might be trying to save money for an apartment with a buddy. All of these things are great ideas, but I don’t want you to use my intention. Use one that is tailored to you. Because I’m a junior in high school (year eleven), I want to focus on exploring my options and honing in my skills for college. I’ll be going on visits, writing a lot of essays, and keeping my grades top-notch for scouts. Pick your intention, and use it to formulate the rest of these categories!

Preparation

You know how when the holidays roll around, you put up the lights and the decorations? (I’m not gonna say “Christmas tree” because I don’t know if my viewers celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or if they celebrate just the wintry season itself!) Anyway, my point is, we like to decorate and prepare for new seasons of life. Consider the start of school like a holiday. Decorate with whiteboard calendars and inspirational messages, along with a desk lamp and LOTS of sticky notes. Add new outfits to your wardrobe. Gift yourself new notebooks and pens galore, and wrap it up in a cute backpack. Bam! Happy birthday. Even bake yourself a cake.

Planning

I think most of you knew what I was gonna say here… And of course, it needed a separate category. Plan. Your. Crap. Not optional! This is a MUST! I don’t care if you use that aforementioned whiteboard calendar or a day planner or a bullet journal (if you need the details on that, boy have I got posts for you), but plan with something so it’s not finals week and you’re tearing your hair out.

Goals

Take your intention. Form some goals from that. Put those in your planning device where you’ll see it every day. Put your planning device in your birthday gift backpack. Boom. Done.

Habits

Think about that intention we set earlier. Now let’s consider something… What habits do you need to put into place in order for your goals to be successful? I want to focus on college. My goals might be to find a school I like, have good grades, save up so I’m not too broke… So my habits might be check out at least one school a day, study so many hours a week, and put away X% of my money into savings. Simply consider and apply. Make a tracker or three and put it somewhere you’ll see it daily! My habit trackers go in my bullet journal, but you might place them in your car, on the bathroom mirror (bonus for erasable markers), magnetized to the refrigerator, or taped to the wall above your desk.

Action

Be adamant about accomplishing your goals. Make a mood board (there’s also a post about that) and put it near your habit tracker(s). Another thing I like to do is set an alarm daily. It reminds me to check my habits! I keep up with the ones I finished and am reminded of the ones I have yet to accomplish that day. Tell a friend or family member that will push you to do your best! Whatever you need to do to get your butt motivated, do it and don’t turn back.

Reward

Hard work, in my opinion, should never come without a result. If it does? That means you did it wrong. If you’ve accomplished one of your goals through working on your habits, reward yourself. Say I found a school because I made it a point to research and learn about programs. I would celebrate with a new book I wanted to read, or a decoration item for my new dorm. Think about the kinds of rewards you earn through the kinds of actions you complete.

So that’s my “formula” for school, but it really could work for any kind of life event. Let me know what your intentions and goals are, along with how you intend to stay on track! Thanks for reading,

-rachel 🙂

giving yourself a fresh start.

I’ve noticed recently that there are signs around me. Signs that tell me to restart, renew, refresh. This might be a sudden urge to decorate my room differently (i. e. Shifting furniture, making a vision board, changing the lighting) or a theme I repetitively see in the media (such as meditation). I think that we as people, in a great big world with lots of messages from everywhere at once, need to become excellent at deciphering which ideas are hodgepodge and which are really destined for us.

So, if you feel that the universe is calling you to change things up, I have a couple decent ways to do that. That’s right, it’s Sunday, and we’re getting into the juicy stuff.

Changing your space.

You might feel cramped, cluttered, uninspired, or just downright depressed about your space right now. Or perhaps you haven’t associated any of those feelings with a certain issue, but you’ve just been noticing them. Take a moment to think about if this is your issue. Is your space too dark? Is it dirty or messy? Does it have a certain smell, a certain feel that you don’t particularly like? Or is it uncomfortable? Maybe it’s not your whole living space, but just a part of it, such as the office. Is the desk by a window, and if not, could that change? If any of these questions strike you, your stress might be coming from a place in your home. My space is most definitely the way I get my energy. I have a couple ways you can fix this.

  • Play with lighting. A new lamp, moving, the main furniture to a window, softening the lights (string lights or salt lamps), or brightening the lights (new ceiling bulbs perhaps?) can all change your environment. I put a disco ball in my bedroom and I’ve never looked back.
  • Aromatherapy. Scent can spark a lot of energy in the human body. Today there are hundreds of ways to scent your space, including candles, incense, diffusers (oil or reed), mists, wax warmers… Pick one or more that you like and use it when you need a pick-me-up! *side note, if you have pets, always check that the things you are using are suitable for them! essential oils and incense especially.
  • Hygge. This is seriously an umbrella term, but it’s sweeping the nation! It’s the Danish word for that feeling of cozy and comfortable. Hanging out by the fire with a cup of peppermint hot chocolate and a book on Christmas Eve. On a hot day, chilling in a hammock with a cold drink under the shade. Laughing with friends and family on a road trip, getting fresh flowers from the city… You get it. Find ways to import this into your daily life. Have fresh foods and plants in your apartment, keep the windows open, have friends over more often, dim the lights a bit, play jazz music while you soak in a bath… Aaahhhhh.

Trying something new.

Really! Our souls are just dying to explore and learn. I don’t care what your age is. There must be something you haven’t done. Even if it’s not your idea of fun. What could possibly go wrong? Maybe finding out the answer to that question will be fun! Get some real good adventure in your life.

  • Move your body. Anything from cross fit and surfing to low-impact stuff like Pilates (check Blogilates) and yoga.
  • Study a new topic. Always wanted to know about minimalism? Do your research. Really interested in environmental science? Hit up a library. Want to explore some religions around the world? You know what to do.
  • Eat a new meal. Some people go head-first into a new eating habit, while others prefer to try a new food (maybe a simple vegetable or spice) with the already-familiar. I’d suggest that to start slow, you should try a new meal every three days. Rotate the time of day you try one. Your taste buds would like change too.

Go back to the basics.

After a hard few weeks, what better way to cheer up and get inspired than revisiting an old, timeless thing? It’s homey, it has good memories… Priceless.

  • Mom’s (or other guardian’s) cooking. When I think comfort, I think of those super amazingly fluffy dumplings my mom makes in her soup. What do you think of? If you can’t have the comfort of a relative’s cooking, try to recreate the classic the best way you know how. Grilled cheese that’s not quite how aunt Suzie used to make it is still grilled cheese, right?
  • A movie you loved. Disney princesses are still awesome, you still know all the words, you still love the heroes. Enough said.
  • The place you always used to go. This could be anywhere. Maybe it’s as grand as a family road trip every year to a specific spot, or it could be as small as a weekly date with your older sister to that diner. Did you always order the same thing? For me, I loved playing in this creek in our backyard, and a specific corner of the library always felt like home. Books and nature. Go there, you guys. Even if just to remember.

If you’re still feeling unmotivated or uninspired, I totally get it. And it sucks! But I hope a new breath of fresh air gets inside your creative lungs soon. Good luck.

-rachel ‹3

making your dreams appear.

Everyone has a dream, and I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty hippie stuff (although I can if you want me too), but I’m gonna guess you want that dream to come true. I know I do. But you know what? Sitting here and wishing on that dream doesn’t make it any more real. It actually makes it less real. Because we’re wasting precious time. We could be running our business right now! Writing that book! Campaigning for president! I mean seriously, there are a lot better things to do with time than sit and wish.

So let’s find somebody else’s dreams.

Legit. Go on Pinterest or Tumblr or Instagram or whatever you use and print out the dreams others have that are similar to yours. Except the difference? Those photos are real. (I think.) The people who took those photos made it to that dream. So don’t sit here and tell me, as you scroll hopelessly in the feed, that YOU can’t make the dream happen. They did, right? And they aren’t you; only you are you. So you’re the only one who can make your dream a reality.

Now cut the crap. And cut out the photos too. Stick them somewhere you’ll see them every freaking day. Great. How does this help you? Eh, I haven’t figured it out either. U n t i l.

Sitting, waiting. Staring at an empty wall. Wait, no, that’s a wall with pictures on it. To be totally authentic it’s a cork board against a wall, but whatever. Those pictures are things I want! Seriously, I want that stuff. Those people have it. Why don’t I? I could have that. But I’m sitting here on my butt, staring at the board of someone else’s dreams. Why’d I make that? So dumb. I need to go do something to achieve that.

Oh yeah! That’s why I made it. So don’t give me excuses, and have fun with your dream board.

-rachel ‹3