Bullet Journal for the Win

By: Ragan Love

During my senior year of high school, my puppy got into my backpack and chewed up my planner. I was about to leave the house for an important audition, and I saw all of my important events scattered across the ground. My dad helped salvage the pieces so we could record the events and homework I had. 

The next week I went to the store to find a planner, and I realized I hated all of the ones in stock. I tried thinking of the positives, and I couldn’t do it. I went home that day and did some research on making a DIY planner for the rest of the semester. This is when I came across the Bullet Journal. 

A bullet journal is a planning style created by New York designer Ryder Carroll. He describes this as a way to “track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” A bullet journal goes farther than the basic planner because every individual can create what they want to log. You can create your own weekly school lists, an exercise or practice log, or a month, term, or yearly goals.

At first, I was anxious looking at everything that these people put in their planners; it was every aspect of their life! My planner has always been strictly for school, and this was the first time that I thought about expanding. What I first included was a practice planner, where I wrote down every piece I wanted to practice that day. This got too tedious for me because I have a 90-minute practice routine. Once summer hit it was hard to keep up with it because I didn’t know what to write. I ended up turning each page into a daily to-do list.

When the fall quarter started I decided to create an efficient bullet journal. Before school started, I watched a few different videos on YouTube, trying to get some ideas of formats that would work for me. I spit my planner into 9 different sections with a week running from Monday to Sunday. Then I added an overall weekly to-do and practice list. I didn’t try the mood trackers or meal plans at first because I wanted to focus on finding something I really liked and slowly expanding. I did like this layout. The only aspect that I changed was I took out my weekly practice and started a music notebook where I included all of my musical work. I drew out the entire quarter and then put my quarter goals at the end. I liked this because I couldn’t see my goals until after the term ended.

I have just completed my spread for the winter term. I am pleased with how it looks, and it has helped me stay organized so far this term. I have added some new spreads that I am excited to try out. One is a February mood tracker (I picked the shortest month for a reason). The other spreads are for overall 2020, like books to read this year and other things I would like to check out. My main goal with my bullet journal is to keep up with it all year, even when I have a week where I am off my game. 

I am happy that my dog ate my planner because it allowed me to find new ways to organize my life.

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