Wellness, Productivity, Balance for Graduate Students and Beyond

Bullet Journaling for Flexible Planning and Tracking

I am a digital native, and now with my laptop/smart phone combo, I can run almost 100% of my life from keeping track of appointments to tracking my water consumption. I realized halfway through my undergraduate degree that I didn't really need notebooks anymore - all my notes were on my computer, and that way they were searchable as well. By the time I got to my fellowship year in my PhD, I hadn't used a paper planner since my last year of high school but yet, I found myself craving less screen time. After years of different planning systems and experimenting, I've landed on a system I like - bullet journalling, with a daily planner - and I'm sharing how I work in the hopes that there are ideas you can use, too. 

I use a modified bullet journal and a daily planner to keep track, on paper, of all that I want to track and accomplish on a day to day, week to week, and monthly basis. I will write more later about how I use a daily planner - including ways to replicate it digitally - but today will be focusing on my bullet journal, where I do my monthly tracking, long term planning, and goal monitoring.

What is bullet journaling, you ask? Here's a video put together by Ryder about how to set up the system: 

What I love about the bullet journal system is that I can change the system however I'd like based on how my needs are shifting. I use collections the most often - I use them to organize notes about my business, books I'm reading, plans for weekend trips, tracking workouts or meditations - and find great satisfaction in looking back and seeing month by month how things are shifting and growing. Here are a few of my favorite spreads, with notes on how I use each of them. 

But what I love most about the whole system is that it gives me a few minutes every day, off my computer and away from my phone, to check in with myself and see what is working, and what isn't. My professional self mixes in with my personal self, just like real life. Plus, fun pens and colors!!!!! 

For more inspiration, check out the Bullet Journal Blog! Or Reddit and Instagram have huge bullet journaling communities too!