It's never too late to Journal & Plan your life into order
Do you ever have an overwhelming desire to organize your life and get it together, but then find yourself waking up the next morning laughing that ridiculous thought off? It’s easy to back down and get left behind when tasks and assignments pile up and goals seem unreachable.
A great way to manage yourself, especially in college, is to start a journal or planner. When done properly, it’s incredible how quickly your life can actually come together. When done incorrectly, well, at least you’ll have a false sense of security to lull you back into your latest Netflix binge.
The first thing you need to do is establish whether you want to start a journal, a planner or a combination of both. Where a journal would be less about recording events and more about externalizing your feelings and reflecting on yourself and your emotions, a planner would serve as a time management tool and direct you to staying on course.
Maybe a proper notebook and pen is too big of a commitment for you. No fear! You can start literally right now on your smart phone. If you don’t want to download or buy a new app, familiarize yourself with the Calendar and Notes apps that are automatically downloaded on your phone.
Immediately when an event or assignment presents itself, mark down the deadline on a calendar and set an alarm (when needed) as a reminder for the upcoming deadline, either a day or two days in advance. Struck with sudden genius? Open up your digital notebook and type it out before you forget. Revisit the note later to expand upon your thoughts. Sync your calendar up with your laptop so that it’s accessible from any device.
If the apps that come with your phone aren’t for you, then apps like 2Do, Day One Journal and Glass Planner are just some of the many options available to you. To find the best one for you, don’t rely on reviews and screenshot previews of the interface. Download a couple of options and then choose your favorite.
If you’re a little bit more serious about journaling or planning, invest in a notebook and personalize it. It really doesn’t matter what kind of notebook you use, but if it’s a notebook that you like and feel attached to, you’ll be more likely to go back to it each day.
Stickers or markers are a fast way to decorate the outside of your notebook, but if you’re feeling a little more crafty, pick up some Modge Podge and use it to paste on pictures or magazine clippings for a totally unique notebook.
My personal favorite is the Moleskine planner, which is perfect for someone interested in doing a combination of journaling and planning. When you open up the book, one side has a weekly calendar space and the other side is lined, perfect for jotting down notes or ideas.
When it comes to journaling and planning …size matters. A large notebook is best suited for someone who plans to do a lot of writing or has a never-ending to-do list. A pocket-sized notebook is great for a forgetful person (like me) because its small size means you can carry it in your pocket or purse and have it on you at all times.
In addition to writing down dates and deadlines in your planner, consider setting aside some time to mesh all of your syllabi into one cumulative syllabus, leaving space at the bottom of each page for extra notes and to mark down changes in the schedule. Being able to look at one cohesive document that contains all of your assignments will eliminate the feeling of juggling so many classes.
Take complete and total control of the situation by getting a notebook with blank pages. The biggest upside to this option is free reign and creative liberties to design your perfect planner or journal. But, the biggest challenge may be the time and effort required to pull it off.
“Bullet journaling” is the idea of taking everything from your life and itemizing it into bullet points, lists, and short, simple thoughts. Essentially, it’s taking big tasks and ideas and de-cluttering them into easy-to-process phrases.
Decide what you want to include in your bullet journal and how you want to arrange it. Number the pages and create an index on the first page so that you can find things quickly and easily. Create a code and use it to keep track of the progress you’re making on different goals. Remember that nothing is too small or insignificant to be included.