Heading back to uni after four months of doing pretty much nothing but blogging, reading and watching Netflix was a bit of a shock to the system. Not only am I having to slowly get back into the routine of waking up before 8am (I kind of forgot that the morning existed), but I’ve had to get my planning hat back on. Gone are the days of lounging around watching Friends until I decided to write and take pictures for that day’s post. This girl actually has to get crap done, and balancing blogging, uni work and time to breath is no easy feat.
As I said in my favourite’s post, I used the start of the new academic year as a chance to try some different planning methods. And thank God I did because with so many essays due within the space of two weeks, I don’t think I would’ve remained sane without my new bullet journal and wall charts. I think I might have become even more of a planning addict than I was before, which frankly I didn’t think was possible. So, it seemed only right to share with you how I keep my shit together without having several minor breakdowns a day.
I bought these dry-erase wall stickers in TK Maxx a couple of days before I left for uni, mainly because they make my room look considerably more Pinterest-y. But they’ve actually turned out to be one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. One of them is a full-on calendar where you fill in the month and days and the other is just a plain sheet for any random thoughts. I write deadlines, big events and blog post ideas (that have made it past my giant brainstorms) on here, as well as marking on when I have classes with little stars.
For those of you that don’t creep on Instagram accounts dedicated to planning (trust me, you’re the normal one), bullet journaling is basically a way of creating a diary for yourself from a notepad. It means that you’re not restricted to a certain amount of space per date, you don’t end up with embarrassingly empty pages and that you can add in all kinds of sections that you don’t get in conventional planners. Basically, it’s the perfect thing for all of my girl bosses that have more than one vocation to organise.
I’m not here to explain to you every facet of bullet journaling because I’m still figuring it out, but if you want to get the basics, have a look at the official website. Once I’ve gotten into the swing of things a bit more and if you guys would be interested, I’d love to give you a bit of a bullet journal flip through to show you what I dedicate all of my pages to. Let me know! For now though, I thought I would run through all of the sections that I have dedicated to organisation.
Monthly spread: At the beginning of each month I make one of these bad boys so that I can note down any essay or sponsored content deadlines. Yes, this is basically the same as my wall calendar. Yes, I do need to have it in two places to keep me sane. Next to this I also have my monthly goals which is basically like an extended to-do list with a name that makes it sound like less pressure.
Habit tracker: My habit tracker is for all of those annoying tasks that I forget to do like washing my makeup brushes or hoovering my room. It means that I can mark at what point in the month I did it as a reminder to get my butt in gear. I also track my water intake, facemask days and whether I’ve done yoga as a friendly prompt. On the page next to that I also keep a little log of my social media and blog stats because I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last night, let alone how many followers I had on Insta three Tuesdays ago.
Reading log: As an English Lit student and a stresser, my reading is something I really like to stay on top off. At the start of the term I listed every single book, poem, and article that I need to read for my three modules. When I read one, I put a silver line before it. I also noted where reading week is so that I know when I have a bit of extra time to catch up if I need to.
Daily Spread: Finally, and probably most importantly, I have my daily plans which are basically like one to-do list running into another. And we all know I love a good list! Using the normal bullet journaling keys I mark down any events that I have that day and any tasks that I have to complete as well as some that I would like to if I get the chance. As I complete tasks I put a cross next to them, and if I don’t get the chance to get them done I migrate them to the next day using a forward facing arrow. Or, if I know that I won’t get it done that day, I use a backward facing arrow to indicate that I’ve scheduled it in somewhere else on my monthly spread.
This is one of those methods that has never failed me and that I’ve used since the beginning of sixth form: Wunderlist. You’ve heard me rave about it before, but I’m going to do so all over again. It’s basically an app that allows you to create multiple to-do lists and store them all in one place. “But why would I not just use a piece of paper, Beth?” Well, you inquisitive young soul, because you will inevitably lose/forget that piece of paper but your phone is always in your pocket. And you can’t use encouraging emojis on a piece of paper.
I have lists for everything from blog post ideas to favourites so that I don’t have to come up with some random items at the end of the month. It helps me to keep all of my thoughts together and it makes a very satisfying ding when you tick an item off.