A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
I am one of those people who usually spend hours and hours looking for the perfect new calendar for the coming year. Yes, I know it might sound silly since in some countries people hardly rely on calendars. However, I like having my life in order by using such. In my case, having everything in order reduces stress and helps me to study more effectively.
This is the case especially now that I have found bullet journals. Have you ever heard of them? In a nutshell, the point is to create your very own calendar – and diary, and notebook – that makes use of bullet points in organizing one’s life.
I just love the idea; I tended to spend endless amounts of time on looking for the perfect calendar only because finding the one that has everything that I need always turned out to be difficult. Now, all I need is a cute notebook and a nice pen. (In Leiden, bookstores on Breestraat, Hema and Flying Tiger, among others, are good places for finding those.)
I write about this topic now because, in honor of the new semester, I just started creating my second bullet journal ever. I’m taking my first specialization and elective courses in this block, and my goal for the new semester is to study more effectively than before. And I planned my new “bujo” that goal in mind.
Organized Life the Way You Want It
Bullet journal doesn’t only keep your life, and studies, in order like any other calendar. Rather, you can plan your calendar to do so in a way that really helps you.
My previous bullet journal had monthly To Do Lists. I got the idea after watching a YouTube video that gave tips for first-timers. However, I noticed that the given structure didn’t work out for me. As a student, my To Do List consists mainly of tasks that I need to complete during a week, instead of a month.
Therefore, my new calendar/diary/notebook has a weekly To Do List page. Whenever I get a task done, I mark this to my weekly list. It makes my weekends much more enjoyable when I see on one glance that I’ve done everything I aimed to do by Friday.
Notebook of Everything
I’m one of those people who never have an empty sheet of paper with them when most needed. Bullet journaling has solved this problem. For the first time in my life, I have a calendar that always has enough empty pages for notes and random thoughts. That is because I get to decide on the amount of them myself.
My previous bullet journal was full of lecture and workgroup notes, study plan drafts, and cat drawings. It makes me happy to think that it doesn’t matter whether I run out of pages after a year or already in two months. Bullet journal doesn’t have to follow the calendar year or the academic year. Rather, you can get yourself a new calendar whenever you feel like it.
Better Than Coloring Books
Do you remember the enthusiasm about grown-up coloring books that emerged about two years ago? Adults everywhere went crazy because they noticed that coloring detailed pictures gave their brain a break and made them feel relaxed.
As it sounded cool, I wanted to go nuts about this new trend, too, and bought two coloring books and a set of colored pencils. However, I soon noticed that coloring is actually rather boring. I’d rather do something relaxing but productive.
This is where bullet journaling stepped in; instead of coloring, I enjoy creating new pages to my bullet journal. At the same time, it has the same function as coloring books have for many; it allows me to take my thoughts away from studying for five ten minutes when sitting in the library, stressing about the upcoming deadlines or exams. And I assure you, it’s much more calming that browsing your Facebook feed.
Some people want to finish their bullet journal as soon as possible but, for me, it is a never-ending project that always has empty sheets of paper waiting for me. As such, I love it.
If you feel like starting your own bullet journal, check Instagram, YouTube or Pinterest for tips and ideas!