Making a plan…ner

I am big on planning. Anyone who knows me personally knows I like to know details of events as soon as possible beforehand. I LOVE to use a physical agenda/planner to jot down tasks and utilize my time effectively.

At the start of every school year, the most anticipated purchase I make is an agenda. I’ve researched and have made pros and cons list for many brands of planners that I’ve thought about buying. This process led to extensive Pinterest searches and YouTubing unboxing videos for the latest and greatest planners for college students.

For my freshman year of college, I purchased an Erin Condren planner and I was hyped. The gorgeous personalization of the covers was a nice touch and I liked the style. Unfortunately, it became more of a nuisance as the year progressed and I realized it wasn’t well suited for my academic lifestyle.

As an engineering major, I like functional, durable and efficient items. Much to my dismay, the Erin Condren planner didn’t stand up to the challenge of being thrown into my backpack among my many notebooks, Introduction to Computing textbook and the formaldehyde soiled Biology lab manual (gotta love the rat dissections). The cover often ripped off the spiral when I pulled the planner out of my backpack and it was far too bulky. I found myself not utilizing the a lot of the features because I didn’t see the point in them…there was too much unnecessary frill.

So as my sophomore year approached, I began to look into different options but with the idea of what I wanted. However, I had a difficult time finding a planner that had all the things on my “want” list that I had made. Which included:

  • vertical layout
  • monthly tabs
  • small
  • non-strict timeslots
  • ample writing space (for my large handwriting)
  • no “frill ”(I didn’t want/need obnoxiously bright and girly decor throughout)
  • simple personalization

I faced the problem of not finding a planner that fit the specifications that I wanted and I was determined not to settle.

Eventually, my Pinterest exploration led me to the idea of Bullet Journaling. At first, I was skeptical. The word “Journaling” led me to believe I would be recounting my days and whimsically writing my thoughts down. And though this is one method of Bullet Journaling, I was drawn more to the idea of making an agenda.

Upon further investigation, I became set on the idea. I knew I could make it into something I would use everyday and could change my mind about it without regretting it later on.

I purchased a “Large Soft Cover Dotted Moleskine Notebook” and started drafting a weekly layout.

This is the layout I settled on:

Early into the process I realized how time consuming this project would be. Nonetheless, I liked the layout and the possibilities too much to quit.

I gradually added a yearly calendar and monthly layouts.

I didn’t complete the journal all in one go, but I used post-it notes to label the weeks so that I wouldn’t have to continuously refer to a calendar when writing out the dates. Like so…

I didn’t necessarily want time slots for each and every hour of the day. I just wanted to see what things were set in stone such as my class schedule and organization meetings/events. In order to make a consistant distinction for certain events, I made a key within the first few pages that I could refer to until I had it memorized. I also made a bookmark sized template to see where the time slots would be on the page.

Throughout my bullet journal I used Sharpie Pens that I received as a gift for my birthday. (LOL thanks Smooth) They were great because they don’t bleed through the pages and there are a bunch of colors.

Overall, I was/am satisified with the result.

8am Physics was one of the worst experiences of my life :-)

Do I intend on doing this for next school year? That all depends on whether I find a planner with a similar layout. The biggest con to this project was how time consuming it was. This aside, it was actually therapeutic after I let go of the need to be a perfectionist with it.

I ended up personalizing the cover with a sticker (first picture) with a fitting quote and reminder.

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