The fall semester is here, and as a high school or college student, you want to plan things ahead of time in order to stay organized. One organizational method you might be aware of is the bullet journal, created by Ryder Carroll as an alternative to regular planners. Carroll created the bullet journal as a tool for simple and flexible planning.
Bullet journals have also become popular on social media, where people post their highly detailed and beautiful “BuJos.” If you’re trying to get organized for school, and you look at bullet journal Pinterest boards, Instagram hashtags or Tumblr communities, you’ll see index pages, calendars, habit trackers, mood trackers and to-do lists that are covered in Washi tape, detailed with art themes and planned out with picturesque penmanship.
The bullet journal can be functional, creative or both. It offers students the ability to choose any journal that fits their personality; however, they’re responsible for creating their weekly and monthly spreads. Although this means that pages won’t go to waste if you skip a week or two of planning, this level of intensity can be hard to keep up with.
A DIY planner, where you have to plan out every detail yourself, isn’t something that everyone will be motivated to stick with, and for students who just want to keep up with school and other life events, this amount of detail might be less inspiring and more intimidating.
Even though the bullet journal was created for its simplicity, for some students, using a regular planner can be simpler. You don’t have to worry about creating an index page. It comes with calendars, and you just add the events. And you won’t feel like you need to change your art theme every month.
Here are 6 simple planning alternatives.
With 12 monthly spreads and 52 weekly spreads, you can use the Simple Elephant planner throughout the whole school year; the planner is also undated, which means that if you skip a few weeks, you don’t have to stress about large portions of your planner going unused. You can just fill the next week or month in when you get back into planning.
It also has 58 pages for extra notes that you can use to fill in with whatever you need, along with pages dedicated to keeping you happy, such as a mindmap and a vision board, to help you keep track of your goals and other objectives that are important to you. This planner also allows you to choose from a few different cover colors, and it comes with stickers so you can decorate your pages throughout the year.
The Simple Elephant planner offers all of the planning tools and personalization that makes the bullet journal so intriguing, without the necessity of doing everything yourself.
For many people, self-care in the form of mood and habit trackers have become the most important part of their planning process. They can keep their lives organized, and at the same time, keep tabs on how their habits and emotions are affecting their mental and physical health. By figuring out how you can improve your health and what is causing negativity in your life, you can have a happier and more productive school year.
However, creating your own elaborate mood and habit trackers every week will be hard to stick with when you’re in school, especially on top of keeping track of everything else you have to do. But if self-care is an important part of your organizational process, then the Mood Tracker planner might be the best planning alternative for you. This 12-month planner offers weekly and monthly spreads for recording upcoming events, but its weekly and monthly mood trackers, goal trackers and bonus habit trackers are the main appeal.
If you aren’t interested in any kind of mood or habit trackers, you feel like stickers will clutter your planner and you don’t care about monthly spreads, then the Field Notes 56 Week Undated planner is your best bet. You’ll have 56 weeks of undated material to plan out your year.
This one is as simple as you can get, and if the bullet journal in its most basic and functional form still stresses you out but you still need a planner, then this might be the alternative you need.
Ban.do Classic Academic planners offer students an already dated, 17-month design, which means you can plan your year on weekly and monthly spreads until the end of 2020. Each month is color coded, and you can personalize your planner with the fun stickers that it comes with.
There’s even a pocket in the back where you can store important papers and documents. Ban.do Classic Academic planners come in small, medium and large sizes, with varying covers, so you can choose which one fits your style.
If you like all of the ideas of a bullet journal, like organizing via color coding, decorating your planner with art and choosing a journal cover and size that fits your style, but just filling in the dates of a planner already seems like too much DIY work, then a Ban.do Classic Academic planner might be what you need to stay organized this coming school year.
Carrying a planner around isn’t for everybody, especially today, when you can do anything you need to in your phone. If you have an iPhone and would rather keep your charts and lists with everything else that’s important to you, then the Awesome Calendar app might be the planning tool you need, because this iPhone app isn’t just a calendar. It’s like a bullet journal in your phone, where you can color code your events, create to-do lists and add notes while inserting pictures of anything you want to remember.
What makes it even more alluring than a lot of physical planners is that this app will sync with all your other iPhone calendar apps, so everything you already have planned out will automatically be added to your Awesome Calendar.
If carrying around a planner isn’t for you, but you have an Android, or you can’t spend $10 on a planning app when you have more important things to buy this semester, then you should look into the Any.do app.
This is another app that’s like a bullet journal in your pocket. Along with being able to color code events in your calendar, you’ll be able to create grocery lists, personal tasks, work tasks and other personalized lists for today, tomorrow, upcoming days and farther in the future. Any.do will also sync with any of your devices, and using this app makes it easy to share your events and lists with whoever you need to.