I love the look of those beautiful bullet journals you see everywhere on Pinterest, but for a busy college student, it isn’t always possible to sit down for a couple hours a day to plan the next week.

I don’t follow the bullet journal system perfectly, in fact, I hardly follow it at all. I use it as inspiration for my own planning method. If you need an intro to bullet journaling, you can visit the official bullet journal website here.

This post is simply going to go over how I personally have simplified the system to make it work for me.

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My current bullet journal is a Molly & Rex notebook from the World Balloon set. I like the size of it a lot, plus it has a dot grid, which is always a plus. You can use any notebook, though. In the past, I’ve used composition notebooks, sketchbooks, and even a traditional style planner.


I don’t have or use an index. I have tried this in the past, but I find it just frustrates me more than it helps me. The index would be very useful for someone who has lots of notes or collections that they want to find quickly, but I honestly have no problem with flipping through pages to find what I need. I use post-it notes to bookmark things I use a lot, like my monthly and daily pages or important notes, but that’s it.


I also don’t use a future log in my bullet journal. I just put appointments and events into my phone calendar, and when I create the page for the month, all those events are transferred onto that page.



I do use the monthly log and find it extremely helpful. I like seeing things laid out on a page, and it makes it easy to see what deadlines are coming up so I can create to-do lists accordingly.

The task page is for things you have to do, but not necessarily on or by a certain date. I don’t really have a dedicated task page anymore because I tend to just ignore it, but I have a post-it note that will travel from page to page until I complete everything on it.



The daily log, I find, is my favorite part of bullet journaling. It is the most practical way for me to make a to-do list and to actually do the things I intend to do. The biggest mistake I made (and still sometimes do) is that I would give myself way too many things to do in a day, and then I would get overwhelmed and not do any of them. I find having 3-6 big events or things to do during the day to be perfect for me.


I consider anything that is not some kind of event planner, to do list, or tracker to be a collection of sorts. Collections can be anything: a list of books you want to read, writing prompts, brain dumps, etc. Look out in the next few months for a list of ideas for collections for your bullet journal!

I hope this inspires you to make yourself a bullet journal and to actually use it, and to not get discouraged if it isn’t exactly Instagram-worthy. Bullet journals are a great tool for all types of people!

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Posted by:neatohollo

I'm Holly, an 18-year-old college student from the greater Cincinnati area. Cat mother, dog lover, artist, pastel enthusiast.

9 replies on “How I Plan: A Realistic Bullet Journal

  1. I’m the same with bullet journaling, I’m more inspired by it than actually following the norm. But that’s the cool thing about Bullet journaling, there really aren’t any rules! Also I really love the notebook you chose, it’s so cute! I also like the way you have everything planned out! I personally like to use a more traditional planner approach to for my daily to do’s. Thanks for sharing!


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