One of my most used items at university is my bullet journal. I love planning this way because I can customize a bullet journal spread for my specific needs. My bullet journal keeps me organised and in turn, helps me get all my coursework finished and handed in on time.
If you already have a bullet journal you will know how much it can aid productivity. One advantage of the bullet journal system is how it can be customised for your specific needs.
Today I am going to share 6 examples of spreads you can use in your bullet journal which can help you stay organised at university. These spreads are essential if you want to make the most out of your time and perform at your best.
Of course, there are many more different spread layouts which you could use. If you take one quick look at Pinterest you will find hundreds of bullet journal ideas for students. But these specific spreads are ones I use in my bullet journal and have found to be massively helpful.
6 BULLET JOURNAL SPREAD IDEAS FOR STUDENTS
ACADEMIC YEAR OVERVIEW
As part of setting up my bullet journal for the new year, I create a year at a glance page. I’ve found it can also be useful to set up the same page starting in August. This means I can easily see the full academic year.
It is possible to set this up over one page in your bullet journal. But I prefer having my calendar a little more spread out over two pages. I think having more space between the months makes this easier to look at.
The advantage of having an academic year-at-a-glance is it easily allows you to see where the semesters fall. It can also help with planning out coursework and exam revision if you can see how much time you have left before the semester ends.
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You can create a key and mark on important dates. My semesters are broken into twelve-week blocks so I’ve chosen to highlight those weeks. You could also mark the time that you don’t need to be at university. For example, reading weeks and holidays. This is also a good place to mark important deadlines.
It’s much easier to plan out how much work you need to do in advance if you know how much time you have. Of course, you could always wait till the night before an important deadline. But I find its better to spread coursework out over a longer period.
I don’t have a specific spread in my bullet journal for a timetable. My lectures and tutorials all happen at different times so there is no need for one. This makes my semester overview even more essential. On this, I can see what meetings I have each week.
I don’t use dates for this spread. The semesters at my university are split into 12-week blocks. Any schedules I get for modules all use this same system. It’s much easier knowing what week of the semester I’m currently on rather than the specific date.
This also makes it much easier to plan out deadlines. I can pencil in the specific deadlines and from that can start planning out the work which I need to do. I find it much easier if I can spread my work out over a few weeks rather than try to cram it in a few days. And my bullet journal is essential for this.
I’ve set this spread out over two pages. But it would be extremely easy to add more pages if you need more space each week. Maybe if you have a busy schedule or more meetings and seminars. I also use my monthly calendars when planning out my university work so this semester overview is for the most important things happening each week.
Colour coding these pages can also help massively. I can easily look at the page and see what meetings I have for each module. The great thing about colour coding is you can easily add more to your key if you have more modules that you need to track. You just need to use different colours for each module.
I have a chronic illness and use my bullet journal to manage that illness. Though there are other places in my bullet journal that I use to track my illness I also have a specific spread which relates to university.
Because of my illness, it’s recommended that I work at home and I get several different tools to help me with that. I’m also able to get an extension on deadlines however I have to apply for that extension at the end of each semester.
One of the things I was recommended to do by my disability advisor at university was tracking my attendance and any other appointments. This was something I could use as evidence of why I need extra time to hand in work. Simply having some sort of disability isn’t enough. You need to show why you couldn’t finish your work on time.
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So I have a health tracker spread where I can keep a note of the days I should have been in university and wasn’t. I can also use this to keep track of appointments, this is useful because there have been times where I’ve been absent from university because of appointments.
I will also keep various notes related to my chronic illness in this tracker. For example how much of the day I spent in university. And any symptoms I had which prevented me from attending.
This spread is also very useful when it comes to meeting with my disability advisor at the end of the year. I can talk about any changes I need to accommodations I get. And how well the year went overall. If I missed more time than previous semesters or if I was doing better than normal.
LONG TERM GOALS
I think it’s always a good idea to have a goals page in your bullet journal. If you check out The Bullet Journal Method there is an example of an effective way to plan and set goals. But I also like to have a goals page specifically for university.
At the start of the year, I like to set out where I want to be by the end of the academic year. This is important to me for a few reasons. I don’t want to be waiting until my time at university is over to start thinking about work. My career after university is something I’m constantly thinking about.
Even though I’ve just finished second year. The way my course is set out means I have to start thinking about my final year dissertation. There are a lot of decisions involved, some of which I’ve already had to make.
Part of my final degree classification is made up of the grades I achieve in my third year. If I want to do well in my overall degree I have to do well in third year. This places less importance on the work I do in fourth year.
It’s much easier to plan these things out in advance rather than waiting until the last moment to realise there was something I could have done differently.
This page is very simple and you could customize it however you want. One thing I haven’t done in this example but is a good idea is to set out a timeline for achieving your goals. You’re much more likely to complete a goal if you set out a specific date for it to be completed. Then you can plan out your tasks and work towards this date.
I love my weekly overview. I set mine up at the start of each week and I’ve found it helps massively when it comes to staying organised. I will draw a really simple table as part of a daily log but you could always go more elaborate if you wanted.
If you like the idea of a weekly overview but don’t want to draw one places like Muji and Paperchase now sell small weekly planners as sticky notes. This is a great alternative to spending time drawing out an elaborate plan in your bullet journal.
The reason why I love my weekly overview is that it helps me keep on top of all the stuff I may need to do in any given week. I can write in places I have to be like tutorials, lectures and other meetings. I can then look at the time left over in the week and decide what I want to be working on during that time.
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I have two modules in any given semester and my time needs to be split evenly between the two. It’s easy to spend all my time working on one project and forget the other.
So on my weekly overview, I can pencil in the specific times that I want to work on each module. This could also be combined with the colour coded key from the semester overview. Which would make it even easier to see what you’re doing for each module.
TIMED DAILY LOG
My daily logs are usually pretty simple. I have an extremely basic header and then a list of tasks and notes. But sometimes if I have a lot going on in a specific day I like to add some sort of timeline into my daily log.
I’ve used layouts like this in the past. The only problem was that I would draw those logs out far in advance. I know this is common for a lot of people who use bullet journals but it wasn’t working for me.
The reason bullet journals are so great is because of how adaptive they are. My daily log will change in size depending on the day. Some days I have a very short list of tasks. On other days it will span over multiple pages as I add tasks and notes related to projects I’m working on.
I find it useful to have some simple timed design which I can add to a daily log on the days I do need it. This makes it easier to see specific appointments I have over one day. In a format which is easy to read.
The design doesn’t have to be exactly like my own. But the important factor is it should be quick to draw. You don’t want to spend an hour working on your daily log when that time could be better spent finishing tasks.
I hope you got some use out of these bullet journal spread examples. I know my bullet journal has massively helped me at university. I’ve tried planners many times and I can never quite get one I like because the bullet journal system is so much better. You can customize your bullet journal exactly how you need it.
Okay so maybe some of these bullet journal spread ideas will be more practical than others. If you don’t have any health problems you may decide you don’t need a health tracker. But you could always customize it to track your sleep. Something which is important while and university and students don’t get anywhere near enough of it.
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Some other bullet journal spread ideas will be of more use. I love my weekly overviews, you don’t need to use them just at university. I love how it gives me a quick look at everything that I’ve got on in a specific week.
But what about you. Do you use a bullet journal at university? Is there a type of spread you just can’t live without that I haven’t mentioned in this post? Let me know in the comments.