Bullet Journal For Students: Tracker Ideas For Busy Students

It can be easy to get lost with all the things to do when you’re in school. With all the homework, exams, and deadlines you’re chasing, it’s easy to forget about having fun or to spend time with something you like.

Of course, the alternative to this is do spend time with everything you like and then forget about all the school work.

Don’t do that…. Take it from me.

I wasn’t really a good student back in high school and college, and the thing is it’ll come back to bite you eventually. Once it does, sure you’ll have very fond memories to hang on to, but you’ll always have a voice in the back of your head saying you could have done better.

So while you’re in school, what you want is to find a balance, something where you can get the best of both worlds and have a well-balanced school and social life.

Luckily, the bullet journal can help you with that. And if you’re new to it, don’t worry. I went around and compiled the most useful information for busy students who want to get started with bullet journaling.

Bujo Basics

Bujo, for those who are new, is the shortcut for bullet journal. It was coined by the ever-growing community of bullet journaling and is one of the examples of how big of an impact the bujo community has on the system.

Originally created by Ryder Carroll, the bullet journal system was developed to help him keep up with school work. Being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD) during this time, you could imagine how hard it was for him to accomplish all his schoolwork.

I know all that homework and exams are already tough, but can you imagine having ADD at the same time?

He used to go around with multiple notebooks and pieces of paper for notes, struggling not to lag with all the things he had to.

The system helped him with that.

Once the bullet journal method was in place, he began carrying only one notebook for everything, he was able to catch up with his schoolwork, and it even made him more mindful and self-aware.

These are all things you can achieve too, and what’s more, is that you’re still in school. You’re in the perfect position to reap all the benefits.

Key Components Of The Bullet Journal

If you want to learn the key components of the bullet journal, then you’ll need to familiarize yourself with these terms:

  • Key
  • Index
  • Future Log
  • Monthly Log
  • Weekly Log
  • Daily Log

The Bullet Journal Key

The key is usually set at the beginning of the bullet journal.

These are a set of symbols that you’ll use to remind yourself of what to do with certain journal entries.

Here’s a quick example:

You can choose any symbol you’d like as long as you can remember what they mean. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it.

The Bullet Journal Index

The index usually comes after the key.

This will function as your table of contents and help you navigate your journal.

Since the notebook isn’t preset, you’ll have to number the pages themselves so you can find them. Once you do, immediately log it into the journal so you don’t forget.

This is the same for any collection you add.

A collection functions as a section of the bullet journal. Each module you put in a bullet journal is a collection, including all the core components.

Here’s a good example:

The Bullet Journal Future Log

The future log comes in third in the standard setup of a bullet journal.

This is the place where you store all the tasks, notes, and events for the coming months. It helps you gain an overview of all the things you have planned and need to remember.

To make a future log, you need an estimate of how much thing you’ll be placing per month. Once you do, you can split a blank page after the index depending on how big of a box you’ll need.

The standard is usually 3 boxes for 3 months on one page, and all you’ll need to do is place two horizontal lines, evenly spaced to make those boxes.

Label each box for the month intended, and move on to the remaining months.

There are various methods for these. To learn more, click here.

The Bullet Journal Monthly Log

The monthly log is next.

Here you’ll be placing all you need to do for the month.

To set it up, you’ll need to blank a sheet of paper in your notebook.

Number the left-hand side of the first page to make enough rows to match how many days there are in that month, besides it label what day they fall on. You’ll have a lot of space left beside the number and the letter to write anything you might remember during that day. Keep it short to save space.

On the second page, label it monthly log and you’re done. Here you’ll be placing all the items you’ve migrated from your future log or daily log.

Migrating or migration is the act of transferring entries that weren’t accomplished in the daily log or monthly tasks that appear on the future log. You transfer it here, to have a better overview of the month.

It should look like something like this:

The Bullet Journal Weekly and Daily Log

The weekly and daily logs are sometimes combined to save more space. You can choose not to if it doesn’t suit you.

To make this, it’s simply numbering and lettering the page to log it into the index. Once that’s done, all you need to do is rapid log everything you want to take note of on a corresponding day.

Rapid logging is when you take quick notes to log into your bullet journal. These are usually placed in the daily log, depending on how your journal is setup.

Minimalist Bullet Journal Vs Maximalist Bullet Journal

In the bujo community, there are two schools of thought: the minimalistic view, and the maximalist view.

No doubt you’ve seen those magnificent works of art that are bullet journals floating around the web, these are what you consider the maximalist spreads of bullet journals.

These are usually made by individuals who need an outlet for their creativity, finding peace and relaxation through the art they do in their journal. It’s a marriage of productivity and aesthetics.

For minimalistic spreads, they are often less seen. These spreads are straight to the point. They save time and use little supplies.

The bullet journal system was created as a minimalistic approach to productivity and self-care. As such, if you’re after the basics, you might want to try the minimalist approach.

Of course, one of the key factors why the bullet journal has found many who resonate with its core principles is because of its flexibility. You can mix and match different components and collection, letting you make a journal that works best for your needs.

So just choose what you think works for you. There is no right or wrong here, just what’s different and what works.

Supplies For A Student’s Bullet Journal

The basic supplies for the bullet journal are something very familiar to you. They are a simple pen and a simple notebook.

Depending on which school of thought you choose, you might have to add or modify the tools you need.

For minimalist spreads: All you need is a pen and notebook. You can choose any brand at any price as long as the ink doesn’t go through the pages.

If you’re using an expensive pen, you might want to match it with some expensive paper.

Be sure to get one of those 80 gsm papers if you want to do this because that’s the standard paper thickness for the best performance of more expensive pens.

Between a lined, dotted, or blank page, I suggest going with the dotted or lined for the most convenience.

For more on lined paper, here’s an article I wrote to help you.

For the maximalist spread: You may want to add some highlighters, brushes, or anything else you need to fully enjoy making art in your notebook. You’ll also want thicker paper, based on what you want to do. Something higher than 90 gsm would be perfect for you.

For the paper, I suggest going with a dotted or blank paper in your notebook, so the lines won’t mess up your art.

For more on Blank paper, check this out.

What you have to remember with the supplies is that it should be able to keep up with you. The same goes for the spread and collection you’ll be putting inside your notebook.

The Benefits Of Bullet Journals For Students

While there are many benefits to bullet journaling, some of them stand out more to students. Here are a few of them:

  • All-in-one Notebook And Better Organized
  • Better Time Management
  • Self Care
  • Tracking Money
  • Developing Better Habits
  • Better Memory
  • Fewer Distractions and Better Focus
  • Goal Tracking
  • Disconnecting From Technology

All-in-one Notebook And Better Organized

One of the things that makes life hard for students is the sheer number of things to keep track of. This leads to you grabbing anything you can and writing it down there, or you have different notebooks for each thing you need to take note of.

That leads to a lot of clutter, not to mention mental clutter. Now in addition to having to carry a heavier bag, you’re carrying a heavier mind too. And that can lead to even more stress.

That’s the advantage of the bullet journal for students.

You can have it all in one notebook. You can keep track of money, academic stuff, and even personal plans and hobbies.

Bullet journal collections are also something you can use to better organize your entries. They are sections in your notebook dedicated to a single topic. There you can log all the entries concerning it and plan it out better.

Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself with a load of your shoulder and mind.

Time Management

When you’re a student, it just seems that you never have enough time.

You’re so busy running around the campus, studying, and trying to get your head together, and the next thing you know, it’s bedtime. That bad thing there is that you don’t even have time to sleep.

Bullet Journal Trackers will get free up a lot of time for you. Aside from having it all in one notebook, you can also track your schedule for the day, upcoming exams, deadlines, and any projects that need doing, at a glance.

You’ll have the luxury of being able to arrange things in priority, allowing you to skip the worrying and schedule it in a fashion that you won’t have to rush or cram.

Self-Care

It’s easy to forget about yourself when thinking of an upcoming exam you just have to pass, or when a deadline is fast approaching. You just need to push yourself, harder and harder.

The thing is if you do that you’ll just be pushing your mind harder, which can then lead burnout much quicker. You won’t be able to think, you’ll be grouchy all the time, and the fatigue just makes everything harder.

You don’t want that. What you do want is balance.

The luxury of having an overview of your semester or year, plus the advantage of the bullet journal trackers, can make it easier for you to carve out time for yourself. You know, just make time to free up your mind and refresh yourself.

This can be through a hobby, or just taking a good rest. The bullet journal can help you with that.

Tracking Money

Bullet Journal trackers also allow you to track money, something you’ll probably want to spread out during the sem.

Budget trackers, spending trackers, expense trackers, you name it, they’ve got something to track it with.

This will be invaluable in helping you determine your spending patterns and plan out in response. You can even set a goal for reaching a certain amount with your savings.

Tracking your spending habits will also let you be more accountable at the end of the day.

And while this practice will help immensely with school life, building this habit can have a major impact when you’re out of school and living on your own.

Develop Good Habits

Having a million things to do doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t set aside time to build better habits, right?

The bullet journal trackers can help you with that.

With the trackers, you can make it so you do one thing each day that allows you to form better habits.

Of course, having better habits means you function better overall, it may be better or longer sleeping times, flossing, or even just taking time to do some jumping jacks.

The tracker will allow you to keep track and focus on self-improvement. Soon, you’ll see that you’re getting better at keeping up with your flossing, or you find that your average time for sleeping is getting longer.

This kind of gradual growth is what will have a great impact on you as a whole in the future.

Better Memory

One of the benefits the bullet journal can afford you, being an analog system, is that writing things helps you remember and process what you wrote.

This is a pretty simple solution, but it lets you memorize things easier, and it lets you reflect on the things you put down on the paper.

Aside from that, further on I’ll explain to you brain dumps and mind maps. These particular tools can help greatly with memory retention and brainstorming, letting you view something with a different perspective. This is a great way to find creative solutions to common problems.

These are benefits that you can take advantage of for tests, group projects, and even outside of school.

Fewer Distractions And Better Focus

Having everything in one place and having no apps to steal your attention will undoubtedly help you in keeping up with your schoolwork.

Even if you weren’t busy getting lured in hours of Instagram, being able to turn to a page in the place for specific information would be better than having to search through which digital planner app you kept it on, or in which notebook did I write this or that.

Having to manually plan out your schedule and review your trackers would mean you actively shifting your focus on that specific subject. It helps your mind shut out everything else, and lets it follow a train of thought that would have been otherwise broken on a different medium.

A regular planner doesn’t quite have the same effect, with you logging only specific types of information and then forgetting about it almost immediately.

Goal Tracking

It’s easy to lose track of the things you achieve or reach when you’re too busy with other things. However, celebrating these have their own positive effects on you.

With trackers, you’ll be able to follow your progress and pretty soon that you’ll notice that you’re hitting more and more of your goals. They spur you on the right path, encouraging you to follow the good habits that brought you there. They also help improve your mood, self-esteem, and overall mental health.

Disconnecting

This is something that is highly underrated, especially for students.

When you get caught with school work, getting caught up in social media drama or the news doesn’t exactly help. What’s more, is that the continuous barrage of information can easily overload our minds.

One of the things that resonate deeply with those who use the bullet journal, is the ability to turn off their gadgets and focus on something other than their screens.

They give us the chance to reevaluate our days and give us a chance to actually formulate an action plan to improve any hitches we see. The effects will be minimal at first, but with momentum, the changes will soon be significant when examined for a longer period of time.

Bullet Journal Spreads For Students

Aside from the basics system of the bullet journal, you can incorporate trackers and spreads that will greatly help any student. Here are some of the most useful:

  • Brain Dump
  • Schedule Tracker
  • Goal Tracker
  • Mind Map
  • Finance/Budget Tracker
  • Habit Tracker
  • Sleep Log
  • Grade Tracker
  • Semester Overview

Brain Dump

A brain dump is an effective tool that helps declutter your mind.

It works by sitting down and writing everything that you’re thinking off on a piece of paper, listing everything and getting it off your mind. Once you’ve done this, most sort the thing they have written into categories to further process and act on these ideas.

You can write anything here, and it helps you hone in on something particular that’s bothering you.

To learn more about it, click here.

Schedule Tracker

Time is one of the most precious resources for school and out in the world. Luckily, there are tools in the bullet journal repertoire that can help you sort that out.

With the schedule tracker, you can use it to track your schedule for the semester, exam dates, and other deadlines.

The great thing about this is that you’re able to see them at a glance. It makes everything easier to track and plan for.

 
 
 
 
 
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Goal Trackers

It’s important to assess the progress you’ve made throughout the year and celebrate each step forward. This will help you build momentum, as well as reinforce all the positive changes you’ve made to get there.

Luckily, a goal tracker makes that easier to do.

Mind Map

A mind map is a great tool for memorization and note-taking.

It takes advantage of how the brain works, using images, colors, and keywords to form connections and create a better picture of the information at hand.

All you have to do is draw the subject in the center of a piece of paper and write down the keywords that first come to mind. Write the keywords around the image, and connect them to the image by drawing branches.

Repeat the same process when it comes to the keywords and forms a bigger tree until you have everything you need interconnected and easy to remember.

It should look like this:

It doesn’t need to be as elaborate, as long as it is effective for you.

For more on mind maps, please check out our article on it.

This video might also help you understand it more:

Budget/Finance Tracker

Keeping a score of your expenses is one of the most useful habits you can gain from the bullet journal. It will not only impact your life positively during school but also when you are out in the world working.

The best thing about it is you can structure it to however you want it, or whatever you prefer. You can choose which aspect to track and how long you track it.

Here are some ideas:

 
 
 
 
 
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Assignment Tracker

The assignment tracker will be one of the tools that will really help you from here on out, it’s useful in keeping track and letting you have an overview of everything you need to do. You can tweak it to track as long or as short a period as you need.

Here’s an example:

 
 
 
 
 
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Habit Tracker

A habit tracker is a great tool for self-improvement and care. I mean, not because you’re swamped with school work doesn’t mean you should let yourself go.

You can use it to track your sleep, diet, and exercise. You can also focus on something like a dental hygiene tracker for flossing and brushing your teeth.

Either way, the good habits you develop through this will have a bigger impact both in your school life and out in the world.

Here’s a good tracker to get you thinking:

Sleep Tracker

Sleep is one of the most important things for any human being, let alone the crazed student trying to get by.

Luckily, this sleep tracker can help you identify patterns that interfere with your sleep and help you get over them.

This works by monitoring your sleep schedule and running it through your daily log whenever you see you’re getting little sleep.

You can try looking for the patterns that negatively affect your sleeping patterns and put them to rest.

Here’s a good look at it:

Grade Tracker

The grade tracker will go a long way with tracking your progress. This is one of the tools that give you an overview that you can use to run against your daily patterns.

For example, say a grade you’ve been maintaining suddenly dips. You can run me through what you have been doing across the sem to check why it went down. Once you find that pattern that led to this, you can effectively act on it or cut if out of your lifestyle.

Here’s a great example of the grade tracker.

 
 
 
 
 
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And another one

DJ Khaled

Tips For Better Bullet Journals For Students

  • Have Fun With It
  • Have Goals
  • Celebrate Small Victories
  • Use Printables and Stickers

Have Fun With It

I know you’re inundated with school work, but through it, all remember that this is about balance. Don’t pressure yourself too much, or when doing the bullet journal remember that it doesn’t need to be perfect.

You’ll even find yourself skipping doing all this for a while before getting back to it once you’re ready again. It’s okay. It’s part of the process of getting better and you have to let it all happen.

Just remember that it’s something you can remedy with the next tip.

Have Goals

The goal of all this is that you achieve a goal. Whether it be with school or the bullet journal, the end result is always you achieving something you set out to do.

So, always have goals. Start with small ones, then gradually grow it into something so large you won’t believe it when you actually reach it.

That leads us to the next tip.

Celebrate Small Victories

Celebrate everything you can because the large goals come at the end, and they’re usually filled with failures and small victories.

Come to think of it, celebrate your small failures as well. That’s all part of it.

Printables and Stickers

For those who want really nice spreads but have little time or are not particularly artistic, there’s a solution. They’re called printables and stickers.

They are usually sold online and made by professional artists. You can find solo items or packages that are theme-based.

You can use them to decorate your notebook or purchase one that already has a preset template for a collection.

Either way, it’s an accessible way to decorate and enhance the bullet journal experience.

Good luck guys! And have a good time with all this!

If you’re interested to learn more about the bullet journal, please feel free to check out our other articles.

scribblerplanet

Jm here! I run the Scribbler Planet website. If you're new to bullet journals and journaling, I think I can help you out. I've always had problems with keeping on track with what I'm doing, so when I heard bullet journaling could help I tried my hand at it. Here we are about a year later and I'm glad to say it significantly helped. Here's hoping I can help you do the same!

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