I can remember how I discovered bullet journaling—I was looking for a calendar that was small, that had less hourly blocks of time and more of a to-do list, where I could track my fitness along with my freelance and work assignments, and where I could keep track of my reading progress in books. Does such a calendar exist? Sure it does. But I had to make it myself.
Enter the Bullet Journal
Bullet journaling is the brainchild of Ryder Carroll, a Brooklyn-based product designer. He has a website devoted to bullet journaling, including a video to help anyone new to the practice get started and a crowdfunding campaign for the perfect notebook for bullet journaling. It’s all very helpful information, but the backbone of the bullet journal is simply the freedom to create something that works for you. When I bullet journal, I allow myself space to fill each day with the types of information I need in order to be successful that day—appointments and checklists and fun colored pens. But it can be anything you want it to be.
How Would a Bullet Journal Help a Law Student?
I think it’s safe to say that the legal field (and the education leading up to it) is different than any other line of work. It is because of its uniqueness that makes a bullet journal the perfect fit. Here are some examples of ways to use your bullet journal in law school.
- A semester-long calendar on a single spread of pages that will allow you to visualize when all exams are and when you will need to start outlining and studying.
- A page for each class, so you can see what topics are covered. Here is where you could also make a checklist of what outlining needs to be done, filling in boxes as you complete tasks.
- A monthly calendar with deadlines and your proposed outlining and reading schedule written in, so you know how much you have to do each day.
- A weekly spread, so you can check off boxes as you complete tasks. This is also where you can track your fitness (because it’s important to stay healthy, even when you’re busy), your nutrition, and any appointments you can’t forget or deadlines you have to keep track of.
- A monthly habit tracker. This is where you can keep track of your sleep, your spending (if that is something that concerns you), your health, your goals, etc.
These are just some examples of how you can use a bullet journal while in law school, but the possibilities are as endless as each person’s creativity.
The Importance of Creativity in Law School
Here’s something that you may not hear every day—it’s important to exercise some creativity in law school. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but trust me—if you only think about the law all day, every day, you’ll burn yourself out. I’m not telling you to ditch studying and only paint in your free time, but finding a balance is very important. Bullet journaling can help you with that too. And it’s an especially good fit for law students because the creativity necessary is the analytical sort—drawing lines and shapes in order to make calendars and lists. It’s a good mix of the creative and the analytical, and it can help you find balance in your life.
So You Want to Start Bullet Journaling—How Do You Get Started?
As stated, at its core, bullet journaling only requires a pen and a notebook. If you want to ensure good quality (and longevity) in your journal, though, I do have some suggestions:
- Make sure your paper is thick enough so pens and markers don’t bleed. You can always purchase the bullet journal advertised on the bullet journal website, but a Moleskin is a good option, as well. I prefer the dotted pages, for easy grid and list making.
- Find a type of pen you like and buy multiple colors. I like pens with ink rather than ballpoints, but to each his own. My favorites are Stabilo 30 point 88.
- Check out some of the bullet journal blogs and press. This is strictly to give you ideas of what you can do with a bullet journal—most of the people creating these images have more time than you will, as a law student.
- Experiment on your own. For instance, I tried doing a habit tracker and found that it wasn’t for me. So the next month, I didn’t do it.
- Have fun with it! That’s the whole point, isn’t it? Use your creativity as a useful outlet.
Have you tried bullet journaling? Do you enjoy it? Share your experience
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