Yellow Houseplant May Bullet Journal Plan-With-Me

Boy, is this year moving by so quickly! Does anyone else agree, or is it just me? Anyway, it’s May! That means that I get to share with you my May bullet journal layout and walk you through my inspirations and the process of my creating it. For those who might be interested, I am working toward being able to do a video walkthrough (excited!). This month’s theme was yellow and houseplants. I really wanted the houseplant theme to be done, though I did this minimally. I then chose yellow as my secondary color because it is a very fun and happy summery color and I am looking forward to summer so much! Without further ado, here is my May bullet journal plan-with-me.

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Theme | Yellow & House Plants

When I was trying to think of a theme for May, I immediately thought of houseplants! I was organizing my washi tape, stickers, and stamps when I came across my houseplant stickers. I then chose to stick to more neutral washi tape in order be able to match a houseplant sticker with it. I was initially going to draw houseplants on the cover page with Tombow Dual Brush Pens, but changed my mind last minute and went with my Arteza Watercolor Brush Pens. I did all of my layouts before deciding that the cover needed another plant. I chose yellow instead of green for two reasons:

  1. I used green in April
  2. Summer is coming, and yellow is a happy summer color


I really liked the minimal cursive I used in my April Bullet Journal layouts and decided to stick to it. I also stuck with the same general design. The main changes you will see are minor—even noticeable. On the monthly layout, I merged the titling and top border of the “to-do” and “goals” sections. You might also be able to see some gold detailing on the main title, “May” which is also all in lower-case.

My weekly layouts all include yellow detailing, black or gray and white washi tape, and a houseplant sticker. The sticker is the single difference between my May layouts and April Layouts. I have really enjoyed the simple and minimal look of these functional layouts as of late, though I would love to see your layouts to inspire some changes! Join my bullet journal Facebook group: Jihi Bullet Journal Sharing to show off your bullet journal or planner!

Want to keep up with my bullet journal daily? Follow my Instagram!!

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Pink Floral March 2017 Bullet Journal Plan With Me

I don’t know about you, but I am pumped for spring! My March layout was inspired by the blooming flowers of spring. This month’s bullet journal theme is pink flowers! This post may contain affiliate links

Theme | Pink Flowers

As I mentioned, this month’s theme is pink flowers, as inspired by spring. Initially, the idea was to theme it with trees and other plants, but I ended up focusing more on the pink of beautiful spring flowers. I lost the pink theme in the first few weeks but picked it back up in week three.

For the pink, I used a Mildliner, and a metallic brush pen. For the black lines I used a Staedtler fineliner and for the bold black lettering, I used the black Tombow.


This month I kept my monthly design the same as January and February. I put a calendar on the lefthand page and put a running to-do list and goals sections on the righthand page. One change I made was to use pink cursive to title the to-do and goals sections.

The weekly pages have received a 100% complete makeover! Instead of sectioning the pages into four squares, broke them into columns. This layout was inspired by a layout that requested by a customer over on my shop, you can see that layout over on my Instagram in the archived story titled “Ellen’s Notebook.”

For the first two weeks, I explored the titling for each day of the week. Week one utilized gold cursive underneath bold black letters. Week two still featured bold black letters; however, the gold was now small numbers. For the following weeks, the bold letters are pink, and the dates are in little black numbers.

Each week of my March bullet journal also features a new washi tape boarding the right side (except week one, which has the washi tape on the left). Week one is stamp-theme washi tape, week two washi tape features world famous monuments, and week three’s washi tape is purple flowers. For week four the washi tape looks like a strip of an ancient world map, and I end the month strong with some geometric black and white tape.

Want to keep up with my bullet journal daily? Follow my Instagram!!

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Plan with Me | Mini Hand-Drawn Planner

As you may know, I like to make planners and bullet journals for my family and friends. I now also make hand-drawn bullet journals for anyone! Anyways, for my Mom’s birthday this year I decided to make her a planner. However, I know my mom needed something much simpler than the generic bullet journal or planner. This post may contain affiliate links.

Essentials Gridline Notebook Specs

She requested the planner be smaller—like the size of a passport—that way it would fit in her purses easily. She also requested having grocery lists and to-do lists. With this information, I flew into gear. Below are the specs of the notebook I chose.

  • Durable hardcover
  • A6 size (4 inches x 5-1/2 inches)
  • 192 grid-lined pages
  • Elastic band
  • Ribbon bookmark
  • Inside back cover pocket

Planner Inspiration

The layout of this bullet journal was inspired by the color pink, pink is my Mom’s favorite color. Having gotten my Arteza watercolor brush pens recently, I wanted to utilize them. The cover page features and watercolored background and “Kristi’s 2018 Planning” in a mixture of calligraphy and clear print. I kept the pink theme throughout utilizing it as an accent color.

Planner Introduction

The planner opens with an index so that it could be easier to find the month or page she is looking for. Next, I included a year-at-a-glance page. This 2018-at-a-glance page utilizes pink as an accent. These two pages utilized fine line pens in varying sizes.

Hand-Drawn Planning Pages

Since my normal weekly grid was not necessary for this planner, I opted to stick to monthly layouts only. For each month, I created a generic calendar, two pages for a to-do list, four pages for groceries, and then two pages for notes. I left these pages relatively untouched so that my Mom could utilize them as she needed.

Financial Planner

After giving my Mom her planner, she requested that I add bill tracking to the back. I happily added these pages. I neglected to take photos of this page; however, it looks similar to my own bill tracking layout which you can see here. The only difference is that I used pink watercolor and did multiple pages of bill tracking and did not give her a subscription tracking page.

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

Enjoy Bullet Journaling? Check out my 2018 Layout!

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Tools Used to Create This Hand-Drawn Planner

As you may know, I like to make planners and bullet journals for my family and friends. I now also make hand-drawn bullet journals for anyone...

How to Create Effective Goals | Includes Free Worksheet

With every new year comes new goals and hopes to achieve these goals. Unfortunately, many of us create goals that never get completed. Why is this? One reason you might not achieve your goals is that the way you wrote it is too vague, not realistic, or has no deadline. This post is all about how to write effective goals that you can achieve. This post may contain affiliate links.

Learn how to write Long-Term Goals HERE or Learn more about SMART Goals HERE.

How to Create Effective Goals

Define Your Goal

The first thing you need to do when writing effective goals is to define the goal. What do you want to achieve? This is the easy part—getting your idea written down. However, there is more to a goal than just writing it down. Your goals need to be specific, measurable, time-sensitive, achievable, and realistic.

Make Your Goals Specific

An effective goal is a specific goal. If you do not clearly define your goal using measurable terms, you will be less inclined to complete it. Your goal needs to be so specific that it might involve smaller more specific goals to achieve the overarching goal. Read more specifically about these smaller step ladder goals here.

Make it Measurable

An effective goal needs to be measurable. This means that you need to define how you will measure your goal. Are you measuring your goal by smaller tasks or deadlines within your large goal, are you measure with time or an amount? No matter how you choose to measure your goal, measure it.

How to Create Effective Goals

Set A Realistic Deadline

If your goal does not have a due date, you will feel no pressure to complete it. How can a goal be effective if you are not motivated to complete it by a specific time? Make sure this deadline is realistic and that you have used the specifics and measurements define above to create your deadline. Having a realistic deadline can make a goal that might otherwise not be effective.

How to Create an Effective Goal

Is Your Goal Achievable and Realistic?

How likely is it that you can reach your goal by the dates you have set for yourself? To determine achievability, you must be honest with yourself. It’s common that our expectations are unrealistic, thus, making them unachievable. We get excited and don’t think about how our goal will fit into daily life. It’s often the issue that we set a date that is too soon so that we feel overwhelmed. It’s also common that we set dates that are too far away and we put off achieving our goal, leaving it to the last minute.

Effective goals written in this format are commonly known as SMART goals. They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive. Follow this format, and you are sure to have an effective goal!

Now that you know how to write an effective goal, sit down with a pen and paper, and create your goal!

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2018 Bullet Journal Spread Plan-with-Me

With the new year approaching, I have decided to completely switch up my bullet journaling routine. Instead of one overarching bullet journal. I am switching it up by having multiple journals each with a different purpose. Let’s dive in and see what I have going on for my 2018 bullet journal!

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The Perfect Beginner’s Bullet Journal Notebook Review

The Journals

This year I have four bullet journals. My planning journal, collections journal, list journal, and my Jihi Elephant bullet journal. Each of these journals has a washi tape label on the binding and a watercolored title page. For the title pages, I used the Arteza watercolor brush pens and the Tombow Dual Brush Pens.

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

I have chosen to move to dot journals this year, though I am on a tight budget and could not splurge for a Lechtturm 1917 for all of them. So, I found a cheaper alternative, Northbooks Dots Hardcover Notebook. So far, I like the journal, the pages are thicker than I have used previously, the dots are a nice change from the gridline, and the binding seems to be durable. A few things I wish were different is that I prefer faux leather or real leather covers (out of my budget), and I wish they came with elastic bands holding them closed. I can easily find a cheap headband to solve the last issue though.

One of my journals, as you will read below, is not a Northbooks. J. B. Welly was kind enough to give me a Rhodia Goalbook, which I am using for my business journal. Scroll to the bottom to read more.

2018 Bullet Journal Planning

2018 Planning Bullet Journal

My main bullet journal is my planning journal. This is the one I create all my to-do lists, calendars, and goals in. This one will include both personal, educational, and professional lists and goals. Here, I will mark holidays, birthdays, events, etc.

I will keep a similar form to how I have been doing my layouts previously, though there will be changes.

The key and index of fundamentally the same this year, though I have reduced the number of icons on my key. I got rid of every icon on my key that I never used in 2017, then I added a color variety to account for the various types of pens I have, and included a washi key. The index will still be two columns, though it is no longer color-coded and is in chronological order.

2018 Bullet Journal Year at a Glance Page

I love my year at a glance page. I will always include one. This one is nearly the same as all my previous ones.

2018 Bullet Journal Year at a Glance Page

One final difference this year is the use of a goals page. This page I use my Arteza watercolor pens and Tombow brush pens again. I categorized these goals: blog, legacy, logistics, home, health, and fun. Read more about my 2018 goals here.

Collections Bullet Journal

I cannot remember where I found this idea, but I have decided to have a collections journal. This is where I keep all of my pen test pages, collections trackers (i.e. reading list, movie list, etc.).

These pages are not restricted to the time in which I keep my planning journal and will not have to be remade every time I switch journals. Nor will I need to keep it on me like I do my planning journal.

While I have not completely filled this journal yet, here are the pages I have completed so far.

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

List Bullet Journal

I have decided to keep a list bullet journal so that I can keep my packing lists, gift lists, and idea lists separate from my planner and collections journals. This one won’t be used nearly as often as the others, but I have loved it thus far. Check out my pages in this one!

2018 Blogging and Business Bullet Journal

This final journal is extremely exciting for me. It will allow me to be more organized in my business without it being muddled by my own personal goals and to-dos. I am drawing up this bullet journal in the Rhodia Goalbook which you can find over at J.B. Welly. You can read all about this journal here.

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

I’d love to see your bullet journal for the new year! Join my Facebook group to share your own layouts with other bullet journalers! Not a bullet journaler yet? Check out my bullet journal beginner’s challenge!

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Plan with Me | 2018 Bullet Journal Set-up

Plan with Me | December Bullet Journal Layout

It is finally the last month of 2017! December’s bullet journal layout is the last that I will be putting in my current bullet journal. This means this is the last time you will see this notebook! I know, you don’t really care, but that is still crazy to think about, is it not?

Anyways, this month’s bullet journal layout has a central theme: CHRISTMAS! I have tried to stick with red, green, and gold. I found this beautiful hello December inspiration (with minor modifications and my own touch of course). This is the simplest and least sparkly page I created this month, featuring a reindeer!

Monthly Spread

This month I gifted myself with some Arteza watercolor brush pens and played around with them. I used a red pen and a green pen to highlight certain areas. The rest of this layout is very basic and simple, utilizing calligraphy handwriting done with Tombow brush pens. The linework was done using Plugis liners.

Weekly Spread

For the first week of December, I didn’t go crazy. I was playing around with handwritten calligraphy using my Tombow brush pens. Other than the new font, I kept this spread very simplistic.

So, I am absolutely in love with this week’s spread. I used some script stamps on the sides and some beautiful gold washi tape. Then I accented the black and gold with red script and calligraphy handwriting. This layout was super simple to create but so good looking!

For this week’s bullet journal spread, I combined the use of my Arteza watercolor brush pens and Tombow brush pens. I even snuck some silver in on Christmas Eve, for this I used a Pilot extra fine point paint marker. I used the watercolor to give this layout the feel that it was at a Christmas tree farm, I love it!

Last, but certainly not least is the spread for Christmas week! I wanted this layout to be simple and elegant. I purchased some beautiful gold washi tapes and lined each page in it. Then I used simple red titling. Of course, I wanted Christmas to stand out, so I used more washi tape to indicate this day. You cannot really see it in the photograph, but I used some stamps to label Christmas day in gold ink with a little gold Christmas tree.

There were no tracking pages this month, but check out these tracking layout ideas!

Did you do something special in your bullet journal for Christmas?? Tell me about it in the comments!

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Bullet Journaling Tools:

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November Bullet Journal Walkthrough | Utilizing Stamps

November, say what!? It’s ALREADY November! Can you believe it, 2017 has flown by! What a year… am I right? For November’s Bullet Journal planning spread, I did an experiment! I bought some letter and number stamps and tried to implement them tastefully to my layout. I really like the turnout! The stamps give it a newspaper feel if you ask me. The theme for this month’s spread (other than using stamps), was fall colors, so you will see a lot of red, orange, yellow, and brown. Let’s get started!

Hello November

As I mentioned in October’s walkthrough, I am starting to use title pages or “hello” pages for my journals and the months in them. This month I wanted to stick with the fall colors theme and use my Tombow pens to essentially paint a fall leaf. Of course, after drawing up this page, I decided to buy some watercolor brush pens to try next month, stay tuned!

November Calendar Spread

Naturally, I had the idea to buy and use stamps after I completed the hello and calendar pages, so my use of stamps hasn’t started yet. This page I wanted to utilize the crimson #847 pen but do so tastefully. I decided to use it to highlight the days of the week and the new goals section of this layout. After choosing this month’s quote, I decided to create a red clock, though I do not care for the results.

I generally create my monthly spread the same way. I generally push the calendar to the far right and use the left margin for the month title, a key, quote, etc. This month I pushed the calendar to the left and used the right margin for a goals bar. I want to start utilizing goals in my regular spreads because I believe a well-made goal can be very powerful. They give us something to work toward and tell us how we can meet the goal.

I then chose to put November in the top margin in simple thin black lettering (one of my favorites. And the quote was placed in the empty space below the calendar. I needed a small quote to put here. “Take your time” is the quote I used because it is a good reminder to slow down and enjoy what you are doing. I get going and get so focused that I forget to enjoy what I am doing. I also have a tendency to look so far in the future that I don’t pay attention to NOW. I need to take my time.


The whole theme of this month is stamps. Because I wanted to experiment with stamps, I wanted every week to be different, while also sticking to the fall colors theme. I found last month’s general layout very productive and decided to stick to it this month. I also utilize goals and work ahead sections in the empty space. At this time I only had black ink, so my layouts had to be fairly simple, utilizing color is borders, doodles, washi tape, and titling.

Week One

The first week I had no intention of adding color. I wanted to use my stamps and I already had an idea of how I was going to do this. However, after I started drawing the final lines for each day, I decided I wanted to add little falling leafs. I did these using my Tombow pens then outlined them using my .01 Pluqis Micro Fineliner.

I used all capital letter stamps for November and all lower case everywhere else. I also put the date in the lower right-hand corner of each day’s section. I liked the way this worked and decided to keep the date in the bottom right-hand corner for every week. As you can see, my stamping is not perfect. And while I realize this might be bothersome for many people, I have accepted that stamping probably won’t be perfect and I love the way it looks regardless.

Week Two

For the second week, I decided to see if the stamps would hold over washi tape. I only had patterned washi tape at this point and the black ink did not work during my trials. However, I had this silver paint pen and wanted to see how that would work on washi tape. It worked well. The only issue was that the silver is difficult to see on top of the pattern. Despite this, I rolled with it. Because it takes the silver ink so long to dry, I made a little bit of a mess by closing the page too soon. Oh well. I like it and this trial inspired me to purchase colored ink.

For the titling, I spread November and week of out instead of keeping them in the corners. I really like this. I also made week of all capital letters, this I was not a fan of.

Week Three

For this week I wanted to pull the red back into the layout. I lined the bottom of the pages with it and scribbled the titling in it. I wanted to switch up the stamp usage by drawing the title for this week. I also completed the daily squares and shortened the daily titling. I capitalized these shortened days of the week. I liked this. Lastly, I removed the goals section and replaced it with holiday prep because it is this week that I am leaving to go to my Aunt’s for Thanksgiving and have to prepare my home and life for this trip.

Week Four

By the time I drew up this layout, my colored inks had come in the mail. I first tried the gold ink, but it barely showed up on paper, let alone washi tape. I had also ordered solid colored washi tape. Instead of trying to recreate week two. I decided to use brown and orange. I stamped and outlined in brown then utilized my orange washi tape. I titled the week and numbered the days using my stamps and brown ink. Then titled each day with a black sharpie on orange washi tape. I LOVE the simplicity of this week! Because it’s Thanksgiving week, I also decided to doodle a little turkey on the 23rd. Inspired by this spread I ordered holiday stamps, and I love them!

Week Five

This final week is marked by the end of my semester. As such, I decided to mirror week one, except using confetti instead of leafs. Essentially the layout is the same as week one.

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Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

My Bullet Journal Tools

November Bullet Journal Walkthrough | Utilizing Stamps

Houseplant Themed October 2017 Bullet Journal

For October’ bullet journal, I chose to take a completely new approach. Until recently I haven’t really used tools like stickers or washi tape, I also haven’t utilized welcome or title pages. However, for October I created a title page that I absolutely love. I also decided to use houseplant stickers, cactus washi tape, and succulent washi tape, and houseplant illustrations to add personality and color to my weekly layouts. I also decided to add a ton of list pages, check it out!

Title Page

This page was inspired by some art I saw on Pinterest, my Instagram feed, my new houseplants, and Halloween. I wanted it to stay simple and keep a lot of negative space.

Monthly Spread

I created the monthly spread before I created any other pages for October. Between creating this page and all the other pages I switched pens which left me with a change in colors and thickness of lines. This is why the monthly spread does not match the rest of the pages. For the title, I chose a chunky cursive, which I love. I also decided to add goals and a quote instead of a color key.

Houseplants & Weekly Spreads

October’s theme is houseplants and clean lines. I kept this theme by using illustrations of houseplants which are inspired by my own plants, cactus and succulent washi tape, and houseplant stickers. I also wanted each week to be different.

For the first week of October, I wanted a clean spread with clean and easy to read fonts. After drawing it out in pencil I decided that it would need a pop of color and then drew in some house plants. I am OBSESSED.  So excited about this week’s layout!

For the second week of October, I wanted to play with a different layout but still keep the clean look. In order to add color I used a cactus washi tape as a border between sections and added a cactus sticker in between the Saturday and Sunday sections. I like this spread, but not as much as the first week.

For the third week I chose to return to the layout of week one; however, I switched up the titling and illustrations. Instead of 4 smaller plants, I drew a tropical tree up the binding and added a red pot with geometric designs. This illustration was inspired by a plant I have in my living room.

The fourth and final full week reverted back to the layout of week two. Instead this time I chose to use my succulent washi tape and did not add any stickers. Again, I wanted to keep clean black lines.

The final weekly spread of October only includes the final two days of October, Mondy the 30th and Tuesday the 31st. I chose to do this as an experiment. Usually, I draw up a complete week that might include days from the previous or upcoming month. This often results in having two sets of the same week and wastes ink and pages. Because this week only includes two days I added a border made of plant stickers, a positive quote, and cactus washi tape.

Financial Audit & Goals

This next page is drawn up in pencil since I have not had a chance to finalize its design. Essentially, this page draws out the rules I have established for my bank accounts and my goals for each account. I am not including a visual of this page because I would have to blur out the entire thing.

Mind Dump

While cleaning out my office I found a pile of old sticky notes from before my move. Instead of the clutter of these sticky notes, I decided to create a mind dump page to put all the information on.

Quotes Page

I also added a quote page because one of those sticky notes was a quote. This is a page I will continue to add to.

Words of Kindness

Next, I create a page that I wish to fill up with positive descriptors and words of kindness. Again, this page will be added to continually.

Films-to-Watch Page

Last, but not least, I have added a films-to-watch page as a result of a sticky note I found in my school notes. This page is inspired by the old-school film style.

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This month was jam-packed with great new page styles and lists! Do you have any suggestions for pages to add to my spreads in the future?

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Bullet Journal Tools

Houseplant Themed October Bullet Journal

How to Survive College | A Guide For College Freshman

I have been there…heck, I am still there! College is hard! The constant, never-ending piles of homework and assigned readings. It’s nearly impossible not to get behind! Plus, you’re always feeling sleep deprived and exhausted from pulling those all-nighters. College is hard, but it can be made super easy by following these Tips to Surviving College!

Get Enough Sleep

Believe it or not, all-nighters aren’t all that helpful. When you’re sleep deprived your brain functioning decreases significantly and your metabolism slows! This is especially important during finals, everyone is feeling the need to stay up all night studying. But If you begin studying enough in advance (keep reading to learn more about this), you will be able to get enough sleep to be fully functioning come test-day! Nothing is worse on test day than being sleep-deprived.

“Sleep is essential for optimal learning and memory function.”

Eat Right

I know, I know, you’re poor, I was there. I understand you must eat on a teeny-tiny budget. Just make sure you’re eating! Don’t skip any of those key meals. Be sure to get a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Prepare a meal that you can eat on the go the night before if you know the next day is going to be busy. You can also save money on meals with meal planning and coupons.

“Healthy eating has been linked to higher grades, better memory, more alertness, faster information processing…”

Avoiding meals or eating primarily junk foods can significantly hurt your learning and your mood. So make sure you are eating and eating well!

Avoid Binge Drinking

The typical “college experience” includes partying, sure, go for it (YOLO, right?). NO. Drinking not only drains your bank accounts but it leads to poor decisions that can and will affect your schooling! I’m not saying you can’t go out and have some drinks with your friends every now and then. But, if you are doing it all the time your school work will suffer, your health will suffer, and you’re spending a lot of money on alcohol that you could be spending on REAL FOOD.

So, this goes with healthy eating and the financial topics I talk about below. Partying all the time does you no good if you are at school to get a degree (and if you don’t wish to gain a ton of weight, yeah, alcohol can cause weight gain). If you’re partying all the time, sleep deprived, and inevitably stressed from being poor and far behind on your work, obviously, your body isn’t going to be in very good shape. And if your body isn’t doing well, neither are you. Take care of yourself.

Try to avoid binge drinking, it’s not good for your college survival.

Make Friends

Having a social life is important, if you’re isolating then you are bound to burn out faster. Resilience. Resilience refers to a person’s ability to bounce back from traumatic or difficult situations. One way to help build your resilience is to have friends. I’m not saying you must go out and find a ton of friends (you can if you’d like). But really all you need is a couple close friends, people to count on and who count on you. Having a place to belong is super important!

Be careful, if you’re only socializing and you never study, your grades will suffer.

Build your resilience to difficult situations, make a friend. #Friendship

Time Management

Time Management

I cannot stress enough the importance of time management! Without time management, you are more likely to forget about assignments and be generally stressed out and behind! Having good time management can help you to not only feel better but to raise your grades as well! Track your time for a week and see where you are spending your time!

“Time=Life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” Alan Lakein

Get a Planner

Using a planner is a great way to practice time management! Use a planner to track your assignments, events, set aside study time, track your meals and water intake, track your habits, and be prepared for upcoming tests and projects! You can also track group assignment meetings, club meetings, and anything else you are involved in! I highly suggest creating a Bullet Journal, check out these printable planning pages and homework trackers to help you out!

This website and mobile app will help you to track your assignments and it saved my education! It’s easy to use and incredibly useful! Here’s how you use it! (Not Sponsored)

At the beginning of every semester set aside a chunk of time to add all your assignments from the syllabus. You’ll be thankful you did this when you never forget an assignment again!

MyHomeworkApp survive college allows you to input assignments based on classes that you’ve added.

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You can set the importance, add a description, set a reminder, and more!

You can also add the widget to your cell phone’s home screen to view your assignments at a glance

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Once you’ve turned your assignment in, check the assignment as done and move on to the next one!

Prefer to write it down? Check out my printable homework trackers!

Get your Books in Advance

As soon as your textbook lists become available, email your professor to make sure those are the required texts, then get them! Coming to the first few weeks of classes unprepared will set you back! No one likes playing catch up, you’ll never feel like you are ahead of the game.

Once you’ve bought them track them! Keep a spreadsheet detailing the book’s information so that, come to the end of the semester, you will know which ones are rentals and when they are due. Plus, if a book doesn’t show up, you will have all the information you need handy to get a free replacement!

I absolutely love this website and I recommend it to everyone I know who is searching for textbooks. This website automatically compares pricing on textbooks all over the internet to help you save money. This website saved me hundreds! (Not Sponsored)

Once you’ve typed your ISBN number or a keyword or phrase into the search bar, you get to choose how you want the book (Rental, New, Used, etc.). Then it’ll lay out all the sites you can buy the book from and the price! How easy is that??

Textbook Pile survive college

Do Your Homework

Once you’ve got your time management all settled, you have your books and your assignments all figured out, you have no excuse for not doing your homework. Doing your assignments is literally the easiest way to ensure a passing grade. You can’t fail if you do everything that is asked of you! Chances are, you will do pretty well!

Simple as that!

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You don’t have time to read every single reading assignment in detail, I get it. So instead, learn how to skim. This can take practice, but I am sure you’re already a pro.

Always refer to the discussion questions and key learning points presented at either the end or the beginning of the chapter. These will give you an idea of what you are about to read and also give you information to focus your attention on. If your professor gives you a set of discussion questions or an assignment, thoroughly read the instructions and questions before delving into the chapter. Again, this sets you up to read the information with a goal.

Pay close attention to the beginning and ending of every paragraph, as well as anything underlined, bolded, italicized or in a bubble on the page.

And Lastly, TAKE NOTES! Taking notes while you are reading is a sure-fire way to improve your learning. Simply writing down the section titles and subtitles, along with a few key points, definitions, or some of your thoughts will increase your attention to your reading. This, in turn, helps you to memorize the information for the test later!


Textbooks and Plants survive college

Do Your Work at the College Library

Sometimes the most distracting place to do homework is at home… Whether you live in the dorms, an apartment, or with your parents, you are more likely to watch Netflix or spend countless hours on your phone when you are at home. Doing your homework in the library lessens the chance you will be distracted and you will get a lot more done in a shorter period of time.

If you don’t have access to a library try designating a spot in your house for work only. In this spot, you cannot watch TV, sleep, or lounge. Having an area that is only for school will help you to sit down with the mindset that you are working, and help to lessen distractions.


Start Studying Early

You don’t need an all-nighter to be prepared for a test if you’ve already been studying! Doing a little bit of reading or note card review every day starting at least a week in advance could be enough to prepare you for the test!

Study while you are waiting in line at the grocery store or while in the waiting room at the doctors. Doing this instead of browsing Facebook will increase your chances of passing!

Being prepared for a test feels way better than cramming the night before, promise!

Get a Study Buddy…. Or Two!

Studying with other people is so great for learning because teaching is a really great way to reinforce memorization. Plus, if you are stuck, maybe your buddy can help!

Not only are study buddies great study resources, but they keep you accountable. Accountability is huge. If you have no way of holding yourself accountable for doing your work, why would you do it? Now maybe your parents or the teachers keep you accountable. Nevertheless, it’s nice to have someone there to work out the difficult problems with. Plus, maybe you’ll make a friend while you’re at it!

Take Advantage of College Writing Centers and Tutors

Your school provides resources such as a writing center and tutoring services for a reason, USE THEM! There is nothing to be ashamed of, everyone needs a little help sometimes.

If you are struggling with one of your classes, get a tutor. A tutor is someone who has been in the class or knows the subject particularly well. Why wouldn’t you want the help of an expert?

Writing centers are also amazing resources. Every student at one point has to write a paper or two, it’s inevitable so you might as well accept your fate now. No matter how skilled you are at writing papers it is always smart to have someone (or multiple someones) read your paper for errors, structure, flow, etc. The people in the writing center happen to be particularly knowledgeable in writing. They can catch those pesky mistakes you keep reading over, and the ones you don’t know your making. Make an appointment and have them read it! What can it hurt?

“Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it means you’re smart enough to recognize when you’re struggling.” Elizabeth Ghekiere

Take Notes

Take Notes!

As I mentioned before, writing things down helps you to learn and memorize information. Even if you have access to the notes online, taking your own notes is a form of studying. So, by taking notes you are becoming better prepared for the test.

Taking notes in class is huge because many professors add questions to the test that are based on lectures instead of just the reading, assignments, or their provided notes. Forcing yourself to take notes also forces you to pay attention and you are less likely to wonder, “Did we actually learn this” when it comes to test-day! There were so many times in my undergrad, where I would hear other students complaining that the teacher didn’t teach the information that was on the test. However, I would look at my notes and see clearly that it was a topic of discussion. Paying attention and taking notes helps!

Ask Questions

If you are stuck or confused ask questions! Raise your hand in class, approach the professor after class or during office hours, ask the writing center, ask a tutor, ask a classmate. If you don’t know something, ASK, don’t leave yourself hanging.

So often I find myself confused or wondering something but am afraid to raise my hand and be embarrassed. This is normal. However, after forcing myself to ask questions I found that I felt more confident in both myself and my work! Not only did I feel better, but I was able to build really helpful relationships with professors and peers. These connections are incredibly useful in the future when you have more questions, or in the job-world when you need a recommendation!

“Don’t be afraid to ask a question, it might lead to a mutually prosperous relationship.” Elizabeth Ghekiere

Start Paying on Your Loans

I know, I know, you’ve been trying to avoid your loans, not pay on them early! But trust me, you will be saving your own butt if you start NOW! Even if you just try to keep up with the interest, you’ll thank yourself after you graduate! I started paying on my loans my freshman year and was able to pay off two loans completely before I graduated, leaving another two with only a couple hundred left. Crazy right!? I didn’t even make monthly payments. Imagine the damage you could do with monthly payments! Whenever you have extra money, throw it at your loans, you won’t regret it.

Avoid Credit Card Offers

Those pesky credit card offers will be the death of you. They sound intriguing now, and they try to tell you it’s the only way to accrue credit. But they are lying. I haven’t used a single credit card and I have great credit!

Credit cards are tempting because you’re poor in college, but unless you are able to pay them off RIGHT AWAY, you will only build yourself into a deep debt-hole. The deeper the hole, the harder it will be to get out of, and the longer it will take to get financially free.


Take All Those Free Pens

You just never know when you or a friend will need a pen, might as well take one…or three!

I hope these tips and tricks which helped me survive my undergrad are helpful for you! Enjoy what you’re reading? Sign up for a ton of FREE stuff HERE.