Shopping for everyone during the holidays can be a real hassle! Coming up with gift ideas is often difficult when you are not involved in the same hobbies as the person you are shopping for. Look no further! Here is a comprehensive list of gift ideas for a bullet journaler or planner obsessed person!
The most basic thing you can get someone is a notebook or journal for their bullet journal experience. There are a ton of amazing journals, but chances are, your loved one is interested in one of the following journals!
Leuchtturm1917 Dotted Journal
Moleskine Classic Notebook
Midori MD Notebook
Miquelrius Soft Bound Medium Journal
Some Lines A Day 5 Year Memory Book Hardcover Journal
Brush pens are a specific type of pen that your loved one is sure to want! These pens are great gift ideas because they make it easy to do amazing lettering in your journal and come in so many amazing shapes, sizes, qualities, and colors! Here are a couple super popular brush pen sets!
Tombow Dual Brush Pen Set
Faber-Castel Pitt Artist Brush Pens
Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen
Metallic Calligraphy Brush Marker Pens
Royal Talens Ecoline Liquid Watercolor Brush Pen
Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers
Maybe your loved one is looking for something other than brush pens? Here are some gift ideas for other types of pens like art pens, markers, high lighters, fine liners, etc. Check some of these well-loved pens out!
Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens Set
Metallic Markers Pens
Sakura Gelly Roll White
PILOT G2 Rolling Ball Gel Pens
Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens
Sakura Pentouch Paint Marker, Medium
Pentouch Paint Marker, 1.0mm
Zebra Mildliner Highlighter Pen Set
Lettering Books & Guides
Sometimes we are gifting for someone who is interested in something but hasn’t quite gotten around to learning how to start yet. Well, these lettering book gift ideas are perfect for someone who wants to improve their handwriting and brush lettering but doesn’t know how!
Creative Lettering and Beyond
Hand-Lettering for Everyone
Hand Lettering 101
Lettering and Modern Calligraphy
Washi tape is a fun way to spice up your bullet journal and it is perfect as a gift idea! The fun shapes, colors, patterns and designs that washi tape comes in is sure to excite your loved one!
Savena Washi Tape Set
Decorative Washi Tape DIY Rainbow
Wonderful Washi Tape – Geometric Collection
Washi Tapes Month Week Daytime Todo
Crafty Animal Washi Tape
Japanese Washi Masking Tape
Sunshine Washi Tape
So many people love to add stickers to their journals and notebooks. This as well as the immense variety of stickers to pick from, makes these sets perfect gift ideas for bullet journalers!
Holiday Seasonal Planner Sticker Sheets
Cute Nature VSCO Girl Stickers
Various Special Shaped Stickers-Flower Series
Clear Cursive Planner Sticker Bundle
Ultimate Productivity Planner Stickers Set
The Happy Planner, Clear Dates Stamps
Just like washi tape and stickers, paint is a great addition to any artistic bullet journaler’s toolbox! Giving paint is a great gift idea if your loved one is an artistic person!
DecoArt0 Media Fluid Acrylic Paint
FolkArt Metallic Acrylic Paint
ARTEZA Watercolor Paint
Watercolor Paint Set
Stamps & Ink
I love using stamps and ink in my bullet journal. It’s a quick and easy way to add art! As such, stamps and ink make a great gift idea for a planner!
Clear Stamps, Holiday Planner Icons
Planner to Do and Planner Everyday Stamp Sets
Hero Arts, Weather Icons
Wooden Box Number Alphabet Letter Rubber Stamp
Ubegood Stamp Pad
Tsukineko Versacraft Ink Pads
Avery Carter’s Foam Stamp Pad, Black
Craft Ink Pad Stamps 20 Colors
People who love bullet journaling and planning often love stationery as a whole! Here are some stationery items such as cards, notepads, sticky notes, and more!
Hunger Gradient Color Sticky Note
Bliss Collections Daily Planner Tear Off Pad
Marble Stationery Paper
Officemate Binder Clips, Gold
Gold Premium Cute Paper Clips
Tombow Mono Hybrid Correction Tape
American Greetings Pastel Stationery Sheets and Colored Envelopes
Recycled Cardstock Notecards with Natural Tree Design
Desk Top Decor & Organization
Being a bullet journaler can get hectic and chaotic. Trying to find places to store everything can feel impossible! Here are some gift ideas to help your loved one organize their bullet journaling tools!
Rose Gold Desk Organizer Set
Simmer Stone Desktop Letter Sorter
Desktop Organizer – Adjustable Wood Display Shelf
Desk Accessory Organization Kit
Reliancer File Organizer Triangle
Other Odds & Ends
Not every bullet journaling or planning gift idea falls neatly into one of the previous categories. However, that does not mean that it isn’t an amazing idea for a gift! Here is everything I recommend for a bullet journaler that doesn’t fit neatly into a category.
HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer
HP Sticky-Backed Photo Paper
Glitter Shake Jars
Quickie Glue Pen
No matter what kind of bullet journal or planner you are shopping for, this list is bound to help you shop for them! Which of these was your favorite gift idea? Did you go ahead and buy any of these? Let us know in the comments!
This month’s bullet journal feature is @carolines.journal. Caroline’s work is absolutely gorgeous and super unique and creative. The bullet journaling community is a great place, and I love being able to share other bullet journalers, their journey, and some tips they have for bullet journal beginners. So, without further ado, here is @carolines.journal!
Meet Caroline of @carolines.journal
Have you ever been part of the bullet journal community? If you are reading this post, you probably are. This community is the best one I have ever experienced. Bullet journalists have inspired and empowered me in so many ways! My name is Caroline, I am 17 years old and I live in the black forest in Germany. After high school, I would like to be a designer. For me, school can get very stressful. The bullet journal helps me to bring more fun and distraction in my, often monotonous school day.
Caroline’s Bullet Journal Journey
I came across the concept of bullet journaling through a friend of mine. She showed me her planner and I instantly loved it. I must say the concept just blew my mind. How had a managed to live with the pre-printed planner before? I could just design my personal journal, that was perfectly adjusted to my needs! Within the next month, I had already found a nice notebook (from lemome) and sorted out some pens to start. Like every start, I didn´t look flawless. To be honest I don´t like my first pages at all. But with time and practice, I got better and now, two years later, I even started my new Instagram page, which is very exciting!
On Instagram, I often see a certain structure in the way people design their journals. There is a new theme every month. I personally never applied to such “rules”, because my creative mind gets bored way too quickly with one single theme and color palette. Every page is created by a new idea and totally different. This way I get to experiment a lot with different colors and styles.
Since I have the bullet journal always by my side, I feel like there is more space in my mind. It might sound a little weird, but now that I can note everything that I need to know, I don´t have to remember any due dates and my head can focus on other important things. Moreover, I am more structured and less stressed. Bullet journaling challenges my creativity. It also forces me to overcome my laziness and draw more to improve my art skills.
I have started bullet journaling 2 years ago, so I am just at the beginning of my bullet journal journey. Nevertheless, there is some advice that I can give you.
Be proud of your work!
Even if the result might not always look the way you wanted them to be, you probably put lots of effort into your spreads. So, don´t let that tare you down. Mistakes happen and you will get better with every single page. Don´t worry if not every line is straight. Cherish your accomplishments!
Make your own rules.
Just because everyone else uses a certain type of pen doesn´t mean that you should do it too. The best part of bullet journaling is that you can create your own masterpiece. If you don´t like the monthly setup, just leave it! Think as free as you can it will allow you to make your bullet journal special and unique! I, for example, didn´t like the dark dots from the Lemome journal and so I bought one just with blank pages. Crazy right? Don´t follow everyone else’s and make your own.
Have a plan
This is more a practical issue, but I really wish I had thought about it before starting to randomly fill the pages. It is incredibly helpful to roughly know what you want to do. Make a mind map and brainstorm all your ideas, then think of a rough order and structure. I have my grades and my schedules on the first few pages. On the last pages, I decided to put a calendar and this system works perfectly fine for me. To plan even just a little bit beforehand will make your journal more organized.
A Note From Caroline
Thank you so much for reading. I will be very pleased to answer any further questions on my Instagram page (@carolines.journal). Lastly, I would like to thank Elizabeth very much for featuring my account!
Thank you so much for sharing, Caroline! If you like Caroline’s planner or want to check her out, head on over to her Instagram Here! Thanks so much, Caroline for taking part in my bullet journal features and sharing your journey and tips with us!
If you are interested in becoming a featured bullet journaler, check out the details and apply here!
It’s back to school season and that means planning out a new semester full of new challenges and assignments for each student. Personally, as a graduate student, I find my bullet journal to be essential during this process. Each semester (if I remember) I create a semester overview layout. Additionally, when I was taking on-campus courses, I would create a visual weekly schedule; however, I am strictly online now and this is no longer necessary for me. Lastly, I keep a detailed account of all due dates in my weekly spreads. While this article is not going to talk about school layouts that are integrated; I wanted to show you some potentially useful back to school bullet journal spreads!
This first layout we are looking at has a lot going for it! I do not fully understand the class countdown since I am not aware of the program, but I assume it is marking courses or maybe even weeks in a semester as complete or not. This is such a great way to keep track. Additionally, there is a topic-specific countdown. Then to the right is a term planner. I love how detailed and colorful this back to school spread is!
This spread is far more specific than the previous one. This layout is one that helps plan out an essay or a research paper. This helps organize thoughts as well as structure. I highly recommend some kind of planning page when it comes to paper writing!
These timetables are good ways to visually organize time. Each is similar but looks different. The left features Monday through Friday pie charts to color a schedule into. Whereas, the right page is a simple table broken down by day and each half-hour to color a schedule into. I highly recommend something similar to these this school season.
Ever thought of a reading tracker? Me either! What a great idea! This layout lists the books needed for your courses as well as reading assignments by date or week and book. This is a good way to stay up on your readings.
This is not only a back to school weekly schedule but a semester at a glance. I personally use the at-a-glance style because it shows a brief overview of major assignments by month. It is a great way to look ahead if you don’t create your monthly setups in advance.
Ever think about keeping your notes in your bullet journal? hand written notes are a great way to help you remember information. Additionally, making your notes pretty and fun can make them that much more enjoyable. Give it a shot!
This month’s bullet journal feature is Rachael of Planning with Maggie Rae. Rachael does some seriously cool work. Additionally, she is super kind and great to talk to. The bullet journaling community is a great place, and I love being able to share other bullet journalers, their journey, and some tips they have for bullet journal beginners. So, without further ado, here is Rachael of Planning with Maggie Rae!
Hey all! It’s Rachael from planningwithmaggierae.com, and I’m so excited to be featured by Elizabeth here on Jihi Elephant. I blog about bullet journaling and easy to implement time management strategies. The goal for me is to help people make the most of their time so that they can spend more of it doing the things they truly enjoy.
I’m new on Instagram but would love it if you would follow me, @maggie.rae_!
The last four digits of my phone number spell RACH. Thanks, mom 😊
I have a twin sister and both our eldest children have the same birthday, the day before ours (not creepy at all…)
My handwriting is abominable
Rachael’s Bullet Journal Journey
I was coasting. I was never late or forgot about appointments, and I never missed deadlines. But I didn’t plan, and I was scared of setting goals. So I did the minimum. I was lucky, though, my minimum was still a straight-A student with a part-time job that earned almost twice as much as my peers. I was doing fine but I wasn’t thriving.
After graduating university with an honours degree and having two beautiful daughters, I was still in the same spot. It hit me. If I kept doing what I was doing, I would stay right where I was. And that was a jarring realization.
Making A Change
I wanted to be somewhere different, so for the first time, I set a goal. Learn more about the method I used HERE.
So, I started planning my days in a way that would lead my life in the direction I had always seen myself going. I started with an agenda and swapped it out for a variety of different styles, but I could never find one that was just right for me.
Regardless, I needed places to put notes, tasks, goals, and accomplishments. I needed more space. But I couldn’t find anything that fit what I was looking for.
Trying The Bullet Journal
In my enthusiastic search to get my life together, I came across bullet journaling. It hit me like a ton of bricks! Of course, why wouldn’t I just make my own planner?
Uh, because I grew up believing I wasn’t creative or artistically gifted.
But the bullet journal was a productivity tool, and that was what I needed. I decided to commit and try it out. It was a decision that had a massive impact on my results at the end of every day. I was able to get a new job, which led me to open my own business and then adapting it into two more! I could stay on top of my meetings, my daily goals, my family responsibilities, and I even found that I had way more time than I ever realized I had.
My bullet journal made me more efficient and effective. And it let me dabble in some doodling. At first, I was super self-conscious. But, as I did it, I allowed myself to get creative in my journal, thus, allowing myself to think I was more capable when it came to my planning. I set bigger goals and got more confident.
What Bullet Journaling Has Done For Me
Because of my planning journey, I ended up with a business that brought in almost $400,000 in revenue in the first year. I was able to stop working in that business and start working from home and got more time with my kids. I started my blog and was able to make it profitable in less than six months. My bullet journal has been instrumental in this, and using it for goals and planning has been key!
I have a Learn to Plan Challenge on my blog you can sign up to for free if you’re ready to start making significant changes in your life too!
Rachael’s Tips for Bullet Journal Beginners:
Keep it simple, at least at first. It’s easy to get carried away with all the fun ideas and trackers that are out there. But by keeping it simple, you’ll allow yourself to get familiar with the system, what’s important and figure out what works for you.
If you’re using it for productivity, reflect often. Was your last spread easy to use? Was there a section of your monthly set up that ended up empty? Is there something missing? Adjust your approach as you go until you create the perfect system for you.
Have fun. Your bullet journal is for you and no one else, so make it exactly what you want it to be! I love how flexible the system is and how you’re able to make every single spread custom. You want to add crazy colours and designs, go for it! If you want to keep it classy in just black and white, do that. The possibilities are endless in both decorating and spread options.
If you like Rachael’s planner or want to check her out, head on over to her Instagram Here! Thanks so much, Rachael for taking part in my bullet journal features and sharing your journey and tips with us!
If you are interested in becoming a featured bullet journaler, check out the details and apply here!
It’s time for another bullet journal feature!! This month
we are focusing our feature on one beautiful bullet journaler, Masha of @mashaplans. Masha will be sharing
her bullet journal journey as well as some tips for beginners! Keep on reading!
Hello there, my name is Masha! First of all, I’d like to thank Elizabeth for giving me a chance to share my Bullet Journal story and how it helped me to transform my life.
Who am I? Just an ordinary girl. In 2011 I moved to Beijing, China and ever since then I’ve been working here and trying to figure out what it is I really want to do with my life.
Masha’s Bullet Journal Journey
I’ve always been a pretty disorganized person. I always have a million ideas and want to do so many things, but I could never get to do them since my planning, and organizational skills were complete null.
At one point in my life,
I understood there had to be a change, I just
need to get it together and start transforming my life into the way I wanted it
to be. And that’s where Bullet Journal came in.
Making the Change
In December 2017 I
started playing with the idea of Bullet Journal with a small tryout notebook.
By January 2018 I knew that was it, that was the tool I needed to start
changing my life.
Within a few months, I knew what I wanted and how to get
there, I had each day planned and every second of my time used for moving
towards my goal (ok maybe not every second, but you know what I mean). It’s
September now, and I’m happier than I have
ever been! I know where my life is going and I know exactly what I need to do every day to make my dreams come true.
More Than A Planner
But for me, Bullet Journal isn’t only about being productive. It’s my artistic escape. Well, I say “artistic,” but actually I never had any major artistic skills and the only thing I could ever draw was a smiley face. What I mean is that Bullet Journal inspired me to work and improve on my drawing skills, design, color pairings, and all those other artistic things.
I never believed I
could do it, but with BuJo I decided to give it a serious try, and now I see
how it paid off. I’m immensely happy to
see I can now actually doodle things and do lettering. Now instead of a chocolate on a sad day, I take a pencil and
doodle. So Bullet Journal not only makes me productive and happy, but it also became kind of a therapy.
Bullet Journal Community
And of course, my Bullet Journal story wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the community. I met so many amazing people who also use Bullet Journal, I made so many friends and got inspired to try more, to experiment! My Bullet Journal family is my happiness and support in all things, not just Bullet Journal.
This is my Bullet
Journal story. I’m so thankful for this
system, and I’m happy that every day I still discover new and great ways to use my
journal. So I’m sure if you give it a try you’ll find it can help you too with
whatever you need.
I could give you a
million pieces of advice and tips based
on my experience, but I think the one and most important would be – just start.
It doesn’t matter if you aren’t artistic,
if you’ve never used a planner, if you aren’t used to write down your tasks. Disregard all those worries! Just give it a
try. This is your journal, and you make
the rules here. Start and transform it into whatever you want it to be. Believe
me, if you stay with it you’ll get amazing results!
Thanks for staying
with me and I hope my story will inspire you to try it out yourself!
Thank you Masha, for
sharing your story and advice! I love the way different people bring bullet
journaling into their life in such unique and wonderful
If you like Masha’s planner or what to check her out,
head on over to her Instagram here!
If you are interested in becoming a featured
bullet journaler, check out the details and apply here!
For my September bullet journal spread I, like normal, minimal. However, I made some accidental changes that I have ended up loving! Keep reading to learn more about the mistake that turned into the most efficient bullet journal spread I’ve had yet! This post may contain affiliate links.
Journal Theme | Red
This month is a crazy month for me, so
naturally, I kept my September layouts fairly minimal. Despite keeping my
spread minimal, I made some major changes for me. But before we get to
those changes let’s talk theme. The theme for this month is red. I did not go
with any other theme or thread, just red
from the same TombowDual Brush Pen.
I used the red in the title page and the days of the week as well as new category tags. In addition to the red ink, I also added different washi tape to each weekly page. This washi tape either was red or had red in it.
Check out other Red Bullet Journal layout ideas HERE.
September Bullet Journal Layouts | Major Changes
So, as I mentioned above, there were
some significant changes to my usual spread this month. Let’s start from the beginning. The title page changes each
month, so this is not all too exciting. This month I went with minimal lines
above and below “September.” September is
written in a calligraphy cursive, all lowercase letters.
Once I finished the title page, I moved onto my weekly layouts. Notice
anything out of the ordinary? That’s right, I forgot my monthly layout! I was
so focused on getting some appointments and due dates written down in my weekly spread that I completely
passed over my monthly page! Once I realized this mistake, I threw a mini calendar on the title page so that I could
see the month as a whole somewhere.
Other Changes I Made
In addition to my accidental changes, I
made some changes to my weekly layout. Instead of my signature minimal cursive,
I used an all-caps printed font. Like
last month, I kept the days of the week in a calligraphy style cursive. Where I
would usually do washi tape on the right side only right next to the Sunday
column. This time I chose to do washi tape on the left and right sides up to
the edge of the pages. Each week has different
washi tape. The first week features a lama tape, week two has elephants with balloons,
week three’s tape says “all good things are wild & free,” and the final
week is red arrows. The final change I made was adding section titles. These
are sections I have always used, just never labeled.
Since I moved the washi tape, I had extra space to add these labels.
All in all, I am very happy with the
changes, both accidental and purposeful, that I made to my spread! I had been
struggling with my monthly calendar
because I felt like I never really used it. Having left it off on accident
forces me to find something else, which actually works better! I also like the
placement of the washi tape a lot.
Want to keep up with my bullet journal daily? Follow my Instagram!!
Being productive throughout the day can be such hard work when you got to organize your day and plan your day thoroughly (which takes time). But really, it isn’t! Sometimes, even if you don’t feel productive in those days, try to experiment with what works best and what doesn’t and keep it a daily habit in your life.
Tips to Stay Productive All Day
Don’t be afraid when you missed a day or two. I know it took me some time to get used to the habit and when I failed to do so, I start again and continue on these habits. Seriously, I’m only just a student! Sometimes, work can build up, and I have to have late-nighters writing up two essays equalling up to 2500 words and a project that I need to complete within the next week. But the reason you’re here is that you want to find out ways to be more productive throughout the day and end the night feeling accomplished.
1. Wake up early
The recommended time to wake up is 5 – 7 am. If you want to wake up early, then you got to sleep early (that’s how it works, folks). I’ve tried waking up at 5 AM before, and the end result came to me finishing off more work than I usually did waking up at 8-10am. Oh yeah, I also got more time to myself later in the afternoon, and I felt much more accomplished. And can we talk about watching the sunrise? It’s so uplifting to see the sun waking up with you. Oh, nature. And when you use an alarm, make sure you don’t snooze or hit that snooze button!
2. Use a Planner with a To-Do List
Having a planner is a great way to keep you on the right track when it comes to planning out your day. You can either use a physical, digital or even just a piece of paper for writing down your to-do list. There are plenty of free digital planners that are available in the app stores that can be installed on your phone and computer. I personally like to use physical planners because I don’t have to worry about losing my data if my phone or computer crashes (this actually happened back then when I forgot to back up my data. Oops).
3. Eat a Good Breakfast
Start the day off by making breakfast with food that is high in protein like eggs, beans, dairy products and meat and add in vegetables and fruits (of course). You got plenty of time to do this because you’ve wakened up early. Protein helps repair cells, builds tissues in our system and is important for our bones, muscles, cartilage, blood, and skin. With Protein, you’re also inputting energy into your system so you can focus on what you’re doing.
4. Meditate after you wake up
Ever since I started meditating at 6 AM each morning, the way I handle my day better improved. It helps to reduce anxiety, stress, and insomnia that I use to have. Start meditating in the morning after waking up because you’re well rested and ready to start the day. Everyone is still asleep giving you a reason to have peace & quiet with no distractions.
Exercising releases adrenaline, keeps you fit and makes you more motivated and more likely to be productive. Say, go for a run, jog or stroll in the morning or later during the day. I take a stroll later in the day because depending on the weather, mornings are always freezing! You don’t have to go to the GYM all the time (unless you want to). You can exercise at home using free apps or looking up on Pinterest.
6. Make Your Bed
We can agree than organizing, or spring cleaning is like the best way to feel motivated, confident and happy. Being organized can also increase your productivity. You will start the day off more accomplished since you just did your first task; making the bed! Decluttering helps you reduce anxiety. It involves physical activity, so you’re keeping fit. Decluttering is also mindfulness because it doesn’t take a lot of thinking and creates confidence and self-efficacy.
7. Set a Goal
Lastly, set at least 3-5-day goals or make a weekly goal that you want to achieve that day. The purpose of setting a goal is to make yourself feel accomplished, motivated, satisfied, focused and confident. Confident that you could achieve anything as well as point you in the right direction toward being more productive. Isn’t that what life’s purpose is?
I always set a weekly goal and write down things that I have accomplished every Sunday. Sundays are like my only days off, but depending on you, you can either do this at night or whatever time fits you best.
Meet the Author
Bio: This post was written by Ellen of ZyraKuma. Ellen is a blogger and owner of her lifestyle site ZyraKuma. She writes posts about lifestyle, self-care and blogging tips. She is currently a student in Australia who is pursuing a career in Illustration or Graphic Design. Ellen loves to draw, play video games, read and help people. She also has a pet duck. You can view more from ZyraKuma on Instagram, Pinterest and, Twitter
It has been coming to my attention recently that a good portion of my viewership is bullet journal beginners and I get a lot of questions regarding my notebook recommendations. While I will always recommend a Leuchtturm 1917 or a Rhodia Goalbook, for the first 3 or 4 years of my bullet journaling journey I used an Essentials Gridline A5 Notebook. Here I will be reviewing the Essentials A5 Notebooks for bullet journal beginners! This post may include affiliate links.
While I used the gridline, Essentials A5 notebooks (made by Peter Pauper Press Inc.) also have dot matrix, blank, and lined page types! I will only be discussing the gridline and dot matrix.
I started using this notebook so long ago that I do not even remember my first impression, though I have always been impressed with the notebook. I just happened to be lucky, and the essentials notebooks were the first I happened across when I went out to actually search for a bullet journal. My first journal was different, but I had not bought that notebook for bullet journaling originally.
I would love to hear what your first impressions of the essentials notebook are! Submit them in the comments below, and I might add them to this post!
Pros & Cons of the Essentials Notebooks
Like any other notebook or product, there are pros and cons. This section will focus on my personal pros and cons for the Essentials notebook after years of use.
Hardcover is durable
Elastic band keeps the notebook from getting damaged and bent
Pocket in the back is a great place to store loose notes
Thick, smooth pages make ink look vibrant and write smooth
White pages (this could be a con if you prefer off-white)
Great price for the quality (generally around $9-$12; equivalent notebooks can run as high as $30)
Only one color choice – black
Pages are not numbered (this can be a pain if you like to have an index)
Do I recommend this notebook? YES, 100% yes. I particularly recommend this notebook for beginners because it’s a great quality notebook to learn in without being worried about ruining an expensive notebook. I used this notebook for the first 4ish years of bullet journaling, it’s perfect. The most significant and really only issues I have with the Essentials notebooks is the lack of page numbers and color options. However, if you are into a plain black journal, don’t mind adding your own page numbers (or don’t use them) then there should be no issue! I create all my gifted notebooks using the essentials notebooks, and everyone always raves about them.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Whether it’s a whole room in your house or apartment, a carefully proportioned square in an office building, or something in between, odds are you’re spending a substantial portion of the day in your office. Because of that, your office space – like you – has a lot of work to do. It has to be a productive space, but also one that inspires, keeps you healthy, and is generally as pleasant to be in as possible.
There’s no reason to spend 8 hours a day in an unpleasant space. So, if you feel like your workspace isn’t all it should be, read on to find out a few areas you can look to for improvements.
Hang It Up
First things first: No matter how big or small your office is, one thing you’re always in absolute control of is what’s on your desk. And if that’s a bunch of clutter, it could actually be hurting your productivity. Learn more about decluttering your desk here.
One way to fix that is adding storage, of course. But if you’ve got limited space, and no room for shelving? Try hanging things up – keys, headphones, and similar items can go straight onto hooks. Get a hangable container for your pens and other writing utensils. Anything that helps you get the random items off your desk immediately improves your workstation.
Write It Down
In some ways, this is a lifestyle change. I won’t spend a lot of time convincing you; I remember a time in my life when I laughed at people for being so organized to carry a planner. Now? My planner never leaves my side. Let me at least say this: Writing things down gives your important tasks a physical space and keeps them from zooming around in your mind all day.
This is another simple upgrade because it’s hard to start writing things down if you don’t have the materials. And those materials come in many forms: a planner, a calendar, sticky notes – it’s all a matter of what works for you.
Feel like you’re wasting paper?Try a whiteboard for your lists. There’s nothing more satisfying than erasing items one at a time until everything’s cleared.
Add Some Life to Your Office Space
This isn’t an organization technique – it’s a way to improve your mental state. You could take this literally, and grab yourself a potted plant. If your office lacks much light, a shady plant is great – alternately, it’s hard to kill a cactus.
Of course, pictures take a lot less effort. You could hang up scenic photos, an image of your favorite painting, or even a movie poster of one of your favorites.
Adding life could mean adding bits of your own life, too. Try dedicating a space in your office to some personal effects. Photos of hobbies, a statuette of a musical instrument you play. For me? It’s a small shelf just above my desk with a handful of my favorite novels that I’ve read dozens of times.
Get creative with your space, and it’ll be a much nicer place to be.
Still don’t like the idea of standing? You can at least make sitting healthier and more comfortable. If your back is hurting while you work at your desk, it could mean you’re not sitting correctly. Sitting properly depends on a number of factors, and it can at least be partially addressed by getting a better chair. So, make yourself comfortable in your office – it’s good for you.
Is your office space hurting your productivity? Pick at least one of these simple upgrades to implement into your own office!
Meet the Author
This post was written by Issac, a Director at 3 White Hats, a New Zealand based online marketing agency.
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.” -Harvard.edu
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…” Livestrong.com
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.
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
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 pagesandhomework trackers to help you out!
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??
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!
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!
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
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!
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.
We live in a fast-paced society surrounded by incredibly busy people. And when you are an incredibly busy person, it is hard to keep everything straight. A lot of the time this internal chaos is the result of poor time management. This article provides 5 tools for improving time management.This article utilizes Amazon Affiliate Links
The first step in time management improvement is to get enough sleep. When you are running on less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep your brain isn’t functioning at its highest capacity. Because of this, you become more easily overwhelmed, exhausted, and lazy feeling. Learn more about designing your bedroom to get a good nights sleep here.
When you are able to get 7 hours of consecutive sleep you will feel amazing! You will be more capable of handling the crazy chaos each day brings.
#2 Daily To-Do List
There are a million ways to improve your time management and one of the most common methods is a daily to-do list. While I prefer a planner with everything all laid out in one portable spot, a to-do list is super simple and easy for anyone to use.
A to-do list doesn’t have to be anything fancy or costly. All you really need is a pen and some paper.
When it comes to utilizing a to-do list, I recommend referring to it each morning. Before you get anything done, read over your to-do list and revise it if you need to. Now you know what your goals are for the day and you can get started!
My favorite time management tool is my planner! There are, again, a million types of planners. You can use a bullet journal, premade planner, notebook, or an app on your phone or computer.
The bullet journal is one of the most customizable planner options. A notebook is very similar though. If you choose to go the notebook route, then good for you! Each person is different and the important thing is that you find something that works for you and your needs.
The third option is a pre-made planner. There are a million brands and styles out there to choose from. Check out these planners by At-A-Glance, there are some great options!
I like myhomeworkapp.com because it is explicitly for homework and delivers customized notifications to my phone to remind me to get my projects done on time. Myhomework is also amazing because it works on both my phone and my laptop, providing me with access to my homework no matter where I am. Lastly, the myhomework phone app is amazing because it comes with a widget that displays my homework right there.
Google Calendar for Android is nice because it links right up to my google account making it accessible both on my laptop and on my phone. I used this app more before I discovered bullet journaling but still tend to keep it around for the reminders feature.
OneNote, like the other two apps, is mobile and laptop friendly. Here I can make quick notes or to-do lists from my phone when I do not have access to my bullet journal. I can then see these lists on my laptop.
With all your lists, to-do’s, and appointments in one place, you are now better prepared to take on everything the day wants to throw at you.
This next time management tool was already touched on a little bit, but I’ve decided to talk about it separately because of how useful it really is. Calendars provide a nice monthly overview and can include a variety of things and come in a variety of shapes.
Like I mentioned, I use my bullet journal calendar and Google Calendar for Android. However, my most-used calendar is a whiteboard. I’ve had my whiteboard calendar for so long, I don’t have a single clue where I got it. However, I was able to find a similar one, you can check that out here.
My whiteboard calendar is a life saver. I love it because it doesn’t waste paper, mounts right up on the wall with Command Strips, and can be easily accessed by everyone in my household. I usually put appointments, work schedule, and events up on this calendar, so it is less about detail and more an overview.
#5 Have an Organized Space
The final time management tool is having an organized space. If you are living in clutter, then you will feel cluttered. Having a space that is designated for your work and has all the supplies you require within reach is essential. If you would like to learn more about how to declutter your workspace head on over my 6 Ways to Declutter Your Desk Space post.
Meet Elizabeth! Elizabeth is the creator and writer here at Elizabeth Journals. In addition to creating for ElizabethJournals, she is a full-time graduate student studying clinical mental health counseling. She started Jihi Elephant to share her experiences, spread organizational tips, and promote positive living. Elizabeth is an avid bullet journalist, dabbling artist, and houseplant fanatic.
You can also read more about the origins of Jihi Elephant and its creator here.