Okay, sorry for that horrendously long title, but I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while and there are a few different pieces of it that I want to include, so please bear with me. 🙂
Basically, this post is going to cover everything I’ve been doing in my bullet journal (and my school planner as well) since my school closed and I started social distancing in mid-March, as well as some strategies I’ve learned from doing school online.
The distance learning tips may or may not be actually useful considering a lot of school shave already finish for the year/are about to finish, but I thought it might be a good idea to get some down, if only so I can look back at them in case I have to continue doing online school in September as well. (Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen, yikes)
Anyway, without further ado, I’ll get on with the post and show you what’s been happening in my journal!
Bullet Journal Spreads
So I’ve tried out a few different types of dailies since quarantine started:
First, I used this minimalist layout inspired by Ashley @bestdressed (an absolute queen), which basically consists of a column with a line for each hour of the day, and space for priorities and other tasks in another column.
I really liked this layout! It did feel a little squished at times with all of my schoolwork and stuff, but I appreciated being able to plan out an hourly schedule for myself, so I kept that in most of the other daily spreads I’ve made—except for this next one, because I was on spring break and didn’t have much on my to-do list each day. (I did a Spider-Man theme for this one, as you can see, as I’d just rewatched Spider-Man: Far From Home.)
On some days, I use up an entire page for one day. or weekends, I tend to group all of the days together on one page because I don’t really have anything going on now that I can’t babysit/volunteer/etc., so the weekend is kind of like one big day with some sleep in between.
Here’s another layout with a separate page for each day, this time with a separate column for tasks that weren’t yet assigned to a specific time frame when I made the spread:
Sometimes, when I’m feeling motivated to be more creative with my dailies, I spice it up a little by decorating with photos, doodles, etc. The layout below is similar to the previous one, but my schedules and to-do lists are built around some photos I taped in first.
Here’s the most recent iteration of my daily layout, with pages divided into columns for each day—basically, the first spread I showed you, except now it’s in vertical form instead of horizontal. This allows me a little more space to give two lines for an hour of my schedule where I have a few things I want to get done.
Since this layout doesn’t take much space for miscellaneous tasks at the bottom, I’ve been playing around with a new weekly running task list:
For tasks that don’t have a set deadline or are spread out over a number of days, I use this spread to plan out how I plan to get my tasks done for the full week by drawing circles and filling them in, or migrating them to the next day if needed. I hope that explanation made sense, but there are lots more people who’ve posted spreads like this on Pinterest and Instagram if you’d like to see more examples!
Below is a school timetable I drew out that I refer to every time I plan my schedule for the day:
School Bullet Journal
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I like to keep my school bullet journal separate from my regular bullet journal, mostly because I’m worried about damaging or losing my real journal if I bring it to school.
Of course, I don’t have to worry about that right now, my even though my school and home lives have combined for the time being, I am still using my school notebook in addition to my bujo.
I thought about just using my regular journal, but (1) I wanted to have a space purely for keeping track of school assignments in order to make it easy for my to locate them, (2) this is the system I’ve been using all of high school, and (3) my school planner layouts allow me to see homework for the whole week on the same spread, which I wouldn’t be able to do in my bujo.
You could easily integrate this type of spread into regular dailies like the ones I showed earlier though, if you’d prefer to have everything in one notebook!
Below is a spread from my school journal, with the simple vertical layout I always use:
Distance Learning Tips
Before wrapping up this post, I wanted to share a few tips I’ve learned from the past two months of doing school from home. If you still have some of your school year left, hopefully you’ll find some ideas here! (I have eight days to go…)
Wake up with enough time to get ready, but not too early.
If you’re like me and have classes in the mornings via video conference, you’ll most likely be familiar with the “My alarm woke me up but I laid in bed scrolling on Instagram and now I’m jumping out of bed to get on my Zoom which starts in three minutes” scenario.
Of course, it’s not the end of the world if this happens, but I do prefer to wake up with time to eat breakfast, brush my teeth, and get my materials ready before class.
On the flip side, if I try to wake up too early because my idealistic nighttime self think I’ll be able to get things done before my classes start, I usually end up procrastinating getting out of bed because I think I have so much extra time to spare, and the aforementioned rush to the Zoom call occurs yet again.
For me, that sweet spot is waking up around 9 (for my 9:30 class).
Plan out your daily schedule the night before, and try to keep a loose routine.
I try to set up my schedule in my bullet journal every night before bed so I know exactly what I need to do when I get up each morning. This doesn’t have to happen in a bullet journal—the calendar app or any old piece of paper would also work. The idea is to structure your time on your own, since we don’t have the usual school routine to go by.
In addition to planning out when I’ll do all of my classes and assignments, I try to also keep a steady routine by keeping my times as consistent as possible; for example, I try to exercise every day at 3. (I also try to set a bedtime for myself, but that doesn’t usually work so well…)
Of course, the loss of this daily routine means that it tends to be harder to get work done quickly (or at least it has been for me), so I think it’s also important to find a balance between planning out tasks but being forgiving to yourself if you’re unable to complete all of the non-essential ones because other tasks took longer than expected, or you got sidetracked doing something else. (It’s so much easier to get distracted now without teachers there to keep you on track.)
Don’t work and take breaks in the same physical locations, if possible.
At the beginning of all this, I did all of my classes and homework in my bed. It was nice at first, but I soon found that it blurred the lines between “school time” and “break time,” and made it really hard to (1) keep focused on schoolwork, and also (2) give myself a set rest time and not let school stuff drag out for a really long time.
I’m lucky enough have been able to switch to working in a different room, but you could also try just sitting in a different spot in your room if that works better for you.
Of course, with all of these, I’m still struggling, and I don’t end up following through with all of these every day! I’m just doing my best.
I’m also going to link a few videos here from two of my favorite creators! There are some really helpful tips in both of these.
🠕 One piece of advice from the above video that I found especially helpful was to make plans to look forward to! It’s easy to let work drag out across a long stretch of time when you’re at home (that’s certainly been the case for me), so planning a fun activity for later in the day can be a good motivator, whether that be FaceTiming with friends, reading a book, watching Netflix, etc.
(I’ve been doing Netflix parties with friends, which is super fun!)
Before leaving, I also just wanted to acknowledge how lucky I am to have to resources to continue my education from home, and it really sucks that it isn’t like that for everyone. Distance learning has been a difficult adjustment, but I am absolutely so grateful to have the opportunity to continue learning despite the current circumstances.
I hope all of you are doing ok and staying safe!
If you’ve made it this far, THANK YOU for reading! This post ended up being kinda long, but I hope it was at least somewhat useful.
Let me know in the comments—do you have any tips for those doing online school like myself? How have you been managing your time at home? What have your bullet journal spreads been looking like lately?