I love planners. I love the idea of them, anyway. I certainly use my Google Calendar…but I am an analog keeper of plans. Every year, I buy a planner or a Daytimer or put one together using a binder and printable templates. And every year I stop using it after about a month. They end up being too big, too bulky, and not giving me space to plan what I want. And therein lies the problem: I am a special snowflake and I want my planner to be a special snowflake, too. We’re all special snowflakes and I’ve decided that traditional planners work best for snowflakes that:
- only need to keep track of things that happen during business hours.
- have a very linear way of thinking and doing.
- are using their planner for appointments.
- have small handwriting that fits in teeny tiny boxes.
That’s cool. But that’s not me. So, what’s was I to do? Being me, I started planning. One must do research on these things, you know!
I looked at Passion Planners since I have friends who swear by them. Close, but not quite. Still has the teeny tiny boxes problem. Still has the too big problem. Also has the very pricey problem.
Then I looked at the Create 365 Planners. Too big, tiny boxes, where will I keep all those stickers… They look cool, but not my kind of snowflake.
So, finally, I did what I should have done in the first place: I went to Pinterest. I made a board. I discovered the idea of Bullet Journals and I liked it. The more I looked at different ways people had set their up, the more I liked it. I decided to try it out. I went to my basket of stray journals, found one, and endeavored to try this Bullet Journaling thing for the remainder of November and the month of December so I could figure out what I liked, needed, wanted, etc. before January.
For the first time ever, I am going into the new year with a Planning Plan! And it feels awesome. So here’s where I’m at now (on December 8th).
On the Bullet Journal “Start Here” page, it says that all you need is a notebook and a pen. Yes, but I love pens. Can I have more than one? Sure!!! Here are my pens:
I started out with my Paper Mate Flairs. I love these pens. I have great handwriting (courtesy of being an early childhood educator for forever), but these pens make my handwriting look awesome. To me, that is the hallmark of a fantastic pen. However…the Tropical colors are very light, the two pinks and two blues look very much alike, and the tips aren’t as fine as they always need to be. So….I got more pens.
As you can see, the point of the Stabilos is MUCH finer and look at all those color options! Pens: Check!
As for a notebook, I’m currently using a Moleskin that I had on hand. I ordered one of the Leuchtturm1917 journals that seem to be most popular for Bullet Journaling. In addition to lines versus dots, the Leuchtturm is a smidge larger and a good bit thicker.
There are a few things that many Bullet Journals seem to have: a key and an index. I went through all of the key examples on Pinterest and…there are too many for me. Even the color-coding (which I LOVE) seems…rigid to me.
I did away with most of that almost immediately. The two symbols I do use frequently are the “Migrate” symbol and the “ongoing” symbol. I use whatever colors feel right that day, there’s no over arching theme to my pages or weekly decorating style. There are some days (like today when I’ll be sitting at HK’s karate and then at wrestling) when I have a long time to carefully set up my page for the next day. And there are days when I’m hurriedly scrawling down stuff as I chug my coffee in the morning. I could set up each daily page at the beginning of the week, month, whenever I have extra time (yeah, right), but I like the meditative quality of doing it daily. I like the focused attention on what I need to do for the day. Ideally, I like to do it in the evening so I’m prepared for the next day.
Below are some examples of pages I’ve really liked so far. As you’ll see, it’s still an evolving process. I love that I can put notes and plans and lists and all sorts of things in whatever order they come out and still find things. I’ve been using colored stickers on the edges of the pages to find really important stuff (like my monthly calendar and habit tracker). FYI: Mocha is a snake so she only eats every few days. Also, I have a potty mouth.