Warning! If you’re not interested in how I juggle a huge workload and 4 kids + hubby without losing my noodle, just skip this post 😁😁❤️
I’ve always been a meticulous planner, but never stuck with any one method of organizing it all. Previously I’d go through spiral notebooks haphazardly, and half the time I’d chunk them when filled, and lose all notes and potentially valuable info.
First I tried to get jiggy with the young’ns and take it hi-tech with a few different apps.
But something about good old pen and paper is so charming and natural and creative to me, that I deleted them all off my phone the very same day.
I poked around online for planners and found some cute stuff:
Then I headed to the office supply store and after looking around, I bought a boring, plain Jane, ready-made day planner. Woe was me, indeed. I used that planner for about 6 months before I realized I was still going through stacks of cheap spiral notebooks for notes, lists, and project planning. Boooo! (I did score some sweet pens though.)
The cookie cutter day planner failed because it was missing some key things:
- Blank pages between months for notes and project planning
- Useable vertical space for daily lists (I think in lists)
- Concise and functional month at a glance
- Flexible formatting to suit changes in schedule from week to week
That last point was especially important because I needed a format that was light enough on its feet to be changed on a whim for personal customization. I realized that my only realistic option was to draw my planner by hand.
After some research, I discovered this is already a major thing! It’s called a “Bullet Journal.” Yes I live under a rock, so I hadn’t heard of it. 😛
This is the planner I bought:
Buy this Moleskine or search through zillions of other options on Amazon.
So how should you draw your planning template?
Well, there is an absolute wealth of information and examples online:
- Alexandra Plans – A fun site with tons of videos
- Passion Themed Life – A gorgeous collection of Bullet Journal posts
- Tiny Ray of Sunshine – My favorite site – with how to get started, and some awesomely simple layout options
Equipped with some ideas, I bought my Moleskine notebook and started drawing in my templates how I imagined they would be most useful to me for the month of August 2015.
From there, I adapted my planning style over a full year – yes I stayed in my Moleskine for that long.. This is how much of a game-changer drawing your planner can be.. 15 months fit in my planner, with tons of pages left that I filled with project notes. And the only spiral notebooks I buy now are of graph paper for drawing pattern charts.
Phase 1 – Neatly drawn lines and colored pens. Although I don’t color code, as I found that’s never something I could keep up with. And I don’t use a ruler either! So it can get quite wobbly.
Month at a glance, with numbered days list for major event/holiday marking. Notes page. I used to do custom blankets, so I had a monthly “Blanket Queue.”
Phase 2 – Ditched the lines, messy messy.
Monthly: Same as Phase 1.
Daily, a huge wreck..
The end of my black Moleskine is near, and I wanted to dip back into the world of Bullet Journaling to see if I could get re-inspired and add in some new sections.
I loved the idea of the “Dutch Door” where you fold in a vertical page, or cut out sections of pages for a mini flip book at the bottom half.. To see what I mean, look here. This is supposed to give you more planning real estate per week. I tried it for one week and as cool as it looks, I found I had no use for it.
That seemed to be a theme that kept arising as I researched.. “It looks cool, but is not useful for me..”
Alas, I have 4 young children and a hubby to dote on – not to mention a business to run.. I couldn’t imagine spending time and energy to write the numbered days of the month on multiple pages, but I did want to incorporate these sections.
So at long last, here’s my condensed month at a glance (I call it the “Monthful”), with habit tracker, and business/social media schedule. I only have to write the numbered days once, and still have room at the far right for random notes. Condensed and practical!
And here’s my weekly template. I kept the vertical day format to make listing items easier (I’m a big lister, and not so keen on the two-column list that gets forced by a horizontal day format). Room underneath with goals/notes.
I also picked up that small pen set (yippee!) to play with. They’re fine tip, and don’t bleed through the page. I got PaperMate “Flair Ultra-fine” at Walmart – click here to buy.
But I REALLY have my sights set on this 42 pack of Staedtler colored pens:
Oooooooo, aaaaahhhhhhh… I want them for both color-in blanket planning, and daily journaling. Woohoo! Let me start saving now, and then I can splurge! Buy here on Amazon.
So that’s it! Planning is a lifesaver! If you have your own journaling experience or you found this helpful, do let me know 🙂