The Quo Vadis Life Journal ($22.99 from B&N) is an A5 notebook that takes the elements of bullet journaling and pre-formats a lot of the details while leaving a good portion of it open for the user to fill with content as needed. All of this is on the finest 90gsm white, dot grid, Clairefontaine paper.
The covers of the Life Journal are matte black, soft touch faux leather with gold foil logos. The paper wrap is easily removed.
There is a white, vertical elastic with gold stitching that will lay flat on the back of the notebook if you choose not to use it. My paper wrap was damaged in shipping.
The pages in the book are numbered and the book includes 5 index pages, a 2-page spread for your yearly calendar, twelve 2-page spread for pre-formatted for monthly calendar, 60 2-pages spreads formatted for weekly calendars, dot grid pages in the back for books, films, tv shows, trips, restaurants, and more.
There is one ribbon bookmark. While is is long enough to use, it is not finished on the end and by the time I was photographing the book for the review, it was already starting to fray. I will need to trim it and seal the end with FrayCheck, glue or try singeing it with a lighter to keep it from fraying any more. I’ve gotten spoiled by other planners having more than one bookmark to mark the monthly pages and another for the weekly pages.
There are a few introductory pages at the beginning to help show you how to use each of these pages.
The index page is a key element of the Bullet Journaling system. At the end of each month, there are two blank pages that can be used for notes that would be the most likely candidates for indexing.
There is also a page for creating your own key for symbols or implementing symbols from other Bullet Journaling resources. These symbols can be as simple or complicated as you want them to be.
This is a peek at one of the two pages of the “Annual Schedule” pages. The flags at the top of the boxes seem a little large but I don’t know how much most folks would write in these boxes. Some might use these for forward planning, others as places for goals or even the books, movies or events attended?
The nice thing about the Life Journal Infinite is that it is undated so it can be started at any time. However, since the set-up is done with the monthly calendar being followed with five weeks of weekly pages, if you start the book towards the end of a month, you’ll need to skip several weekly page spreads to get to the next monthly calendar.
There are columns are the bottom of the monthly pages for tracking regular tasks or activities like working out, drinking water, taking vitamins, charging your devices, whatever it is you want to remember to do. Walk the dog?
The placement of the mini calendar at the top of the weekly page sis a little wonky. It doesn’t precisely line up with the dot grid so it was a little difficult to line up the dates. There was enough room at the top page to align the monthly calendar with the dot grid to make this easier. I wish the calendar just aligned to the grid. The same thing with the weekly calendar boxes… they don’t align precisely to the dot grid which drives the Swiss-trained designer in me up the wall! Either use the dots or don’t include them but the blatant disregard is like nails on a chalkboard. Do you see how the line of dots above Thursday doesn’t quite line up with the box for the the day? How much does your inner Tetris brain want those to line up? You’re mentally trying to fix it right now, aren’t you? Me too.
The collection pages just have a header at the top and a page number at the bottom. There isn’t any other information on the page so they can be used and divided up however you see fit. They can be used to list completed reads (watched, etc) or things to read (or watch, etc). Or make a column for each.
There is a pocket in the back of the book with a gusset for loose ephemera.
I’m not going to comment on the use of the brushy typeface. You’re either going to like or you’re not. It’s printed in gold ink. It’s not quite metallic but a gold-bronze color.
Overall, if you want to try the Bullet Journal method but are put off with having to draw in all your own calendars and don’t think you’re “arty enough” to do fancy lettering, this book will give you a foundation to start with. For others, though, I fear that it may feel too prescriptive and fussy. And so help me, the fact that the grid doesn’t align with the lines printed might drive me to an early grave.
On the plus side, the paper is fantastic, the cover feels nice in the hand and the elastic and pocket are sturdy and will withstand a year of abuse. Being able to start today or next week or whenever you feel like it is another bonus.
So, really, you’ll have to decide for yourself if the plusses outweigh the minuses.
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