I took a long time to settle on a planner set-up for 2022. I spent the better part of December waffling about whether I wanted to purchase a pre-printed planner, use a ring planner, design my own planner or try the bullet journal method again. I assume I’m not alone in this sort of planner indecision if the number of planner systems and page layouts available are any indication.
What finally coalesced for me was figuring out that as much as I love the size and cover of my Filofax, the rings pose challenges for effectively using both the left and right pages without having to hover my hand or arm over the chasms created by the rings in the center. Once I figured out that the simple, sturdy leather cover was the key to my planning systems, I knew that some version of a Traveler’s Notebook would be required.
Then I established the “right” sized notebook/paper for me — I settled on the B6 size which is essentially 5″ x 7″. This size is actually in between an A5 size and an A6 size. The A6 size is basically 4″ x 6″ size which I find a little too small but A5 (almost the same size as half-letter) can become too large to carry around on a daily basis, especially if it is in a leather cover.
148 x 210 mm
5.8 x 8.3 in
125 x 176 mm
4.9 x 6.9 in
105 x 148 mm
4.1 x 5.8 in
So, I invested in a custom leather cover from Bassy & Co (via Etsy, approx. $85). The cover includes four elastics for notebooks as well as pockets in the front and back to store cards, ephemera and loose paper. I ordered mine with the jade green cover, aqua stitching and requested that the pen loop be left off.
Inside my new planner cover, I custom designed a monthly calendar insert using my design skills and some starter elements from the 2022 Deluxe Moon Kit from Ra Element (via Etsy, $30). The original files were sized for a personal planner and did not include a month-on-two-pages calendar so I built that myself and then added in some moon phase info, astrological associations and other holidays.
Next in my planner set-up is a Paperblanks Midi size notebook with blank pages. I realize blank notebooks aren’t ideal for a BULLET journal but it was what I had on hand that fit the notebook and had decent, fountain pen-friendly paper.
I have been using guide sheets behind the pages to keep my text relatively straight but my goal is to upgrade to a dot grid notebook for the bullet-portion of my planner in the next month or so. In the mean time, I am working out kinks in my bullet-y system.
Each day, I write the date at the top of a page and jot to-do’s and appointments. Then on the rest of the page (plus any additional pages) I use the space to log anything I want to note. I might write down the podcasts I listened to, the books I read, music I listened to, shows or movies I watched, food I ate, new project ideas, project notes, funny things someone said, etc.
So, really, I’ve combined fancy Bullet Journaling with Austin Kleon’s log book and I am pretty content with what I have so far. I am using my monthly calendar for any “forward planning” like a doctor’s appointment, haircut, vacation (HA!) or other event and then add those to my daily page.
The nice thing about the Bullet Journal method is that if you need to start a project planning page, just flip to the next page and start it. Monday, I had to add a page to start a list of all the places I needed to update my credit card info after my card number was stolen this week. Just knowing that I have a list and can mark when I’ve updated the CC info has reduced my anxiety about the whole event.
I did a lot of reading and research about how people Bullet Journal and, while most of the examples online are the super pretty pages with no cross outs, leaky pen marks or shoddy scrawl, there are a lot of good ideas for what kinds of info it was possible to get granular about. Also, knowing that this is a record for me and no one else, I feel better trying Bullet Journaling again for 2022.
I am sure that, over the year, my planning system will evolve and change but I think I am headed in the right direction.
What system have you found works best for your planning and/or journaling?