I posted at the beginning of the year about my planner set-up and I am delighted to say that I’ve stuck with my set-up. So much so that I have filled my modified Bullet Journal notebook and I will be starting a new notebook next week.
So this seemed like a perfect time to talk about what is working and what needs to be improved.
I chose to create a page-a-day for notes, to-dos and other details. I often add things I ate (if I cooked something or we ordered take out, etc), what I’m reading or listening to and anything we watched — movies, series, YouTubers, etc. I keep a monthly calendar in a separate notebook in front to keep some upcoming events like appointments, events, etc that can be transposed to the individual day. I am not as good about adding upcoming events to the paper calendar however and may move to using a digital calendar for those events and then transpose them to the day-on-a-page as I go along so I’m not rewriting info multiple times. Most of my appointments already exist in the digital form complete with reminders so I don’t miss them so it seems unnecessary to write them in the paper calendar.
It is nice to have a paper calendar however for quick reference ” what day is June22?” or “four weeks from today is when?” without having to pull out my phone and open the calendar app.
I am really loving the B6 size (approx. 5″ x 7″) though it limits the availability of ready-made notebooks. Luckily, the Paperblanks Midi Format size is very similar in size to B6 and the 120gsm paper weights are quite fountain pen friendly. The notebook I used for the first half on 2022 was one of the 100gsm Flexi cover models which is not the best for fountain pens but held up about as well as Leuchtturm1917 — so bold, italic and stubs may bleed on the 100gsm stock but not on the 120gsm which is what I’ll be switching to for the second half of the year.
Early on in the year, I made cursory efforts to use washi tape and other elements in my daily pages but by March, it was mostly all text with the occasional bit of paper or ephemera taped into the book.
I need to be more specific about the bullets, asterisks, boxes and other symbols I use in my journal. I am very random about them but would like to make i more clear to myself that a dot is ______, and a box is _____, etc. Do you have a specific system for symbols to discern between to-do, event, or info?
By writing the day at the start of everyday, I had the luxury of using multiple pages when necessary or maybe only a half page on really uneventful days or if I forgot to write anything in the later part of the day.
Overall, I feel like I have found a system that works for me and is getting me writing regularly, even if its just bullet points and random brain dumps. Its not tidy, beautiful or instagrammable but it is getting crap out of my head and onto paper.
How is your planning set-up working for you this year? Have you switched up at all or adjusted your system at all since the start of the year?
3 comments / Add your comment below
I love the B6 size for pocket sketching! The Hahnemuehle Diaryflex is that size (blank, ruled or grid) and there is also a Midori (with thin smooth pages). For my daily planning I recently converted in a big way to the Traveller’s notebooks (any brand) since so many products are available. I still find its proportions a bit jarring (so tall compared to its width) but for planning I do a 2 page spread in a grid book (currently, Franklin Cristoph) at the start of the week. Dates (Monday to Friday) are equally spaced down the left hand side with less room for the weekend. This gives me one row per day for noting (1) health (2) appointments (3) to do (4) on going “what I did today” notations (for remembering where I’m up to and to help me do my timesheet). I used to actually rule 4 columns for this but now I freestyle it more though roughly keeping (1) and (2) on the left hand page and (3) and (4) on the right. In the same notebook cover (also Franklin Cristoph) I can carry up to 3 more notebooks. I tend to swap them in and out depending on my plans for the day. I have a few different ones for sketching (currently, Ro-Biki) and some Midori (for the times I crave a Tomoe River paper experience), as well as a holder for cards/ephemera. The front cover had a pocket designed for inserting a 3-pen holder but I don’t often do that as it gets bulky, but the pocket is also great for securely holding my phone.
I do a sort of semi-bullet journal in a week + notes Midori planner. I have tried for years to find notations I can remember and use consistently. I don’t draw boxes, I just use the grid space in front of each item. Nothing there means I need to deal with that item. Half an x means started but not done yet. An x means it is done. A squiggly line through the item means never mind, not doing it. When transferring to a new page anything with a blank space in front either gets an arrow and is then transferred or it gets squiggled out. This would be even simpler if I waited till items were done and ditched the half-x but sometimes I need the encouragement, ya know?