Let’s Start 2024!

Happy New Year! I hope 2024 is starting well for you (or at least appears to be on the upward trajectory). Mercury went direct today which will hopefully help us feel like everything isn’t a long, slow ride on the struggle bus this month. Last month though?… let’s just leave the past in the past.

If you’re like me, you look forward to the start of the New Year so that you can officially start your new planner or journal.

I have hacked/mastered/settled-on a format for planning and journaling that works for me so I was delighted to start setting up my new planner last night (because homebodies are gonna homebody!)

I started by using my existing leather cover from Bassy & Co in the B6 size (starting at $95) then I added a new Stalogy B6 Editor’s Series 365Days notebook ($21.60-$24) inside the now gold foil decorated cover.

Inside, I added a page for my goals for the year. These are not resolutions rather things I want to accomplish this year.

I’d like to improve my physical activity after being sick this year. I need to get my stamina and endurance back up since convalescing for over a month. Other goals include organizing a yard sale this spring to clear out even more stuff from the basement and a few things I am not ready to share publicly yet. For me, writing these goals down give me a chance to protect these goals and make time to accomplish them.

No matter how silly or mundane you think your goals might be, write them down. You are the only one who will see them and regardless, the first step to making anything real is writing it down or saying it out loud. So if you want to change jobs, go back to school or just clean out the gutters, write it down. Remember that it was important to you when the day-to-day tries to encroach on your dreams. Clean gutters are a total valid dream!

I use a page-a-day system similar to what is established in the standard A6 Hobonichi planner. I add my own month-on-2-pages at the beginning of each month and add personal holidays and important dates to the monthly calendar. In the past, I’ve used the single page Midori dated and undated sticky calendars but this year I disassembled another undated planner and saved the monthly calendar pages which I tip-in or paste in to the Stalogy.

I also added a ribbon book mark that is exactly the same shade of citrus green as my Sailor/Nagasawa Pro Gear Slim. I glued it to the outside of the cover and covered the somewhat wonky attachment method with a bit of book binder’s tape (see the cover photo to see the printed book binder’s tape at the top edge).

After a year of using this process for logging/journaling, I have set up a bit of a system for maintaining my stride and not overwhelm myself. I start each month by I choosing a few seasonally appropriate colored markers for writing my headers and if I add any bullet journal-style list pages like “Books to Read” or “Podcasts to Check Out”, a few rolls of washi tape in coordinating colors/themese, some stickers and pair of scissors and glue stick.  I paste in my monthly view calendar at the beginning of the month and add a tab with the month written on it. I have a Kitta Washi Tape Folio and a massive collection of Kitta Tapes which I am hoping to start using up this year. They are small pre-cut strips of washi come in little matchbook-style covers which are great for on-the-go planner jazzing. I slide one into the pocket in my leather planner cover. The strips can be used to cover up an oopsie, FYI.

Everyday, I just write the day on the top of the page. Some days require multiple pages. Some days get skipped completely. Some days get missed and I go back and then retrospectively filled in.  But by making writing the date each day, I give myself permission to make it a big day or no day at all. It’s a lot less pressure than those endless blank pages that I ended up with in the Hobonichi when I tried it. Now if I fall of the journal bandwagon for a week, I don’t have seven blank pages staring back at me. I have NO blank pages.

Overall, my journal/planner is not as pretty or fancy as many YouTubers but I like how it looks. I am using up the massive amount of washi tape and stickers I’ve accumulated over the years which makes me happy.

I use Austin Kleon’s logging method which is more bullet list of activities than a long form written journal or diary. I log the podcasts I listened to,  the people I saw or places I went. I will sometimes note “still reading ____” if I’m in the middle of a book or the season of a series we are watching on television. If the weather is particularly notable, I might add a note about that. I also started pasting in the occasional receipt so that some day I can look back and marvel at either what I purchased or how much it cost.

I will sometimes insert a photo printed from my phone using a mini printer (mine has been discontinued but there are lots of others still available that will print your photos on stickers or as mini polaroids). I prefer to use a mini printer that prints photos about the size of a playing card and does not require ink cartridges. While the paper is a bit more expensive, I don’t have to purchase or worry about ink cartridge availability.

I plan to add a “word of the year” or other bits of inspiration. I’ve found that the advantage of using an undated planner/journal is that I can use more than one page when necessary or cram two or three days on the same page when not much occurred. Then insert a list or idea page randomly and just put a tab marker or book dart to mark a page as being special. Maybe this year, I’ll add an index and number my pages to make it easier to locate the chaos.

Really, the bottom line is that my journal/planner has become an “everything book”. It’s a commonplace book, it’s a journal, it’s a diary, it’s a brain dump.

I have been tickled to hear that last year’s planner has inspired others (including my husband!!!) to try their hand at keeping a planner or journal for this year. I will try to continue to share my progress both good and bad to hopefully continue to encourage others to keep on trying!

What’s your method of remembering, archiving or planning?

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. . Other items were purchased with funds provided by the gracious support of our amazing Patrons. You can help support this blog by joining our Patreon. Please see the About page for more details

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. It’s nothing exciting, it’s a Live Whale Planner https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BHBS5GYZ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1 ,
    It has a place in the front for goals, long and short term, thoughts, ideas, quotes etc, a year calendar, and a blank calendar for each month as well as weekdays broken down by hour, which allows me to fill in what I’m doing/did. I use a color coding system that works for me and lets me record what I want to do, need to do, and what I actually did and where I went. It has places for finance accounting, doodles, memos, and enough room for recipes I want to try with notes, books I’ve come across, and addresses and passwords I need to keep track of. PLUS it has a handy built in envelope in the back for odds and ends.
    At the end of each year, I flip through and transfer needed information from one to the next.

  2. Hi Ana. I started finally writing a page a day in a CR Gibson Bulleting Log Book I got at Office Depot. Since I bought a lot of Leuchtturm notebooks once I found out you could get them for under $10 at Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Marshall’s.

    I finished the CR Gibson notebook in November. I’m now using a Leuchtturm in Copper I started earlier. When a new month starts, I stamp a calendar page with a Midori stamp on Midori post it notes. (Unfortunately the see through note paper does not take the stamp or fountain pens well at all.). In November and December I used washi tape to hold the bottom down. For January, I used snowflake stickers. My practice is similar to yours. I’ll write down holidays and family birthdays, and appointments. Maybe I should add friends’ birthdays so I remember theirs better.

    I did get five of the Kitta tapes like yours. I found one of the small holders last year. Mine is the red one. Maybe I’ll use those washi strips to hold down the Midori calendar note if I don’t have seasonal stickers for a month. Or use both! I did miss making the December month page on the first. I added it when I remembered.

    I’m glad I finally got in the habit of writing a page a day. The decorating comes later. I do have a small 2024-2025 calendar planner notebook to write down dates of appointments, events etc to see them in an easier place. That’s why I stopped using the Copper Leuchtturm, it had no way to show future events the way I was using it.

    1. Often my monthly spread is a couple days late too but I just make a little tab to stick up and show me where the monthly view is. Good luck this year!

  3. I use a similar write-the-date journal system, and I find that it’s less intimidating (as you point out) as well as less wasteful. I didn’t even realize Mercury had been in retrograde until now… but it explains a lot. Happy new year, Ana!

  4. I made a last-minute decision to try an A6 rings planner this year as I was finding my pocket Filofax a touch too small. My cover from Moterm won’t arrive for another week yet sob but I’ve gone down a rabbit hole of making my own inserts. It’s been a LOT of fiddling around, but I finally got Pages on iPad and my printer to more or less work together. I’ve sourced my inserts from several different digital sellers so they are a bit of a hodge-lodge appearance-wise, but with an overall theme of “spooky.” Pages have been trimmed to size with a mini guillotine and once the cover arrives I’ll use my adjustable 6-hole punch to finish them off. I have bought some beautiful original digital art from Etsy sellers and will use that to make dividers and will then run them through my cheap laminator.
    I’m hoping that the completely custom nature of my inserts will make up for any inconsistencies in the appearance! I have a year to view spread for marking things like paydays, public holidays and birthdays, followed by a week to view diary. Then will be the financial section with my budget, my Afterpay tracker and a No-Spend tracker (eek!) I’ll also have an assortment of note pages and a mood tracker. The Shopping section is where I list things to buy for craft projects etc, and there is a Projects section… and I might add some drawing paper. I’m also trying out an Inbox page which has multiple note-sized boxes per page that you can use for whatever – to dos, groceries to buy, random brain dumps, doodles etc. I really really hope that this planner will be The One looks guiltily at large pile of hobos, TN, Filofax and Plotter

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