Writings from my little corner of modern domesticity.

My Bullet Journal: A Review

So a month in, I sat down and evaluated my new planner (see previous post for my problems with saying “Bullet Journal”) for efficacy. I was 17 pages and several different layouts, collections, trackers, and logs in, and more or less, it was going well.

What Worked

  • Meal Plan layout. I’d formulated a simple design that was functional for making a meal plan as well as referring back, and it was good. dsc_2737
  • The Rapid Log. A concept pulled straight out of the original, it involves a simple “brain dump” of tasks to complete. I use mine on a monthly basis; forwarding unfinished tasks to the next month, right at the top.
  • The dot-grid in the notebook. I love the dots! It’s enough to guide my lines and space things evenly, but not enough to be a distraction if I’m doing a little doodling, or make me feel like I need to be super tidy about my writing. I can make a heading a block and a half tall without feeling weird about it like I would if it were just lined or block-grid paper. (I chose this Moleskine, which seems to be a popular choice).


What Didn’t

  • Weekly layout. I just didn’t use it the way I thought I would. I basically used a combination of the month’s calendar and the rapid log to fill the function I was looking for in the weekly.
  • Making it pretty. While I enjoy using the colorful pens, it is actually getting in the way of functionality for me. I need a solution to this, because the colors are great for helping highlight things and make pages at-a-glance useful, but it’s holding me up.

I’m dropping the weekly layout in favor of just using a rapid log and the monthly calendar, at least for now. It seems to work better for my actual usage right now, and I can always go back to it if I find a layout I think will work for my needs. As for the pretties, I think if I got a better case for them and slimmed down what I was attempting to use, I could make it functional. Like maybe only carry 3 or 4 colored pens instead of the current box of 8. I started with these Zig pens because I had them already- they were given to us with our guest book by my in-laws when we married. They’re quite nice; I just need a better carrying system.


What was Iffy

  • Tracker. I found with this, I don’t like horizontally-oriented layouts. It would be much more useful (and used) along the bottom of the monthly calendar page, I think. dsc_2735
  • Budget page. The setup was just awkward. I need to do some more looking around and tweaking. May be more functional as a spread across two pages.
  • The monthly calendar. I did 5×5 blocks, and I feel like that was too small. It gave great amounts of space for notes along the side and bottom of the spread, but the calendar itself was too small to be functional.



I also found that I desire a bit more organization than is offered by a single notebook for this. My next planner is going to use a traveler’s notebook style, wherein I can have one cahier for collections, one for logs, one for meal planning, and maybe one more for “brain dumps,” all within one cover. That’ll also make it easier to carry collections forward, because I can change out individual cahiers as they fill rather than, say, having filled a notebook with mostly meal planning halfway through a month and suddenly needing a new planner entirely. I’m not entirely certain if I’m going to stick with Moleskine at that point or try to find other paper suppliers- the pages are bit thin, and with my current pens, you can often see the other sides of the page (if not the page behind!) pretty easily, as you can see in the photos. I hear the Leuchtturm notebooks have thicker paper, though I didn’t manage to find any of them in my desired size and rule. Hmm.

I’ll check back in with my next adventures in planning, as I’ve got some improved layouts and new things to share. What would you put in your bullet journal, if you had one (or were going to add something new)?


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