I have told myself many times that I wouldn’t be one of THOSE bloggers who write a post about bullet journaling and/or planners. But here I am, writing a post about bullet journaling AND planners. But I’m not going to show you all the cool things I do with my journal, this is more of a cathartic purging of thoughts and frustrations with the available planners I’ve been able to find. Once upon a time, I used a Franklin Planner, and for work, it was great; for home, not so much. I would love to find something that has the flexibility of a page (or two) per day, but also a place to keep ongoing project lists and such. I also cannot imagine how bulky that would be! My frustration runneth over, because despite what “they” say, I have come to realize that it is not possible for me to use one planner for all my activities. There is never enough room in a planner for me to track all the things I need to do in a day, but for me, a bullet journal is not conducive to long term planning, which is a necessity for my business. We are one day in to 2017, and I already have two planners, neither of which are going to work for my day to day to-do list. It is VERY annoying.
I guess this leaves me with having a planner for long term planning, and a bullet journal for the day to day tasks, which is exactly what I was trying to avoid. But I just do not see a way to do it otherwise. I could dig out my old bullet journal to use for the new year, because it still has pages in it, but I think I will just use this new purple Moleskine that’s been sitting in my desk drawer. I purchased it some time ago, when I first started bullet journaling, in anticipation of completing one book and moving to another. However, that never happened – I gave up on bullet journaling when I realized that it wouldn’t work well for my long range planning. While I know that I could draw in calendars in a bullet journal, or set up a listing type calendar, I am a very visual person, and I want to be able to see a month at a time when I’m planning the shows in which I want to participate. When I first realized that I need a pre-printed planner, I purchased a Plum Paper planner. I thought that I would benefit most from a somewhat unstructured layout, so I chose the horizontal notes & days layout. However, I found that the notes section was too free form, and the days didn’t give me enough room for much of anything. One or two birthdays and a couple of appointments, a task or two, and there’s no more space left to write anything in the day space. I knew within a week that it just wasn’t going to work out for me. It’s through no fault of Plum Paper – the planner itself is beautiful and well made. The paper is nice and thick, and the cover is very sturdy. The layout just doesn’t work for me.
When I attended the Houston Quilt Festival in November, I happened upon Stephanie Palmer and her Quilter’s Planner. It’s cute, the cover is sturdy, and the days are broken in to hourly increments. There are small spaces for each week’s to-do lists: Personal, Work, Quilting and Notes. And it has some very cool quilt block patterns and some free motion quilting suggestions. There is even a section for tracking projects and a reference section. While I like it better than the layout of the Plum Paper planner I ordered, it’s still lacking enough room for my daily work lists. It’s not going to be enough for me, either.
Understand that I do not in any way place any of the blame on either of these planners for not being what I need. I doubt there are tons of people out there whose to-do lists consist of making 100 pounds of soap each week along with various embroidery and sewing projects. I’ve even attempted to set up my own planner pages, and even I can’t always predict what I’m going to need to do in a day. And that’s why I need some flexibility that the bullet journal offers.
So all of this has led me to realize that what will most likely work for me is use to a pre-printed planner for the long-range planning and the bullet journal for daily tasks. The planner will contain shows, appointments, birthdays and anniversaries, while the bullet journal will be used for tracking daily tasks and notes. Most likely, the planner will reside on my desk in my studio, while the bullet journal will go with me everywhere. It isn’t the ideal set up, but it’s the best I have been able to come up with over the last couple of weeks. And while I know that there are a whole lot of people who love to decorate their journals and make them look really cool, I am not one of those people; it’s not how I express my creativity. For me, the bullet journal is completely utilitarian, meant to list daily tasks and notes, and not much more.
I may end up tweaking the system as I go through the year, but I’m going to see how this works for now. I will let you know how it’s going in a future post.