How To Bullet Journal In A Planner

Posted January 24, 2016 by Tanya M in Blogging, Living with Chronic Illness, Organizing, Planning Tips / 53 Comments

How I Bullet Journal In My Plum Paper Planner to finally achieve planner peace and corrale all the ideas I have to organize my home, family, blog and health.

I’m always in search of the perfect planning system. I think I’m pretty close to planner peace with bullet journaling in my Plum Paper Planner so I thought I would share my how to bullet journal in a planner ideas with you. I hope it helps! 

The Basics of a Bullet Journal

I discovered bullet journaling last summer and it has changed the way I organize the chaos of my scatterbrained mind. The theory of bullet journaling started by Ryder Carroll is simple…jot down your ideas quickly and index your pages so you can always find what you need when you need it. It does not need to be fancy or have a predefined layout, you just go with the flow and what works best for you. Bullet journaling is the ultimate DIY planner, as Ryder says on his blog “all you need is a notebook and a pen” and the rest is up to you.

Note: This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting my blog should you decide to purchase.

The basics of bullet journaling is simple: grab a notebook and a pen and just begin. A bullet journal is helpful in creating indexed calendars, to do lists and note collections, it is the ultimate DIY planner.

I grabbed a two subject notebook with pockets* and my Staedler colored ballpoint pens* and tried bullet journaling in it’s purest form last summer. I drew my own key, index, monthly and weekly overview, habit tracker, gratitude log, collections of master to do lists, future planning log and numbered all the pages in my notebook. However, I realized I was spending a lot of time hand writing items I wanted to track. Honestly, if you’ve seen the damage Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) has done to my hands, it hurt to write so much.

I went back to incorporating the bullet journal elements I loved into my Erin Condren Life Planner* (ECLP) for 2015 that I’d already bought. The ECLP was great for paper quality and prettiness but it did not have enough notes pages to corral my ideas and to do lists for my home, family, health and blog.

When deciding on a planner for 2016, I’d heard that the Plum Paper was customizable and found that it would be PERFECT for my regular planning and bullet journaling to meet all my needs. Plus, the Plum Paper colors are gorgeous and the paper is a dream to write on! Be sure to read all the way to the end, there’s a special coupon code to order a Plum Paper Planner just for Mom’s Small Victories readers

How To Bullet Journal In A Planner

I’ll be walking you through my Plum Paper Planner (PPP) in order both so you can see how gorgeous it is and how I use it for bullet journaling. My PPP contains the following items: 

Total planner cost with shipping = $50.60

 

Monthly Notes Pages

Plum Paper Planner Monthly Note Pages at the start and end of each month are great for tracking monthly goals, expenses and reminders.

There are two monthly note pages, one at the beginning of the month and one at the end. I use the beginning notes page to write down my goals for the month for home and kids. If I didn’t have a separate blog planning section, I’d write down my blog goals here too. I also keep track of expenses as I spend them. I’m an avid menu planner but I make what my family wants to eat versus what is on sale these days. I’m hoping tracking expenses where I can see them will help me stay within our budget. 

The notes page at the end of the month is for notes as I think of them and my 52 Weeks to an Organized Home decluttering mission calendars. 

 

Monthly Calendar for A Gratitude Log

Plum Paper Planner Monthly Calendar. I use mine to track daily gratitude, small victories and a little doodling.

After the first monthly note page is the monthly overview calendar. I found I was not using the monthly calendar to look at appointments so I started using it for a gratitude log. It gives me just enough space to jot down something I’m thankful for or a special memory, those small victories I want to remember. I’m not much of an artist but I do a little doodling too. It helps me remember the small victories in my day before I go to bed.

 

Weekly Calendar

Plum Paper Planner Weekly Calendar. Color coding my tasks and time help determine effectiveness of my time management to achieve my goals.

I like to color code my tasks and time by category so that I can see how I spend my time during the week. 

Weekly Checklist: I write my goals for the week. My home and family goals from the Monthly Notes page, my cleaning from the Cleaning Checklist using Flylady zones and my blogging goals from the blog planning section.

Notes: The color codes and categories they represent. Blue is for home, green for food/cooking/dishes, red is for family, pink is for self care and purple for my blog.

Daily Columns: Tasks that must be done that day. Once those and my morning habits (in checklist pages) are done, I start working on one of my weekly checklist goals. I try to complete tasks before moving on to the next item. I color in the box with the corresponding category color to show it’s completed or half colored in to show it’s in process. I like seeing the day mostly colored in, it helps me see what I’ve achieved rather than all those blank boxes of unfinished to-do’s. An arrow is drawn through any blank boxes at the end of the week if the task is migrated to the next week’s goals. 

 The Key to what my icons mean are in the notes pages at the end of the planner. I track what I’m doing, cooking, eating, drinking, reading and blogging.

Wellness

I should start each morning by jotting down how I feel. With RA, mornings are usually when I have the most pain and stiffness and the doctor always asks me how long that pain lasts. I’ve been tracking my pain levels with a number from 1 to 10 and the weather because I think weather is a factor for my pain. You can see this noted by the pink “W” in my daily columns. Lately, I’ve been feeling so good, I’ll forget to write it down until later n the day. Any changes in my pain, mood or weather will be noted with a “W” or a pink dot too.

Stickers

I’m a functional planner, I do not use too many stickers typically so it gives me more space to write. I do like these little round stickers* and they fit pretty well in the PPP spaces. I don’t like some of the preprinted ones though because things like Pet, Dance and Baby/Bridal Showers are adorable but I won’t use them. 

I’ll get some plain white labels* to color and draw an icon myself using this tip for creating my own color coded stickers from Jennifer McGuire Ink. That way they can match the color categories I’ve already picked and I have a little room to write appointment times.

Spaces Between the Daily Columns: I draw in a chronodex, hourly increments from 6 am to 11 pm where I track how I spend my time in 15 minute increments. 

The combination of color coding my tasks and my time shows how effectively I manage my time for the weekly goals I had and what I actually accomplished. 

 

Checklist Pages Dispersed Through the Months

 

Plum Paper Planner Checklist Pages are perfect for daily, monthly or quarterly tracking habits and cleaning schedules.

I have a lot of trouble with consistency. Getting into a sustainable routine to make sure I accomplished what I needed to everyday was difficult. I kept forgetting to take my meds, track my pain levels or floss. I came across habit trackers people used for bullet journaling and knew it would be a great way to get me on track. 

In the PPP checklist add-on, there are 4 checklist pages in each month. For January, I have checklist pages for daily habits, monthly Flylady zone cleaning, and quarterly/annual cleaning. 

Habit Tracker

A line for each day with the day and date of the month are written in the first column. Habits to complete are written in the column headings and color coded by the same categories of how I track my tasks and time. Since self care are the habits I forget most often, those are the ones I wrote down first. My focus may change each month and having a tracker has helped me be consistent with my habits, even flossing which I dread. I will copy this tracker each month, adding and deleting habits as needed.

Cleaning Trackers

I adapted my monthly cleaning tracker from Flylady’s zone cleaning lists. While she dedicates a week to each zone, I know it will take me longer than a week to both declutter and then detail clean the zone. So I turned her cleaning list into a checklist without a dedicated timeline to check off tasks as I complete them.

For tasks I do more than once a month like vacuuming, mopping, dusting and changing tablecloths, I just make a smaller checkmark in the box so I can fit 2 or 4 checks in it. I also added my car to the zone cleaning because it needs a good scrubbing pretty often. I will copy this tracker each month.

The quarterly and annual cleaning checklist is to track when these tasks are done. This tracker won’t need to be copied each month.

Since only 2 of the 4 checklist pages are used each month, I’ll have some extra checklist pages. Some ideas of what to do with them:

  • Budget/Expense Trackers
  • Books to Read
  • Reading Challenge Checklist  
  • Linkup Party Schedule
  • Level 10 Life & Goals

 

Blog Planner

Plum Paper Planner Blog Planning Pages: 12 monthly overviews, stats and income trackers, to do lists and blog post ideas pages.

The blog planner add-on has lots of useful pages which I’ll let you read about on Plum Paper’s site. I enter most of my data into my online blog planner and then copy ideas down at the periodically into my PPP. I like have everything in my PPP but the blog planning section is not as comprehensive as the planner I created so I still have to use both.

 

Notes Pages for Bullet Journal Key, Index and Collections

Plum Paper Planner Notes Pages are perfect for bullet journal key, index & collections.

I added 30 notes pages for my bullet journal key, index and collections. In bullet journaling, the key shows the icons used throughout the planner. Each of the 319 pages in my planner are numbered and indexed so that I can find what I need easily.

After the key and index are blank pages for “collections”, which can be anything you want to write down. Your collections are given a topic name and written in the index with the page number so you can find the information when needed.

In a traditional bullet journal, you write on the next available page, so you may have your collections interspersed with your daily or weekly to do lists. In a bullet journal, the page numbers in your index are in sequential order and the topics are varied.

Since I’m using a planner where the calendars, blog and notes section are already laid out, I index my pages as I use them. The page numbers in my index are not in sequential order but are grouped more or less by month. The color coded box in my index helps me identify in which category the pages belong.

Ideas for collections pages: 

  • Master to-do list
  • Home decor ideas
  • Travel bucket list
  • Date ideas
  • Mission statements
  • Meeting notes
  • Book notes
  • Contacts
  • Future Planning
  • Pen Testing Page

 

Coupon Code Just for Mom’s Small Victories Readers! 

I reached out to Plum Paper and let them know how much I loved their planner. Plum Paper agreed to give my readers a 10% off coupon code for the next 30 days using the code VICTORIES10 when you order from the Plum Paper website.

 Supplies I Use

Planner:

Pens: 

Stickers:

 

Bullet Journal Resources

If you want to learn more about bullet journaling, check out these great blogs and resources:

Original Bullet Journal

Boho Berry and Tiny Ray of Sunshine for artistic and creative bullet journaling

Bullet Journal Junkies on Facebook 

#planwithmechallenge and #bulletjournalchallenge on Instagram

 

Well there you have it, my organizing and planning ideas. I take the fabulous ideas from the Junkies group and off Pinterest and simplify them for my needs. I wish I could do more artistic bullet journaling but my planning is simple and functional. 

Linked Up

This post linked up with Motivation Monday Linkup, ;Mommy Monday Blog Hop and SITS Sharefest .

 

What kind of planner are you? Are you a functional or an artistic planner? What bullet journal or planning tips do you have to share with us? I’m all ears and always looking for ideas to simplify my life and not forget anything! 

 

 

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53 responses to “How To Bullet Journal In A Planner

    • I was looking at the Passion Planner last night, they have a beautiful blush one for breast cancer awareness. Glad you found a planner that helps you.

  1. Vanessa

    Loved the article! I just tried using a bullet journal again after last year trying it for awhile and liked it, however I found myself essentially recreating my PPP and it lasted two days until I decided to go back of my planner. Lol. I love being able to use add ons and additional notes pages for my collections!

  2. I am a functional planner for sure! I am intrigued by bullet journals but know that I will probably always want to have a 3 ring planner. I’ve gotten some incredible inspiration for creating inserts from bullet journalers though!

  3. Thank you Tanya for sharing this awesome article with us at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy.

    I’m so happy to share that you are one of our Featured Guests at this week’s Party (#213)!

    • You’re welcome Heather. Bullet journaling has definitely helped me. The concept is simple but it also unleashes productivity and creativity!

  4. Loved hearing more about the bullet journal. Recently started doing something similar but with recipes. Since I blog about recipes I have a lot of ideas running through my brain and they just randomly happen, while watching tv, using fb, going to the grocery store…ect. I started something like this a few days ago by using dividers for the different meals throughout the day I’m thinking about. So far, it’s amazing!

  5. Mar

    Love the lines in this planner! I see a ton of people using the bullet method, but for some reason I don’t think it has enough structure for me. I could see myself using it in addition to my regular planning though! Possibly as a way to corrale future ideas 🙂

    • I’m with you Mar, bullet journaling didn’t have enough structure for me. I kept drawing it myself and turning it into a planner. Bullet journaling definitely helps me with corraling ideas and tracking habits. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Jen

    You are a total inspiration! I have only heard of bullet journals and I’m in awe of how organized yours is.

    • Amen! It’s a never-ending battle to accomplish everything on my zillions of lists but at least I can easily see what I’ve done and what’s still left to do. Thanks for stopping by!

    • I feel so much better when I get things out of my head and onto paper. At least it helps give me some direction. Thanks for stopping by TaMara!

  7. I love seeing inside other people’s planners because I spend so much time organizing mine! Stickers and colors are my priorities with mine, they make it so much more aesthetically pleasing!!

    • I love Peeking inside planners too Molly. There are so many great ideas people have that I can adapt to help me achieve my goals. I love stickers and colors too, it makes planning fun. Whatever makes you stick with it and feel inspired is great in my book. I’m a scrapbooker at heart, I just don’t make time for it.

  8. Oh wow this in depth! I could totally use some planning classes. 🙂 I currently have a Lilly Pulitzer planner, I’m still learning the ways of planner planning. I love, love, LOVE that you have set aside a space for gratitude!! I do that weekly on my blog, but I think I should do that in a journal for those more personal things I keep to myself. 😉
    Thanks for sharing!!
    XOXO
    Mrs. AOK recently posted..Mommy Monday Blog Hop {134}My Profile

    • The Lily Pulitzer planners are lovely! You know I used to have more gratitude in my weekly Small Victories Sunday Linkup posts. It comes and goes but I do love having a place to record gratitude and small victories, it really does help my mindset. These pages will go into our family photo albums at the end of the year.

    • Lol. It took me awhile to nail down a system that worked for me because there is so much I want/need to keep track of. Most of it is a necessity to keep my sanity 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Nichole.

    • Yes it adds up quick especially because of all the parts I added to it so I could have everything I need in one book. I tell myself it’s an investment and definitely helps me keep all my roles/goals straight. I agree it’s so important to focus on gratitude and kindness these days. Thanks for stopping by Ana.

  9. This is a wonderful tutorial, Tanya! After looking at the Plum Paper planner and add-ons, I can appreciate even more your tremendous examples of how to use them effectively. I have used a notebook for planning my second blog, but I have really only used a computer calendar for planning of blog posts. Since I am beginning to schedule more reviews this year and participate and organize events (like an upcoming readalong), I am really ready to try a new, more flexible planning style like this. Thank you, as always, for sharing your amazing organizational skills and tools.
    Lucy Pollard-Gott recently posted..#WintersRespite Read-a-thon Wrapup!My Profile

  10. This is a wonderful post and an amazing planning tutorial, Tanya
    Now that I’ve looked at the Plum Papers links and seen the blank planner and add-ons, I am going to go over your post again, on my computer. (I’m writing this on my phone.) I did some planning for my Northern Lights Reading Project in a dedicated notebook, and I have used to do lists when I overhauled my website, but I don’t generally plan my blog activity beyond using Google calendar. Now that I am accepting more scheduled book reviews (on two blogs) and planning to organize readalongs in March and July for Travel the World in Books, I think I am ready to explore more flexible planning tools like this. Thanks so much, and thanks for the coupon! 🙂
    Lucy Pollard-Gott recently posted..#WintersRespite Read-a-thon Wrapup!My Profile

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