The Plum Paper Planner is the most customizable planner in my ultimate planner comparison and I’ll show you how to bullet journal in a planner so you can achieve the planner peace you seek.
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.
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:
- Planner , 7×9 Vertical Weekly with Lined Columns
- Checklist Pages Dispersed Through the Months
- Extra Planner Notes Pages, 30 pages
- Sticker Sheets
- Blog Planning Section Add-On
My total planner cost was $50 with shipping in 2016.
Monthly Notes Pages
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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 free 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
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
- Future Planning
- Pen Testing Page
Supplies I Use
Planner , 7×9 Vertical Weekly with Lined Columns
- Checklist Pages Dispersed Through the Months
- Extra Planner Notes Pages, 30 pages
- Sticker Sheets
- Blog Planning Section Add-On
- Black gel pen (pictured in weekly calendar)- Uniball Signo 207 Micro*
- Blue, Green, Purple gel pens (pictured in weekly calendar)- Pilot G2 07 Pens*
- Similar to the pink felt tip pen (pictured in weekly calendar)- Erin Condren Pens*
- Sharpie pens* for writing in planner
- Sharpie markers* for writing on stickers only, they bleed on regular paper
- Multicolored ballpoint- Staedler colored ballpoint pens*
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More Productivity Resources and My Thrive with Chronic Illness Planner Now on Sale!
Today, I’m excited to tell you about something that might help in your quest for gaining more time and managing it well. A bundle of resources created by people (I’m one of them!) who understand that you’re looking for practical productivity solutions that will work in your lifestyle.
It’s called Ultimate Productivity Bundle* and it was created and curated by people with real life responsibilities just like you: they have families, work part- to full-time jobs or run businesses, don’t have personal assistants or the budget for hiring lots of extra help. They want to help you (and themselves) conquer your to-do list, free up more time for yourself, and reach your goals.
When you buy the Ultimate Productivity Bundle you’ll get access to:
- 5 eBooks
- 14 eCourses & videos
- 26 printables & workbooks
I’m excited to announce that my newest product, the Thrive With Chronic Illness Planner + Journal is included in the Ultimate Productivity Bundle* on sale for a limited time! This planner is a labor of love and brings one of my life goals to reality.
While designed for the unique needs and challenges of chronic illness patients, the Thrive with Chronic Illness Planner + Journal will help you:
- overcome overwhelm from daily life
- take charge of your stress, physical and emotional health
- track your daily health and doctor’s visits
- identify your health and stress triggers so you can control what you can and let go of what you can’t
- set realistic, achievable goals
- get done what you need to so you can have more fun
- establish a customized cleaning routine and menu plan that works for you
- track and analyze your budget and actual expenses
- celebrate your successes and how you THRIVE each week and every day
- uncover lessons learned so you can improve your method each week
Check out the entire Ultimate Productivity Bundle* At only $37 for over $1,500 worth of resources, It’s an incredible deal for everything you get and the bonuses for early birds!
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.
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!