I’ve been using my bullet journal for a few months and I still love it. A bullet journal really helps me organize my thoughts. I’ve changed the way that I use my journal since I first started. I found that I’m too lazy to draw out templates for weeks and months, so I use a planner for that part. I use the bullet journal to keep track of lists since I’m a habitual list maker. Grocery lists, books I want to read, projects I want to do, room ideas, and blog post ideas are a few. I use a planner to visually see when things need to happen. I really find that using a bullet journal and planner together help keep my thoughts organized.
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Recently my husband and I sat down and made a list of everything that we need to do to finish this house. It’s very comprehensive and took up about 8 Google spread sheets. I like the virtual list, but I find that I think very differently than my husband. He likes things in a linear fashion and I need to see stuff visually. For instance, he made a spreadsheet with a timeline to get everything done, but I needed to look at a real, physical calendar.
His list doesn’t let me check stuff up and isn’t that the whole point of a list? To get the satisfaction of checking it off? It is also limited in how many notes I can add. Plus, I don’t understand his weird abbreviations. But with our powers combined, and I now feel ready to tackle my giant to-do list.
How I Use a Bullet Journal and Planner (to get more done!)
I started with a fresh journal since my old one has about 3 empty pages in it. This 3 pack of notebooks was inexpensive and I know that I’ll eventually use them all. I prefer my journal to be either gridded in lines or dots because I often have to draw floor plans and such. Drawing things out is sometimes the only way that I can figure out stuff like tile placement.
As with all bullet journals, I added an index. I’m not super artsy with mine, but it tells me where I can find each subject that I need.
Then I have a monthly log. On this page, I can clearly see what needs to be done each week of each month. The numbers stand for weekends. So 1 = the first weekend of the month and so forth.
Then I drew out a house so that I could visualize what needs to be done each month on each floor. I didn’t include every room, just the larger projects. Now I can clearly see that January is a very full month of work. Yikes! That means that I should probably hit some of those projects a bit earlier on my own. This is helpful to know. Now January won’t completely overwhelm me.
Then each area or room gets a page. The time frame is listed, with a to-do list and the supplies needed. There’s also room to make notes. If I run across a paint color to check out, I can make a note of it. If I come up with any other ideas, there’s also room. (Inspired by Molly Eleen on Instagram for this layout.)
All of this wasn’t quite enough for me. Remember when I said that I need to view everything on a real calendar? That’s when a planner comes in handy. I am currently using a Passion Planner which I love. In my Passion Planner, all of the little boxes become places to write notes. I really love the box on the weekly view that reminds me to record something good that happened that week. I’m not a journaler per se, but writing a few quick sentences each week helps me remain positive.
On the planner, I listed out the focus for each week. Then I can see it in relation to birthdays, holidays and days out from school. I can then add my blog post ideas and appointments on top of that information. This helps me utilize my time more efficiently. Our family has an insane number of birthdays and events in the next few months, so this helps me see them all in relation to each other, plus what needs to be done. It also clearly shows me flaws in our planning, that I might not have noticed before. For instance, working on our basement bathroom is going to be really hard to do on the same weekend that my little one turns 9!
I get that this level of organization isn’t fun or necessary for everyone. However, it might help someone else who is feeling overwhelmed with tasks and timelines. Using a bullet journal and planner combination helps me sleep at night during this very stressful time. Do you use a bullet journal and planner together?