Bullet Journal Experiment Update

Hey blog friends! Excuse the delay between posts lately…it’s been hard trying to blog while sick—ugh! I’m slowly getting better and should be getting back to my regular editorial schedule soon. While I’ve been sick, blogging isn’t the only thing I’ve had trouble with…it’s also been equally hard to plan. September is when the school year kicks off for my kids, things get busy at work preparing for fiscal year-end, and the holiday preparations begin so this is the time when I rely on my planning system the most. Many of you know I began using a bullet journal ‘inspired’ setup in June and it worked well during the summer months but I always knew that the real test was going to be how it would perform beginning in the Fall. So did my bullet journal pass the test?

When I began my bullet journal experiment, I was able to create a setup that worked for me but discovered along the way there were certain things lacking that I missed from a traditional calendar-based planner (read more about it here and here). As time went on, I learned some tips, tricks, and hacks from the bullet journal community that helped fill in many of the gaps plus I came up with some hacks of my own enabling me to finally settle into a ‘groove’ (read more about it here and here) as well as learn some valuable lessons (read more about it here). However, now that I’m in the ‘eye of my planning storm’, I’m finding that I’ll need to make significant changes to my system to ensure I can keep up with the multiple, fast-paced schedules and abundance of overlapping tasks of a family of four–eight if you count the pets!

Planners, travelers notebook, bullet journal, one book July, Naked Cow Artist Travelers Notebook

Bullet journal setup

Bullet Journal Experiment Result

While I’ve been sick and ‘out of commission’, I haven’t had the time, energy, or motivation to create my upcoming weekly layouts. In bullet journaling, you plan your schedule one day—or in my case, week—at a time. When things got really busy, I just could not keep up.

Next, with the new school year starting up, I already have a ton of dates to keep track of for the next 10 months including after-school and other activities. What I need is to not only write these appointment/event details down directly on those future planning pages but also have the ability to write in ‘prep’ tasks for the days leading up to those appointments/events—e.g. for the winter band concert, I would put a ‘prep task’ a week in advance reminding me to buy my daughters concert outfit and prepare my camera (clear the memory card and charge the batteries) or for my son’s spring play, I’d put a reminder a few days in advance to buy the tickets, schedule an early dinner, etc. I couldn’t do this easily with my bullet journal because the future weekly pages haven’t been created yet so as a result, I feel as if I’ve been ‘flying blind’ these last few weeks. Sure, I could add it to the ‘Future Log’ in my bullet journal—which I did—but I’ve already filled up the log pages AND would still have to copy it all over again once those weekly pages are created, too much work!

The Solution

For me, the solution is to go back to using a pre-printed calendar-based planner in a ring-bound organizer, what I consider my tried-and-true functional planning system. That’s not to say, the bullet journal method doesn’t work as a planning system—it does work very well for many people—it just doesn’t work for me at this time. For the past four months, I have enjoyed using it, I’ve learned some wonderful techniques, and as a result, I intend to incorporate portions of the bullet journal method into my planning system. This is something I’ve always done when trying out a new system: I use it to learn more about it, evaluate what elements and techniques from the system I like that are useful, then take the ‘best of’ that system and plug it in to my own custom ‘hybrid’ planning system—a personalized system that has evolved over the years and is made up of some of the best tools and techniques from all the planning systems I’ve tried over the last two decades. There’s a reason why the planner industry is so big and diverse—because there’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’. I learned this very early on in my planner journey and as a result I can truly say that while I may stray to try something new now and then, I’ve come to KNOW what works and doesn’t work for me which is the most important step towards designing the perfect planning system for me and getting closer to achieving ‘planner peace’. 🙂

planners, ring binder, gillio, weekly vertical layout, week on 2 pages, bella pilar

My ‘comfort zone’ – ring binder with custom weekly vertical page layout designed by yours truly!

So what parts of the bullet journal method am I going to keep?

I’m currently in the process of revamping and switching over my system to get me back on track so once I’ve finalized my setup, I’ll share the details in either a video or blogpost. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about my ‘hybrid’ planning system, let me know in the comments below.

 

So what about you? Have you ever switched to a new planning system only to find it just wasn’t as effective as you thought it would be? Did you abandon it completely, try to make it work, or add portions of it to an existing system that was already working for you? I would really like to know so please share in the comments below and don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe!

Until next time,

♥ LilD ♥

8 thoughts on “Bullet Journal Experiment Update

  1. I love looking at bullet journals and all of the beautiful spreads people create. But I’m like you, I don’t have time to make all those pages. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do next!

    • I love looking at the beautiful spreads as well and wish I could be that artistic! But bottom line for me is it needs to be *readily* functional. I’ll definitely keep you posted–thanks for reading!

  2. I’ve tried the bullet journal method and I’ve found – like you – that it’s woefully lacking when it comes to calendar tasks. I can’t get on with a future log as it’s just not clear enough when things are happening, and don’t get me started on recurring tasks!

    What I’ve found I’m doing instead is combining a standard calendar with the to-do aspect of bullet journaling which seems to be working well for me. I’m using a Moleskine notebook to do this so i guess it’s a form of bullet journal!

    • Like you, I found there were some parts of the bullet journal system that worked well but sadly it’s not the calendar component. I’m a notorious list maker and note taker but always have trouble finding the info after the fact because it gets ‘buried’ in the pages. The index log will definitely help with that along with some other helpful hacks I picked up along the way. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. I can totally understand your frustration with the system. For me, I enjoy it but my life has changed in recent years as my kids are adults and taking care of their own appointments. Most of my to dos are work-related and I use Outlook and a notebook. For my personal stuff, there isn’t really a ton going on most days so a fun planner is fine. Really enjoy hearing about your journey!

    • Thanks, it’s been quite a ride! It was definitely fun to use and experiment with my weekly layouts during the summer when things weren’t as busy but now I need something readily functional. The struggle is real!

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