One Book July + Bullet Journal Experiment

For the past few years, there has been a popular yearly challenge within the planner community known as One Book July—learn more about it here. It was created by RhomanysRealm in 2014 for the ‘Coffee Addicts Club’ comprised of Rhomany, MissVickyB and CarieHarling (these ladies are amazing, definitely check them out!). Since then, it’s become a cult favorite where plannernerds cut back to the basics so they can focus on their core planning ‘system’. The rules are simple: one book…one pen…one month (there are some minor exceptions so check out the video link above for more information). Hmmm…sounds interesting…and scary. Just the month before, I had already done something drastic that turned my planner system upside down so I thought: why not ‘go for broke’ and combine my Bullet Journal Experiment with One Book July?!

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Tools for One Book July + Bullet Journal Experiment

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blogpost about my Bullet Journal Experiment (read more about it here). Since bullet journaling is generally done using one book or organizer, I thought it would be a good idea to combine my Bullet Journal Experiment with One Book July! Clever, I know. ๐Ÿ˜‰

My setup for One Book July is as follows:

  • 1 travelers notebook with several booklets as my personal and blog planner
  • 5 fountain pens for my coloring coding system—read more about it here (plus I’m a fountain pen geek too and always looking for reasons to use my multiple inked pens—get more ideas here); it’s therefore my ‘exception’
  • My work planner and art journal will remain separate (these have always been separate, ‘stand-alone’ systems)


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Example of color coded monthly index logs (blurred to protect info)

It’s only been a week and, so far, things are going well with my one book setup—I would say ‘freeing’ actually (I’ve already read about some folks ‘throwing in the towel’ on social media so ‘yes’, it can happen that quick!). It’s been nice to temporarily get rid of the ‘glitzy distractions’ and just focus on refining my weekly layouts, something I’ve been thinking a lot about since the beginning of the year. I’ve even significantly pared down the number of booklets I’m using within my travelers notebook—from 8 to 3—as I discover what I truly need and how to streamline it in my system. Granted, I’m still in the ‘honeymoon phase’ of One Book July so anything can go wrong but I’m excited about the challenge—and the experiment—as well as how the process will evolve. Let’s hope I can stick with it throughout the whole month of July, wish me luck!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

In regard to bullet journaling, I actually started my ‘experiment’ mid-June and so far I’ve had 4 different weekly layouts, all the result of discovering what’s working and not working each week. This has been much easier than my usual routine of updating my weekly layouts on the computer and reprinting every few weeks.

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My bullet journal weekly layouts for the past 4 weeks

On the other hand, I’ve had great difficulty adjusting to what I’m calling the ‘black hole’ in my bullet journal; let me explain. Whenever something would come to mind for an upcoming week, I would turn the page to write it down only to find…{cue screeching tire sound}…a blank page (aka ‘black hole). ๐Ÿ™

It’s no secret that bullet journaling is not designed for forward planning so I’ve been scouring the Internet blogs, and YouTube videos for tips, tricks, and hacks—as well as coming up with some ideas of my own!—on how to do future planning in a bullet journal which I will share in a future blogpost in the coming weeks. For now, I’m just trying to adjust to One Book July (fending off the planner withdrawal shakes, lol!) and settling into my bullet journal groove so I can effectively capture the ‘lessons learned’ along the way. I am DETERMINED to find ways to make bullet journaling work for a traditional, calendar-dependent, functional-minded plannernerd! ๐Ÿ™‚


What about you? Are you doing One Book July? If so, what’s your setup? If you’re a bullet journaler, what are some of your favorite tips and/or layouts for forward planning? Please share in the comments below and don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe!

Until next time (wish me luck!),

โ™ฅ LilD โ™ฅ

8 thoughts on “One Book July + Bullet Journal Experiment

  1. Julie Paradise says:

    Great insights, thank you this long and very informative post!

    I have set up a Traveler’s Notebook with 5 inserts in January and it still works great for me. I make my inserts myself either from Tomoe River paper or Rhodia Yellow lined.

    The A4 (21 x 29,7 cm / ca. 8,5 x 11 inch) size is perfect as you just have to cut of a strip (about 1/3 of the paper) which gives you ca. 21 x 21 cm / 8,5 x 8,5 inch, perfect size to fold in half, maybe add a pretty cardstock cover (I use scrapbook paper/cardstock), staple — done.

    I mostly take 8 sheets + cover which gives me room for 32 pages, so easily a month + 1/2 page(s) extra + the 2 cover (inner) pages.

    If you make your insert in batches, say use a whole A4 pad, it takes about an hour or two to make enough cahiers for a whole year, you get exactly the paper you want (fountain pen friendly ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and i is a lot cheaper than most available inserts.

    1. Cahier #1 contains about a year’s worth of plannung, each double spread a month.

    One side is all days of the month dated, just the numbers written down the page, weekends get a contrasting colour so, I do not even have to write “monday, …”. I use my fountain pens for that, it looks simple, is set up fast. I fill in birthdays, holidays, important or special events, …

    The other page of this double spread is for notes, spendings, ordered items I am waiting for and check off when they arrive, …

    The last 3-5 pages contain telephone numbers I would be lost without when my phone crashes, account info like library card#, my childrens’ school meal customer’s#, then our doctors’ adresses and telephone numbers. Since this cahier is ment to last several month I store information there that will be important over a longer stretch of time.

    2.+3. Cahiers #2-3 (or #4, when a month comes to end I already add the nextnext insert) contain a page a day. I predate each page beforehand, fill in important dates again, the usual daily calender set up.

    Every day I sit down in the morning and think about the most urgent tasks for the day, big or small, write them down, somewhat colour coded for private/work topics.

    I do not set up different books for personal and work stuff as I am freelance editor / writer / typesetter / layouter, not the 9-5 type of work.

    Note: I only list _immediate_ tasks here and random notes I will probably not have to refer to.

    4. Cahier #4 contains mostly lists of work-related projects, customer’s contact info etc.

    5. Cahier #5 is my journal, art journal, little mini-scrapbook, lettering exercise place, brain-dump. I go through these inserts faster, in about 2 weeks. I doodle there, write down stuff that goes through my head but is not necessary important information or a task.

    I know this differs a lot from what most people use their bullet journal for, but for me this is very satisfying and working so far as I have separate cahiers for each important task, all within _ONE BOOK_ but am able to change these inserts out without having to set up a whole book over and over as you would have to in a bound journal like a Leuchtturm 1917.

    The calender/planning problem is solved, the important information is always handy, I have a place for my creative moments without it filling up a bound book faster than I would like.

    And in contrast to a FiloFax-like planner I can store my little inserts easily as they are only ca. 10 x 21 cm or 4 x 8 inches in size. Or I can toss them, as none has been 10ยง each. (Yeah, tossing or ripping apart, I do that sometimes, when I am writing down things to clear my head, get all negative and ranty. Tossing it for me means the problem is gone, it does not weigh on me anymore. Feels good.)

    … but I could never comit to just 1 pen. I love my colours, so this pen would have to be 1 waterbrush. + watercolours. + 1 pencil. + 1 fountain pen … you see where it is going ยฐ0.=ยฐ

    • Hey Julie!
      I’m glad you liked the post! I also use Tomoe River paper since I use fountain pens—I’m currently using the Goulet Pens booklets which are 68gsm Tomoe River Paper—but I may try your A4 paper hack next time! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also LOVE your contrasting color for weekends tip—I’m going to try that in my monthlies and weeklies. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for sharing your setup—I’m always fascinated by these and learn so much, isn’t it great to find a system that works for you? My problem is I get bored and like to change things up, have to keep life interesting! Watercolor is another obsession so I COMPLETELY understand; I might do a post on it in the future.
      Thanks again for sharing and don’t worry, I didn’t notice any of the typos. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      -LilD ๐Ÿ™‚

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