April Setup: May Designs Folio Edition

Over the last few months I’ve been experimenting with different ways to bullet journal – seeing if I could use the system inside a pre-structured planner that echoes the layouts I typically use.  I’ve used the Passion Planner and the Inkwell Press in the past, and they were very worthwhile experiments – and through those I found I did miss the hand drawn flexibility of my traveler’s notebook system.  So this month, I’m going to bullet journal in the May Designs Folio and see if there’s anything new I’ve learned that will make this a stronger system for me.

Note: This post features affiliate links, which means if you happen to purchase something, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you – thank you for your support!

In reflection, here are a few things I learned from my experiments:

  • The compact Passion Planner was a touch too small and not enough space between the lines
  • Loved that I could do a fitness/wellness tracker in the undated Passion Planner by creating 2 weekly spreads per week
  • I didn’t feel like I maximized the possibilities of the additional sections in the Inkwell Press
  • I missed my 5-day and weekend layout split, as well as changing up my headers
  • I loved not having to setup the monthly grid and draw out the weekly sometimes

Without this necessary step of reflection, I would be drifting between systems and never finding out what works best for me.  It’s through looking back where we figure out what works and what does not.  That’s why the bullet journal system is so personal.  With that, here’s what April looks like!

See how I'm bullet journaling in this May Designs Folio system!

This is the May Designs Folio – it is leather and fits 4 classic May Designs notebooks inside (so, any insert that is 8″x5″) – and is affixed by that little grommet fastener on the front.  (insert the heart-eyes emoji here).  There is one pocket in the front, no pen holder – so that may work or not for you, but I just have been sliding a pen into the side and closing the folio around it.

See how I'm bullet journaling in this May Designs Folio system!

This is the Foxy dot grid Notebook – I got a few of these and love the paper quality.  There is very little ghosting using any of the markers I’ve used, which holds up to all the fun colors I put to the paper in my weeklies.

The first page of any insert I use is always some kind of anchor – whether it’s a quote or a list of goals, I like to remind myself what this is all for.

Supplies: Pentel Sign Brush Pen, Siensync Colored pencils

See how I'm bullet journaling in this May Designs Folio system!

The return of my monthly grid! I took some minutes to play and color with and try a new way of numbering my boxes.  Apparently I didn’t realize I wouldn’t need to split my boxes in the bottom row…

Using square stamps from Foxy Fix, I used a clear acrylic stamp block and Versamark ink to get the grid… you’d think I’d be better at lining up these boxes by now but alas!

I use this layout for instagram challenges and my editorial calendar – and maybe this month I’ll try working backwards a little more to plan for working on pieces of content to make it more robust. We’ll see!

See how I'm bullet journaling in this May Designs Folio system!

Rapid Log: Undoubtedly I need a place to just braindump or log random thoughts that occur to me.  I also like loose categories – and for now, I’m leaving it blank to see what I will need in that moment.  Realizing I can’t pre-plan for everything, I’ll trust that I’ll know what I need when it comes up in my mind. For now, it will be blank.

What I will outline is a “Last Time I…” section so I can jot down the date that I did something like water my succulents (that are probably going to die, but I’ll do my best!!)

Projects: Inspired by the hive of the Inkwell Press, I will not only break down the month’s projects but also other big goals, again to anchor me. the process of breaking it down also helps orient me to what I’m prioritizing for the month

See how I'm bullet journaling in this May Designs Folio system!

My 5-day spread returns!!!!! I am excited for the space and ability to add color in whatever way I feel like that week.

See how I'm bullet journaling in this May Designs Folio system!

I always need a bigger to-do list for the weekend, which I view as very separate from my workweek, so here we are.

My biggest lesson is leaving white space for things to emerge – and then doing what I need to in the moment.  Hence the mostly blank page on the right, just to capture the random overwhelming thoughts I have – in education this is a tough part of the semester.  We are trying to push through and wrap up the semester well while also trying to set up groundwork for the summer. It’s crazy-making and it means a lot of lists are made!

We’ll see how this goes – because isn’t life just a grand experiment?


See how I'm bullet journaling in this May Designs Folio system!


7 thoughts on “April Setup: May Designs Folio Edition

  1. You inspire me to use a planner. I’m 60 and while that is still relatively young, I find that I am forgetting things…things I need/want to do, and I would like to use a planner to hold memories as well. I’ve done brush lettering in the past and dabbled in calligraphy so this would be a good artistic endeavor. Thank you for the thoughtfulness in your videos!


  2. I’ve loved following your blog for a while now, and I love all of your posts! I love how honest and real you are 🙂 How do you like the May Designs folio so far? Those notebooks are all I use and I LOVE them, so I’m curious how you like their new folio. I’ve been wanting some sort of system to keep all of mine together and I can’t justify the price of a foxy fix, so I’d love your opinion!


    1. Thank you!! I will always endeavor to be as real as possible 🙂 The folio is okay – the slightly annoying piece is the ball! It’s my favorite but least favorite part lol – writing on it can be frustrating, but that’s my only complaint so far! Think you’ll get one?


  3. Love these photos – I just ordered this folio myself – I had a pink one I carried for about a year and couldn’t get used to the pink (it looked purple on the website), so I gave that one and some May notebooks to my niece and got this one for myself. I wish I could be organized enough to need a planner, but it’s my creative wild brain that needs four notebooks at once 😉 Thank you for sharing this.


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