If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know I’ve been experimenting with using the bullet journal system inside a pre-structured planner – the Passion Planner. Life has been hectic on my end so I found myself Monday mornings without a weekly spread. I’ve been intrigued by the Passion Planner for a while now, so I figured this is a good time as any to experiment with the method.
Today I share how I usually set my stuff up, how I’ve translated it to a Passion Planner, and then my reflections so far. The better explanation is in the video, but I’ve included the big pics for you in this post!
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Historically, I’ve kept a bullet journal system inside a Traveler’s Notebook style cover, maintaining 3-4 books inside of a cover. I write prolifically about this system and why I chose to use it if you want to learn more.
Most recently I’ve been using a cover from Foxy Fix – a compact size 7 Moccassin Leather cover in Amethyst. It’s a “Composition size” which means that it’s designed to fit my May Designs inserts specifically.
My usual weekly is a 5-day with work and personal to do items and a space for whatever I want on the lower right. Strikingly similar to the Passion Planner, actually! That’s what made the transition pretty smooth.
I have been eyeing it for a while because of the reflection pieces and the way it is set up. I like the idea of the passion roadmap to set up your goals (though I have to admit it has NOT been done on my end so far… I’m tellin ya, chaos). Another reflection point I enjoy is that it features monthly reflections. As a leadership teacher I am always telling my students that going through life isn’t the transformation – it is the reflection to make new meaning of things that makes it transformational.
The other factors included that it’s a vertical style layout, option of a Monday start, undated (so I don’t feel guilty about using the pages or not!), and the grid/blank pages in the back for random bullet journal collections.
I don’t use the time-ladder since I use my Google Calendar, so I use some thin washi to cover up the times to use with my bullets and signifiers. This works really well plus adds color to the layout (which I love) – the only downside is that the ink I use sometimes smudges off on my hand since the tape isn’t quite paper.
My process is still the same – Sundays I look at the commitments I have for the week like meetings, events, recurring tasks, and then rapid log other tasks I know I want to accomplish. Then daily, I do a morning and nightly review, as well as sweeping throughout the day to get little tasks off my mind. It usually stays open on my desk (and other days, I don’t take it out at all, especially on teaching days).
In comparison to my usual layout, I still created sections for my expenses and gratitude logs, and started coloring in the top for my water tracker. (One of my personal commitments was to drink more water… so I have this giant 40L waterbottle I’m measuring my progress with). I have to admit though, going from the grid across 5 days to essentially 8 columns in the Passion Planner is tough. The spacing is much smaller and I have to dig out my 0.38mm pens to make my otherwise sloppy handwriting look legible.
Recently I was in California to visit family and friends as well as try to end 2016 in a good way (….that’s another story for another day, where you might see on Wednesday it kicked our asses LOL). I think of my vacations as a combination of a handful of Anchors and a lot of Post-Its – a few things I know for sure, and everything else is kind of up for discussion and movement. I used this as a way to brainstorm ideas, have a mini-map to visualize locations, and then ultimately tracked what we did do in the days.
This layout works more as on-the-go memory keeping and loose planning. Perhaps if you wanted to get more detailed, you could create sections for other things like when you have a rental car, check-in info on the left, lodging info, etc. Since a lot of those things are digital for me, I keep that info in my email or on my Google Keep app for quick reference.
This is a BRAND NEW idea I had a few days ago. I was looking at a health and fitness planner at Office Max – it has always been intriguing to me, mostly because I am committing more and more to my health and wellness, but was always deterred by keeping yet another book. But, I didn’t have room in my usual layouts to include meals and fitness logs. Here’s where the undated nature of this Passion Planner is super helpful.
I had my usual weekly layout, and then turned the page to label as the same week. This second, duplicate weekly would now be my health and wellness tracker. I started logging a few things off the top of my head, like bedtimes at the bottom, food (although very loosely, and not with exact measurements or macros), workout, and other mental health things like life-giving phone conversations, moments, and counseling appointments. Specifically, I started learning how to weight lift with a friend and I want to be able to track my progress and have record of exercises to do when he’s not around.
Whenever I go back to my May Designs books I’ll probably do this too, because it’s easy enough to see vs flipping to a different book.
It’s still really early to tell, but I know that it’s been helpful lately not to have to draw out my weekly. I lose out on customization of column sizes, some stylistic lettering pieces, and the spacing. I am liking it but not completely loving it yet – so I’m giving it some more time to really utilize it. The health and fitness tracker piece is fun so I’m going to play more with that. I’m also sure I’m not using it to its fullest capacity, either!
Doing this in a pre-structured planner, I felt kind of like a betrayal to the bullet journal community. But I wanted to see what it was like. A theme in my personal life the last few months has been really thinking about who I want to be, and looking back and who I am, why I am that way, and whether things I’ve told myself are indeed true. This lesson applies to bullet journaling as well.
Since the system is designed completely by you, it is all about how you reflect on what pieces serve you, what will work for you right now, what do you want to use vs what do you feel like you need to use (because, Instagram), and so on. It’s a constant cycle of reflection – I have let go of pieces like monthly trackers and monthly grids because they didn’t serve me in that time even if I felt like everyone was using them.
And sometimes, it’s worth experimenting and re-testing your ideas of what works and what doesn’t. Even though I once thought monthly grids didn’t work for me, eventually I circled back to using them in a new form, in a new place of my life – and it worked swimmingly. There is a quote from a friend I have held onto:
Is it true or is it habit?
In my personal life, there are things I told myself (and others) that limited me without my knowing. In small ways it is that “I can’t pull off lipstick” (biggest lie ever lol), or in big ways “I can’t lead students abroad” or “I have to wear certain clothing to be credible to students.” Limitations that are not actually real. Hence my experiments in the planning world. I’m excited to see what the possibilities are.
Have you ever revisited old ideas or methods that ended up being better than what you had been doing? How are you? Leave me a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Grace and peace,