It’s been a flood of posts lately – I won’t apologize but it’s easy to be inspired by the reflective moments of December AND the availability of time after wrapping up teaching for the semester.
I’ve done a lot of posts about my layouts for the month, but as I’ve seen more and more questions from new Bullet Journalists on the Bullet Journal Junkies Facebook group, I realized I have done a less-than-stellar job of talking through my actual process. I’ll try to do better for January’s!
My Current Set Up + Supplies:
I have always loved having separation in one place but dislike ring-bound planners (read more on my planner journey here). This is a perfect compromise – this beautiful pink leather cover houses 4 notebook inserts so I can use the system but have similar things gathered together. I got this “FoxyDori” cover on sale through FoxyFix on their Etsy shop – these vibrant colors are really durable leather and have structure but not too stiff. (Their Bay Leather is much more supple and pliable). I chuck this thing into my backpack and purses all the time – and holds up really well. If you order, I highly recommend adding a pen loop. Best 5 bucks you’ll spend, I promise!
For pens, I am LOVING that 4-color Pilot Hi-Tec coleto. I used to think it was that meh blue and white body but in that gold color it is stunning. Inside I have 0.4mm gel ink refills and it writes smooth like a dream. Dare I say it makes my bullet journal look neater? I also do some outlining with a Medium Faber Castell pen and adding color with Staedtler Fineliners and Tombow Dual Brush pens.
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These are the core four to my planning this month.
Read more about my notebook comparisons here. I have NOT reviewed the LT1917 since they don’t fit easily into my dori covers, so these are the ones that do.
Since I’m only halfway through my YellowPaperHouse insert, I decided to continue with my book despite the new year (I try to avoid wasting stuff when I can). Every Sunday, I take 20-30 minutes to set up the upcoming week by choosing a new set of colors and making tiny tweaks. As you have noticed, January 1 falls on a Friday, so that means I set up for the month on Sunday, December 27. I do NOT set up months ahead of time. For me, it’s nice to just have the flexibility of going forward differently, adapting to emergent needs.
Something about January screams “blue!” to me, so I reached for my Tombows to add a lettering touch to the headers. Please know that lettering is my own hobby that I like to add into my pages – NOT a requirement to Bullet Journal. It’s just fun for me to add to my pages!
I live off of my Google Calendar for personal and work, so I skip the event calendar altogether and go right to monthly trackers and reference pages. When I think about what I REALLY need to reference, a few things come to mind:
Based on what worked last month, I’ll modify for this month. Last month my habit tracker wasn’t really used, so I think I need to move it back to weekly tracking, and only focus on a FEW key behaviors that will specifically support my personal goals. Based on that, I’ve come up with this for the month.
As I think of things I have to do sometime this month, I’ll add it in. Errands I have to run, I’ll add it in using shortcuts like “R” for return or “Ex” for exchange. You’ll notice that grocery lists are NOT on here because that’s something Mr. PPP and I sync up on via the Grocery IQ app during our Sunday Meetings rather than on my own paper list.
Quick detour on expense tracking: Because he’s a huge Excel nerd, Mr. PPP and I have a very intense budgeting tool we’ve created to identify our expenses and how to save for our many financial goals (vacations, gift-giving, house, etc). Based on this collaboration, I derive my personal discretionary spending number for the month. In the past, I’ve tried to stay under that number, period. However, it’s been more retroactive rather than proactive, so this month I’m trying to forecast expenses I KNOW I will have. For example, I’m visiting one of my friends for her bachelorette party, so I already know I’ll be spending money eating at the airport. I added a column to each of my personal spending categories and put a ballpark estimate on what I might spend, to better be intentional about my impulsive spending habits.
As for my weeks I’ve learned that I am a weekly girl, through and through. I’ve been conditioned to see my weeks vertically, so that’s how I draw them in every Sunday. I pick colors on a whim, just to add visual intrigue that keeps me using the system. There aren’t many other decoration pieces, very few stickers especially as of late, so lettering is how I add aesthetic.
Components of this week include:
So that’s the process! I’m excited to go through the #planwithmechallenge threads today and see how you set yours up. Anything I mentioned that you might try? Let me know down below!