First, a conundrum:
I call my daily task organization device a "bullet journal." However, I don't fit the perfect bullet journal mold (mould?) because I use a three-ring binder, dividers, and sections. I can't operate in the traditional bullet journal method because I want my collections together. I want my weeks one after another. I want organization above pretty. Furthermore, I print my templates rather than hand-drawing them each week. I argue that if people can print out trackers and all sorts of other things and paste them into bound journals, I'm just doing the same into a binder minus the mess.
At the same time that I don't fit squarely in Camp Bullet Journal, I'm definitely operating outside the realm of Planner City. I use a single undated template for each week, and I add my own details to those pages. I have trackers, meal plans, and task lists all on one custom spread. This is definitely not a planner in any traditional sense.
Because my heart is in Camp Bullet Journal, and I really did design every single thing in it myself (many times inspired by others in this camp), that's what I call my daily task organization device. If this offends you, well, whoops. Call the BuJo police...
The Cost of Doing Business
I worked for probably 70 hours to get my 2017 bullet journal set up, not including time spent making the monthly calendars (which are made in November each year for my extended family). The total cost (not including time, computer or software, printer or ink) breaks down like this:
Note: NO affiliate links used! Amazon Smile links may be used, but I am not profiting from anything on this entire post (aside from the ads you've probably blocked anyway). I'm not sharing this to make money: I share because people want to know, and I want to help.
- Staples Better Binder, black: $8.49 (the most durable binders I've ever owned)
- C-Line Mini side-open pouch, purple: $4.75 (for storing stuff; not necessary if you just clip one pen in the binder rings)
- Avery dividers, months: $1.99
- Avery dividers, 5-tab: $6.06
- Avery section dividers: $4.19 (Hint: buy the full-size ones and cut/punch them to fit. They're half the cost of the "real" half-size dividers!)
- UniBall Signo 207 Micro, black: $12.83
- HP Premium Choice LaserJet 32lb paper: $9.39
- Avery Clear Full Sheet Shipping Labels 8665: $11.55 (for printing stickers)
But, you only need one of those twelve pens--or ANY pen, really, and the paper will last ages (it's great for calligraphy and fountain pens too!). The label sheets can be used for other projects. The true cost for getting started is closer to $30, and I could have shaved off the cost of the binder if I reused last year's binder. The only things I actually bought new this year were the binder, new month dividers, and the labels.
|Cover: I love color and paisleys, and this just makes me happy.|
I found this beautiful image online (after three DAYS of searching for one that I loved!) by searching for something like iPad wallpaper, setting the Google advanced search option to tall aspect ratio, and then copying it into Publisher to crop it. I tried to find it again to give proper credit, and I just couldn't find it. I apologize to the artist: please know that I intended to give credit. I printed it, cut it out, and slid it in the cover. I don't have a spine decoration (yet).
|Open binder, see pouch!|
The pouch and pen are the first two things I see when I open the cover. I usually have some notes inside the front cover, but they're private. The pouch contains all of the stickers I've cut out for this year's weekly pages. I'm up to August already, so just a bit more to fit into the pouch. Plenty of room for pens, pencils, post-its, or other decoration devices.
Just behind the pouch is this super handy annual calendar. I don't use it much, but sometimes I need to plan several months in advance and need to know when a date falls. Publisher made this a snap, and I just filled in the colors from my color scheme (see details below).
Behind each monthly divider is a monthly calendar. I have been making these for my family for eons, and they're designed at letter size in Publisher. I print my BuJo monthly calendars two per page, punch, and slip them into my binder. This is where I record appointments or events in the future. The cute graphics are from Scrappin' Doodles. (Family names blurred for privacy.)
|2016 template: note dark lines, cheap stickers|
|2017 template: note brighter colors, lighter lines, more trackers, |
and painstakingly cut out bespoke stickers
I prefer the week-on-one-page spread, partly because it is a huge pain to right on the left side of a binder, and partly because I don't need more space. The 2016 spread worked wonderfully, but I made a number of tweaks for 2017:
- More items on the tracker side, separated into three sections titled "survive" "strive," and "thrive."
- Survive: this must be addressed every day. Unless I'm bleeding to death, the house is on fire, or there's a cat on my lap, this. will. happen.
- Strive: this is how I make myself feel guilty.
- Thrive: every day should include a few fun things, and this tracker helps to encourage me to do something for myself every day.
- Lighter lines so that the spread is less cluttered and the stickers have more space to shine
- New, slightly lighter color scheme in 2017 (listed red, green, blue)
- pink (239, 73, 141)
- orange (244, 134, 129)
- yellow (239, 237, 77)
- green (125, 200, 150)
- aqua (115, 200, 210)
- blue (100, 173, 242)
- purple (192, 128, 244)
- New stickers! I used the Avery 8665 clear label sheets and my HP Photostupid printer to print cute pictures from freepik.com. Then I fussy cut each and every microscopic image out using my favorite Cutterbee scissors. It takes tweezers to separate the backing and place them, but it doesn't take long, and the end product is worth it! (My stickers for 2016 were a yearly set made for teachers to give students, and it worked, but now I have a bunch of "way to go!" stickers that I'll never use. It is no longer available on Amazon.)
- Weekly affirmation: this week's sticker is a very inspiring "happy new year," and the words here will change each week with a positive statement, idea, or head scratcher. I needed a way to fill the space, and I liked the idea of an affirmation. Just don't expect too much enlightenment...
I have one dedicated top-tab divider for my current week so I can always flip right to it.
Divider Door #1: Special Collections
The first divider, in light blue, hides special collections that I didn't take pictures of because they're kind of private. ...Or just too awesome for pictures. These are lists like meal ideas (read: food we don't hate), date night ideas (read: things we can't afford), annual chores (read: screw it, I did it last year), and blog post topics (read: really exciting ideas that I have no idea how to write!).
|I watch a LOT of TV. Expect this to be filled by the end of the month.|
|Movie tracker, for movies, when I watch movies. Um...|
Divider Door #2: Mixed Media
I have a bit of a problem keeping track of what I'm watching. I started these two trackers this year to help me know what I need to finish. The TV tracker includes spaces for me to write down each episode number and then cross it off or fill it in as I watch it. The movie tracker includes a date complete and a rating for how well I liked a movie. Used my color scheme for the text, and these are pretty simple to make in Excel. I have a dedicated top-tab divider for my current TV shows so they're easy to cross off.
Divider Door #3: Holy Bible-in-a-Year Plan, Batman!
Because apparently I didn't have enough to do in a day, I added this little task. The Man and I have chosen to read the Bible in 2017. I found a great plan, smashed it into Excel, applied some pretty colors, and printed it. We're doing great, and this plan is actually perfect for five minutes of together time after dinner. We're loving the fact that getting behind by a day or two means that catching up isn't intolerable. Go team us! I keep my last top-tab divider on the current page of this list.
Divider Door #4: scratch paper
I keep a bit of plain, lined, and graph paper in my binder. You never know when you might need to fold a paper airplane...
Divider Door #5: Damage Control
There's nothing behind the last divider. The Better Binder does a great job at not massacring the last page in a binder, but experience has taught me never to trust a binder with rings and last pages, so I just keep the last plastic divider here as damage control. And I don't need another section anyway.
And, FINALLY, some Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you take extra time to make sure your handwriting looks good? Sure! But that's my regular every day Zaner Bloser/Spencerian blended handwriting. I'm not trying to be more than I am.
It seems like every chore is always crossed off! Do you really do every chore or task on your list? Yeah. Sometimes my Tuesday chore isn't done until Thursday, but I get my chores done pretty soon after I get up each day. I work hard to keep a clean house because my husband works hard to allow me to be a housewife. I don't feel like I would be comfortable with a list of undone chores...
Okay, this looks way too perfect. Do you rewrite your list at the end of every week just to make it look so perfect? I'd be lying if I said I never did this, but I try to be once-and-done. This is really my weekly list, and this is really what I did, ate, and accomplished. Writing it again just takes too much time away from those fun "thrive" things that rewriting isn't worth it.
What doesn't go in your bullet journal? I don't put my store lists in there (I use Google Keep on my phone), nor do I keep any budget info in my journal (we use Mint and a ton of communication).
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Leave a note below to share your thoughts.