What You Need and How To Set It Up
As I’m sure many of you have seen, the bullet journal has taken the world by storm. But what if it’s not your cup of tea? Do you hate how disorganized it is but want something a little more than a traditional planner? Make yourself a bullet planner instead!
I’m a planner person. Always have been and always will be. I’ve always had a regular planner for school, but I didn’t like how I also needed a million other notebooks to keep track of everything. At one point, I had one for passwords/info, another for meal planning, yet another for my real estate flipping projects, and another for lists. Not to mention a personal journal.
Then came along the bullet journal. Finally! A place where I can combine all of these things into one! But wait….there was a problem. What if I wanted it organized by sections, and those sections by each month? I didn’t want to have to have to make tabs to keep track of index pages. I didn’t want to have to flip through monthly and weekly planning pages to find my passwords page. I wanted more flexibility than a regular notebook.
So, I re-purposed my old planner system, and turned it into my bullet planner. Before I started graduate school, I bought a Webster’s Pages A5 Color Crush Planner Kit (which you can find on their website here or purchase on Amazon by clicking the image third image below) with a matching pencil case. I chose the kit over the planner only option because it came with cool dividers and pages, a page marker, the calendar pages, and page inserts.
I absolutely loved them, so when it came time to buy new calendar inserts, I decided to use it again for my bullet planner. With additional A5 sized dividers, dot grid and lined paper inserts, and new calendar (weekly and monthly) inserts purchased off Amazon, I began my work!
To start, I decided what my sections were going to be so I could arrange my dividers. I ended up buying plain ones off Amazon and writing my categories, but you can easily find more options to label or make your own out of cardstock! I decided on the following categories:
- Calendar – I have each 2-page monthly spreads followed by that month’s 2-page weekly spreads for normal planning.
- Tracking – I track my daily habits and also my daily mood. I use sticky tabs to separate months from one another.
- Lists – To-do lists, books to read, wines to love, restaurants to try, blogging ideas, etc. are all in this section.
- Info – This is where I keep all of my login info and other important information.
- Meal Planning – Where I put whats on the menu for the week. It helps me figure out what groceries I need to get to make sure I actually use what I buy, and keeps my budget in check.
- House Flipping – So I’m working on my real estate license, but I’m currently working on a few flipping projects (just like what you see on TV). This section helps me keep track of my running total invested, comps I find beforehand, and any other info I want to write down.
Now it was time to actually work out my page layouts! I decided to keep my normal monthly/weekly planner pages for two reasons: 1) I suck at drawing and 2) It was easier than constantly drawing a layout that I like.
For my tracking section in January, I tried to do a budget tracking and water tracking page, but ended up hating keeping up with it. For February, I went with a large multi-habit habit tracker, with each habit color-coded and labeled. I also have a mood tracker to help me keep track of my random moods. The mood tracker layout I decided to use is a modified version of the popular mandala layout. I am not artsy enough to make pretty circular designs, so I do a row for each day.
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My list section is just that – a section of lists. It’s fairly straightforward. I did try to get creative with my “Books to Read” and my “Birthdays” pages (the names have been blurred out for privacy reasons).
The info section is just a place where I can easily find all of my important info like passwords and logins for all of my social media, email, and other accounts. Mailing addresses for my friends and any other random information for quick reference is also kept here. It’s fairly boring!
I’m still working on my Meal Planning layouts, but you can see what I’ve tried so far layout-wise. I only plan to cook 4 meals per week, which gives me 3 days for leftovers and/or takeout. This reduces my grocery bill, and gives me a break from cooking. If I’m not clearing out the leftovers, I’m generally just eat something boring like cereal or making a quick meal out of whatever I happen to have. I try not to eat takeout often.
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You can see my most recent layout below. I use tiny colored stick notes to separate type of dish (beef, pork, seafood, poultry, vegetarian, and pasta) and use them to write what I’m cooking for that day. For instance, if I decide to cook a beef roast, I’ll use the colored sticky note for beef and write “Beef Roast” on it. I’ll then put that next to the assigned day of the week. This allows me to plan out my week while still leaving some flexibility. I can move my meals around on the fly if I decide to make last-minute plans to eat out.
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Lastly, I have my Real Estate section. I use this to keep track of my flipping projects. I’ll have the address of the house at the top, followed by the list and purchase price. I list all of the comps in the area along with their sold/pending prices and days on market. Below that, I have a running list of all expenses for the house, followed by the final list and sale price. I then take the sale price, deduct my expenses and list my profit. This gives me a good idea of where I am at on a house at any particular time.
That matching pencil case I mentioned earlier? This is where I keep all of my highlighters that are used to highlight my different tasks – birthdays, appointments, paydays, etc. I also keep white-out tape (because mistakes happen), my sticky tabs, extra black pens and a pencil in this case. I have a separate case for all of my Staedtler fineliner pens, which I use to make my page layouts beautiful!
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And that’s it! Thanks for reading and good luck making your very own bullet planner!
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Have any other tips you think I should add or anything you want to ask?
Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!