Planning for 2016 – The Bullet Journal (Part 2)

This week, the second part of my very long 2016 planner layout post will cover the Bullet Journal and some adapted layouts (or not) that have been inspired by so many sources. Read on to know more about my planner hacks!

My Bullet Journal in a Moleskine

The backstory on my current 2015 bullet journal setup is here, if you are interested to know more. For those who have not been bitten by the Bullet Journal bug, or wish to know more, visit the Bullet Journal website where Ryder Carroll (bless this man!) explains his system.

For 2016, let’s get the easy stuff out of the way, shall we? WHEN to use and WHERE to use, well I don’t need to answer those questions, Anytime and anywhere is obvious. I’m not the type to whip my bullet journal while struggling to stand steadily in the sardine-can we call Mass Rapid Transit or while paying for coffee, but I am trying diligently to fill it up everyday.

Moving on to HOW I intend to use it, my plan for the 2016 bullet journal will likely not differ much from this year’s, which is pretty much the plain vanilla Bullet Journal setup ie. rapid logging of the day’s happenings, events, tasks etc.

Basic Bullet Journal Layout - ofscribblesandstationery

INDEX (first illustration): I most likely will not have an index, even though I have it in my ‘blueprint’ above. I prefer to keep my Bullet Journal a pure chronological calendar log, and not have random collections and lists stuffed here, there and everywhere. It doesn’t work for me and the way my brain functions. I like my BuJo to be recorded and archived on a yearly basis, but if there are random collections here and there, I would not be able to archive that year.

One caveat: time-sensitive or ‘temporary‘ lists/collections that ‘expire‘ within that month or two, works.

Time-sensitive or Temporary collections in a bullet journal - by Of Scribbles and Stationery

For example (above), in September I was planning to make a purchase of planners from Chuyu Culture, and it made sense to list them (a short list) on the next available page. Once I placed the order, the ‘validity‘ of this collection would have ‘expired‘ and it can be safely archived any time I want to do so. I don’t need to keep it as a ‘permanent‘ collection, record it in an index, or migrate it to a new journal, just for the sake of archiving the 2015 one. (Sorry if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else)

MONTHLY SPREAD vs MONTHLY LOG (second and third illustrations in the ‘blueprint’): I am inclined to keep two monthly views, the monthly spread of 4 (or 6) months that I am extremely partial to , and the standard monthly log. It is TOTALLY counter-productive, I know.

But since I am considering using loose-leaf pages (see WHAT to use below), I will only have a month’s worth of pages with me at any one time. but not the 4-month spread, so the monthly log is still necessary for on-the-go logging.  The 4-month spread could also very likely exist in my Moleskine planner instead (see Part 1), and since my planner stays at home, I definitely need the monthly log with me on-the-go which will justify the two monthly records.

MONTHLY TASKS: The monthly tasks list is obviously a necessity. I don’t do anything special for it, or hack it in any way. I just wish I could keep a neater, more chronological, task list (hah, the woes of an unorganized planner)

DAILY LOG: The daily logs will likely remain the same with tasks, events, notes etc. I am still trying to figure out how to log food intake and expenses, either neatly in the daily log, or remove them altogether to another special page. I quite like tracking my daily expenses this way (not so much the food intake) but I find that both of these tend to disrupt the almost zen-like look of rapid logging and sentences, making for messy records.

Bullets and Signifiers for the Bullet Journal - Scribbles and Stationery

BULLETS and SIGNIFIERS: I am not very creative when it comes to inventing things like this, so I am sticking with the tried-and-true bullets for tasks, events and appointments. I use the $ sign for expenses, a BLD for food tracking, and a dot for almost everything else. I use a few doodles for signifiers  but as I said, I’m not creative, and I’m terrible at doodling, so the signifiers will only stay for as long as I deem they will.

Next up is the question of WHAT to use. Ryder Carroll advocates the use of any bound journal or book, be it an exercise book, a Moleskine journal, or his own Bullet Journal, that he launched on Kickstarter a while back, and which is now available on his online store. I have seen many using a Leuchtturm as well.

I am wavering between a Moleskine dotted notebook (not pictured but mine is that glorious Orchid colour), a TWSBI grid notebook, a 100-page Matte Black dot grid notebook produced by Productive Luddite which I reviewed many moons ago, my current washi-taped loose-leaf pages or a DIY grid insert in a Traveler’s Notebook.

What to use as a Bullet Journal - of scribbles and stationery

I do have some plans for the Traveler’s Notebook (coming in Part 3), which may result in a number of inserts. As much as I am growing to like the TN, I don’t want to put the Bullet Journal, which will be accessed and written in several times a day in an already-chunky TN and have to deal with thick inserts and the bumps and bulges of clips and pins and bands etc.

I am still very partial to my current style of taping loose-leaf pages together. For one, I can finally use up that stash of B5 26-ring loose-leaf paper that I have no use for.  For another, I am not so careful with them as I would with a bound journal, and it’s easy to rip off pages I made mistakes in and tape in a new sheet. The washi tapes also add some colour to an otherwise very mundane and black-and-white log, even though (IMO) I am not an advocate decorating the Bullet Journal to death (again with the zen-like feel).

However using loose-leaf pages creates a bit of a pain as I have to spend some time each month taping the pages together. It also makes it easy to drop off the habit as and when I want to / get tired of it, which I don’t want to see happening in 2016. But, with a bound journal, if I were to drop the habit and pick it up again whenever, the gap of time in the bound journal would absolutely set my teeth on edge.

So the question of WHAT to use still remains open, but washi-taped loose-leaf pages looks like a strong contender.

Other questions still remain unanswered though. I find that I now require something that can record daily recurring tasks or logs, so that the daily BuJo log can remain neat and important tasks, events and ideas remain visible.

However this post has again gone on long enough, so I’m going to try to answer these questions in Part 3.  Here’s a sneak peek, so come back to check it out!

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