Last December, I published an excessively fussy post about all the planners I had used for the past decade. At the time of publishing that post, I was currently using a bullet journal and had been for about two months.

Next month will mark a year of using a BuJo and I wanted to provide a bullet journal review after using this simple system for a year. Here’s my notebook of choice: I’ve gone through two of these in a year!

The Layout

I intentionally keep things very simple, otherwise, I’ll get off into the weeds and obsess over fancy watercolor cover pages and flower doodles that I can’t actually pull off. And then the system stops working. But if that’s your jam, by all means, embrace it! I just know that for myself I have to keep things really simple in order for it to keep working for me.

My layout includes:

  • Personal goals
  • Any other lists/future planning
  • Current month layout
  • Notes/Next month planning page
  • Weekly layout (horizontal)
  • Additional notes (Like notes from an interview or webinar that I listened to during the week)
  • Monthly recap (Reflection questions I’ve curated)

I do enjoy some embellishment and I can do a bit of brush lettering, so days of the week or the months get a little hand lettering, and I throw on some washi tape and call it good.

BuJo Pros: IMO

  • Simplicity
  • Size
  • Cost
  • Less waste
  • Customizable
  • More mindful planning

Especially in the chaos of 2020, I was grateful for my bullet journal…because of how much I really didn’t use it through the spring. It would’ve been sad to have spent $50 or $60 on an expensive planner just to cross things off my month or week. I love my monthly reflection section as it helps me focus on what really matters in a month and provides a unique way to look back on the year. I love being able to tear out pages if I mess up or if a list becomes irrelevant.

BuJo Cons: IMO

  • Awkward future planning
  • Not a luxury experience
  • Very hands-on to set up

You do obviously spend more time setting up each week/month than you would with a traditional calendar. And I still never found a way to track future events that totally suited me. On average, it would take me 30-45 minutes to draw out a new month layout and get everything set up and here lately I’ve tired of that.

So will I keep using a BuJo? Through this whole process, I’ve come to recognize that for me, different seasons will call for different planner needs, so I am learning to hold my systems lightly. (Confession…I did actually order an Erin Condren planner this week because I just wanted to get fancy again. Like I said…I have planner issues). But what is different now is that I do have a simple system to fall back on should I decide to do so.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that no matter if we use a plain wall calendar, the fanciest of planners, or anything in between, it’s that we should all be planning in pencil. Hold those plans loosely, friends!

What about you? What is your planner method of choice?

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