When starting this journey of planning your life happenings, and tracking your to-do lists and goals, often the first thought is to buy a planner and try to make it fit your needs. However, there are so many paper options available, from journals to planners or diaries. In addition, they range from basic to the most detailed and elaborate that money can buy. How do you know which to choose?
It’s best to start first by taking a step back to get the big picture by asking yourself some basic questions. After you have your answers, then you can move on to decide which style will work best for you.
Take a Step Back
1) What do you need to capture to keep your life on track?
~ Do you have children at home?
~ Do you work a full-time job?
~ Did you answer yes to both the above – or neither?
~ Are there tasks, projects, lists, dates, birthdays, events, etc that you frequently lose track of?
2) How many activities/events do you have in your schedule?
~ Will a day’s activities fill a half page, a whole page or a two-page spread?
~ Or could you put a whole week on a two-page spread?
3) What’s your personality – do you like to take photos & keep memorabilia – or are you a minimalist? Do you like to write your thoughts and feelings each day?
4) Do you like to see all the details or just an overview?
For a pdf of the questions to fill in your answers, request the form below:
Review Your Needs
Once you’ve thought this through and have your answers to these questions, you will have a much better idea of what product will work for you. If you can fit your life happenings for a week on a two-page spread, then you certainly don’t need a planner that’s printed with one page for each day. And if you don’t care to write out your thoughts each day or track habits, then you can use a product with less than a page per day. If you don’t need to capture on paper as many things in your life as someone else, then a simpler format will meet your needs.
I will be the first to admit I have probably purchased every type of planner option that is available to mankind. Some of them are partially used, and sadly some were never even started. If you are anything like me, perhaps you have experienced the same thing. I’ve had lots of good intentions over the years, but for one reason or another, the product or the method didn’t fit my needs or wants or style and so I didn’t stick with them.
Plan According to Your Needs
Several years ago, I finally found the basic method that works great for me. Maybe it will work for you as well. The best part of this style is that it’s completely customizable. You can adjust it for you and your schedule and style, which may be totally different from mine. I use a bullet journal planner made of three Moleskine Cahier Journals with grid pages, kept in a cover.
If you check out trends online or in magazines, I’m sure you’ve heard about bullet journals and/or traveler notebooks. These have been around for a long time, but are becoming more and more popular each year. And if you follow any bullet journal (“bujo” for short) enthusiasts on social media, then you are well aware some people are amazing at what they create! That could be an excuse to skip them altogether if your drawing skills are anything like mine are. But don’t let yourself do that!
You Can Do This
I may never have a beautifully illustrated bullet journal planner, but I’m okay with that! I know what life happenings my bullet journal planner needs to capture to get my life in order and tasks done. The process I’ve been using for several years now has changed and grown as I’ve used it. I love it so much that I can’t imagine moving to something else because this system works for me. If I have extra time to add color and pretty things one week, then I do and love it all the more. But if my week is busy and there’s no time to play and add art, then it doesn’t matter because it has served its purpose.
My encouragement to you is to do two things:
1) decide what you life happenings you need to capture in your life –
think through these questions carefully
2) read the next post on Practical or Pretty https://yourlifeinjournals.com/practical-or-pretty before you make your purchase