What Life Happenings Do You Need To Capture?

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

Do You Have a Place for Everything?

Do you ever leave for the grocery store, but realize you can’t find your list? It was just on the kitchen counter this morning…
Or perhaps your cousin’s baby shower starts in an hour, but you can’t find the invitation with the address?
How about the time you went to the mall to buy a birthday gift, but couldn’t find the wish list?
The phrase, “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”, suddenly comes to mind doesn’t it? And your frustration begins to rise.

Been there, done that, and that phrase has become my mantra! So now I use small journals kept together in a cover known as a traveler notebook.

Good Intentions

The best-laid plan of “places to go and things to do” can go awry very quickly. More often than I care to admit, somehow the post-it note with valuable information always seems to disappear. The coupon from my favorite ladies’ clothing store in yesterday’s stack of mail is nowhere to be found today. Sometimes, organization can be so elusive, don’t you think?

I’ve used planners for years; scratch that, for decades. And I’ve probably tried them all – spiral, 3-ring, composition book, expensive, hand-drawn, small, large, etc. You name it, I’ve tried it; however, they were never quite right for my needs. For a few years I even made my own from scratch in a ruled notebook. A former boss told me I should design one and have it manufactured; genius – why didn’t I think of that?

A New Discovery

weekly view of bullet journal

Enter Moleskine© notebooks, and the bullet journal system by Ryder Carroll, and Midori© (now known as Traveler Notebooks©).

I first heard about Moleskine© notebooks through our son decades ago. He was in high school and was intrigued by Ernest Hemingway’s use of these small little notebooks. About ten years later, I learned about the Documented Life Project, started in 2014, by Art to the Fifth. That first year, they used the Moleskine© weekly planner as the basis for their combination of planning and making art. I loved the concept and started in that project in 2015 but I just couldn’t keep up with it. The art portion didn’t come easily to me, so I fell behind quickly and became frustrated yet again.

Around this same time, our daughter was getting married and setting up her own household. She was active on Instagram learning about junk journals, while I was learning about Moleskines© being used as bullet journals. We inspired each other with new recommendations of people to follow and learn from. After many years of hit or miss with various planners, 2016 marked the beginning of my bullet journal journey. I began using Moleskines© as my three journal inserts into a traveler’s notebook cover that I made. At last, my planning needs had finally been fulfilled!


The best thing about these journals is you can make them exactly how you need them to be. This system has kept me organized with planning and running my life and business. Finally – a place for all the information that used to be on all those little pieces of paper. With this method, all the information and details that I need for my day-to-day activities are in this one place. Which means no more searching for that little piece of paper that mysteriously disappeared.

A friend has a saying that I love because I can certainly relate. “If I could get back all the time I’ve spent looking for things, I’d be a young woman!” I’m happy to say, things have become much better with the use of my travelers notebook method. How about you – how many hours, days, or weeks of your life have been wasted unnecessarily? Maybe it’s time to start by keeping just one area of your life in a journal. Perhaps having a place for everything will make the difference you need in your daily routine. Who knows – you may end up like me, with a stack of journals for every facet of your life.

Are you ready to give it a try? Read the post on “what life happenings do you need to capture” to help you discover what’s important to include in your own bullet journal. https://yourlifeinjournals.com/life-happenings-to-capture

us.moleskine.com; travelers-company.com;   bulletjournal.com