I’m joining the ranks of some of my favorite fellow planners on Instagram: I’ve got a ton of planners I’m using this year… and contrary to being stressed, I’m actually really excited about it!
If you’re curious about why I’ve got five (!) planners this year, read on!
Why so many planners?
In December, as I began planning for 2020, I knew I would need more than just my trusty bullet journal to get things done. I was planning to launch Unfolding the Year: 2020, I wanted to create more content on my blog generally, and I was also starting to make printables. I needed to track everything! I experimented with content organizing spreads in my “practice” bullet journal (an extra Leuchtturm1917 dot grid), but it just wasn’t doing the trick. I needed a monthly overview and weekend to-do lists, and I didn’t want it mixed in with my personal/day job tasks.
Separately, I also wanted to move my daily journaling practice from a regular notebook to something nicer, since I had stuck with journaling for a full year.
When Hightide Store DTLA reached out to collaborate and gift me a few planners, I knew my solution had been solved! I’ve loved Hightide products for a long time and I was so excited to use two of their planners to help me coordinate all of my blog and Instagram content, separate from my work and personal tasks. With those two planners in hand, the rest of my planner lineup quickly fell into place!
Now: let me tell you a bit more about how I’m using each planner! Classic me, I actually created a spread in my bullet journal (meta!) to organize how I’m using each, which are the photos you’ll see in this post. (Let me know if you’d like a feature on each planner here on the blog for more photos and thoughts on each product.)
My bullet journal is my workhorse: it travels with me every day to work and is my creative outlet on the weekends. My trusty, beloved Archer & Olive A5 dot grid notebook is the best bullet journal notebook I’ve ever used and I am so excited to keep using this brand through the new year. I seriously can’t rave enough about the A&O products: They are super high quality, incredible opaque pure white paper, and created by an artist–worth every penny!
I use my bullet journal for my work and personal tasks and events. Creating and designing spreads for each week is one of my hobbies and stress relievers. I love the bullet journaling system and all the creativity and joy it brings me. A motivator at work for sure! I use this daily, many times throughout the workday.
This year I let myself buy a Hobonichi Cousin A5 planner to use as my daily journal! I have been sticking with my morning journaling habit and really wanted a Hobonichi again. I had an A6 Hobonichi the year before I started bullet journaling and loved the paper and size, but the daily format didn’t work for me, so I accepted that I needed something weekly and bigger and moved on. But the Tomoe River Paper really is something magical and I missed it.
So I splurged and so far, I have loved journaling in it each morning. I’m still trying to figure out how to use the weekly pages: I really want to timeblock, but can’t decide if I really need to track my time that carefully in two places. I got my Hobonichi from one of my favorite NYC stationery stores, Yoseka Stationery. The cover I have (you can see it in the first photo) is the Navy Safari cover and it’s phenomenal.
This year, in my Hobonichi, I really want to try creative journaling inspired by Rainbowholic, and I’m excited to have the space in a private, personal journal to try more stickers, calligraphy, and cuter, less minimal ways to journal. I can’t go too cutesy at work but it’s still a style I love a lot. Will I get addicted to stickers and washi tape, even more than I am now!? Only time will tell…
Hightide sent me two planners, and this little B6 weekly diary is minimal, functional, and everything I wanted in my Blog/IG planner! I’ll do a full review of it here on the blog soon.
I use this for planning the day-to-day and especially the weekend work that comes with running Line Unfolding. I was using post-it notes to keep track because the lists were too long for my bullet journal weeklies. I didn’t need them to be part of my work/personal tasks, and that’s ultimately what made me realize a separate planner would work well.
Now I have lots of space for my blog/IG tasks for the weekend (these always include things like making next week’s spread, taking photos and editing them, and writing captions). I can coordinate when I need to post something to the blog during the week, and make sure I share it on stories before I go to work. Especially as I expand what I want to do with this blog, it was totally the right choice to have a place to plan it all out!
Blog Brainstorming Planner
I’ll totally admit that this could have gone in the weekly planner, but the bigger (A5) size of the Hightide Hall Diary and the layout of it make it perfect for using as a kanban/brainstorming place. When I watched Elizabeth Turn’s 2020 setup video (followed by her in-depth kanban board in a bullet journal video), I knew that was the perfect method for organizing my content-creating workflow.
I’ll review this soon too. This planner has only monthly pages, ruled pages, and grid pages. I loved the idea of being able to see the monthly pages alongside my other planner’s weeklies instead of flipping back and forth. I use extremely tiny sticky notes to color code the blog post types and put them on the days I plan the post to go live so I can get an overview of the month.
In the back, I use the ruled pages as notes and ideas. In the gridded section, I made a kanban board to organize where I am with each stage of blog post. It’s quite simple and I use the tiny stickies to move them around to the different stages of writing a post (idea, draft, photos, edited, and so on). So far it’s been working great! I use this planner every weekend.
Handwriting Practice / Planner Inserts
Finally, this is my just-for-fun bonus “planner”. I subscribe to the Cloth & Paper Stationery Box (review here) and they usually send inserts in each box. They’re amazing quality and beautifully designed, but not how I need to plan. So instead, I’ve been using them to do the #RockYourHandwriting challenge which has brief, easy prompts for each day of the month that you can use to practice your handwriting. Their weekly insert layout is great for this and then the inserts don’t go to waste–plus the paper is very high quality. When I do the Rock Your Handwriting challenge, I try to film my writing on my Instagram stories, so if you like watching people write, come follow along!
I only use this one occasionally when I have a spurt of handwriting creativity in the mornings, so this one is on an as-needed basis, probably a few times per month.
Finally, a quick note. I am not necessarily advocating that you also have five planners–or any more than the right number is for you! I got a few comments on Instagram about this when I posted about my planner lineup, and I just want to be clear: the best planning system for you is the one that you create, customize, and adapt throughout your time using it. That’s why I love bullet journaling so much, and why I still consider myself a bullet journalist even though my style seems different than Ryder Carroll’s original system–I’ve adapted it to fit my own needs.
I mean, part of it is certainly that I’m totally stationery obsessed and do love planners (like many of us out there, before I found bullet journaling I would switch into multiple different pre-printed planners during the year!). But if you’d told me even six months ago I’d be using more than one planner at all, I’d have thought you were crazy!
But as I considered how I wanted to organize my life, I realized that I get an immense amount of joy from sharing content with all of you, and on top of that, I wanted to be more intentional about my work on this blog and with Unfolding the Year. For me, this was the right number of planners to compartmentalize my work where I needed to, keep organized, stay intentional, and more than anything else be energized about sitting down to work on each thing. When I get stressed about any one part of my system, then I’ll try to adapt it or accept that it didn’t work for me and move on. That’s the most healthy way, in my opinion, to be productive: make it work for you, not for social media or to match someone else’s system perfectly.
I’m so excited about my little planner stack, and I hope you liked this deeper glimpse into how I plan! What planners are you using this year? I want to know!