Pre-printed, BuJo, DIY?

It’s the time of year when many of us gasp as we realize that we didn’t get all of our stuff done.  Last January we just knew that 2019 was the year we were finally going to get our act together and our magic planning tool would help us keep all of our poop in a group and we would be productivity ninjas.

As we review our year, we realize that we flipped back and forth between several magical planners and kept thinking that the ‘new’ book or system would be the one that would make the scales drop from our eyes and efficiency and effectiveness would be ours.  Other poor disorganized folks would seek us out for our take on their systems and we would become personal productivity experts and world-wide fame and money would soon follow.

Alas, we discovered that we still struggle to identify priorities.  We still struggle to commit to a system or magic book for our planning purposes.  We still struggle to not be distracted by sparkly ink and the search for the perfect pen or ruler or app.  What we don’t struggle with is the realization that planning and effectiveness require work.

Rings, discs, moleskins, luetchtstrum, sappy planner, Eric Burden planners, scribble, clairfont, roadia all provide a tool or many tools for you to consider.   You’ll spend almost any amount of money to find a system to place your financial planning spread.  You’ll just know that the right binder will cause you to use your planner every day and you will carry that thing everywhere with you, along with highlighters, glue dots, countless pens, guide sheets and washi tape.

I am not throwing stones.   I’ve cycled through at least 3 different setups in 2019 in the everlasting struggle to get my shit together.  In March I realized that I was recreating the tried and true 2 page per day system pioneered by DayTimer and copied by Hyrum Smith, Covey and others.  So I bought a new binder and refill pages for the Franklin planner and really had my act together for about 3 months.

The I quit carrying that big binder around so I went back to my pocket notebook bullet journal set-up.  I was pretty effective for about 2 months and then I started taking a day or two off from my early morning planning.  Soon I realized it had been weeks since I planned for events and was simply reacting to what was going on in my day.

Back to an A5 sized bullet journal, complete with behavior trackers and morning solitude.   This system, still seems to be what I will stick with – heck, I’ve been using a version of it for about 8 years now, so I’m going to attempt to stick with it.  But instead of spending an inordinate amount of time “planning” and then spending very little time actually doing, I’m going to try and not make EVERYTHING the highest priority and instead, really take a look at the amount of time I have available and make certain that my real priorities stay on top of my list.

I am also doing something that I’ve always thought was sort of silly.   I’ve ordered a new notebook to begin on January 1.  Shoot, I have a lot of pages in my current book that aren’t used up.   Yep I’m getting another magic book, but…oh never mind, I’m just like everyone else.   I am going to DIY some sections of the book with some pre-made layouts like monthly calendexes, habit or priority trackers, goal collections, etc.  I need a bit of structure to my system, but not be too constricted by what someone else thinks I ought to use.

Will I succeed?  Well, it certainly is my intention, but I’ve been on the earth long enough to know that intentions and reality sometimes don’t mix.  I’ll be ready to adjust on the fly in the ever-long quest for personal effectiveness.

Stay tuned for another post detailing my next set-up and perhaps a link to a video or two as I get set-up and ready for 2020.

5 thoughts on “Pre-printed, BuJo, DIY?

  1. Yes, I’ve done this! But this year I have also recognised a few things about my setup that really work and that I keep coming back to. First, although I think I like a horizontal weekly view, I actually work best with a vertical weekly view. I don’t do monthly views full stop. I can’t do separate spreads for tracking things; everything needs to be in the column for the day I’m doing it. I want to carry my planner and notepad with me which means I keep three months rather than a whole year in my planner. And, really importantly, I quite often don’t get the things done that I plan, but I do other things instead and that is perfectly okay.

  2. Pingback: Web Finds – 11 December 2019 « Travellers Notebook Times

  3. Been there, done that as we like to say.This year was the maybe the 3rd time in about 26 years of using planners that I used one planner for the whole year – a hobonichi cousin. In the past there have been always at least 2 planners in one year because I would always find something lacking in the current planner that a “new” planner should fix. So, as I began to plan for 2020 I realized that I consistently use a month on 2 pages for the whole of our lives (me, the hubby, the kids, other family), I like the idea of a week on a page but I am inconsistent and sometimes frustrated by using it, and a day on 2 pages really is my preferred format. In the hobonichi I was dividing the page for time appointments on 1 side, a list of to do’s on the other and the bottom 1/2 for notes and I was quite satisfied except for when I needed more space for notes. I still have my “commonplace book” where I keep my permanent lists of all things that I might need to reference when out and about and had a small notebook for project lists. After evaluating all of that and making a list of the order in which I like to have my planner laid out for use, I got to work creating the setup that I most preferred in word, publisher and excel and now have my bespoke planner ready for 2020. I am happy with the outcome and hopeful that 2020 will be the 4th time that I use one planner for the whole of the year. There’s no harm in experimenting until the experiment does harm – in my case, switching planners inevitably led to losing information, notes, details and structure which would then lead me back to the original again and an unhappy circle and decreased productivity/efficiency.

  4. I find I can make almost anything work if it’s paper/ pencil/ pen , I keep it with me, and DO it. Thanks for sharing this Troy. The best to you and yours in the New Year. Love you guys:)

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