Never Buy a Planner Again

I get it if you’re outraged, but I’m not fronting – you should never buy a planner again. Think about the last time you had to find a new one. How frustrated were you, trying to get exactly what you wanted? It was probably a nightmare.

And don’t even get me started when it comes to bloggers and other people with lots of different things to plan. Buying a dedicated blog planner is expensive, especially if it’s specialized to blogging – and even moreso if it includes general day planning.

Most often, people who need to plan multiple parts of their life are forced to use multiple planners (I know someone with six!) and when you use multiple planners, things just tend to fall through the cracks.

Bottom line? Prefab planners aren’t flexible or customizable enough for your life. There’s a better way. An easier way. This is the post that will end your planner addiction for good.

Never Buy a Planner Again – And Here’s Why

Why? Because there's a much better option out there - one that's tailored to EXACTLY what you need for your blog, biz, and/or daily life.

What on Earth are you talking about, Megan?

What am I always talking about here on LBTL? I’m talking about the bullet journal. If you don’t know what it is, I’ve got a general intro post right here, and another explaining my yearly and monthly spreads here, but I’ll give you the quick and dirty explanation as well.

Bullet journalling is a system invented by Ryder Carroll, who decided that enough was enough. We needed a flexible but standardized system of getting shit done being productive and accountable, and I think he knocked it out of the park. Bullet journals use a standardized series of symbols, so you can mark off what’s been done, what’s been scheduled, what needs to be done – whatever you like.

It can be as simple or complex as you like, from a singular, long to-do list, to weekly or even daily pages where you keep track of everything that you need to do. Sort of like, I don’t know, that day planner you’re never going to need again.

What makes it so much better than a planner?

One word, baby – flexibility. When I bought planners (back in the dark ages!) it was always a struggle to find one that put what I wanted where I wanted it. I needed a monthly overview with a little room to write on, and access to future months, but also plenty of space for each day.

But more than that, I wanted my planner to be comprehensive and portable. So I wanted plenty of room to write lists and ideas independent of my actual planning. And on top of all that, I wanted to take it everywhere for reference. Inevitably, any planner that managed to fit in all the features I wanted was also huge. Sigh.

Planners work better when they're portable - bullet journals let you downsize to something you can take anywhere.

Moleskine? Purse-sized. Big blue planner? Less so.

But then I started a bullet journal. Suddenly I could devote as much space as I needed to each month, week, and day, with plenty of room left for random notes, thoughts, and mindless doodling in class. And I packed it all into a Moleskine small enough to fit into any reasonably-sized bookbag, purse, briefcase, or fannypack. (Bonus points and eternal glory to anyone who sends me a picture of a bullet journal in a fannypack, by the way.) (Update: Someone did it. Proof in the comments. I love you people.)

Making A Planner Sounds Hard, and Buying One is Easy

Here’s the thing – you can make unspeakably gorgeous, handlettered, washi-tape encrusted creations of beauty and light for every day in your bullet journal if you want. There are certainly people out there who do, and put an enormous amount of time and craftsmanship into their bullet journals. I’ve had weeks where there are tape borders and coordinated colors and handlettering abound on my spreads.

I also have weeks that look like this:

Bullet journals don't have to be labor-intensive artistic endeavors, they just have to work for you.

Wow, that’s drab. But guess what? It worked. I was productive. And that’s the point, isn’t it?

And you know what? That’s okay! If you’re dedicated to aesthetics, you can make your bullet journal look exactly the way you want to. (In a way planners just can’t match!) And if you’re having a busy week, or just don’t need your planner to be prettier than it is functional, that works too. You can just write your dates and tasks, check them off as you go, and never worry about it again.

There’s a Reason I Want You To Make the Switch

It’s because I get a shiny nickel every time someone starts a bullet journal.

Kidding. It’s because I procrastinated on starting one for months, and when I finally did it, it changed my life. I’m an absentminded, type B sort of girl, and following through on things I need to do has always been hard for me. But now you’ll be hard-pressed to find me without my journal.

Because I set it up and stayed dedicated to using it, things aren’t falling through the cracks anymore. Everything I need to remember lives in just one place now, and that makes it so much easier to keep track of. It’s formatted exactly as I need it to be for any given task, at any given moment.

So. Instead of struggling to find the perfect day planner that fits your needs, paying through the nose for a design that might not even work for you, and juggling too many things – consolidate. Simplify. Customize.

And for Pete’s sake, ditch your planner.

Are you a planner junkie? Would you consider switching to the bullet journal?
  • msdavisscience

    So true!

  • You’re making my day, Danitra! I freaking love this system for students, but I’ll bet it’s just as helpful for you. Best of luck with new mommyhood!

  • Danitra Marie

    I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and have related to so many of your posts already (even though I’m actually a new mom and not a student haha). I’m excited to start bullet journalling, simply because I’ve always just had my to-do list etc up on my white board in my kitchen (which is hideous and I want it gone) so this is great – high five, homie.

  • Hey, they work the same for everyone! I was so excited when I found the concept, too – he really knocked it out of the park!

  • Barbara West

    Not in college or grad school, though have been there! Also not a millennial. But I love Bullet Journals, for all the reasons you state. I hauled around a Franklin Planner for years and made good use of its indexing and note-taking and task-tracking strengths. But Ryder’s concept is simply brilliant.

  • Exactly! I put off starting a bullet journal for ages because I thought I could never design anything as pretty as I needed to – but BuJos work with or without the washi-tape ridiculousness!

  • Renée Ann Torres

    Love that you have a “drab” image on here. I’ve recently been looking at a ton of blogs on bullet journaling & my constant thought is “who has time for that?!” Haha

  • This is the best thing that has ever happened on this blog. Hands down. Bonus points and eternal glory to you, Tiffany!

  • tiffzny

    I’ve gotta say, Megan, I don’t recommend putting bullet journals in fanny packs. Seems to be too small.