For a while things like the BulletJournal have been popping up on my radar, but I've always been a person who didn't really thing they needed that sort of thing. I could just remember what I needed to do and do it.
But recently I've really been noticing how my housework has been slacking and how I have a lot of things I want to do, but I wasn't actually doing much of anything and I was feeling really adrift. Just about the same time the video for the bullet journal popped up on my radar. And since I was procrastinating on something I watched it. It was as if angels sang. Ok, not really, but previously all I had seen was the website, and while cool, I just didn't quite get it, but the video made it all make perfect sense. This was just before the beginning of April, so I quickly dug around in my giant pile of unused notebooks (because who doesn't have a giant pile of notebooks, I mean come on, notebooks!) and make a quick setup for April and I was off!
Right away a few things became apparent. I need much more structure than the pure BuJo philosophy requires. I couldn't just start a new page for a new list in the middle of something else. Having things randomly sprinkled throughout my daily entries drove me bonkers, even with the index. Also I didn't like the monthly calendar/list. I very visual and needed a real calendar. And along the same idea the lack of forward planning was kind of bothersome. (although not as bad as for some people, I don't really have a lot of appointments and future things going on to plan for)
as the months progressed and I found more and more planner communities I began to discover nifty weekly layouts and things like tracking pages and interesting inserts and lists to keep and the limits of a bound book really began to show. By the end of May my poor little book was literally bursting at the seams - I had taped so many things into its pages that it wouldn't close properly and when I used its elastic closure to hold everything in, it put so much stress on the spine that it broke!
And so I began to look at ring binders like the Filofax. I knew that I wanted something small - My little BuJo was only 3.5x5.5 inches and I really liked how easily it fit in my purse, and I wasn't so busy that I needed a lot of room to write. And I wanted a snap/tab closure – I didn't quite trust zippers and elastics didn't seem quite as secure. I drooled over the personal sized Macarons, and Doikibook and Kikki K, and Webster's Pages Color Crush, and man I really wanted a purple Filofax Malden. But they were all soo expensive!!! Especially for something that I really wasn't sure if it would work for me or not.
I experimented with sketching out planner page like layouts in my BuJo and spent hours making custom inserts on my computer, and deciding exactly what I wanted to put in my planner and how I wanted everything laid out, but still no planer. Until this week that is.
While my parents were visiting my Dad took me to Barns and Noble and I got a bunch of cool coloring books and most importantly an amazing personal sized planner for only $10!! now the quality isn't exactly top notch here, the cover is made from clear vinyl, so it probably won't last too terribly long, but at least I can get an idea of how ring bound planners behave and experiment and try it out and see if I like it. (all the grid pages are some custom pages I Printed out for myself, I also rounded the corners on some of the pages already)
This planner came with four tabs and two decorated flyleaves. It also has a nifty little zip pocket with a matching bookmark and tiny notepad, and a sheet of coordinating stickers. There's a good sized pen loop and a pocket in the back of the binder.
It also came with a year and a half worth of week on two pages (Wo2P) with lines and moon phases and holidays printed on them, Two 'notes' pages, a year and a half worth of monthly 'events' pages and four 'numbers' pages. None of which I plan on actually using – I like Wo2P layouts but I hate that the weekends were given fewer lines and for some random reason Wednesday also had an extra line. I liked the monthly events pages, but I already had a custom printout with all important holidays, birthdays and anniversaries on it, and have a separate place for future appointments and other events so I didn't really need them. Ditto for the numbers and notes pages, also there weren't really enough of them. All pages are personal sized (3.75x6.75 inches). I don't know how ring spacing compares to other brands since I don't have anything to compare them too.
Since I was changing the layout a bit I covered the labels on the events and numbers tabs with some of the included stickers – awesome.
The rings are rather small, everything that came with the binder fits well, but you wouldn't be able to add many more additional pages (probably why there were so few numbers and note pages).
All in all I gotta say, if you aren't sure if you would like a planner binder or want to try out a personal sized binder before going for one of the expensive models I would totally recommend one of these. These would also be great for a kid's first planner. And of course custom planner printables like those from DIY fish should fit perfectly.
They are by Punctuate by Barns and Noble and come in a handful of designs - I saw The rainbow eastern/paisley design I got, Pink with shoes and handbags, a cute one with Owls and a couple with opaque sparkly blue or black covers. You can also find these on the Barns and Noble website if you can't get to one in person. (in fact I see some designs on the website that my store didn't have.)