Diary, Planner and Journal Review

Diary

We are now half way through the year now and I have changed so much about how I organise and plan my time in general, my blog things and other aspects of my life that I thought I would do another re-cap on my diaries, planners and journals that I am currently using.

I started out the year with 6 different planners and diaries that I was using ( you can read all the posts here or click the tag in the word cloud on the right of the screen).

Along the way I have been working out what works for me and what doesn’t.  While I loved the idea of the spiral bound home planner (similar here from Hobbycraft) I found that it was not really working for me as it was just too big to carry around with me.  I realised that, as I was back in work and spent a fair deal of time away from home, that having a planner that I could only add to when I was indoors was not the best option for me.  I found that I was thinking of household things that I needed to do and writing them on post-it notes and sticking them into my Filofax and never getting around to adding them to my home planner.  I do have a few ideas of things I can do with this planner though so that it doesn’t just go to waste…I’ve been thinking of making it into a kind of scrapbook of memories for the year.

I am also not really using my “the Bright Side” diary either.  I started using this diary as my blog diary, so I could keep track of my posts and blog schedule and it worked for a time.  I have found though, that while I loved the size of it as the time, it’s now a bit too small for my needs.  I still love the format though and would consider buying another one next year for general dates and birthdays and reminders instead of for blog management!

Anyway, enough about what I am not using… let’s take a look at what I am moving forward with…

 

My Filofax Malden in personal size is something that has stuck with me and I don’t envisage that going anywhere soon!  I like that you can add pages and take them away, have sections for notes, add dividers and all manner of other things.  It is such a flexible system that can work in so many ways!  It comes everywhere with me and I use it to record appointments, make notes, write in my household chores, everything that is important goes into this.

I have also switched to a bullet journal for all my blog things.  (You can read about my set up here).  I used to use a bullet journal a few years ago (I had a dedicated Instagram page for it) but it all got a bit too overwhelming for me as I was pushing myself to be creative on all the pages and make them all arty and pretty.  I did love the flexibility that it allowed me, adding different trackers, space for notes and planning and lots of other things too, and this flexibility is perfect for what I wanted in a blog planner.

I am still using my Happiness Project Journal and writing down a line a day and my Gemma Corell blog ideas book.

What planners, journals and diaries are you using this year?  I’d love to know so leave me a comment!

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Blog Bullet Journal

My Blog Bullet Journal

I mentioned in my Monthly Goals for May post that I had recently set up a Bullet Journal for my blog.  I found that the little diary I had been using didn’t provide me with enough space to plan out my blog schedule and add many notes.  I had been using a bullet journal in previous years for my general life which worked really well for handling different elements of my day to day life and thought that a bullet journal may work better for me and my blog than my current planner.

I happened to be perusing the aisles of my local Flying Tiger one week day while waiting for my Mum and found a cute little dotted journal that would be perfect for the task of a blog planner.

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The journal itself is A5 with a rubbery feel hard coated cover which has dotted punch out detail and an image of the star constellation Ursa Major (which is also known as The Big Dipper, the Plough or the Saucepan!) in a silver print.  I chose the pink colour although there were several other colours to choose from!  I can’t remember how much I paid for the journal but I think it was around the £6-£8 mark which I think is a fairly reasonable price to pay!

The inside front page is blank and the rest of the note pages are dot grid in a grey tone print.  The pages are not numbered though I don’t find that to be a problem as I don’t really use an index system anyway though it would be easy enough to hand number them if you so wished.

The note pages themselves are of a thicker gsm paper than a Lechtturm and I would say that they are very similar to those of the Scribbles That Matter pages.  The paper is smooth and lovely to write on with no catching of pen nibs or pencils!  Pencil lines rub out really easily with no damage or marking to the pages and ink seems to dry fairly easily and quickly.  There is hardly any show through from one page to the next, the only shadowing I had was from using highlighters and going over the highlighted parts a few times, but a quick swipe over with a highlighter does not show through at all.

On to the set up…

The first page in any bullet journal that I set up is dedicated to a key which can be symbols or colours for different things.  I kept my key simple with a colour code for each of my blog categories (which are the same as the colour code I use on my blogging spreadsheet).  I use this key in my journal so I can see at a glance what posts fall on what days and have a variety of different post categories through the month.

The following double page is used for my yearly overview which is basically the year from May to December laid out in grid format where I colour code each posting day with the colour of that posts category.  This layout means I can plan ahead any posts that I want and spread out the topics so that they are not all similar through the month.  I added a strip of washi tape to the edge so that the page is easy to find (and to hide the unused grid dots…)

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Following this page I then have my Monthly Overview page which I use to plan out the posts I want to write.  I add the working title to the day I want to publish the post on.  I use this page as a working planner and also to tick off posts that I have written and scheduled.

 

Next up is my Monthly Title Page.  I like to put my title page on the right hand page as I find it easier to locate that month when flicking through the journal.  I have kept the page pretty simple, with a square containing the initial of the month, so that I can write any ideas of things I’d like to add to my blog in the month that I have not yet scheduled into my monthly pages and am still thinking about.  This helps me to keep the ideas in my mind and gives me something to work on in the month and develop.

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I added another monthly overview page after the monthly title, this isn’t really necessary though I have been using it as a forward planner for items that I want to make a regular feature in my blog.  I’m not sure if this will be something that I will continue with as, at the moment I’m not really using it.

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The next series of pages are taken up with my Weekly Pages.  I use one page for my weekly blog notes and the other for any extra things relating to my blog.  I have also added sections for my social media accounts so that I can jot down any ideas that I have for them that are related to the blog.

 

And my final pages for the month are my monthly goals page and a page I added for social media.  I thought that having my monthly goals page written out at the end of the month would help me to construct my Monthly Goals blog posts a little bit easier, at the moment these posts show my Goals for the month just gone and whether or not I have completed them and then list my goals that I am hoping to achieve for the following month.  The social media page is an experiment and I’m hoping to track how many times I post to these sites and how many followers I gain or lose…

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What sort of planner or planning do you do for your blog?  Let me know in the comments!

Diary, Planner and Journal Review

I wrote about the diaries and planners that I would be taking into 2019 with me way back in October (Preparing for 2019…) and, today I thought it would be nice to do a little review of how they are still working for me (or not…).

Back when I wrote that post I had 6 journals and planners that I was hoping to use for the year.

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This is what I started out with for 2019, from left to right – Hobbycraft Spiral Bound Planner, Ohh Deer Gemma Correll Planner, Paperchase Organise Me A5 Soft Cover Diary, Filofax Malden with Stripes Illustrated Inserts, The Bright Side Diary and a tiny Doodle a Day Journal.

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This is the pile I am currently using!  As you can see the diaries and planners are still the same as I started out with, with the exception of one…. I have added The Happiness Project One Line a Day 5 Year Diary to the list!

My Filofax Malden comes everywhere with me and has been really handy with writing down appointments as I make them, my work hours and other things that are important.  I have a section that contains lined note paper which I have been using to jot down ideas for blog posts, shopping lists and things I need to do and I reach for this so regularly that it sits on my desk in eye sight most of the day.

The doodle journal I started with great enthusiasm in January but, along the way, I have stopped adding to this daily.  I found that sometimes I just don’t have the energy or creativity to draw every day.  That said, I have still been adding to it when I feel like it and it is still helping me to exercise my drawing muscles.  I have also been looking at monthly drawing prompts and am thinking about undertaking one of those and see how it goes.

The Happiness Project Journal is something I write each day.  It sits beside my bed and I write in it before I go to sleep.  I’m hoping to keep up with this and fill the whole journal with a snippet from each day.  it would be lovely to look back on in years to come.

The Brightside Journal is something I use regularly still, I plan out my months blog posts into the monthly overview section and then make notes of what I need to do before the post can be published and also what I need to do on the days that the posts go live.

The Paperchase Organise Me A5 Soft Cover Diary isn’t getting used much, I decided to use it for home and recording any events in it that take up more space and can’t get recorded in my Happiness Project Journal.  I have recorded things like the outcome of drs appointments, things I have been doing, things I have done and notes on life in general.  Though it is not really getting much use I find it really handy to have something available to record things in that I may need to refer back to but that I don’t want recorded in my Filofax or other diaries and journals.

The Ohh Deer Gemma Correll journal is still being used as my blog ideas keeper!  I write down all my post ideas into it along with a few lines about what I’d like to cover in the post and a list of things I would need for the post such as any image ideas I may have.  This gets used a few times a week, either I am adding to it or flicking through it to find ideas for future posts.  I’m just over half way through it and I have no idea what I will use once it is full!

Finally, my Hobbycraft Spiral Bound Planner which I intended to use as my home planner.  I still use this, but not as much as I used to, I tend to rely on my Filofax to keep all my dates and information in.  I do sit down once a month and map out my month and what I would like to achieve in that month, things I want to do and things I need to do but aside from that I feel that it is not being utilised to its fullest.  In all honesty, I cn see myself not using this much at all in the future.  It was a nice idea, and if there were more than me in my household tracking the families appointments, classes and social activities along with any household tasks and bills etc, then this planner would be ideal as the stay home planner.

What journals, diaries and planners are you currently using?  And are they the same or different to the ones you started the New Year with?

Why I Need a Blog Planner

You may have noticed from my post “Preparing for 2019” that I have 2 planners set aside for my blog, in this post I will explaining more about them and why I need them in my life.

First up is my Gemma Correll Ohh Deer project book planner.

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As the pages are undated and marked out with sections for “Day/Month”, “Notes”, “To Do/Done” and a “Doodles” section this planner lends itself beautifully to being my content and ideas book.  I use the “Day/Month” section to write in a title for my post along with a rough date for the post which helps me to keep track of ideas for posts.  Sometimes this may be the only thing I fill in if I’m in a bit of a hurry or think of something to write about when I’m in the middle of doing something else. I use the “Notes” section to write a bit about what I want to post including ideas and any other information that I want to include.  The “To Do/Done” section I fill in after I have written out my ideas for the post, it will include things that I need to do in order to get the post actually written and will include a list of things like “take photos of x, y, z…. Upload photos, links for materials, write post, publish…” I can tick off tasks as they are done and helps me to stay on track with the post and not get to overwhelmed with what needs doing or missing off things and overlooking them.  This planner for me is the most important tool for my blog as it’s where the ideas are generated and kept, and while I may not use the ideas for a while I will always have ideas ready for posts in the future.

The second planner I have for my blog is the Bright Side 2019 diary.

With its handy monthly overview page and its week on a page format it will be easy for me to schedule posts and check off when they are published.  I can carry this around in my bag at all times so if I think of a post that I’d like to write I can pencil it in and write a short synopsis of the idea in the week to view section.  I can refer to it if I want to write a post and I’m away from home, my blog content and ideas planner and my computer.  I have the WordPress app on my phone and am able to post blogs wherever and whenever I choose so this diary will be super helpful to me in 2019!  I can’t wait to start using it!

The other blog planner I have is a basic excel spreadsheet on my laptop which I have set up with a calendar that runs from sept 18 all the way through to the end of december 19 and I am currently using that to track which posts should go where and to space out posts that have a similar content so that my blog doesn’t get overloaded with too many posts on a similar topic.  I transfer all the blog idea titles from my content and ideas planner to the spreadsheet and break them down into different themes by highlighting the titles with different colours for different things, like all food orientated posts I colour green.  I then look at the list and decide on the placement of them in the calendar spreadsheet.  Once I have these posts in an order I’m happy with I will then transfer them over to the Bright Side diary so I have quick and easy access to all the scheduled content ideas.

In all, I need my blog planners to help me with generating ideas for posts, coming up with content, keeping on top of the to do list and not forgetting anything, and to help me see where I am with my schedule.  Maybe running 3 different planners for one blog seems too much but they all perform different tasks and help me in managing my blog and content.

How do you manage your blog schedule and content?  Do you use planners?

Preparing for 2019

I’m one of those people who can never seem to get excited about Christmas and tend to roll my eyes at the hoards of people that want to get into the Christmas spirit, haul out the decorations and put up the tree as soon as Halloween is over.  I even feel a bit disheartened when heading to the supermarket at the beginning of October and see the start of the Christmas stock being put out on shelves.  It all just feels like one massive hype for one day, and the preparation seems to go on longer and longer than before…its just so tiresome to me.

There are, however, 2 times in the year that I do look forward to and get a bit excited about (aside from my Birthday!) and they are when the shops start preparing for “Back to School”, around the first week in August, and October time, both for the same reason – new stationery and new diaries!  I am a sucker for all things stationery related, whether it’s a new notebook, pens, pencils or filing system and I’m an even bigger sucker for a new diary or planner.

To me, there is nothing better than the promise of starting a new year (whether it’s a school or calendar year) with a new, blank diary of sorts, that is waiting to receive your notes, ideas and plans for the year ahead.  I always get a feeling of wonder when I recieve a new diary, the year is so full of promise and things to come, a perfect way to schedule your future and make new dreams along the way.

I’ve used several kinds of diary in the past, from pre-printed tiny little things, to filofaxes of many different shapes and sizes, bullet journals and just plain note books in which to map my future in.  I’ve tried spiral bound books, lay flat designs, ring planners, the list is almost never-ending, and this year (I know… It’s still October…2019 is Monnntttthhhhsss away….) coming is no exception… I currently have 5 different diaries for different purposes that I am going to be using….

 

  1. Filofax Malden with Stripes Illustrated Inserts (this is an affiliated link, by clicking on it and purchasing I may get a small commission fee and no cost to you) as my carry around, everything organiser.  I love my Malden and that it is so portable and contains so much in it, I am able to carry around note paper, a diary, telephone numbers and addresses, sticky notes, all sorts of things!  And the size of it means I can use it for shopping lists, making notes on the go, having it out on my desk at work, it seems to fit everywhere.
  2. A planner similar to this (the one I purchased was in the sale, the layout is the same but the illustrations are butterflies) which will be my home planner.  I bought this with my Birthday voucher from my brother and his family for my Birthday, the layout of the pages caught my attention… there is a monthly overview, places for thoughts and ideas as well as space for plans each week, not to mention that the months are divided out with their own tabs (which always makes me happy!)  It is a fairly hefty planner which I wouldn’t like to carry around with me for several reasons – it would be too heavy, I’d need a huge bag all the time and I’d probably end up spoiling it.  I decided that this would be perfect for keeping at home, the monthly overview pages will be useful to track my household bills and appointments, the thoughts and ideas pages can be used to make notes of any meals I’d like to cook, things I’d like to see and places I’d like to go to, along with the weekly sections serving as household “to do”, reminders (like which bins get emptied and when), and chores that need to be done…)
  3. This hard backed book diary , of which I owned a previous years one and loved it!  This diary has a monthly overview and a 2 weeks to view layout which will be perfect as my blog and social media planner.  It is pretty small and takes up hardly any room so it is perfect for carrying around if necessary to jot things into.  The one I had a few years ago was used for the same thing and it was perfect for this job!
  4. This soft cover diary which I totally fell in love with on a recent trip to London.  I am unsure whether to use this one as my work diary (I like to keep a log of all the different tasks I do on a day-to-day basis in work) or as my “a few lines a day” personal journal though I’m swayed more towards using it as my personal journal, there are sections for “Must Do”, “Will Do Soon” and “Next Week” which would lend itself nicely to using as a personal journal or for work purposes, though the daily section, which is a week on a page format, might be a bit too small for all the tasks I usually complete daily in work.
  5. This teeny, tiny, cute diary that I bought partly because of how cute it looked but also to get me back into drawing every day.  I have several sketchbooks that I have started and never quite managed to get into a proper routine of using daily.  When I was in college and uni I drew pretty much all day, every day and I sort of miss it.  So, in purchasing this, I’m hoping that it will force me into a routine of at least doodling something each day and working on getting back the skills that have, not so much gotten lost, but maybe gotten a little rusty over time.
  6. THE BONUS DIARY… this is the one that I have owned for several years now and never used as I’ve been too worried about spoiling it or forgetting about it or whatever…I don’t really know…I love it.  I bought it from Ohh Deer and is by illustrator Gemma Correll though I can’t find it on the site anymore (there are other, similarly laid out versions here if you fancy similar…), its undated and has a to do/done check list, a doodle section and a notes section.  Technically, it isn’t really a diary as its undated…it’s more of a project book…and more to the point, I have a really good use for it this year…I am going to use it in conjunction with my Bright Side blog and social media diary 🙂  Its main function will be to plan out blog content, using the notes section to write a synopsis of the blog post, the to do/done section to track what I need to do in order to get the post published (like research certain things, take photos, upload photos etc) and the doodle bit I can use to plan the layout of the post and decide what goes where!

I’m itching to start the New Year already and start planning my year out but I have a tradition that I like to stick to and always look forward to once all the main festivities are over, and that is on Boxing Day and New Years Eve I will make myself a cup of hot chocolate (a dash of Baileys or kahlua optional), sit down in a quiet place, in my comfiest pjs with a box of chocolates and my favorite pens and start writing out my New Years Resolutions, filling in the information sheets, start making plans for the first few weeks of January and adding in all the celebrations that I have to look forward to like Anniversaries and Birthdays.