Bullet journaling has such a wide variety of styles and flavours, from minimalistic and simplistic to colourful and bright! You can use washi tape and paper to add depth to your pages or stickers and quotes and doodles. Your planner is unique to you, a blank canvas ready to be experimented on and played with. While this can be a daunting prospect when you have a blank planner in front of you, the freedom of this play helps you identify your style, helps you learn what you don’t like and can bring out the artist and creative in you. It’s not about perfection, we ALL have pages we don’t like. It’s about the process.
As I sat down to make today’s daily, I thought of my process and the elements that I like to include in my own planner. I tend to be drawn to watercolor, fun little doodles, and lots of hand-drawn elements. I am not a huge fan of stickers, preferring the imperfections of my own doodles to the perfect little images that look like they were printed off. I began doing my pages with a ruler but the more I play around with my pages, the more I find I like the look of hand drawn lines. Not only do I prefer the wavy, fun look of it… but I LOVE that it takes me half the time. I now create my planner pages in about 20 minutes!
I have been getting a lot of questions about the process of actually designing my planner layouts. How do I decide what doodles to do? What sections to have? What boxes I should use? How do I create a page that lays out my life and helps me organize my thoughts? When a blank page is staring at you, it’s the “where do I start?” feeling that freezes you. Today we are going to tackle that question. I’m going to walk you through my own creative process and show you just how easy this whole thing can be!
Deciding the sections of your planner layouts
Before you think of your design, it is helpful to know some of the different sections that people have in their planners. I have tried all of these at some point or another, and pull from them when I get bored of the same routine.
- Water tracker
- Menu/meal planning
- To do lists
- Time tracker
- Habit Trackers
- Mood tracker
- Shopping lists
- Work tasks
- Household cleaning
There are SO many other things you could add, but these are some of the more common sections that you might have on a daily or weekly spread. Decide a few different sections you want to include and fill in any gaps or spaces with a fun sticker, quote, or doodle.
Now let’s create the structure
Now that you know what you want to include (don’t do too many or you will run out of space), grab a pencil and eraser and start planning out which ones you want more space for and which ones you need. This is my rough sketch, I don’t think about it too much, I don’t use a ruler, I don’t count out squares, I just gently and lightly sketch out a general plan of where I want my boxes. If I don’t like it, I erase and change it. I do a rough sketch of all my big brush lettering, my boxes, my titles, and my doodles before I do the inked-in planning. I leave my pencil strokes right on the paper and go over them in water resistant markers like these and then fill in my various sections with my planning (to-do lists, menu planning, doodles, etc).
When I am ready to go with my frame, I add any decorative elements such as watercolor, washi tape, etc. I have done it both ways, where I watercolor my background pages first, but I find it depends on my mood and my style for the day. I get a crisper finish if I write on top of my watercolor BUT I am a bit bound with what I do. In this spread, for example, I did my watercolor after and was able to just add splashes of color where I wanted them rather than being stuck with a whole wash behind my planning (which can sometimes detract from the doodles).