Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Five...all about my new planner organization.

A few weeks ago, I started a new planner method using a Travelers Notebook (TN) and the bullet journaling (bujo) method. I thought it might be fun to explain how it all works and what my setup is. 

(there's going to be a LOT of photos. If you click on them you'll be able to see them bigger)

What is a Travelers Notebook?
A TN is basically a folder that holds other notebooks inside it. They come in a ton of different sizes. Above are a few of mine...
(discussing them from left to right)
1. Websters Pages TN--brown far left
 (I used this one to track the household financial stuff)
(I use this one to do long term tracking on my writing goes out several years, so I can track what I plan to do in 2019-2020, and beyond..and sometimes I'll do longterm brainstorming in it)
3. Chic Sparrow Nano's-- turquoise and lime green
(honestly I buy these little ones to check leathers before I invest in one of the big Chic Sparrows that can be rather expensive...esp if I get something that I won't like to use...a lot of people use these as little wallets and I hope to get one set up to try that soon)
(this is my main planner and the one I'll be showing you today)

The Components of my Everyday TN:

The great thing about TNs is that the whole system is interchangeable. All the books inside are held by elastic bands (you can see them in the center of the black leather below...just slide the band to the spine of the notebook in the center and it's secure...there are YouTube videos about this if you don't get how it works). So you invest a lot in the cover and just switch out the books when you finish one or are going on a trip. I love this because I like to switch up my system.

Above you can see all the components of my TN (all of these components will have a section where I explain how I use them further down below):
1. Bright pink book is a Leuchtturm1917 notebook. This is my main daily planner. 
2. There are two kraft notebooks (one decorated, one not yet). These are 4 month inserts from Chic Sparrow. This is a messier place where I can jot down appointments and my book review schedule.
3. The pink flowered notebook is a place for me to track my writing goals and publishing checklists.
4. Then there is a tiny notebook in the back pocket that I use to track my book reviews obligations.
My main planner book inside my TN...
My main planner book is my Leuchtturm1917 and it was that journal that helped me decide that the A5 TN was the size for me. 

And I'll admit right now that the A5 is a big planner to carry everyday.

The main reason I like the Leuchtturm1917 is that the pages are numbered and there is an index in the front. For me, that means I can jot down info about my books on any given day and be able to find it later without having to go through my entire planner (and still not find the information).

I mark book information with the stars.

The other thing that I really love about this system is the dot grid pages. 
My layout is different every single day, depending on my needs for the day. 

Some days have more blank space in the to-do list area. Some days have more space for me to just jot down notes. That changes for me every. single. day.

I also love this system, because it combines my art along with my planner that I carry with me everyday. Before July those were two separate planners. Now it's all in one big book.

Both the pages above are what my layouts look like when the day is complete. To see what they look like before I do any of my tasks (and have all the added notes/scribbling/page counts), all my daily layouts go up on Instagram page in the mornings when I get them complete. You can find that HERE.

NOTE: I rarely spend more than an hour doing my layout in the morning. This is a time to get me focused on what all I have to do for the day. I also spend that creative/artistic time thinking through the scenes I plan to write that day.

That's actually how my art planner originally started. It was 2 summers ago and I was missing my plotting time while I drove Kat to school and was trying to recreate that at home somehow. Mindlessly coloring rubber stamps (all the images in my planner are stamps from Unity Stamp Company) does that for me.

The calendar inserts...
Because I don't create my page layout until the day of, there are things I need to track for the longterm...appointments, my review schedule, release days, etc. For this there are two inserts that I bought from Chic Sparrow. 

The outside is plain kraft cardstock, so it was fun to decorate this one. The other one isn't done yet.

They each are dated for 4 months and this is where I keep my blog schedules sorted as well as other little things that I know about before the day that I want to keep track of. 

BUT this isn't a system I could ever use as my main system, because there isn't enough room there for everything I need to track daily.

(and if you look above, you'll see how desperately behind I am on all my reviews. All those books on Tuesday should have had check marks beside them LAST week...sigh.)

I do love that these come with those little flags (which I spent one day watching a webinar and watercoloring each week a different color).

My publishing checklist book...

There is nothing pretty about this notebook. This is my workhorse writing tracker. I'm in several different accountability groups that meet each week. This is where I paste all my goals associated with those. 

There are three different sections in the book.
1. Quarterly goals
2. Weekly goals
3. Publishing checklists

I literally just print up what I post online and trim it to paste it into the book. So not pretty or elegant, but it's all in one place and it works. 

That is an example of my publishing checklist that I made up. When I finish the first draft of a book then it moves into this process. This list goes through all that rinky-dink marketing stuff I have to create and is supposed to work so that I'm not scrambling to do it all the last week or 2 weeks before release. This is a new system, so it's not tried/true yet, but I'm hoping I can make it work to make my life easier.

If anyone is an author and wants a copy of this file (it's just a word doc...printed up two pages on a single page to make it small enough to fit into my book), drop me a comment here or send me an email with your email address and I'll send it to you. 

NOTE: if you look at that notebook above, you'll notice it has washi tape down the center. That's because I discovered you cannot use cheap, glued together books in the TN system. The elastic puts too much stress on the glue binding. I fixed that in this book with my washi tape down the center of every other page. If I cared about how this book looked, that would bug me. But I don't. 

But now I know...all the TN inserts need to be stitched or stapled for it to not fall apart later. 

And that's my new planner system. If you have any questions or want to see something closer, ask. This is still a work in progress, but so far, I love it...although I'm eyeing another A5 Chic Sparrow cover...just waiting for some more Nanos to check out leathers first. ;)

Have a great weekend everyone!


  1. Hi Chritie - with regard to the Leuchtterm planner, how well does it take Color mediums like Watercolor or copics? Your planner style is beautiful and provides a ton of inspiration!!!

    1. The Leuchtterm is wonderful with most mediums I've used. I regularly use Staz-on inkpads, watercolor pencils and watercolors, as well as Tombow Brush pens, Tombow Twintones, Sharpies, and my everyday writing pen is a fountain pen. You can go look at my layouts on my Instagram and you'll see that I very rarely even have much ghosting. I love the book and will never go back to cheap journals again. :)