Three tricks to customize your planner
I swear, there's nothing better than that fresh-start feeling you get on the first of the month: the day you turn to a new, blank page in your planner. So many possibilities lie ahead! So much room for activities!!
For years, I did all my planning in a bullet journal. I loved the flexibility and the forgiveness of using a blank notebook. It was like each month, week, and day's plan could shift for whatever I needed: grocery lists, mood trackers, habit trackers, and more! I've used them all over the years. (Um, does this sound amazing? It is! If you're new to bullet journaling you can read all about the system here.)
Still, I don't always have the time, patience, or steady hand to draw out my monthly and weekly spreads all the time! I was looking for an alternative to bullet journaling. Enter my new best friend: my undated planner.
An undated planner gives you just a smidge more structure than a blank notebook without losing that flexibility and forgiveness - you can skip a month and just pick up right where you left off. And, with a little bit of creativity (and a whole lot of washi tape), I've discovered some tips and tricks to open up the undated planner to even more possibilities for customization, making it my perfect bullet journal alternative. I hope these ideas help spark some of your own - because creative planning can guide you to a creative year!
1. Build Your Own Future Log
The Future Log is one of the first spreads people start with when bullet journaling. At its most basic, the future log is a place to keep track of events and deadlines happening, well, in the future. It's a way to keep track of events on the horizon, while still staying flexible in case things need to change.
I noticed that the undated planner I use has a few "Schedule" pages up front that are perfect for this. I personally don't have a use for schedule pages, so I converted mine into a future log. I re-labeled each column for a month in the year, and write down major upcoming events in the appropriate column.
Bonus: This leaves some extra space on the sides, which I use to do some quarterly planning and set my longer-term goals!
2. Monthly Mood Tracker
Moving on to the monthly pages! I use these to plan ahead for events and deadlines, but I also love tracking my habits and moods and getting a birds eye view of how my month is going.
I cut some blank paper to fit and tape it to the edge of page, creating a little flip-out section that can be used to track my mood each day using a little chart that shows both the peaks and the valleys. When the mini page is flipped out, I use the extra space on the inside to keep a shopping list, habit tracker, or random reminders.
Bonus: I also put special memories from the month on this page, treating it like a quick little diary! It's so nice looking back through my planner and seeing not only my plans for the future, but also favorite memories from the past.
3. Weekly Meal Prep Page
I love the open layout of the weekly pages, but found myself wanting some added structure and extra space to help with my meal planning for the week.
My solution was to tape a blank piece of paper into the center fold of the weekly spread. On one side of the page I put my meal plan for Monday through Wednesday, and on the other side my plan for Thursday through Sunday! This lets me see my meal plan and my day plan at the same time, so I know when I'll have extra time to prep a meal or two, and when I'll probably be calling up pizza delivery ;)
Bonus: I love to have my goals front and center, so I'll also tape an extra piece of paper to the top of my page, to keep my weekly deadlines and goals front-of-mind!
I hope this gave you some fun ideas on how to make things your own, and how to customize your planner to your hearts' content!