COVID19 Planners

Day 128: Some #Bujo Notes

July 21, 2020

Several of you have asked for more bullet journal info. I am sort of a bullet journaling newbie, but also sort of not, because the way I used my Hobonichi books for years was similar.

To me, here are the differences between using a bullet journal and traditional planner:

1- There is more flexibility. You can add in any kind of list, tracker, or page (could even be a quote or more memory-focused page) you see fit. This is harder to do in a bound or coiled dated planner. Ring- or disc-bound systems DO allow for this flexibility though.

2- It’s harder to use for straight calendar management, and you don’t have to! Some people do, drawing out elaborate (and neat!) monthly & weekly layouts. I would . . . rather not. So some people (like me!) prefer a 2-book system, where one houses the calendar landscape and another is for goals, tracking, memories, and essentially a daily sidekick.

3- There is lots of room to personalize. Though honestly that is true of planner spreads too! But while planner lovers tend to gravitate toward stickers and spreads that look similar from week to week — because there is an underlying structure to answer to — you can basically do anything in a #bujo.

Your layouts can look completely different from one day or week to the next. You can design it based on your mood, what you have going on (level of busyness), or just play around because you got a fun new set of pens in the mail.

4- You do not have to be a natural artist to enjoy bullet journaling. Promise. I am not. You will find your style over time. Some people are incredibly minimal (just black pen & tiny lettering) and other people make absolutely breathtaking art. Start perusing instagram and you’ll find many fancy gorgeous bullet journals, but I tend to get as much inspiration out of the very bare bones ones.

5- Bullet journaling lends itself well to pandemic life. It is no accident that it took me until 2020 to embrace the #bujo. It has been a lovely distraction to create pages with trackers and lists to focus on what I can control in these unpredictable times.

Layouts currently living in my bullet journal:

Summer Reading List (just finished Big Summer and loved it)

Graph of COVID-19 cases in FL and our county

July goals & habits page

Someday Maybe page (the only thing on this list right now is a hand lettering class! Lol.)

List of podcast ideas

Weekly pages (containing to do lists, upcoming events — admittedly very few!, and focus for the week)

Daily pages. Sometimes I do one page per day, other times two. I love this flexibility.

My favorite tools: Archer & Olive bullet journal, Mildliner highlighters, Papermate Flair pens (new obsession esp the Fine point), MT washi tape. ALSO I just discovered this store: Nikki’s Supply Store. Also lots and lots to see at Kawaii Pen Shop & tried and true favorite JetPens.

PS: As noted above, I really did have a terrifying apocalyptic dream last night. Which is (I suppose) a good reminder that things are not so bad. (Yet anyway.)


  • Reply Liz B. July 21, 2020 at 8:48 am

    I am LOVING your bujo spreads! So much so, I’ve pulled out an old Exceed bullet journal I bought at Walmart a couple of years ago for lists just to try out crafting my own daily page. I have been having a tough time staying in any planner during the pandemic, so I’ve been taking it day by day and just pulling out whichever planner (of the many in my stack) brings me joy first thing in the morning. Creating a daily bujo spread this morning has felt really freeing and I may actually be able to stick with this for a while. Thanks for the inspiration! On an eerie side note, I, too, had an apocalyptic-ish pandemic-related nightmare last night.

  • Reply Tristan July 21, 2020 at 8:54 am

    I love the idea of a two-book system!

  • Reply Young July 21, 2020 at 9:47 am

    I’ve been incorporating the two-book system, as well, inspired by your posts. I am brand new to bujo-ing, and I really love its flexibility, too!
    I’m wondering, though, do you add page numbers to your bujo and an index so you know where to look for, say, your summer reading list, for example? I’m starting to add in random additions, and I’m worried about not knowing where items are as I get further in.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 21, 2020 at 10:04 am

      Yes I have page numbers and an index 🙂

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns July 21, 2020 at 11:37 am

    I’ve been using a bujo since 2017 and I love it. I’m on my 2nd book. It’s definitely a much lower cost approach to a planner. I think mine was about $20. I use the Leuchtturm 1917 which I order off amazon. I am the least artistic person you will ever find and I do not have pretty writing. But bujo is for me. Sometimes I share spreads on IG to give other people ideas but in general, it’s for my own eyes only! I love the flexibility of it and it tends to be very small/thin/compact so I can easily throw it in my purse for doctor appointments. I used to buy an Erin Condren planner (but never again with her white privilege behavior!) and that thing was NOT compact and not very flexible. I have so many doctor appointments between OB, Hematologist (have a clotting risk when pregnant), rheumatologist and perinatologist, not to mention all our sons appointments. So it’s nice to keep notes in my bujo and have everything in one place! So all in all, I am a fan!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 21, 2020 at 12:12 pm

      I think for next year I am going to do combo of bullet and a hobo weeks 🙂

      • Reply Liz B. July 21, 2020 at 3:16 pm

        Oh how exciting! I can’t wait to see how you setup a Weeks – my most beloved planner. 🥰

  • Reply Katie July 21, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Sarah! Bullet journals stress me out, but I strangely find it so interesting to look at other people’s. I tried doing a BuJo in the past, but I get so overwhelmed by keeping track of all the lists. I have listened to some of Lisa Woodruff’s material, and I realized that I am a “piler” not a list maker, so having a mailbox with to-dos on sticky notes/index cards that I go through weekly works a lot better for me. I am curious if you have tried her planner and if so, what you think (since you mentioned doing the 100 day program). I have not done the 100 day program (too pricey for us), but I really like what I have learned of the “Sunday Basket” concept!

    • Reply LEE July 21, 2020 at 10:02 pm

      I’m interested in this, Katie. Who is Lisa Woodruff?

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 22, 2020 at 5:45 am

        The founder/creator/CEO of Organize365. She is FULL of good ideas and I really enjoy her podcast. We also had her as a guest on BOBW 🙂

      • Reply Katie July 22, 2020 at 7:13 am

        I listened to her episodes on “ditching the to do list” and “how to use a planner” (or something like that) and they may have changed my life! I think her paid stuff is pretty pricy, but I’ve learned a lot just from the podcast!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 22, 2020 at 5:44 am

      Hi! The Planner for her program has not been something I have used much, but I could see going back to it. I got through about half of the 100 Day program (and really liked it!) and then decided I needed a break. The lovely thing about the program is that you CAN take a break and it’s always going to be there for you to finish/repeat/etc.

      I actually had a very Sunday basket-like ritual before I had ever heard of the Sunday basket 🙂 Basically, my version of my weekly review is my personal Sunday basket and I have an organizer on my desk that holds mail and other items that have ‘to dos’ associated with them. I go through it weekly.

  • Reply neuromd July 21, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Can you explain what is in the blue and yellow highlighted boxes in the upper right corner?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 21, 2020 at 4:38 pm

      The yellow box is a habit tracker – letters stand for meditation, going outside, reading, listening to music, and workout. The smaller aqua box is minutes of phone screen time and the blue is steps 🙂

  • Reply Suzanne July 21, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    I’m 100% Inspired ……AND have order my very own bullet journal now…:-p…….fingers crossed I will start and learn and make progress! and will definitely be taking pointers from here….Thank you Sarah

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