Synopsis & Links
Mentioned this episode:
1. YouTube video for this episode
2. How to ADHD Bullet Journaling
3. WheezyWaiter explains what Bullet Journaling ACTUALLY is
4. Printable vertical weekly planner
5. ABCs of Time Management (where you can sign up for the time management 5 day email course with time tracker workbook)
6. Tara’s awesome Obsidian tips
7. Digital/analog planning with Rocketbook
You need a planner, but they’ve never worked for you in the past and you don’t know what kind of planners are good for your brain
What we can do about it:
It’s a myth that certain types of planners only work for neurotypicals and other types work well for all ND people (or even all people with your exact diagnosis.) You need a planner style that addresses your individual struggles and fits your current needs, which may change over time.
Some people with Executive Dysfunction have a hard time with lots of extra bits to do every day, so if this is you, you might want to get a more free-form planner instead of one with lots of trackers and prompts built into the pages, making your planner feel like homework (which you then avoid.)
Other people with ExD really love the hand-holding and being told exactly what is supposed to go in which spot, which means a planner with lots of extra blanks and prompts and questions will work great for you!
If you’re not sure which type you are, don’t fret if you choose the wrong type at first! Leaving prompts unanswered is not a problem - cover it up with a sticker if you want. If you need prompts you don’t have, look up some templates so you can write in your own for things like schedule, gratitude, or trackers.
Developing your own planner style isn’t something that is figured out ahead of time so you can stick with it forever. You guess, practice, iterate, practice again, evolve, and just keep going.
Questions to ask first:
1. What size do you want?
- bigger (A5 or up) gives more space, but more space can feel overwhelming
- smaller is easier to carry anywhere - crucial when you’re still learning not to forget your planner
- small spaces serve as a practical limit to how much you can demand of yourself each day
2. Digital or analog (Or both)?
- digital is always with you, but it can be harder to navigate or find things once you’ve forgotten them. There’s also no natural limits to what you keep
- analog is harder (still not impossible) to ignore because it exists physically. Bookmarks and tabs make it easy to find your spot, and you can flip through pages to remind yourself of things you didn’t even remember writing down.
- each has benefits, but many of the perceived strengths of digital are actually weaknesses. If you've been trying digital and just can't figure out why it won't work, give analog a shot even if you really don't think it's right for you
3. Dated or undated?
- dated and laid out pages can be a huge convenience, or a huge guilt trip
- undated means you have to write in the date, but there’s no missed pages if you skip some days here or there
4. Would you benefit from a structured, hourly layout for each day?
- I love an hourly layout as a way to work with time agnosia, because it provides a _visual_ representation of how much time you have until that afternoon appointment, or for how long an hour is
- it can also be overwhelming for some people and may tend toward empty space
5. Do you want a lot of prompts, trackers, and special lists to fill in each day, or something more free-form?
- free-form planners like the ones I personally use and recommend allow you to use each page however you want, including adding in any of your own prompts or trackers, but that means all decisions are on you
- heavily structured planners often provide prompts for journaling, gratitude, meal planning, etc... which can help with decision fatigue in your planner, but there's not as much flexibility and filling in every space may start to feel like (the bad kind of) homework
Don't worry if you can't answer all of these questions perfectly before you even get started. This is just a first iteration. As you go, you'll learn better what works for you, and perhaps even more importantly, what you need right now at this point in your life.
Types of planners
1. Vertical Weekly
- great for time agnosia
- can feel wasteful if you don’t use every day
- “wasted” space can be perfect for decor, trackers, or quotes
2. Horizontal Weekly
- more convenient than vertical for writing in notes
- some styles include a full blank page to use for trackers, weekly goals or tasks, or anything you want
- highly practical, but less structured than the hourly layout of a vertical weekly spread, and less space than a daily spread
- plenty of space for most anyone’s needs
- all that space may seem overwhelming without built-in prompts or trackers telling you what to write (but those may feel like an overwhelming obligation themselves)
- many styles don’t include a weekly spread, so you can’t see the whole week at once, which may be good or bad depending on your needs
4. Bullet Journal
- completely customizable and adjustable, even from day-to-day
- no wasted space or pages if you don’t use your planner every day, or if your space needs vary day to day.
- cheap or free to start, but easy to upgrade
- since there’s nothing set up, you have to make all the decisions and all the spreads (which you can do as simply as you like)
- method can be adapted to use in other planners
- these can be used with any of the above types of planners
- both options make it very
- while it isn’t so easy to move pages (unless you make yours into a discbound notebook like I did), it is easy to move your analog pages into a digital format
- you can bullet journal, design your own reusable planner, or buy one of their options pre-made (this is an affiliate link. I get a small commission from all purchases at no cost to you. Thanks!)
- use the same book as long as you want, since the pages are easily erasable and reused
7. Obsidian (or Notion)
- if you want a digital bullet journal, Obsidian.md is my absolute favorite, and can even rival analog in the speed from idea to starting to take your note
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My current goal is to reach a modest $20 every month. As I've redesigned and cut back, this is approximately my monthly budget for podcast hosting, web domains, email service, and all those other little things that add up. Once I reach that point – I’m having a party and will look forward to putting out some rewards and coming up with some kind of fun goal other than just breaking even.
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Kawai Kitsune by Kevin MacLeod
About the Ex-Gifted Podcast:
If you are a former gifted kid who grew up to struggle with basic adulting, then you need the Ex-Gifted podcast.
Host Ren Eliza talks about gifted kid burnout, and the damage that lasts long into adulthood. Damage like battered self esteem, decimated internal motivation, and a continued failure to live up to expectations even while we were placed on pedestals and alienated from our peers.
Ex-Gifted will cover failure, procrastination, imposter syndrome, and chronic anxiety and depression, and a whole lot more.
Each episode also offers suggestions to deal with your executive dysfunction in adulthood so you can rebuild the systems that allowed you to shine so brightly in childhood.
We’re making exceptional children into functional adults.
If you know that you want to use a planner and you're committed to actually remembering to use it, but you just don't know which one is gonna work for you, then this is the show for you. This is Ex-gifted.
Hello there. Welcome to Ex-gifted. I am your host Ren Eliza, and as promised, I am going to talk you through some different kinds of planners that I know about, that I know how to speak about. And let's be clear upfront that I don't know every kind of planner out there. I haven't used every kind of planner out there. All I can really talk about are the ones that I have used and I will give some honorary mentions to things that. Maybe I haven't used that specific planner, but I have heard other people that like it, and I have used things similar to it. So I'm going to talk through what some of the different kinds of planners are and what benefits are of different planning systems.
You may have already noticed this is a long one today. So buckle up or if you want, you can come back to this later when you have a little bit more time, especially when you have the ability to take some notes down for yourself.
So to start off, I want to reiterate, if you haven't already listened to the previous episode about how to remember your planner and actually picking it up and using it on a regular basis, then start with that. Don't start worrying about which planner you need to use. You can literally just use any, any notebook as you that you have as a fill-in until you figure out what the perfect planner is.
Just pick it up and use it every day. Just teach yourself to remember it. That's not something that comes naturally for a whole lot of us. So that's something you're really gonna have to focus on whatever kind of planner you use. The planner itself is not going to help you with that.
And so having the perfect planner system comes secondary, but there's something even beyond that, having the perfect planner system, uh, sorry, my AC just kicked on and confused me for a second.
Okay. Having the perfect planner system comes secondary, but it's also really, really important to remember. Even once you are in your planner every day you are using it, it is helping it's very normal, um, to find as you go the little tweaks and things that you need to make. That's to be expected.
You don't want to spend too much time upfront trying to think through what the best thing is gonna be. You want to get started, get using it. And once you're in there using it, it will be easier for you to see what kinds of things are working, what kinds of things are not working. And that's how you find what the best thing is.
And I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned this elsewhere specifically when it comes to planners, but just in case, if not, it's also possible that the thing that's working really great for you right now, isn't going to be the thing that works for you really great in two months, that doesn't mean that you're not a planner person, massive air quotes there after all.
It doesn't mean that anything's gone wrong. It doesn't mean that your system is broken. It doesn't mean anything except that it's not working for you right now. And so you need to find out what you can do to fix it.
So don't make it into this big dramatic event if your planner isn't working as well now, as it was when you first started, even if it's been working a long time. Sometimes there are just periods of our life where we need different kinds of planners.
Maybe you have more time to dedicate to your planner. Maybe you have less time and you need something that you can just get in and out really quick. Maybe it's just the way that things are coming together in your life. You need to be able to see the whole week at once. Maybe it's something where you need more space dedicated to each day. Whatever it is, different phases of our lives may require different planners.
And here's the other thing, even if it doesn't seem like anything has changed in your life, sometimes your brain just wants novelty and that's okay too.
Now that doesn't mean you want to go buying a new $50 planner every other week. But luckily there are lots of options that are extremely affordable and there is a lot of variation also that you can do even while staying in the same planner that you have. So even if you do have a $50 planner, there are still lots of options there that you can do to give yourself some variety without entirely throwing it out and going and buying a new planner.
Okay. So to begin with, before we get started talking about actual, specific different kinds of planners. Um, It's worth going through, just asking yourself a few questions about what specifically you want. Like, do you want digital or analog or do you want to use some kind of combination of the two? I actually have a pretty lengthy blog post about how to use the Rocketbook, reusable notebooks, um, for a combined paper/digital system.
Secondly, think about the size that you want. So. Bigger means more usable space. Um, but that also means more space that you need to fill up, which can be overwhelming and can lead to guilt. Whereas smaller is. Much nicer and more portable. If that's something that's important to you.
It's worth noting that undated planners exist. Um, and not just like bullet journal where you have to do everything yourself, but you can get planners that are set up for you, but just don't have a date up here.
So in that case, you kind of don't have to take on the guilt when you skip a day or a week or a month. Um, I know some people are intimidated by the need to write in every single day. But if you just try timing yourself, you'll see that writing in the date is essentially nothing. So give that a try. If you're not certain that you're going to be used, be able to use it. Every single day.
And lastly, you may have heard me speak about it before.Vertical planners are amazing for time agnosia. Because you can actually see the time laid out for you. Like right in front of you. However, weekly layouts are prone to empty space, even when you're using an undated version, because once you write in Monday, you've got the next six days already all there for you.
So I really do recommend. That you try a layout like this. Um, especially early on at the start. But at the same time, it's worth working on your perfectionism so that you don't feel too much guilt around, um, the empty space.
You can learn to be okay with the empty space, but also feel free to use that space to decorate as well. I like to just write in quotes on the days that I've forgotten. Or draw in little doodles if that's something that you're into.
Let's start just going over what I'm actually using right now. So if you're on YouTube, then you can actually see this. If you're on the podcast, I recommend checking out my YouTube channel. Actually it is worth noting at this point that I have, uh, since my break in June, I think is maybe when I started this, I've just opened the video versions of the podcast up entirely. I, at this time I'm, um, offering pretty much anything I do for free other than just the products, uh, that I have on my ko-fi shop.
But anything else it's out there for everyone. If you want to donate to me at, www.ko-fi.com/reneliza
I am more than happy to take donations from anyone who wants to support my work, but you don't have to, you can get anything other than, you know, the stuff that is in my shop for free. And actually a lot of the stuff in my shop is also free. Um, but I do super appreciate everyone who donates, including I got my first member this week, y'all! Anyway.
My first recommendation is what I'm using right now. It's the Hobonichi weeks. I'm using the standard version. They also have a mega version that has, um, this one has blank pages at the. And the mega has more blank pages at the back. That's the only way they are different.
The Hobonichi weeks is a horizontal weekly planner. So as you can see here, the days of the week are laid out horizontally. So you've got basically space to write things across rather than having the vertical timed layouts.
This is what a regular blank week looks like. I've got dates over here and I've got just a blank page over here. I love this layout right now. You can see the whole week at once. You've got a page over here that you can do whatever you want with it.
Um, this planner it's, you know, a normal, uh, 12 month planner. It actually, um, starts, I think. The first week in December. So you actually get an extra, an extra month. It's got,months and then it's got weeks for all of the weeks of the year. And at the back, it has just blank pages. The standard one, I think has 77 or something blank pages, uh, which is a lot, I have a standard weeks. And I think that the number of pages I have in the back is gonna be pretty much perfect for me for at least how I'm using it this year. I might upgrade to the weeks mega, which has An enormous amount of blank pages in the back. So, um, I'm not gonna talk too much about exactly how I use this, cuz that's techniques that's more for next week.
Um, but yes, you've got, what's called a horizontal weekly layout, which means that the days of the week are horizontal instead of being vertical. So horizontal, weekly layouts can either be like this, that you fit the whole week on one page, or sometimes they can be spread across two pages. Like you might have four days over here and three days over here and then a little bit of space, um, instead of having this like full big, nice blank page. Personally, I highly recommend the full blank page instead of, um, having just a tiny space.
So that is my first recommendation. The Hobonichi weeks.
The second thing I want to talk about is the planner that I was using last year. So if you've been around for a while, you may know that I highly recommend the vertical weekly planner. This one in particular is the Kokuyo Jibun techo lite is specifically the one. This is, this is the b6 slim cuz it's narrower than a standard B6 size. So they also have one that's an A5 size. That's a lot bigger than this one, but I personally really like the size of this, um, especially for someone who's just getting started. The B6 slim or the Hobonichi weeks are both very compact and manageable and aren't going to overwhelm you.
So this is a vertical weekly layout. So that means that it has the days of the week going in columns instead of in rows, like the Hobonichi did. Um, I really, really love a vertical weekly spread for anyone who has time agnosia, if you don't really grasp how much time is in a day, what it feels like for an hour to pass, things like that, these can be really, really good as far as, you know, blocking out the time in your day. So you know how much time you want to spend on different things and you can kind of get a handle on that.
You can use it for blocking as I've done here. Um, you can see that's like early on when I was first using this planner. You can also use it to just track how much time you're spending on each activity. You can write out each kind of thing that you're doing. If you've read the post on my website, chaoticorganized.com about how to manage your time, the A in the ABCs of time management is to actually just account for the time that you already have. Um, so you want to assess what your time looks like right now even if it's just for like a week.Here I've got this. This is overwhelming. You don't want to do this every week. I mean, you might. I don't generally want to do this every week, but you can see on here, I've got stuff written down. I've got basically everything that I did and when I did it for a full account of my day. So this is extraordinarily useful when you're trying to get started with time management.
And remember getting started with time management here means when you're after that point, that you're picking up your planner every day and not yet to the point where you're necessarily using the planner for a lot of stuff. And I will talk more finding that balance in the next episode.
Once you have started and you are trying to figure out your own time management techniques, having all of the stuff that you're doing written down is exactly what you're going to need in order to figure out where you have time to fit more stuff in where you need to pull back some, how long different things takes you, how long you are losing to transitions is a big one. All that kind of stuff.
You need to have an account of your time in order to do that, you don't necessarily have to buy a standalone planner for that. You can do it. Um, just on a sheet of paper or you can go, um, if you sign up for my mailing list, you get a like sheet that has the vertical time layouts, and you can just, you can just put it in on that and that's entirely free, andit's all laid out for you. I want to make it very clear when I'm talking about weekly layouts that I do not recommend that you set up an extremely detailed weekly layout that tells you exactly what to do every minute of every day from now until eternity or even just from Monday until Sunday. Don't make very detailed plans for your entire week- probably not for your entire day- and, uh, expect yourself to just like actually stick with that, especially not when you're just starting using a planner.
If you make something like this- and this is an hourly, weekly layout, where I have basically ideas for exactly what I'm supposed to be doing during each hour. If you write it like on your current week, like as your plan for the week, you're not gonna want to pick that book up ever. Don't. Don't do that. Don't give yourself this big, detailed, stressful plan when you're trying to get used to using your planner. Cause there's not really anything that's going to make you less interested in picking it up and actually using it than all of these obligations that you have here.
Don't do that. You can do it as inspiration. As an ideal as the uh, you know, world, if there were no complications in it, But not as an actual plan.
Making out kind of an ideal layout where you're kind of playing around with things and seeing where stuff will fit, that should probably come after you have already started to get used to using it your planner. And additionally. Um, It should never be an obligation there that you feel like you have to do every single thing on there.
When you're first starting to get used to it, having something like that, especially like I, I did it on the first week of the year because I knew that I wasn't going to use that page at all.
And if you're not at that place in your life yet, where you can look at this and see that it's a fantasy. Then just don't write it down at all. Just skip that step.
This is not. What vertical planners are for.
Just, yeah, to recap, the specific vertical planner that I talked about was the Kokuyo Jibun techo that is the one that I have used.
I also used to make my own printables I think those are also available on my website, um, somewhere, um, I'll put a link to it in the, in the notes.
Happy planner also makes a vertical planner and what's cool about happy planner. That's one I have not tried before, but, uh, I do have this. This is not a happy planner. This is my rocket book, Frankenplanner, but happy planner, like this planner here, is a disc bound system. Which means that you can, for one, you can make your own pages and stick them in there if you have a hole punch, but for two, just that you have pages that you can take out, you can move it around, put it back in wherever you want, which for, uh, chaos brain people. Super helpful.
Another thing happy planner has going for it is that it is just widely available at shops around the US, at least. Uh, you can get it like in store at Michael's.
Okay, so we've talked about the two kind of main different kinds of weekly planners, the horizontal and the vertical. The other thing that is an option is a day planner.
This is just a little notebook that goes in this kind of cover. That is, as you can see the Hobonichi techo, uh, this is the original A6 size. So this one is nice and compact. Although when you put the cover on it, it gets real big, real fast. This one is actually the Avec style, which means that this one is six months. But it actually comes with two notebooks together. The way I actually like to do these is I like to use the Avec because then you can have a notebook in the back. So you've got six months and then your notebook that can stay in there even when we switch out the six months. So that's how you can keep collections -like the kinds of things that you want to just keep, but we can talk more about that next week.
The classic Hobonichi techo is basically just a day planner. Um, I also have, it is, uh, older cousin, the Hobonichi cousin, um, which again is a day planner. You see, you got your days there. However, um, in addition to just like months at the beginning, just like any planner has you also have in here, a vertical, weekly layout.
So you'll see this week has exactly nothing on it. And that's actually what most of my weeks look like in this. There's a lot of blank space. When I got it, I was using the Jibun Techo, and I thought to myself, I have to have this vertical, weekly layout. That's what I'm used to.
Um, it turns out I do not have to have that vertical, weekly layout. It really is not that important to me. So it is good for me to occasionally be able to go in and assess my time again and again, but I have come to realize that the way I'm planning right now, as much as I do recommend the vertical weeks, it is not necessary for me at this time. So the day planner does not show you a weekly layout. it just gives you basically a page for each day and you can write whatever you want in it. When I got started, I thought that I was gonna use it for planning, but in the end I have used it just for long form journaling in here. Um, and I've got my gratitude journaling in here. I have recently switched up my journaling technique a bit. Um, so it's a little bit different, but it's still is basically the same thing. I'm still journaling in here. It does um, and the big one and the small one both have this. Um, it has, let's see if we can see it here. It has an hourly breakdown. Um, over here on the side, there's like a little section here that you can use to plan out your day, like hour by hour like you would on a weekly layout. I really like to have that whole week when I'm trying to figure out what piece goes, where, and especially for assessment, I like to have the whole week.
If you have, you know, a lot of meetings or appointments or timed things that this could be really good for that. And then you could use this section for doing your, um, journaling, or you could use it as a bullet journal, honestly, as well.
So this one is a dated version. Um, they actually do also, Hobonichi also has a day free version, which means that you can write in whatever date you want, which means if you don't use your planner for three days, you can come back and you don't have to skip a page,which is really great for a lot of my people. Um, I have heard from people they get overwhelmed sometimes with having to write in the date, I would recommend see how long it takes you to actually write the date. My guess is it's probably like five seconds, maybe as much as 15. Um, so I don't think that you should let that get in the way of the kind of planner that is going to actually be useful for you. Um, especially if you're concerned about wasting the, the paper, try an undated planner.
I just basically picked up all of my different planners that I use right now. And some of them that I've used in the past.
Um, I'm not gonna really go into this too much. This is, this one shows more of technique than anything, but this is my little passport size, um, Traveler's notebook.
And here I have my larger size Traveler's notebook. This wallet cover that I have on my, um, weeks fits in here as well. So I can have this whole thing. I think that a lot of people are not gonna wanna carry around this whole thing. The weeks itself is nice and compactas is the B6 Jibun techo or the A6, uh, Hobonichi techo as well if you don't have that big cover on it, but you probably don't wanna just carry it around just like this either. Cuz it's definitely at risk of maybe getting a little bit messed up, but it's a little bit thicker. I mean, depending on how many inserts you have in there, I have a lot, I always like to have a lot of inserts, but the passport size TN, um, also has the option of being very compact.
I am gonna show you just briefly. I think just what, if you, just in case you don't know what a Traveler's notebook is, um, is basically just this flap. That's like a cover. Um, it comes in lots of different styles and sizes and stuff. And then you put these inserts in it. It has just an elastic band on here. Um, and you stick individual notebooks that you can slide in and out of the elastic bands. So you can easily just take one notebook out and put another one in when you have finished one or like this one here is just a sticker book that's just got like sticker paper on it so I can put stickers in there to carry around with me. And so, no matter what inserts I have here, I will always have all of my stickers on here.
I use this one basically as my spiritual like witchy journal. Although I also have on here just like a little monthly, uh, calendar at the beginning, and this is not a planner style, really?
They do sell planner inserts. You can get all kinds of planner inserts for this. Um, I just wanted to mention this because if you think that you might be changing your mind about exactly what you want a lot. This one is you can keep the cover itself. You can have a few inserts. Um, like this folder, actually, I, I made this folder myself, um, that I can like stick stuff in there. You can keep things like that in there, but change up just the individual inserts.
It's not a lot of waste. It's not a lot of expense. You can make your own inserts, which can also really bring the price down. Or you can find printable inserts, um, like on Etsy or on my shop, I'm gonna have some, um, roleplanning system Traveler's notebook inserts going up hopefully soon I've been making them for myself so they're almost ready.
And then the inserts, you can get vertical weeks. You can get horizontal weeks, you can get daily layouts or just dot grid pages that you can use for your bullet journal. You can use any kind of system that you want with the Traveler's notebook. But the same thing is true for the disc system that I was talking about, that you can use any kind of, uh, inserts that you want to go in here.
So I did this to my Rocketbook. Rocketbook also has their own planner. I have not used it, but their new everyday planner looks really cool to me. Um, I would like to try it even though I have not yet used it myself.
So on the topic of Traveler's notebooks or disc bound system or rings honestly, or another, like the filofax type system. I've never used those. I have used just like a three ring binder. Um, I used that for a long time, uh, for a planner. These are all cool kind of styles of books that you can use, that you can put any kind of planner system into.
All of these containers and more are great places where you can use bullet journaling and you will see here that I am using bullet journaling techniques, the like bullets, the X's, the arrows, all of those things. In my horizontal, weekly planner that I'm using right now. I've got the same kind of keys. That is the traditional bullet journaling. I've got circles for events, this like this event right now, that's happening. The coworking session. I've got dots for things that I have to do, like record podcast. Those are the tasks. And then I've got the X on the things that I've done, like playing, uh, Pokemon go yesterday. That was very important. Um, and then just a little dash beside notes and things like, oh, Hey, I got my first member yesterday. Yay.
Bullet journaling is generally meant to be done in just a plain blank notebook. This is, this is a notebook. Have you ever heard of that before? This one in particular is dot grid. A lot of people like to use dot grid for bullet journals. The bullet journaling community has really, uh, made the dot grid notebook really popular, but the exact type of notebook you use is not at all important.
If you have a dot grid notebook or a lined notebook, or even a blank notebook, it's fine. It doesn't matter. You can use, you can have whatever kind of layout you want on the inside of your notebook. Um, but one of the things that's cool about bullet journaling is that all you need to get started is just a notebook.
you can make a bullet journal in a Rocketbook and then you can erase the pages. You can make it in any kind of plain notebook, a composition book that you got for 50 cents is fine. you can use bullet journal in your Filofax if you're super into the, uh, ring system or in your Traveler's notebook.
You can even use bullet journaling kind of techniques in other planners, like, uh, I use it in my Hobonichi weeks. Um, a day planner is great for using bullet journaling techniques, um, because you've already got, you know, your daily spreads here they're already right there for you.
Day planners generally will also include the monthly calendars at the front. So you don't have to make up your own monthly calendars. I know that traditionally bullet journaling does not have the like monthly calendars that have like boxes on it. It's just basically a list of each day of the month. So just like 31 lines for each day of the month.
That's fine. You don't even have to make that. If you have something like the Hobonichi techo you just write your stuff in on the day that it comes. What is nice about the. Traditional bullet journal, the just absolute free form, plain notebook style is that you don't have to think about where anything goes. You just turn to the next page and write whatever you want in there. If you have something where you have your dated kinda pages in the front and blank pages in the back. Like the Hobonichi weeks, which is set up like that on its own, or just something that you've done together yourself by just sticking a blank notebook in the back there.You can create kind of a modified bullet journal system by using the bullets and things that you would for your daily spreads or possibly your weekly spreads if that's how you use your bullet journal in the dated pages. And then you use the back for your collections.
So I'm not going to go too, too deep into what bullet journaling actually is. If you're interested to know more about bullet journaling, I can link a couple of really good posts about it, or really good YouTube videos about it. There's a lot of good resources already out there for how to get started with bullet journaling. I just want to make a case for it here. Bullet journaling is a planner system that was designed by Ryder Carroll, who has ADHD that is something that could work with his brain. It is often misunderstood what it is. It's not an artistic thing. You can put art into it and make it as pretty and artistic as you want it. It can definitely be used as an artistic outlet for you, but bullet journaling itself it's not artistic any more than any other kind of planning is artistic. It also, is not a glorified to do list. This is, um, something that I think a lot of people really miss is the journaling part of bullet journaling.Like the whole thing, the thing that makes bullet journaling what it is. The thing that makes it work for people with ADHD or executive dysfunction, the thing that actually allows it to be easily adapted and used in all different kinds of planners themselves, is this idea of rapid logging.
Rapid logging just really means that when you have a thought, you write it down as succinctly as possible. You just generally will put your list of things, which can be tasks. They can be notes. They can be things that you need to look up later, they can be events. Uh, just whatever you have, you put the signifier. Which is the little dot or circle or whatever that you need to use there.You put the signifier and then you rapid log the content. Using whatever kind of short hand works for you. Obviously make sure that it's something that you're still going to understand later, but you're not writing in complete sentences. Each daily log is a timeline of your day. And that is completely adaptable to your style. It also is really good when you're first trying to get used to using a planner.
The bullet journal is easy to just pick up. You keep a, you know, a bookmark of whatever, kind on the page where your daily log currently is. It's super easy to just pick up and write something down in it. It's faster than your phone is going to be just. Period. It's faster even than taking a digital note will be.
As long as you're carrying your planner with you, you haven't forgotten where it is. And so using a bullet journal, especially in those first few weeks is a really good way to help train yourself to actually pick it up and use it.
And you don't need to do any future planning at that point. In order to actually get accustomed to using your planner. You can just go and buy any kind of small easy to carry around notebook. And you can write like the date on it and you can start bullet journaling in it. And start training yourself to pick it up multiple times a day with very minimal expense, if any, at all.
So even if you don't think that you want to use a bullet, turn a longterm, it's a really good way to get started just with that, learning to look at it again and again and again, because that's where you have to start is with just picking it up, just looking at it.
The creator of bullet journaling, Ryder Carroll, suggests, you know, using a full notebook page so you have plenty of space. Uh, you can give it plenty of white space. Actually, if you look at. Um, any of his examples? There's a lot of white space on each page and that's great. you are meant to let each day just take up however much space it takes up.
So you would generally, like you would start with Monday and maybe you don't have a lot to do on Monday. So it was just a couple of lines. So then you can start Tuesday right below that, and maybe Tuesday is really big. Maybe it takes up all the rest of the page. That's fine. Each day container is just created and adapted to fit your day.
That's. That's why it's really good. For those of us who are worried about like wasting paper and stuff, because each container is sized exactly perfectly to fit whatever needs to go in it that day.
In summary, what the bullet journaling can really offer to someone with executive dysfunction.
You can customize it and make it exactly what you need it to be. It can be adapted and fit to work in with any other kind of planner that you have, or like to use.
It can be very affordable to set up or even free if you just already have a notebook lying around. Which I think most of my people probably have at least one notebook already lying around.
It also can be, uh, if you wanted to kind of hold more impact for you. Um, Sometimes I need to have like a little bit of investment in something in order to actually take it seriously. So you can easily buy like a nice pen for it and a notebook or something that is going to cost more to set up, but also make you feel like are really valuing it. And are going to take it a little bit more seriously.
It can use up kind of as much or as little paper as you need. There's no wasted paper because you're starting each thing just as soon as the other one is finished. There is no like wasted pages from empty dates or if you like go three or four days or weeks or whatever without using it, you can just pick it right back up. There's no judgment. You just continue right where you left off.
Having a blank notebook that you can just fill in with whatever you need to fill in. The value of that cannot really be overstated, when when you're working with the chaos brain. Because as you know, my motto is write that shit down. Don't try to keep it in your head. Keeping it in your head is. It's not working. It's stressing you the fuck out. There's a good chance that it's not staying up in there anyway. It's probably slipping away anyway. There's no reason for you to have all of this stress for a system that is not even working for you. You write it down.
Maybe you write it down and you forget where it is and you can't ever find it again. If you have a bullet journal, at least you can get used to knowing that where your stuff goes is always in the same place that it's always in one place.
That is the big advantage over writing on random slips of paper or post-its. And don't get me wrong. I love post-its. You can't see it from here, but I've got a whole wall of post-its right behind my camera, but for the things that you're trying to remember, having it just in one place makes it a lot easier to find again.
And additionally, even if you can't find it again, writing it down allows you to let go of that stress because you know, that it's recorded. And once you have confidence in your system, you know where approximately it is recorded. This is key. This is everything.
And the one more thing. Rapid logging. It allows you to make, like, to take stock of your day to um, have the things that you have done, the things that you need to do, the things that you have planned to do. All in a sort of timeline. Um, and all in a way that it is easier and faster for you to get it down than it would be even to do it digitally.
So I really, really recommend if you have not tried bullet journaling before, just give it a try, just pick up one of those notebooks you have around the house. And spend the next week practicing. Just picking up your bullet journal you don't even have to write anything in it, but like maybe put the date in it so that you know that you have picked it up on however many days in a row.
So take those- those lessons learned from last week, apply it to the notebook that you already have sitting around your house. Um, And that's how you can get started with making your planner habit.
Now, I do want to give an honorable mention to some digital tools.
I really, really like analog. I think that it is worth trying for a lot of people. I think that the things that people think of as benefits for a digital tool are not actually always beneficial. Like basically that you can keep everything- that space is unlimited. Like, that's not actually as beneficial as it seems, because when space is unlimited, then it's harder to tell what's important and what's really not. When you're not really wanting to go through the effort of writing something down. Or you aren't sure that something is really even worth the paper that you're writing it on. Then you're kind of seeing that maybe this thing is not important enough to be recorded in the first place.
Of course the really strong suit of digital notes versus a bullet journal is the search function. That is the one area that I will grant you that, um, having things digital makes it easier to find them again, if you know what you're looking for.
The advantage that analog has is that it is a lot easier to just flip through and see what's in there that you would have entirely forgotten about.
One of the other things that I really like for using digital notes is when I'm capturing digital information. So the stuff that's just coming out of my head, lots of times I'll want to write that down in my notebook. But if I'm trying to copy some quotes, Or, um, I want to, you know, copy paste a long paragraph or save an image or something like that.
All of that kind of stuff that's already coming from my computer, it's obviously going to be a lot quicker and faster and easier for me to save it. If I just control C and then control V it.
I do keep digital notes, but it, a lot of it is for like overlapping with stuff that I have in my, uh, in my planners. Or it's for expanding on something that I've already taken note of in my planners. I might rapid long something in my bullet journal and then expand it into a whole, like note on my computer later on.
So the tool that I use is called obsidian.md. It's basically just a note taking tool. It's extremely simple and all of the files are stored locally or on like, your own personal cloud, instead of it being something that they keep on their servers. Which I really like. A lot of people love Notion. You can use Notion in a lot of the same ways that you can use Obsidian. Or you can like, there's a lot of things that you can do with Notion that are, uh, beyond the baseline, uh, capabilities of Obsidian.
I just prefer Obsidian for the reasons mentioned before about, uh, basically owning my own files. And I actually really like that it is simple and how I use it, it is just for notes. So any of the kind of plugins that I use are really just for helping me access my notes in the way that I want.
Like Notion, which has a lot of things that are not necessarily just directly notes. It can be lots of other, other stuff too. And that's great if that's what you need. Um, I'm happy for what I'm using Obsidian for to just keep it simple.
So my friend has a really excellent blog post about how they use obsidian that I reference a lot when it comes to kind of structuring my notes in order to get the best use out of them. I will link to their series of postsOne of the things that I do really like about Obsidian also is that there's a setting that can allow it to automatically open to a daily note for today. Um, there's also an, a setting that you can choose to make it really quickly open a new note, just by like swiping down on the, on the screen.
Using these kinds of settings makes it a lot easier. It's basically like bullet journaling, right? You just have to flip to the next page in order to have a blank space to write something down. This, you just have to swipe on the screen in order to have a blank space to control V, get your note down.
Because of this Obsidian is a really great tool to use for bullet journaling. So if you're thinking about going digital, I highly recommend that route.
So in the next episode, I will be continuing on in this sequence. I'm going to talk you through some specific techniques that you can use for bullet journaling or for any other planner, depending of course, on the layouts and setups that you have, but it's ways that you can make your planner more functional for your brain, because even if you have apre printed planner, you don't always have to use it exactly the way that they expect you to.
So you can put some or all of these techniques into use, do some iterations and find exactly what works for you. For now.
So. Until then.
Happy planning. Byeee.