FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Bullet Journals & Passion Planners & Organization, Oh My!

Good morning, Jelly Rolls! Welcome to the first Friday Open Thread of 2018! It’s so nice to see you all in the new year. You’re glowing!

I don’t know about you, but the beginning of a new calendar year is always particularly exciting for me because it means I get to start a new agenda / notebook / planner / journal. This year I’ve decided to try Bullet Journaling, and so far I am Very Into It! A few weeks ago I told Molly that I was going to try some “low key Bullet Journaling” in 2018 and she scoffed and said, “Can anyone really be low key about Bullet Journaling?” and to be fair, no, it turns out one can not. But you can choose to be a little more low key than a lot of the folks on Instagram would have you believe, and that’s the route I’m going for now, at least until I get the hang of it! Then I will be SO HIGH KEY ABOUT IT, just wait! (Spoiler: I am already so high key about it. Sigh. I am who I am!)

I thought it would be fun to focus on the subject of planners and organization this lovely Friday! We’re only 5 days into the new year so most folks who want to pick up new organizational habits in 2018 are still feeling very motivated about those goals – maybe we can share our tips and tricks to keep that motivation going through the year, or you can share why you hate keeping a physical planner and only use Google Cal (which, to be fair, I also use and love, along with my Bullet Journal!), or you can just show me pictures of your planner because I wanna see them, I do! (Seriously: PLEASE SHOW ME PICTURES OF YOUR PLANNERS!) You may remember that most of Autostraddle’s team is obsessed with Passion Planners – are you part of the PP crowd? I’m using a plain Moleskine for my Bullet Journal but I put a sticker on the front that I received like, a year ago, from the Feminist Sticker Club, that I have been saving for something Very Special. Isn’t it perfect?

Also, if you are an avid Bullet Journal-er, I have some newbie questions that I’ll throw out here:

  1. Do you include bullets about your feelings each day, or is your daily log strictly a to-do list?
  2. Which daily log spreads do you like best, and how do you organize your journal so you don’t run out of space with your daily logs?
  3. Do you use habit trackers, and if so which habits do you track?
  4. What’s your favorite spread or collection in your bullet journal that is super original or specific to you?
  5. Do you follow certain Bullet Journal-ers on YouTube or Instagram? Do you have any favorites you’d recommend for inspiration?

Here are some pages from my Bullet Journal:

Okay, show me your Bullet Journal please! Or your other planner! Or complain about organization or Bullet Journaling specifically or anything you believe I’m wrong about! (Sorry, Jughead is definitely lesbian culture.) If you don’t feel like talking about your planner or your journal you can always tell us about your day! Thanks for being here – I can’t wait to chat.

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. Woah. I wish I could be that organized, I am constantly stressing out my roommate and everyone around me with the way I remember what I’m supposed to be doing, and quite frankly I’m stressing myself a bit too! HELP ME. I pretty much just rely on sheer will power to remember due dates, test dates, appointments, and homework assignments, and if it does get written down somewhere it’s usually a sticky note that I stick up on the wall behind my bed. Very rarely do things make it into the ever elusive Google Calendar. My roommate loves Google Calendar but I have never really been able to get myself to put more than a couple things in there. WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE THIS STOP? PLEASE HELP ME SAVE ME FROM MYSELF!

    • Is there a time every day when you can plan to take time to organize your planner and to do list? Or maybe places you can put visual reminders to add to/look at your Google calendar?

      I’m pretty terrible at this too, but managed to make myself take time each night to do it before bed and it has been a huge help.

    • oh my gosh this would stress me out a lot! mostly because i never remember everything if i don’t write it down, so i would basically never meet a deadline or see a friend or go to an appointment ever again!

      i think rachel w has some solid advice – setting aside 5 minutes a day to just take a deep breath and deal with organizational planning could be useful! alternatively, i like to write down a thing IMMEDIATELY once i plan it otherwise i literally don’t remember it exists. i have the google calendar app on my phone and i add stuff in there and now that i have my bullet journal i’ve been carrying it around with me everywhere and i write things down in there immediately, too. basically i feel like once you decide on a plan you should give yourself 2 months to like, aggressively go for it! pick either google or a planner or something (maybe even just a whiteboard behind your bed! instead of a post it note?) and decide if you’re gonna make time each day or do it immediately or some combo and then just give it a go.


    • I keep a little stack of cut-in-half index cards in my pocket at all times. That way anything I know I’ll want to take care of (assignments, ideas I had, EVERYTHING, no matter how small) gets written down no matter where I am. Otherwise it just knocks around in my head distracting me until I take care of it. (Or I forget.)

      Of course, most the time I find out about something I need to do, I’m at my laptop, so I can just put it straight in one of my to-do lists.

      I’d say structure things however tightly or loosely you need to, but 1) don’t try to store any information in your head, and 2) look at all your information often enough that you’ll trust yourself to catch it.

      Personally, I only use a calendar for appointments and things I know I don’t need to think about for another month or two.

      • Thanks for all the advice! I know I need to change my wicked ways and maybe I’ll be able to do it in the New Year! AKA 20-Gay-Teen

        • one last suggestion: a to-do matrix. I use this one:

          and it’s really helped my to-do list seem less over-whelming and let me focus on essentials. I tend to do whatever is easiest on my list otherwise which is often not the most urgent and then the more important things become even more stressful when delayed.

          None of this comes naturally to me either, but I’ve made some great progress this past 6months and I have faith you can too! :)

  2. I can’t get into the planner/journal/notebook life, which bums me out because I love the idea and the aesthetic. I use one iPhone Note for my to-dos and another for my schedule, and I keep the Notes app open at all times so I see it whenever I pick up my phone and can update it or be reminded of things as needed.

    I use the Notes system in tandem with starring emails that need to be acted upon and/or stay top of mind, and I immediately move emails out of my inbox and into folders after that (my most-used email account has 47 labels and corresponding filters set up). I work 4 to 6 side hustles in addition to my full-time job, and somehow this approach has evolved to become all I need to stay organized and meet deadlines ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Wonderful how simple this is, and yet it captures everything it seems.

      The one part I find hard is getting the emails out of my inbox, other than archiving in catch-all folders by year. I rely on keyword searching, which may or may not be the most successful way to go.

      • I find keyword-searching super helpful if I’m looking for something very specific, like one or two emails or chains. Filters and labels are basically keyword-search shortcuts, so instead of running a search for every email from a particular address and then doing a narrower search to find the specific message I’m looking for within that data set, I click the label that applies to everything from that address (overriding the need to run the less-specific search) and do the narrower search from there. I hope that makes sense – I reread it too many times and now nothing means anything.

        TL;DR, setting up filters so emails automatically get labeled, color-coded, and/or sent to the correct folder is how only the ~5 out of every 50 emails that are the most important/time-sensitive appear in my actual inbox, but it’s still easy to see everything else and find specific messages.

        • Oh, how I love automated filters ! I’m a big Hazel fan (MacOS), and I so wish there was a robust Hazel equivalent for my mail.

          Thanks for all your tips, this really inspires me. Since we’re in a super coldsnap right now, I feel justified spending the day indoors just geeking out.

        • your inbox sounds like the stuff of my dreams! i may be very on top of my bullet journal, but my gmail inbox is a place of dark nightmares. maybe in 2019 i’ll tackle that issue. one step at a time, right? ;)

  3. Oooooh this is perfect. I just bought myself a moleskin-esque notebook that I love, but I never know what to use it for. Any attempts I have made to journal in the past have failed spectacularly… I tend to start writing, decide that what I’m writing is crap, and then I tear the used pages out and never touch the notebook again.

    SO. If anyone has tips for keeping a very lowkey journal, I would be eternally grateful! I was thinking of making it a gratitude project or something, to keep myself sane in these crazy times. But I think I’d do well with prompts too. Does anyone have a list of prompts that they have used?

    Happy Friday!!!

    • For a while I kept a daily list of three positive things that happened during the day, that was pretty lowkey and enjoyable

    • I find when I’m overwhelmed with journaling to just make a bulleted list instead of “writing” it all. So it might be “things I felt today to deal with later” or “good things that happened today” or “shit that pissed me off” and somehow it takes the pressure off writing pretty/coherent sentences, which I find helpful.

    • I feel this a lot. I think what helped me was knowing that with a bullet journal, if I messed up a page, I could just start again on the next fresh page. Getting erasable pens and white-out tape also helped with feeling overwhelmed about making mistakes and not writing at all (although ymmv: I was in Japan at the time where those two things are super easy to find).

      Whenever I don’t have energy to do a whole page, I’ll either skip it and forgive myself for being human, or instead I’ll just use the space to vent my anxieties (like really messy journalling I guess), or just use it as scratch paper, or whatever I need at the time. Writing down quotes/gluing in pictures or things that spoke to me sometimes helped get me through too.

    • i think all of the above are great suggestions! lists and bullet points rly help me organize my thoughts quickly and easily and i stick with that system longer than when i try to write out ALL THE FEELINGS I HAVE EVER HAD.

      also, a friend once told me she likes journaling in a paper notebook rather than typing anything on a computer because it forces her to slow down and pick and choose what she writes about, and she finds that process – what she chooses to write about and what gets left out either intentionally or just because she runs out of steam – to be just as interesting as the stuff that does get written down! so that is soothing to me, the idea that NOT writing about everything is actually also an interesting choice.

      whatever you decide to do, enjoy your new journal!

  4. I get really excited about various journaling and planning things I do around the new year!!! I make my own calendar pages that are my primary planning tool, though I use google calendar and daily/weekly to do lists on scrap paper to get through everything. I tend to just make a few months at a time, usually around the length of a school term and then a summer calendar. When I first started doing this I had more time and would hand marble the pages, it was beautiful! now I just keep it simple and fast. It tends to look a lot like any standard calendar, but I’ve developed a short hand for different responsibilities, like classes and work, and it works! I get things done and its great! Here’s this month and next as an example, it’s not fully filled out cause my term hasn’t started but soon each box will be full of assignments and deadlines.


      also these pages look awesome! i love making my own calendars with my own shorthand so much.

      • hahaha I don’t know if hand marbling is actually a real term, but basically marbling paper myself, so its all colorful and swirly! It’s beautiful!! I found a simple kit at the craft store of marbling ink and you drop drops into a tray of water, swirl, and then lay the paper in and it soaks up the pattern.Turns out I took a couple pictures one of the last times I did it, so I can share!

  5. I tried keeping a journal last year, lasted all the way until May, then gave up for some reason. I can write fiction pretty much every day but I can’t keep a journal for some reason! As for organisation I just have calendar I keep on my desk with boxes for each day so I have space to write about events. It’s done wonders for my memory and saved me a bunch of post it notes.

    I’d say this year is off to a great start because I finally saw HAMILTON on wednesday. Me and my best friend have had these tickets for a year and I am telling you it was SOO WORTH IT. I was worried we wouldn’t see much because we were in the grand circle but we had a good view of the whole stage from up high. I laughed, I cried and I have been listening to the soundtrack Non-Stop*(See what I did there?;).

    *If you have time watch this animatic somebody made for it:

  6. The amount of detail and planning that Bullet Journalling takes is just so amazing to me. There’s no way I could ever do something like that but it is soooo pretty to look at!!!!! I’m on team Passion Planner this year and so far I’ve only entered doctor’s appointments in it so that’s very fun. I’m telling myself that having a planner will help me make my goal of launching a blog this year but I’m having all kinds of shit feelings about writing. I feel like no one will want to read what I have to write and I have no business sharing my thoughts. Getting out of that headspace is hard. Regardless, I’m really excited for this new year. I’m excited to put a lot of energies into becoming more healthy and to traveling and moving and just living life. And I’m really excited for it to not be 10 degrees outside but that may take awhile.

    • i totally hear you on having thoughts of self-doubt or negativity re: one’s own writing and/or any craft. i had similar feelings before starting my personal blog. i know sometimes nothing can help shake that feeling, but i do just want to go on record saying your thoughts and ideas are valid and important and sharing your story is valuable and i always want more queer humans to start more blogs. we should all start blogs and stop talking on facebook and own our ideas instead of letting mark zuckerburg own them ;) (kidding not kidding…)

      anyway, when you do launch your blog please share the URL so we can read it and support you!

      i’m excited for you and your new year :)

  7. I’ve tried so hard to be organized in a creative way, but I’m just not a visually minded or crafty person. I have settled for my google calendar, which is synced to my work calendar (finally!), which is also on my phone. I’m thinking of trying (again) to make a vision board, though!

    • knowing yourself and how you best stay organized is the best! as long as your system works for you, you’re winning!

      also i love vision boarding so much.

  8. Autostraddle convinced me I needed a Passion Planner. I’ve had it for like 3 days now and I’m pretty into it. The hourly breakdown is definitely more intense than I realistically need, but it makes me feel so ridiculously organized which is a very good thing for me.

    • i was v close to getting a passion planner (alaina even showed me an article about how to bullet journal IN a passion planner) but for this year i think i’m sticking with my bullet journal. i love how much everyone loves passion planners tho, especially because the creator is queer!

  9. I use Habitica for to do lists and habits because I am That Kind Of Nerd.

    I really envy people who can journal. I can never put the important things in my life into words. Which is even worse because I’m the kind of person who has a lot of opinions and can never get 99% of them out.

    (with the exception about the occasional ill-judged workplace rant about code quality … if only I could write my thoughts in SQL)

  10. AHHH! Planners! <3 I am a fan of the Passion Planner for sure. My partner got me one three years ago and I've used one every year since then.
    I color code, using a different color for the major things I write in: my sports league in general, work, regular everyday life stuff, stuff with my partner, and sports stuff that is specific to my team. That covers my life, pretty much, and I choose the colors based on what colors I actually want to look at (I tried orange last year as it's my work's brand color, hated it!). I track my vitamins and my water intake, as well as if I go to the gym at work, on my weekly pages. I also track my weight but that's less important.
    I posted last summer in the planner thread, and the same holds true now- I stuff anything and everything into my planner that I want to remember. The back pages have graph paper and blank pages, so I input workout lists, books I've read, phone numbers or emails/passwords etc. that I need to remember, my student loan account balance each time I have to reapply to pay a less amount, birthdays, etc. The month view I track things if they're planned for a day but don't have a time yet or the date might change, because there's nothing worse than having to whiteout something on a weekly page! I also draw tarot for the year, and this year I've pulled for something positive every month, so that's in the monthly view as well. I also love stickers, and use them whenever and wherever, and I use washi tape or other types of tape (Michael's!) to give the edges some fanciness <3

    This week's spread:

  11. I used to bullet journal and then I realized I spent more time making pretty layouts than getting things done, so I stopped. I did enjoy it, it just became a tool of procrastination for me. When I was doing it, I would have a monthly spread (because I have to see the month laid out) and a weekly spread because I had/have a lot of ongoing tasks that I didn’t want to write out every day. I really like Boho Berry and Tiny Ray of Sunshine, they were a good mix of pretty and also practical and not super Jesus-y like many of the BuJo peeps online are. Most of my lists were very book centric because I’m a librarian and that’s how I roll, but then I discovered Airtable and now it’s all in there and SO ORGANIZED AND PRETTY AND WONDERFUL.

    I’m a loyal member of the Passion Planner club. This year I switched from the compact to the classic size and I LOVE it. I love everything about the PP. I love the focus on goals, and how it separates my personal and work to do lists, I love how easy it makes integrating both tasks and appointments, I love the section about focus for the day/week and the Good Things that Happened. I’ve honed a color coding system that works very well for me. Blue is work – so both my work day and when I’m on the Reference desk. Orange is work programs/meetings. Green is health related things – therapy, working out (when I do it) etc. Purple is fun. Pink is writing.

    After looking at lots of stickers and habit trackers and accessories online, I just made my own habit trackers. My #1 health goal is to drink more water so I have a daily tracker for that and also a habit tracker for: Water (if I drink at least 60 oz I get to color it, the ultimate goal is 80oz), meditation (a new intention for me) and taking my vitamins (I started Care/Of which come in little packs and it’s super helpful!!) I am hoping to get a handle on the water thing and then move to a goal of working out more in a few months but BABY STEPS!

    I tend to write quotes and generally sappy inspirational stuff in my Space of Infinite Possibility, but this week I wrote my Word of the Year and why I picked it.

    • Thanks for sharing! I got my first Passion Planner this year after reading about it on Autostraddle. The weekly pages are a bit much, but I’ve been trying to write about something good each day (after getting in a holiday funk) and it seems to be going well so far.

      I need to work on a color coding system, but one thing at a time.

  12. Ooh, nice job on the bullet journal, Vanessa! More power to you and all y’all who can do that. I’ve tried…many times…and it just hasn’t stuck. Oops.
    I bought a Day Designer planner from the Target and it’s seemed to work so far. I think I just needed something already outlined out for me if that makes sense.
    I needed a paper planner, though. I take out time for myself every week to plan my week and it’s helped a lot. I still do things electronically, though; I use Habitica and Todoist. Because points and armor and stuff. I’m an adult. :P

  13. I planned my way through 2014 (first year in transition), but this year I’m not yet feeling the planner urge. I am wanting to add some self-care to my repertoire.

    First off is a tiny pocket Moleskine weekly planner to use as a diary — there are just some things I want to keep track of with tiny notes. (How did I sleep? Did I meditate that morning? How did that Dr. visit go? Did anything happen that I’m going to want to remember at the end of the year?)

    Next is to use the self-assessment and self-care templates that Kaelin linked to in last weekend’s Sunday Funday. Really good stuff. And the meditation — something I’ve done half-heartedly, off-and-on over the years, but it’s time to make a steady thing of it. (I’m making use of the Calm app that Heather mentioned a couple of months ago. It fits me perfectly.)

    Oh, and I’m going to be paying attention to what y’all say about planners. ‘Cause that planning thing worked out really well for me in ’14, and it’ll be worth giving it a shot again this year.

  14. Your journals look really organized, cool, and cute. I tried to do something like this as a young teen(with glitter pen), but never went through with it. It was a small puzzle piece in telling me that I wasn’t cis-het dude. I have gone pretty much paperless as I use my phone, paired with my Surface 3(the small one) with the active pen, for everything. Google Cal on my phone(synced to Windows), and OneNote and Microsoft Journaling app Plumbago for notes, to-do lists, and anything else handwritten. I like it as works fairly well for me, and I can use my tablet to get browse autostraddle and use the keyboard to type.

    How is everyone’s New Years going? I spend my Saturday night with a fellow Jewish Trans woman at a local Riot Grrrl show as part of a benefit for the houseless in the area. We then went to the Latinx lgbtq bar next door for the Drag show(which features twoc, while most everyone who performs is non-white). It was a very good night. I spent my New Years ad a house party hosted by a lovely twoc, and her partner(my friend) a cool (southern)trans man. There was loads of queers, snacks, drinks, and Mary. Good times.

    I spent my Monday just watching tv as I decided to spend my day off doing nothing. However, Sunday morning I spent my day off-roading in a place called Hungry Valley about an hour north of L.A. Had a really good time, despite all the bros in ATVs and buggies looking at me with their homophobic/transphobic look on their face(you know the one). I had my green lipstick on and was driving a luxury-ish off-roader with pink(for breast cancer support) license plate cover. I may now want to start and autostraddle/lgbtq off-roaders club to counter act the cis-het guys there. Maybe call it team U-Hauling in honor of Ellen and Emma getting married, and because we would be hauling and kicking cis-het ass(I hope)! Either way I plan to do this again at some point in the near future. Please feel free to message me if you want to join in.

    View from the top of the trails I drove.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

    p.s. wish me luck, I am talking to a cute Latinx gal on OhGayCupid who called me and I’d like to met her(and her dog too).

      • Well let’s hope. Right now it’s at the I sent a message, now just waiting for a reply phase, but why does it show they are available/online. Ugh why can’t asking women out be less awkward and less of a game?

      • I may meet up with this woman during the weekend. She said asked if I noticed her trying. omg I think this the second time ever and first time someone said that to me directly. I such an awkward queer gal-ish person.

  15. Happy FOT pals! Hi Vanessa! I have a huge aversion to passion planners and bullet journals and anything that seems Goal Oriented from my many years of pretending that I would become a goal-oriented person, overdoing it for precisely 1.5 days, setting myself up for spectacular failure, and deciding I just sucked at follow-through. I haven’t figured out how to be sustainably goal-oriented, and that’s ok! The heart wants what it wants! (There’s no way I’m really a Capricorn, tho.)

    I DO have some important focuses for the coming year, though: getting the fuck off Twitter! Reading and writing more! Doing hobbies! Being a person in the world and not just an office-worker zombie! I could get a record player and some records! Who’s to say?!

    Wishing all of you, and your bullet journals, a warm and cozy weekend.

    • I feel ya on Twitter. I don’t think I can completely get off of it because it is so hard to get all the women’s soccer news I want without it. BUT I made a woso specific account that follows only that and I’m going to lock myself out of my regular account.

        • I have turned to instagram for my dog content. Sussie’s Senior Dogs melts/breaks my heart. And I follow most of the Australian women’s national football team which fills my feed with a pleasant combination of sunshine, dogs, and queer women. The ones that don’t have the decency to be gay are at least obsessed with their dogs. And there’s no Trending Topics tempting me to click and get enraged by f*ckery.

    • Honestly, I’ve been blocking myself with “freedom” from fb and Twitter (and this site) 23 out of 24 hours of the day since the new year.
      It really cuts down on the randomly picking up your phone and scrolling issue and I feel a little less controlled by the robot overlords.
      A little.

    • I’m still on Twitter but never look at it directly. I use Nuzzel to see what articles are being posted by the people I follow. I mostly follow nerdy things and The Lesbian Review.

      And I’m so glad that The Lesbian Review posts like a Boss, because they gloriously fill up my list with joyful stuff, just marvelous.
      And then if ever I want to glimpse what’s happening in the demon realms, there’s a Friends of Friends curated list which goes outside my safe zone. I’m not in denial, but I do feel that for some topics, I only need a teensy bit of info.

    • I am also very goal adverse. One of my jobs requires goal setting with parents and I have a very difficult time with it! At the same time, I love making a plan. I was taking with a friend and thinking maybe it’s process over product. I don’t know.

      I’ve wanted to be a parent since I was little, and this past year we started foster parenting. Sometimes I feel like a parent but other times not. So it goes. Sometimes it’s just what I wanted, and sometimes it’s not, but isn’t that how life goes.

    • it only took me like maybe an hour? I spent zero time on making it look cute. Just functional. Very basic.

  16. @floralprintdress i legit came back here for you & this open thread lmao. But i’m at work right now, so i can’t share any pics of my planner.

    I actually used one last year, for the very first time, & i’m still kinda ambivalent about it. I mean, i really like being able to write everything down that i need to, & i, uh, went & ended up buying more than one book of stickers especially for planners… but even then, there’s something about them that’s weird to me. (So yeah, i bought the fancy planners & stuff. In my defense, they are always either on sale or there were coupons i could use.)

    I also asked for (& got) two nice lil books for Birthmas: Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, and the 52 Lists for Happiness. I’m hoping they’ll help me find good things in life, even when it sucks & when i’m struggling– which is most of the time, in some fashion, tbh.

    In other news, i’m engaged, & there’s been HUGE office drama today, so i just want the work day to be over so i can go home (through the bitter, brutal cold) & become a blanket-wrapped potato.

  17. I have noticed that I’m better at grad school when I have a bullet journal, so I’ve been at it for a year and it really helps! I supplement with stuff on Google Cal, mostly for events that I know will happen while I’m on the go, and organizing poly life.

    In 2017 I had just a blank notebook and I liked that, but this year I went up in quality and got one that has dots so that I can draw boxes freehand if I need. I experience pretty significant SAD, & PMDD in addition to standard-issue depression, so am trying to track emotions this year, to try and get a handle on patterns. I’m also trying to be disciplined about meal planning, so I don’t get to class days and fail to bring food, and end up having to buy a $10 sandwich, which is the Worst.
    I like having quotes and poetry sprinkled throughout my BuJo, so have handwritten that all in.

  18. I need to work on my planner. I have a sort of passion planner thing, but I’ve neglected it for a couple months now. :(

    But here’s the only entry in it that matters: July 18, 2018 GOING HOME!!!!

    I bought my tickets this morning and got a great deal- half of what I expected to pay. I’ll get to spend at least 4 weeks with my folks and see my aunt and uncle who are still confused that I can call them from France.

    Plus my trip will include a visit to the west coast- definitely Las Vegas and possibly LA to visit dear friends (my first time to both places).

    I’m so relieved and excited after 4 years of not being able to afford to go home.

    I made a vision board at the start of last year and the year was a bit rough so I felt like I probably hadn’t managed to do much. But looking back, I made progress on many of the things on the board: changing jobs, working on keeping a post-academia career open, making enough money to pay bills and save, keeping better in touch with people… It was really uplifting to find it and realize I’d had a reasonably successful year. I’m going to make a new one soon.

    Now, please convene the Prayer Circle and/or Coven for TyLoup so that he either takes his leave peacefully in his sleep before July 17 or he hangs in there until the end of August.

    Last night he put his head on my lap and closed his eyes and my heart both broke into a million pieces (because it reminded me so much of how sleepy he was recovering from his first stroke) and made it grow 3 sizes.

    • Sending good thoughts and vibes to TyLoup… Lol about your folks being confused you can call them from France. I live in France as well. Are you based in Paris?

      • Yeah, my aunt and uncle are in their 80s and my uncle has also told me on multiple occasions when he’s worried about me to “get on the next boat home”. ILY Uncle, but… there are no boats home these days. :)

        I’m in Nantes. I’m not sure I’d EVER make it home if I had to pay Parisian-levels of rent. :p is that where you’re at?

        • aww love the boat comment! your uncle is too cute. it also took my fam a while to understand that i wasn’t paying an arm and a leg to make an international phone call. yes i’m in Paris! it’s true rents are crazy here though i’ve heard nantes isn’t exactly cheap.

          • well, not if I compare it to the apartments I had in college, but for a bigger city they really aren’t bad. but the taxe d’habitation, dear lord. but it is hard to find the right place, being a much smaller city there aren’t a million choices.

            I’d be willing to pay Paris rents if I could afford them AND have a reasonable commute. I do love Paris and even if Nantes is very lively, it’s still no capital. But being able to bike to work in 25min or get there as quickly by tram if I don’t want to face the rain has spoiled me. Years ago when I played rugby against a Paris team a girl told me about her 1h30+ commute to uni and I thought I had misunderstood, I was like, “Sorry I clearly don’t understand your French, that doesn’t sound possible.” I know here’s was an extreme case, but even 45min feels impossible to me now. :p

        • Nantes.

          Now I’ve got Barbara singing in my head, that’s wonderful ! (cue B on my iTunes)

    • Sending positive vibes and thoughts to you you and TyLoup.

      If you do come to L.A. please do check out Cuties Coffee(the Planet as seen on Autostraddle), the queer women(I think they are a married) owned coffee shop.

      • That is the only thing on my LA to-do list so far! I was super jealous of that whole Planet recreation experience, even if I do struggle with mornings. Maybe especially because I struggle with mornings. :p Thanks for the name, I couldn’t remember what it was called!

  19. Autostraddle convinced me to give the passion planner a try for 2018 :-) I use the blank pages at the back for bullet journaling lists (books, movies,diy projects etc). I use gcal for actual scheduling (appointments and such), since my phone is really the only object I am sure to have with me at all times. So the paper planner stays at home and is meant to help me get my days into shape. I haven’t been working much lately and I find it hard to get organized to do all the other things I need to do. I don’t use the hourly breakdown and instead have broken down the weekly layout columns into three sections : 1/ appointments with others and with myself (i.e. I schedule “gym” like an appointment) 2/ nagging tasks that I’ve managed to complete that day 3/ a few words about what I did that day in general. I’ve replaced the to-do lists at the bottom of the page with habit trackers : exercise, foot self-care (it helps with my back pain, go figure), meditation, learning german. So I complete section 1 on Sundays to have a view of my coming week, and I fill out the other sections every evening. Scheduling in “physical activity” on a paper planner, as well as including that in my habit tracking, has already helped a lot, since I have done something to that effect every day, five days in a row, which has never before happened in my life. It helps that I’m not too picky as to what constitutes “physical activity” – it def doesns’t have to be a full-blown gym workout, if I’ve walked outside for 10 minutes I still give myself a smiley face. I also really like section 2 (logging nagging tasks I’ve managed to tackle) because it feels like positive reinforcement instead of staring down the abyss of a to-do list I haven’t begun to handle and feeling pure unabashed guilt. I’m including a pic of my first week’s layout since Vanessa asked so nicely :-) and also to prove that you don’t have to be creative or visually-minded or have neat handwriting to keep this kind of planner/journal. As you can see my only effort at decoration is bits of washi tape. It’s def low-key and not pretty but it’s helpful!! Side note: when I do get back to working more I will not use the PP for any work-related purpose, I think I see it kind of like a “improving my quality of life” planner. Work does not compute in improving my quality of life, it’s just a necessary evil!

  20. Happy friday! I used the passion planner last year. It was pretty good except I noticed a lot of the designated spots for specific topics or prompts went unused. I just learned about bullet journals and am trying it out this year. So far so good. But most definitely did not invest any time into making it look nice. I figured that if it stuck and worked for me, maybe next month I can try harder to make it look cute. So far I am happy that I have not fucked up the page numbers.

    I am using a black lined journal. Honestly I don’t know the brand bc I covered it up with a you do you sticker and one of Korin’s Bang Bang Craft Narwhal Stickers.

    Good luck to all the folks trying new organization methods.

  21. First-time commenter, I’ve been bullet journalling since March 2016, so almost two years now. I started out with a little more than the basics (per the original Bullet Journal website/video) but my journal has morphed into less of a strict agenda/to-do, and more of an agenda/to-do/diary/art journal all in one. I get really into making them artsy with collaging and tape and things (it is more art therapy than coloring is tbh) and I ended up starting an art instagram primarily for my bullet journalling because so many of my friends were fans (over at @cozyfemmeart, shameless plug).

    1. Besides to-do’s, I like to include basic things I did that day in my daily logs (for memory’s sake), but I also started writing down good things that happened/that I was thankful for as a gratitude log and it’s been really interesting (and even surprising sometimes) to look back on it.

    2. When I have extra free time/energy, I like to plan out free-flowing, create-as-you-go spreads! But most of the time I use familiar spread designs with more boxes/designated spaces in them because lbr, I’m low on time and energy most of the time. I switch things up based on what I need, too. I’ve made spreads with big spaces for lesson plans, foreign language vocab/grammar practice, and other specific things based on jobs and classes and what I needed at the time. I love the flexibility of bullet journalling. If I’m out of ideas, I scroll through tumblr/instagram tags for inspiration; there are so many people out there coming up with so many good ideas and sharing them and I love looking at what other people come up with!

    3. I have 7+ months of habit tracking my mood, sleep and medication in my bullet journal; mostly for mental health/therapy reasons, but it was really interesting to see the connection between them all (I graphed it out and visually it looks pretty cool too).

    4. This spread I made last June (themed for Boston Pride, ofc) and I’m really happy with it; I love when the images I find and put together on a whim work better together than expected. (I also cut out these triangles from a random magazine four months previous and finally found a spread they fit into, so that was cool too.)

    Anyway, I love bullet journalling and organization and I have a lot of emotions about it. Happy Friday folks!

    • Hey, welcome to the Friday Open Thread! I love the image you included. It’s so fun, and still so organized! It’s awesome that you’ve been able to sort of combine journaling, gratitude, planning, habit-tracking, and art/collage/creating all together. Very cool!

  22. There’s nothing wrong with planners they just make my dyslexic, dysgraphia having self anxious. Anything I have to use my hands to write on that’s not ruled loose leaf paper does ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    But I came to FOT to SHARE a thing that I just learned while doing research for the fiction thing currently infecting my brain.

    It’s wild y’all and I can’t believe I made to this point in my life without hearing about this:

    The Queen Calafia.
    A black amazon queen and her glitzy airforce of man-eating griffins ridden by her gold bedecked subjects. They come from some paradise island called Califorina where the only metal is gold, “populated by black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons”

    From a book “Las sergas de Esplandián” by this dude Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo in like 1500

    “estaba poblada por mujeres negras, sin que existiera allí un hombre, pues vivían a la manera de las amazonas.”

    “Sus armas eran todas de oro y del mismo metal eran los arneses de las bestias salvajes que ellas acostumbraban domar para montarlas, porque en toda la isla no había otro metal que el oro.”

    The downside is of course is that Montalvo created Queen Calafia to tame her, remind readers that Muslims are the enemy(calafia=califa:khalifa), and in no way like Christians at all, they’re just as pagan and upside as an Amazon warriors.

    So I’m thinking of naming a combat piloting school or something after her in the universe my brain is building on a planet which the population skews African-American, Caribbean, Hispanic, and South Asian and it’s home to the best naval academy in the galaxies and innovative flight craft research

    Because fuck taming regal queens.

  23. Any of you all use the Getting Things Done system?

    I couldn’t make bullet journaling work with my admin job, though I love the idea. And it sort of makes sense that the (pretty corporate) GTD system worked better for my desk-job working self. But I LOVE it. I don’t lose track of things anymore.

  24. Hey Lignicolous,

    I’m still hanging in there with GTD. I’m totally electronic since 1999 when I got my first Palm Pilot. Before that I was a committed Day-Timers user, not that my planners looked anything like the beautiful creations that have been showcased in this thread. But now I’m in front of a computer all day and all evening too, so I’m all about the bytes baby.

    I used to use OmniFocus with great success until I had a breakdown a few years back. Since then I don’t have the same level of focus (haha) to get back into it, so I’ve been using simpler (cheaper) alternatives. I use Reminders for my lists, and Mail by default is my biggest source of Stuff to do and my biggest data repository. At work it’s Outlook of course, which really works well in that environment.

    My main criteria are ubiquitousness and ease of entry. I just don’t have the attention I used to have to fuss over things, unless it’s scripting/automating. I can spend a lot of time in Hazel and IFTTT. And The Brain. I love The Brain.

    I try to write in my Journal every day (Day One but I think I’ll switch back to MacJournal). If I’m having problems writing I’ll just close my eyes and type away (peeking every now and then to make sure my fingers are mostly on the right keys). I used to do the Artist’s Way morning pages but that too fell when my brain fell. Now I don’t pressure myself. If I happen to write by hand (horrible handwriting for sure) I take a picture and put that in my journal.

    I’ve discovered much to my chagrin that some cherished apps can disappear overnight, so I try to future proof as much as I can.

    I know, I know. NOTHING of what I do comes anywhere close to the sheer awesome beauty of all your Bullet Journals, folks. But it gets me through the days, and my less-than-sprightly brain can find stuff even after more than a decade. And tbh, databases, lists, spreadsheets, mind maps, that stuff really turns me on. :-D

  25. For other non-planner and non-making-things-cute ppl, I got well into my 28th year with never having a planner. My sixth grade teacher kept me after school to try to teach me about tabs and colorcoding and I was just ‘nope.’ I would throw away the planners they gave me in school on day 1. Then in therapy this fall I learned I need structure, and I’m working on building structure, and habits, and Passion Planner helps a lot. Mine is NOT CUTE, only pencil, no color coding, and I only use the boxes I care about and I’ve repurposed a couple. It’s helping me a lot, but I opted into it at the right time because it was a tool to solve problems I had, not because it was something I ‘should’ do to be more adult or whatever.

    • In high school we got extra credit for bringing our planner to class, which I dutifully did. Then the teacher said we had to show that we were using the planner to get the extra credit, which I was not doing, so I stopped bringing it to class. A few years ago I got a job where I schedule home visits with 30+ families, and finally decided I needed some type of planner. So I agree on only using planners when necessary.

  26. I love bullet journals! Mainly they’re a customizable calendar, and mine is messy and not worth sharing on here but it feels good to organize my to-do lists.

    Sometimes though it makes things harder because I think that what I need is more long-term vision planning when what I really need is more living in the moment. When I log everything I wind up trying to control every aspect of my life. So I’m still playing with the bullet journal and finding balance with it.

    Sometimes you just need a $10 planner from Walgreens though; sometimes the less you need to customize something the better.

    • yes, i definitely agree with all aspects of this comment. i can see myself getting a little too obsessed with my bullet journal in a bad way…i’ll have to watch out for that.

      thanks for sharing your thoughts — it’s so wild to me (in a good way!) how many emotions and deep feelings we all hold around organization and planning and agendas!

  27. i so deeply admire people who bullet journal; one of my coworkers does it and every time she pulls out her notebook the rest of us ooh and ahh because it’s so tidy and lovely.
    unfortunately for my aesthetic sensibilities, i am a scatterbrained mess, so my “journal” is a coffee-stained, battered-from-living-at-the-bottom-of-a-backpack moleskine that contains everything from poetry to scraps of short fiction to diary-ish entries to aimless musings and ramblings. so it’s like an all-purpose bullet journal, but messy and ugly. i really love it though and it goes everywhere with me.
    i just bought a new moleskine and one of my new year’s resolutions is to take my writing more seriously and write more often. i think about writing and i draft things in my head, but i rarely actually put them down on paper. i will this year, though!
    all of my planning happens online. my entire life is contained in my calendar (meticulously color-coded for school, work, internship, personal, unlike my notebook). i use two list apps: CARROT for chores, groceries, etc. and Wunderlist for homework and things with due dates. it’s kind of a ridiculous system but it works for me so who cares!
    off the topic of journaling, i just got a really great haircut and i’m very happy about it. i’m taking that as a good omen for 2018.

    • HELLO first of all mazel tov on your awesome new hairs! that’s such a good feeling. hell yeah 2018.

      i totally hear ya re: the battered haphazard moleskine. that is usually me, and honestly for my personal writing it will probably continue to be me. i don’t want to put anything too personal or intimate in my bullet journal because i want it to be a planner-style thing that i’m comfortable flipping through with others / showing people etc., so i’m keeping a separate journal for all my writing etc. this one is strictly organization and lists. so far so good! i’ve always kept paper lists, so it’s really just a good excuse to get all my lists in one place.

      i’m curious about the apps you use. i’m trying to get my life more offline rather than invest more time online (because of unhealthy phone and internet habits on my part) but i’m still curious!

      • Wunderlist is a more traditional planner/to-do list with a lot of features and functions like making multiple lists for different classes and adding due dates and notes and reminders to each task, which is why i like it for homework. CARROT doesn’t have any of those functions — it’s basically just a checklist, so i use it for things that don’t have time limits and don’t need high-level organizing, like household chores — but it’s kind of a hoot because it gives you positive feedback when you complete a task unless you go too long without completing one, in which case it gets angry at you and makes sarcastic comments about your work ethic.

  28. So I tried a combo of wall-planning and SkedPal (which helps schedules your projects for you) and that worked well for a while – and then life got really busy and i fell off the wagon AGAIN and blah.

    My problem with writing anything down or making lists is that I don’t remember to check it off or read back on it unless i really HAVE to. Like I’d DO the thing! But i won’t remember to mark off the thing.

    i use Gcal because like most people on here my phone is with me everywhere i go and I like the reminders. That’s the only thing that really stuck.

  29. I just do the basic index monthly spread and daily spread in Bullet Journaling in combination with GCal for communicating with the spouse on when things are happening. Not over-complicating it and not getting super into layouts has really made it possible to use it as a system for work. It’s really helpful coming back after a long weekend and moving your to-dos forward to the new week. I don’t use it for anything other than life and work to do lists and project specific brainstorming and sketching. I tried to give trackers a shot in October but didn’t really get into it.

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