I seem to mention this in every post I write but I graduated from university in 2021 and this has caused several changes in my life. I’ve mentioned this enough already but did you know I own an Etsy store now. Okay, in all seriousness I went through a love-hate relationship with my bullet journal last year and because of that, I’ve made some changes to how I use my bullet journal. All this to say, today I’m going to share how I’ve set up my bullet journal (and other planning systems) for 2022.
I know that my website is called the Paper Kind which gives the idea that I’m all about physical planners and notebooks. You may be surprised to find out that a large part of my new planning system uses digital products. I am still all about my bullet journal, but I will be the first person to admit that in some circumstances a digital system is better than a physical notebook. I am all about choosing the right tool for the job and the right tool isn’t always a bullet journal (no matter how much I love them).
My 2022 Bullet Journal & Planning Set Up
I got to the point in 2021 where my bullet journal was giving me so much stress and anxiety that I didn’t want to use it. Though I should say that all the issues I was having with my bullet journal was because of me. I spent at least 4 years using my bullet journal through college and university, this meant my whole planning system was built for this one specific need. Once I had left university the way I used my bullet journal changed and I didn’t need it to fill a specific purpose anymore.
MORE LIKE THIS: My Daily Planning Routine In My Bullet Journal
Because of that, I made a few changes to how I use my bullet journal. I don’t use it every day anymore, on some occasions, I will take notes in my sketchbook instead. My bullet journal is no longer the catch-all for everything. I also realised that I didn’t have much colour in my notebook, as silly as this sounds, that was really getting me down. One of the big changes I made in 2022 was deciding to be more artistic in my bullet journal.
I have written in numerous blog posts that you don’t need to have an aesthetic bullet journal. You don’t need to spend time drawing or painting or doing anything to make your bullet journal pretty. But I like collage and one of my goals for 2022 is doing more of the things I enjoy. This means I’m doing small collages in my bullet journal because I would be using my bullet journal anyway and it makes me happy.
There are also a few other small things I’ve stopped doing in my bullet journal. A few years ago I wrote a whole post on setting up a bullet journal for the new year. In that post, I showed a yearly overview and future log spread. I didn’t use these spreads at all last year and this year decided not to do them entirely. I appreciate that other people may find these spreads useful but I’ve never found a good way to future plan in my bullet journal. Google Calendar works far better for me in this regard.
I have always liked using Google Calendar but over the last year, it has become essential. This isn’t so much because of deficiencies with the bullet journal system. But more that I’m doing adult jobs now and planning future events and meetings is so much easier using Google Calendar*.
I’ve recently taken on some work that involves collaborating with other people and Google Calendar works so well for this. I can add calendars created by other people and edit them directly through my account. I realise it sounds a bit ridiculous to mention it because it’s so basic but the bullet journal just doesn’t work well for this type of thing. As you’ll see later on, Notion doesn’t work well either.
Another small thing I’ve started doing this year is planning out my day on Google Calendar. I love that it’s super easy to create an event and set it to repeat every day. I thought at first it seemed a bit silly to add daily routines to my Google Calendar but I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and have fallen in love. I’m working as a freelance designer so before this I didn’t have set working hours. Just a vague idea in my head of when I should be working.
I started using Notion in July last year after binge-watching a bunch of YouTube videos about it. I don’t think Notion suits every need, but I love how I’ve got my workspace set out. So I’m using my Notion as (what people on YouTube call) a second brain. With Notion can you have the ability to create databases and nest things inside those databases. This means you can use Notion to create any sort of organisational system you need. The databases can work as kanban boards but you can also use them to create folders or a calendar. I’ve used Notion to help me with project management.
MORE LIKE THIS: Why You Need An Index In Your Bullet Journal
One of the downsides to working as a freelancer is that the designer, project manager, marketer, and accountant are all just me with various things on my head. I love working in this way but I realised I had to be far more organised that I actually was. Some projects I forgot about simply because they were sat on a page of my bullet journal I rarely looked at. Notion has helped me fix this problem by setting out a project timeline in advance. I can list all the tasks for a specific project in a database and then set deadlines for each task. From there I’ve created a homepage that shows me the tasks I need to do on that specific day.
Essentially what I’ve done is create a database that plans out my day for me. Last year I wouldn’t do any long term planning, I was mostly just working day by day. As I’ve said before this was fine, but there was a whole lot of stuff I would forget about. With this set up I don’t need to spend so much time thinking about what I’m going to do. Notion does all that for me.
And there we go, a full in-depth look at my planning system for 2022. I’ve made a lot of changes to how I use my planning system over the last 6 months. I’m sure I’m going to continue making changes over the year to come. But for now, I’m happy with what I’ve got. If you want you can go back and see how I’ve changed compared to my system in 2020.
*Other digital calendars are also available.
2 responses to “My 2022 Bullet Journal Set Up & Planning System”
Emma, Hi. I love reading your posts. I’m a lot like you with organizing my day, week, etc. I started following you awhile ago and got very interested in bullet journaling. At that time I was already a google calendar power user. I think there isn’t any feature on the calendar I haven’t used or invented to use in different ways. The bullet journal worked for me as a notebook for ideas and projects, somewhere I could spread my thoughts to organize my priorities. Planning my days and weeks was left to Google calendar. And to make my life smoother I am high on notifications. My family’s gone back to living together, my parents are older and more fragile then they were a few years ago. I needed to take the reigns to organize our house and everyone’s life in it. So google calendar keeps me sane. I’ve got a calendar for every single person in my house. I also categorize the house activities by separate calendars. I calendar everything from doctor appointments, exams, grocery shopping, dog vaccine’s, vet visits, payment dates for everything from bills, credit cards, shopping, and donations. It has gotten as far as waking up to a full agenda, all recorded and ready for me to execute. Even conversations about issues regarding family, house, personell are all recorded as events so I can just execute. When I need to go back on some issues, I search and have a description of what I decided and why. So no stress there. As for issues related to organizing documents, I use Google drive to store everything and when it comes to last minutes documents I need scanned I use CS Scanner to include those and save in Google drive. All these apps are categorized, labeled and foldered. This is all to avoid big surprises. Like you I have made changes in my life as of 2022 for various reasons and have decided to get another degree, this time in Biomedicine. The studying will last another 4 years and I will need to make room for it. I am excited and know I I’ll be adding on to my calendar. I will look into Notion to see if that will make a good fit with what I already use. I’m pretty sure I’ll be having a lot of projects that’ll need accurate planning. So here’s to new challenges. I wish you well in 2022, that you manage to find time to throw in some creativity, lots of calligraphy an collages. I’m pretty sure your bullet journal looks great.