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Friday, October 31, 2014

Bullet Journal downsizing?

Here's the post about my Bullet Journal downsizing I promised. Sorry for the delay!

On purpose, I brought no planners with me on our trip to Iceland. I did bring my Bullet Journal notebook, to record my trip. But all my planners were left at home. I wanted to focus on my trip and not think about my normal daily routine.

We hadn't taken a trip outside the country in 2 1/2 years, so it had been a long time since I needed my planners to be truly portable. When I only needed my planners at home, they were free to get larger and larger, like planner Pleistocene megafauna.

In my normal daily life I use two books every day: my Bullet Journal notebook, and my weekly planner. Both had become rather large.

My Bullet Journal notebook is a large Moleskine, with my gorgeous but heavy leather Oberon Designs cover on it. The notebook and leather cover combined weigh about 600 g. I stopped carrying it around with me about 3 days into my trip, because we were walking so much and it's heavy.

My weekly planner had inflated into an A4 size notebook that I had hand-drawn weekly pages in. For planning, it's great. But it doesn't fit in my bag.

The whole time I was on my trip I thought, as soon as I get home I'm downsizing my books! This happens just about every time I travel. It's like a planner Big Bounce, with an inflationary period (when my planners get larger and larger) followed by the inevitable contraction (when I get fed up with the lack of portability).

As soon as I got home I moved into my Franklin Covey Compact size binder for all my planning, even far-future. I wrote all about my new setup in this post. It's not lighter than my A4 notebook/ planner, but its smaller footprint allows it to fit into my bag easily.

For now the main question is what will I use for my notebook/ Bullet Journal. I've been using unlined large Moleskine notebooks all year, and for the most part they are great but there are a few issues. Some things like lists that need to be carried over when I switch to a new notebook (every 3-4 months) will be solved by putting them into the ring binder.

The whole time I was on my trip I thought, I absolutely must downsize my Bullet Journal! It might be enough to leave my beautiful leather cover off the notebook. Or I might switch to this gorgeous A6 day per page diary I ordered from Aspinal. It cost a ridiculous amount of money, but I've been wanting one for the better part of a decade so I finally took the plunge. I love the idea of a little leather book I carry with me everywhere all year.

(PS my photos in poor light don't do it justice. Here's the website with better images.)

If the A6 page isn't big enough for me each day, I could use a notebook, but smaller than what I've been using. The Paperblanks Midi size notebooks are 4 3/4 by 6 3/4 inches, which are nice and portable. I've had this gorgeous Lindau cover one for a few years, waiting for a purpose. This might be it.

But now that I'm back home and using my notebook again, I'm resistant to change something that has been working so well for me for a year now. I'm even resisting changing to the lined Moleskine I planned to switch to in January (this awesome Hobbit one) because I'm liking blank pages so much. Maybe not using my leather cover will make it light enough. Or, maybe the weight and size don't matter when I'm not traveling, and next time I go someplace I'll just use a smaller notebook for that trip.

I'll continue to use my current notebook (large unlined Moleskine, my 4th this year!) until the end of this year, then decide whether to convert to the little daily book, or another notebook.

Aw, didn't you guys miss my planner angst? Just when I thought I had my planner situation figured out forever, my needs changed and everything was overthrown.


  1. I've just massively downsized to a pocket Moleskine. It was the best thing I have done. It works really well for me. I did think about daily, but in the end went with a week plus notes. It is so light, it goes everywhere with me. It also made me stop carrying a load of things with me that I didn't need!

    I love the Aspinal diary!

    1. See, that's my hope for downsizing. I'd love it to go everywhere with me and streamline my whole system.

  2. In my opinion, if you don't travel often and large planners work well for you, then maybe all you need is a detachable satellite system. I used a Plannerpad for many years and had a little leather index card holder with pen, that held their specially designed (or any) index card for use while out and about. After many painful Big Bounces, I have learned to keep my (boring, frustrating but lightweight) spiral planner as part of my overall planning system (this way I can always bring my schedule along with a small notebook while the main ring binder with all the lists and details stays home).


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