Figuring Out Your Ideal Planner

Rose Gold Personal  (4)

If you’ve ever looked up planner video on YouTube or are a member of any of the planner Facebook groups, you have no doubt felt overwhelmed by all the options out there—and I’m just talking about the containment unit itself; not stickers, pens, inserts, washi tape, etc. There are many blog posts and YouTube videos to help get you started.

There are brands from all over the world and at a variety of price ranges: Filofax, Kikki K, Erin Condrin, Kate Spade, Day-Timer, Day Runner, Franklin Covey, At a Glance, Bullet Journaling, Midori Traveler’s Notebook, Fauxdori’s, homemade & DIY, and many more.

In my opinion, the easiest place to start is deciding whether or not you want a planner that you can add and move stuff around in OR something that is bound together. A move stuff around planner would be a ring one, disc bound, and arguably traveler’s notebooks. A bound together planner would be a bound book or spiral/coil bound book.

Personally, I like being able to change the guts of my planner around as I please, so I use a ring bound planner.

The next thing to do is figure out what you want your planner to do for you. Calendar? To Do lists? Notes? Projects? Address book? What do you want from your planner? And how will you need it to function.

Your answer needs to be more than “I want to get organized.” Let’s start with a relatively simply example: calendars. Monthly, weekly, daily, or some combination of 2 or all 3? If you take each section and really think about what you want from it, eventually the planner you need, as well as the one you want, will come together.

Other examples:

To Do lists>>>brain dump/catch all’s or categorized? (You can have both! I do!)

Projects>>>work or personal. A page for each project with notes, timelines, etc. Alphabetical or by deadline?

A to Z file>>>also known as the Address book. There is a trend to store quick reference notes here, like clothing sizes or book titles or important notes you don’t know where to keep.

The thing to remember is that just because a planner comes with certain sections and inserts, doesn’t mean you are stuck with them.

If all of this information was overwhelming, I apologize. The planner world can, ironically, be overwhelming. How about something simpler? Get a cheap planner from the dollar store. Start using it. As you go along, if you find yourself wanting something different, like wanting to be able to move stuff, make a note of it in your planner. What do you like, what don’t you like? Write it all down.

There is no one right formula to figuring out what planning system works for you. A system that works for one person won’t work for someone else. It’s all about finding out what works for you.

This is a process that can take some time and it came be frustrating. But eventually, you’ll figure it out.

© Cori Large April-December 2015


July/August 2015 Bullet Journal Set Up

On the final day of August I get around to posting how my BuJo has been set up for the last two months.

I’m back to experimenting with Bullet Journaling in a bound journal. But unlike my March 2015 post, I think I’ve found a set up that works.

My mini flex (the Mead Shopping OrganizHer notebook), has become my monthly calendar and brain dump notebook.

I’m not using a Moleskine or a Leuchtturm notebook, which are VERY popular for Bullet Journaling. I’m once again combining the bullet journal concept with my personal journal entries.

JuneJuly 2015 BuJo set up

But, Cori, didn’t you stop using your personal journal because you were worried about privacy?

Why, yes, reader, I was. But I’ve found that I like having the ability to write randomly in my journal, as part of my daily set up.

So how is my page set up?

Left side:

*Dailies: stretching, steps, walking, Bing points, vitamins

*Work: newspapers, serials, anything else that is day-specific, takes from work to do list

*Personal/Home: errands, a few things I’d like to get done at home after work, etc.

Once the left side is filled up, I’m done. No mas. Anything else that pops into my head goes into my brain dump notebook.

Right side:

This side is left for me to do stream of consciousness, throughout the day journaling.

Now, that’s my typical layout. I don’t like to start a day on the Right because I prefer having the To Do’s on the left and my journal pages on the right. It’ just me. There are times when I do start on the right, because I also can’t stand to see paper wasted.

© June 27, 2015

Future Planning Papers

Since I’ve gotten away from the weekly and daily planner inserts, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to mark down future/day-specific To Do’s without them getting lost in my brain dump notebook.

The idea came to me at work. With the budget year coming to a close, I was making myself some notes about things that needed to be down on specific days once the new budget year opened up.

All I’m doing is taking scratch paper, dating it, and writing the day-specific tasks on it.

Future Planning Papers (1) Future Planning Papers (2)

But, Cori, why not just use Day on 1 Page (DO1P) inserts? Or other preprinted inserts?

If you have a traditional style planner, go for it! But I’m using the Bullet Journal method right now, and this method doesn’t allow for easy future planning. (Post written before Ryder Carroll came out with his new video.) This is a major complaint I’ve seen on the Bullet Journaling Facebook groups.

This is working for me. I don’t have a piece of paper for every day, just the days where I know I’m going to have day-specific tasks. When I do my daily bullet journal set up, I make sure to add the tasks from the paper. Once they are added to my list, I recycle the scratch paper.

© Cori Large June 27, 2015

June 2015 Bullet Journal Set Up w/ Video

Hi everyone,

I shot a quick video showing what I changed in my bullet journal for June. I didn’t change much, just combined this brain dump and dailies section.

Here’s the YouTube video link:

I hope everyone has had a nice day. If you have any questions, comments, or content requests either leave me a comment below or visit my new Facebook page where you can post questions there. Have a nice day!

May 2015 Bullet Journal Set Up

Sorry this post is late. I was able to film a bunch of videos a couple weekends ago.

Here is the video for my May 2015 Bullet Journal set up:

Bullet Journal Set Up for April 2015

Hi everyone!

I changed how I set up my bullet journal for April 2015. I moved it out of my diary and into my Mead Shopping OrganizHer (aka my Mini Flex).

Here’s the video link:


Experiment in Bullet Journaling (w/ Video!!!)

On March 6, 2015, I decided to attempt bullet journaling in my current diary. I wrote out a month at a glance bullet list that spans two pages. I use the left over room on the second page to make notes about the next month and any big reminders.

On the following six pages, I wrote out my categorized To Do lists: Personal, Crafts by Cori (my side business), Writing/Blog, YouTube ideas & notes, House stuff. My private diary pages come after that.

I realized a few days in that I missed the week at a glance layout. I had bought one of those tear-away weekly calendars at the beginning of the year. I tore off the current and following weeks and glued them onto the pages.

I recently saw in one of the Bullet Journaling Facebook groups another weekly layout. Instead of using washi tape to separate my squares, I used highlighter.

There are also daily things I want to keep tract of (exercising, doing the dishes, Bible reading), so I repurposed a chart from a weekly planner layout I had created. It is set up a daily checklist that goes by the week.

This is the video link where I go through my March 2015 bullet journal set up.

Of course, I have come up with some other layout ideas, but that’s another post.

© Cori Large March 6-14, 2015

Featured on another blog!!!

Good morning everyone!

I’m sorry I’m so late getting this week’s post out. I’m still editing the post I have for this week, so I’m going to have to push it to Monday or Tuesday.

However, I am very please to show you that I was featured on another blog: Life as a Fleek.

Cara interviewed me and has allowed me to share the piece here.

Just in case the link doesn’t work, here’s the post:

Friday Fleeker Feature!!

Hello Fleekers!I am so glad to introduce a new friend on my Friday Feature!  This is Cori from

She has some great ideas on planners and home  management.  I’ve poked around her cite a bit and it was very informative!  Go check it out!

1. What kind of planner do you use?
I am currently experimenting with bullet journaling, and have been using it for exactly one week. So far I’m enjoying it. This will be my third journal go ’round this year (I know!). I started 2015 with a Franklin Covey Sierra ring bound planner with Blooms vertical column inserts. It was beautiful, but the one thing I really wanted was the ability to bend my planner back like a spiral notebook. I then moved to creating my own inserts and putting them in Mead Flex binder, which I was really enjoying using except for the size. The Flex binder is a full size binder and doesn’t fit in my purse.
2. Have you always used planners and what got you using them?
My first memory of having a planner was first grade when my mom gave me her old one and I wrote “I ❤ JTT” all over it! (JTT = Jonathan Taylor Thomas for those who weren’t a part of that craze.) The private school I went to encouraged us to have Assignment books to write our homework in. These were very simple “planner” of the undated variety. In middle school, we were no longer required to use them, but I still asked my mom to get me one. In high school, I graduated to a simple At A Glance planner from Walmart. I used these throughout high school and most of college. When I got a full time job, I decided I needed to upgrade to something more professional. With the go big or go home mindset, I got a Desk size DayTimer Avalon, 7 ring. I used it for about a year, but those 7 rings were a hindrance. Also the size was a mistake. So I downsized to a Franklin Covey Sierra Classic size (5.5×8.5). LOVED IT! Until my desire for being able to bend it back like a spiral notebook became to great.
3. Do you use accessories for your planner? If so what do you use?
Yes, I do use accessories, stickers and washi tape mainly. I like using them in the diary section and write around them. I do use different color pens, but I don’t consider that an accessory. The pens I use are Sharpie No Bleed pens.
4. Would you be willing to try out other planners or are you satisfied with your planner?  How often do you change planners?
Ha Ha I believe my first two answers will answer this question. I’m really enjoying the bullet journal process right now, especially since my set up is a bullet journal/diary combo. I plan on carrying this on. Wish me luck! I am getting tired of hoping around. The quest to find Planner Peace is a long one with a lot of trial and error.
5. How do you organize your planner?  In other words would you be willing to explain your system?
I’m going to answer this question with how I’ve set up my bullet journal. I started it as an experiment so it is in my current diary. (Also, I don’t care for graph paper, so my bullet journal is one lined paper.)
1. Monthly chart: mine spans two pages, and the extra space is where I write upcoming events in the next month and reminders for month (like buying birthday presents).
2. Weekly slips: I bought one of those magnetic calendars with the tear off sheets at Walmart. It is The Big Bang Theory themed. These are glued in and double as decoration.
3. Daily charts: I created these little charts where I can check off daily things like exercising. These are also glued in.
4. After the calendars, come my categorized To Do lists: Personal, Crafts by Cori (side business), Writing/Blog, YouTube Channel, House list. Each list is assigned 1-2 pages.
5. After all of these, are my diary pages. And since I do one month at a time, I’m not limited on how many diary pages I need.
Because this set up was started in the middle of a diary, it will change when I start a new diary. I’m thinking about putting the To Do lists at the very beginning and giving them about 5-6 pages each to last the entire length of usage. I’m halfway through my current diary, so I have some time to thing about this.
6. Any advice on using planners or finding the right one?
Take a few minutes and write out what you’re really looking for in a planner. What are you going to organize? How to you want to organize? Are there any format functions that the planner MUST have (zipper closure, multiple pen loops, ability to add and take stuff out at will, bend back like a spiral)? How much are you will to spend? Are you happy to spend money on what’s already out there or is nothing speaking to you and you need to make up your own combination.
Thank you Cori for joining us today!
If you would like to be featured please email me at
Happy Fleeking!

And thank you, Cara, for allowing me to share!

Planner Pieces Series Links

Planner Pieces Series

#1 YouTube Videos: Planner Reviews

#2 How do I stay organized?

#3 Jotters: What Are They & Why Are They Important?

#4 Cori’s Planner Review

#5a Spotlight: Bullet Journaling

#5b Mead Flex Binder as Ideal Writing Notebook

#6 The Master To Do List

#7 Planner Review—Take 2

Spotlight: Bullet Journaling

[part 5a of Cori’s Planner Pieces series]

I recently heard the term Bullet Journaling on one of the many Planner Facebook groups. I educated myself on this concept and discovered that I use a similar system for my writing notebook. My writing notebook set up will be in another post.

A website that outlines and explains the Bullet Journaling concept is:

There is also a YouTube video: starring Ryder Carroll. He does a really good job explaining setting up a bullet journal.

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and give you the instructions on how to create your own bullet journal.

I only have a few additional comments I’d like to make to Ryder’s bullet journal instructions:

  • You don’t have to call the Index page, the Index page. I prefer Table of Contents, but you can also call this page whatever you want.
  • If you’re not a regular calendar user, this is a great way for sporadic organization.
  • This organizational system could be very handy for short term projects at work or as a general project manager set up.
  • For students, a new bullet journal each semester could be made up and it would allow you to just focus on the semester. Class notes, project notes, reading notes, etc.

I recommend going to the website and watching the video.

© Cori Large December 23, 2014.

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