For a couple of years, I’ve noticed bullet journal spread upon bullet journal spread popping up on my Pinterest feed. It’s hard not to be intrigued by the concept: basically, a bullet journal helps to keep you organized. Like, to a ridiculous but wonderful degree! You can keep track of books you want to read, movies you want to watch, water intake, meals, anything.
I have toyed with the idea of starting a bullet journal for a while, and my old to-do list notebook was starting to fill up. Almost on cue, a rep from Pad & Quill got in touch with me. They wanted to send me a couple of notebooks and a pen in exchange for a review. Normally, I’m not comfortable with this type of arrangement. I mean, I’m from the Midwest … if I don’t have something nice to say, I don’t want to say anything at all! And yet, the prospect of a free notebook just when I needed it was tempting. So, I said okay, and I crossed my fingers that I’d like what they sent.
I received three things from Pad & Quill: a medium-sized notebook, a small notebook, and a rollerball pen. In today’s post, I’m focusing on the medium-sized notebook because that’s what I used to make my hybrid bullet journal. I also used the rollerball pen a fair amount, but I don’t want to recommend it to you because — while it’s a nice pen — I don’t understand why it’s so opulently priced ($150!).
My Hybrid Bullet Journal: The Artistic Portion
First of all, I think it’s important to say that traditional bullet journaling relies on a specific system developed by creator Ryder Carroll. It’s a great system made by a great mind … but it’s a little bit too much for me, personally. Too many symbols and too complicated! Dually, my goal was to make a bullet journal that’s really more like a souped-up planner. Something that will keep me organized and help to boost my mood everyday! So, I decided to make a visual pep talk with the first few pages of my hybrid bullet journal.
On the next page, I decoupaged the fork and spoon pattern from The Letter Writer’s Complete Resource. I did that because the page was very thin and I wanted to give it some substance!
I ended the front portion of the journal with a simple decoupaged note that my grandmother wrote to me while she was still alive. I can’t remember why she wrote it, but I’m glad I kept it! Every time I see it, I’m reminded of her (and her distinctive lefty handwriting)!
My Hybrid Bullet Journal: The Informative Portion
I don’t know about you, but I’m a person who likes to have information laid out in front of me. So, I started with a list of birthdays. I was delighted to discover that the paper used to make this notebook stood up beautifully to dip pen ink, which I used to write “Birthdays” and the months!
Next, I made a “Things to Remember” page. It’s still a work in progress, but the purpose of this page is just to keep track of information that will come in handy. I also decided to make a “Passwords” page. Honestly, this page has been a lifesaver because I can never remember my passwords! Since most websites require you to change your password every so often, I wrote my passwords in pencil. That way, if my password changes, I can erase the old one and write it again!
Finally, I made an “Addresses” page. Like with the passwords page, I wrote out the addresses in pencil because they tend to change!
My Hybrid Bullet Journal: The Planning Portion
One look at this portion of the notebook, and Ryder Carroll would probably tell me that my system really deviates from his. And he would be right! For me, the best form of planning is simple checklists. I like to start out each and every day with a check list and cross off my tasks as I finish them. I might write little notes to myself on the side, but mostly I just have to-do lists. And that’s it … nothing fancy there!
Thoughts on the Pad & Quill Medium Notebook
All in all, I feel pleased with the notebook that I received. I think the ~$20 price is more than fair considering the smooth paper that’s conducive to a dip pen and ink! The notebook comes with attached ribbons for keeping your spot, which I like.
I got the dotted grid paper notebook, which is nice because it helps to keep all my writing nice and straight. I also appreciate that there’s a little pouch to keep things in at the end of the notebook, and I like that the notebook has an elastic to keep it shut.
We are in the beginning of the holiday season, and this is a great time to start getting gifts lined up for your loved ones! I think that the Pad & Quill medium notebook would make a great gift (perhaps paired with a cool pen?), so I asked Pad & Quill if they could provide a coupon code for TPK readers. They happily acquiesced! You can type in the code JOURNALMORE at checkout to receive 15% off a medium or small journal of your choice. The coupon code is valid until Friday, November 30th!
A Cool Alternative
Throughout my years at university, I used a Papaya! brand planner. I loved that thing! I don’t think it’s a great fit for someone who really wants to customize their planner or planning system. However, if you just want to keep yourself organized day to day, it’s perfect!
While it worked for me as a student, I wouldn’t use a planner like this now because I don’t have a to-do list every single day (especially now that I’m a new parent). There are a lot of days that I’d have to leave blank! But — if you’re a student or you like to plan out every day in writing, a Papaya! planner would be awesome.
I hope that this post helps to inspire you to either start a hybrid bullet journal, a traditional bullet journal, or work in a planner! If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel organized and accomplished when you can plan out your day in writing (and cross off tasks as you go). As always, I invite your comments, questions, or organization tips (!) regarding this post!
Thanks so much for reading TPK — I appreciate that you’re here!
*Note that all links to Pad & Quill in this post are affiliate links.