Crafty Adventure Series: Planning and Journaling (+ Giveaway)

Hello friends! Welcome to part two of the Crafty Adventure Series. You can find the first part on Personal Development here.

crafty adventure series

For the second part of the series, I’ll be discussing my thoughts on planning and journaling products.

Planning & Journaling Planning is ALL the rave now. Planner products are everywhere: stamps, decorative (washi) tape, stencils, inserts, dashboards, bookmarks, tassels, etc. Our planning systems can change over time, depending on lifestyle (i.e. student, professional, homemaker, personal). So what kinds of planners are available?

Planner formats: DAILY | WEEKLY

How I used to plan: It really depended on whether I was a student, working or unemployed. As a student, weekly spreads were helpful to organize assignments, papers, readings, and exams. When working, I needed daily spreads because of meetings, appointments, and events.

How I currently plan:

  • Monthly Calendar Book – convenient for overview of work schedule, clients scheduled, bills due, pay days, training/workshops, supervision, and social events.
  • Bullet journal – Flexible journal that can incorporate monthly and daily planning with me creating my own spreads. I won’t share all my layouts but some of the things I’m tracking are birthdays, holidays, list of 17 things I want to achieve before 2017, craft and affiliate account usernames and passwords, goals, monthly and daily tasks/notes, tracking work hours for clinical license, brief summary case notes for clients I’m counseling, habit tracker, books to read, level 10 life and goals, and others.

bullet journal pages

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When choosing a planner, you have to ask yourself what you need to plan. If you like to keep track of multiple activities throughout the day, then you can benefit from a daily agenda. If you like to keep track of multiple activities over the course of the week, then weekly spreads would be best. I think a monthly agenda work for everyone because it gives a general overview and is helpful in scheduling social events, appointments, vacations, etc. Monthly calendars are usually included in every planner.

Here are a list of popular planners. You can go to each link to see sample pages. Again, I cannot decide what planner will be best for you. People make decisions based on size, weight, paper weight (minimal bleeding), planner cost, shipping cost, matching accessories, daily vs. week-at-a-glance, horizontal vs. vertical layout, writing space, and other

  • Erin Condren – $50-75 | wire-bound with changeable covers | 7.25 x 9.25 | paper weight: 70 lb text (105 GSM) | 12 or 18 month options | horizontal weekly, vertical weekly or hourly weekly options | LifePlanners for weddings and teachers available | matching accessories
  • Emily Ley Simplified Planner – $58 | wire-bound with hard cover and protective gold corners | 6.75 x 9 | paper weight: 60 lb text (90 GSM) | academic or calendar year options | daily edition with scheduling from 6 am to 9 pm | weekly edition available | comes in a Navy keepsake box
  • InkWELL Press
    • Quarterlies – $10 per Quarterly or $35 for bundle | paperback | size A5 5.75 x 8.25 | paper weight: 70 lb text (105 GSM) | cover weight 100 lb cover | weekly spreads | goal-setting mission boards
    • A5 Inserts – $29 | paper weight: 90 lb text (140 GSM) | size A5 5.75 x 8.25 | printed for A5 ring binders | weekly spreads | goal tracking spreads | daily boxes within weekly spread
    • LiveWell Planners – $54 | Flex or Classic layout | 8 x 9.25 | same features as A5 inserts but is wirebound | attached elastic band closure | double-sided pocket folder | meal and fitness planner options available
  • Passion Planner – $24.99 – $34.99 | 8.5 x 11 (classic) or 5.5 x 8.5 (compact) | paper weight: 70 lb text (100 GSM) | goal setting guide | weekly spreads with daily appointment scheduling from 6 am to 11 pm in 30 minute increments | monthly reflections and motivational quotes | blank pages for notes | fabric pocket | faux leather cover |Pay it Forward Program

There are many more planners available, but these are the ones I like most. A few other options include buying traveler notebook inserts (both printables or printed) on Etsy. Just search “notebook inserts” and you’ll have countless results. Etsy is also a great place to search for washi tape, dashboards, tassels, and other decorative elements.

You can also create your own planner using Adobe InDesign or similar digital designing software. You can use a laser printer to print them out, a paper trimmer to cut them down to A5 size (or whichever size you want), a 6-hole punch to add them to a binder (linked below), and a laminator to create your very own dashboards or bookmarks or tabs.

If you’re interested in Erin Condren and would like to receive $10 off, set up an account.

Many of the planners above are sold out. You can find InkWELL Press planners and inserts in Facebook groups: InkWELL Fans MarketPlace or InkWELL Press B/S/T. InkWELL Press is run by one woman so her products have sold out quickly. Sign up for newsletters or follow them on social media to keep up-to-date with restocks. 🙂

If you’re interested in purchasing a Passion Planner, be sure to mention me in notes during checkout by listing my e-mail address: ararerubycrafts [at] gmail [dot] com. If I earn free planners, I will use them for giveaways! 🙂

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Why I like Bullet Journaling: My current system of planning includes a lot of note-taking and journaling. Bullet journaling is a really flexible way of documenting anything you want. If the previously mentioned structured planners haven’t worked for you, then bullet journaling may be for you. I have done some form of bullet journaling all through my life, and I am sure you have, too.

What is Bullet Journaling: The Bullet Journal analog format was officially created by Ryder Carroll. You can read more about his basic system to get an idea of what the original format is like. Mainly there are numbered pages and you create an index to organize your categories. You create a key to track tasks, goals, events, and notes and how you track each item. Main modules include The Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, and Daily Log. However, every individual has tailored the system to his or her own needs. I already mentioned some of the spreads I have created in my bullet journal. If you want to see visual details of my system, I can show it in a separate post so just let me know. I have taken a lot of ideas from Kara and Kim.

What do I use to Bullet Journal: You can use ANY kind of book or journal for the Bullet Journal, but it seems the most popular one is Leuchtturm 1917, which comes in dotted, lined, squared, and blank versions. I currently use squared since that was the one I could get fastest from Amazon. The pages have less bleeding when using gel or fountain pens. I have had some bleeding, but they haven’t been too bad. I am still able to write on both sides of a page.

What am I tracking in my Bullet Journal: Not only do I get to plan in my book, I get to take notes and keep track of various things in life. I love reading and writing so this system really excites me. It is also helping me let go of perfectionism and embrace mistakes or the unexpected. I am using the bullet journal to keep track of daily habits and challenges, which include practicing lettering, handlettering, and doodling. My next post will go into details of some of these challenges. If you haven’t already heard by now, Kathy R. from The Daily Marker is hosting a 30-day coloring challenge in February and I’ll be tracking how many days I color (but I won’t force myself to do it daily). In my last post, I mentioned some personal development tools. I am also tracking how often I practice Miracle Morning, Your Best Year exercises, and journaling.

You might be thinking – who has the time to plan so much?! Well, I used to think that way, too! I have taken time out to create my layouts, but once it’s created, I can use it for the month (or however long it’ll last). It’s been proving that tracking goals and habits increases accountability and already I see a difference in productivity in the past month.

What do I carry in my bag: I don’t journal in my bullet journal, but I do carry some A5 notebooks in my traveler’s notebook covers. Currently, I carry the following: bullet journal for planning, monthly calendar book, notebook for Your Best Year, notebook for taking notes on books I’m reading, and brain dump journaling book. A5 is the best size for me (5.5″ x 8.5″).

tidying up
Here are some of the accessories I use to help me plan/journal. I have listed some of my absolute favorite pens! I’ve been using a few of these for YEARS! All will be linked below. I have also included some organization and miscellaneous related products in my links, too. Feel free to leave questions or your own product suggestions in comments!

planner accessories

If you’re interested in buy/sale/trade group for Traveler’s Notebooks and Accessories, I recommend this Facebook group. I have covers from Foxy Fix (leather) and CakePaperie (fabric).

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To qualify, answer the following question: What’s your favorite planning tool (including digital)?

For more entries, share the post and let me know where you shared it. 
For even more entries, connect with me (leave a separate comment for each):

Commenting ends Saturday, February 27 at 11:59 pm EST. All winners will be contacted via e-mail, and I will also post the list on my blog by Saturday, March 5.

THREE GIVEAWAYS for today 🙂 I may add more giveaways/winners since I’m currently destashing items. One person will win a brand-new Filofax (U.S. only due to shipping costs). Another person will win two mini planner stamps + stencil for planning/journaling. A third person will win this collection of stickers. Just answer the question above!

journaling giveaway

Thank you for visiting! ♡

P.S. I’ve updated my destash items + prices on my Instagram account. Give me time to get back to you since I have a busy work schedule this week. 🙂

This post contains a few affiliate links, which essentially means that if you happen to purchase something, I get a small commission (at no additional cost to you!) as a way to support my blogging endeavors. Thanks in advance for your support!


  1. Svitlana Shayevich

    March 9, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    I started “serious” planning a couple years ago. It was one planner which then became not enough for me. I carefully were thinking of getting another one (thinking – who needs more then two planners?). Now I have a lot of them. My personal kikki-k is for my every day planning, carry it with me all the time.
    After discovering traveler notebooks I just fell in love with them. So convenient, have several of them for different needs.
    Great post!

  2. craftmommy

    February 27, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    monthly calender book is my favorite planning tool.

  3. Joan VanCourt

    February 24, 2016 at 8:48 am

    I don’t have much to plan, so I just use my smart phone calendar. But, I do use a little journal for my scrapbooking moments that I need to remember.

  4. Flo

    February 23, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    I’ve been using the same day runner for years and I think it is time for a change. Now I just have to figure out what. Great thought provoking prompts. Thanks.

  5. Lynnette Hallbick

    February 22, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Right now I use outlook, but I can’t drag my work desktop around with me. I’m experimenting with some free printable from Pinterest, but haven’t really found anything that works for me yet. My coworker lovers her Erin C.

  6. barb macaskilll

    February 18, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Flicker follower barb macaskill

  7. barb macaskilll

    February 18, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Facebook follower barb macaskill

  8. barb macaskilll

    February 18, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Twitter follower @barbaramacaskil

  9. barb macaskilll

    February 18, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Pinterest follower macmomma12

  10. barb macaskilll

    February 18, 2016 at 7:44 am

    IG follower meemawof3

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