Did One Book July Help Me Plan Better?

July is officially over and with that, so is One Book July.

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If you’re missing some of the OBJ context, I highly recommend checking out a couple of posts. Here I explain why I decided to do OBJ and here is my full set up.

While I will be talking through my set-up here, it’s in a bit more detail in the previous linked post.

Why One Book July?

As I mentioned in my set up post, I wanted to get back to basics. With the looming 2024 planner releases, I needed clarity on what I actually needed from my planners. Too many years I’ve got caught up in the newest planner craze without really thinking about whether I needed it. This year, I’ve started trying to be more intentional with my stationery purchases and streamlining my planner set up is the first step. I was also feeling increasingly unorganised with things spread across several planners.

So OBJ was about putting everything into one place, in a simple basic way – a bullet journal. The goal being I could see where I did need something a bit extra, and where actually, a notebook is literally all I need.

a6 leuchtturm in orange

As I use a planner as my purse (pre July it was a Passport TN) it needed to be small. So, I settled on the A6 LT1917*.

Future log & monthly calendar

Having a whole year’s worth of plans (or in this case, six months) was a super interesting prospect for me.

bullet journal future log

No more flicking through several pages of monthlies to get to the right date, it was all there.

While this idea worked in theory, I like seeing my plans in a proper calendar format I realised. Which leads me onto the monthly view itself.

monthly layout

I hate drawing out calendars.

Even a simple format like this annoyed me. I’ve done a more simple layout for August, but even then, I know long term I need a pre-drawn out one.

monthly layout

However. What I did love about this was the space for weekly tasks. This was a big take out from this project. I need space to write tasks that need to happen on certain weeks in the monthly view. Additionally, I need to keep general monthly task space (at the bottom in first picture). The small space for the days has also helped me realise I don’t need to write in financial things on here. Previously in my Weeks I’ve used the monthly view to write dates that bills go out. I didn’t need it, nor did I ever look at it. It was just extra effort for no reason. So, thanks to OBJ I’ll never write that in again.

hobonichi weeks monthly pages

Another thing that was culled from the monthly view as part of this was my habit tracking. In the bullet journal set up I used my habit tracker notepad* to put it all one page.

habit tracker notepad

Having only one location to flick to for all habits was perfect. I’ll never spread them across monthly and weekly pages again.

One final element of my monthly set up was the content planner. Previously, this was in my Cousin. While this layout worked fine, I don’t need this in the same notebook that I carry around daily, so I’ll still keep it separate going forward.

LT1917 pocket

Weekly layout and daily pages

Although I said I don’t like drawing out layouts, the weekly is basically the same as what I was drawing out my Weeks anyway.

a6 bullet journal

In theory, this layout worked really well. Four separate sections – plans, life tasks, shop tasks and content tasks. I like to preplan my week on a Sunday evening and have everything grouped into categories. The issue with this layout is there isn’t enough space for everything I sometimes want to preplan. Some weeks I ended up using the space at the top of the left hand page, which is just for general tasks as I’d run out of space in the correct day.

The dailies themselves though, worked perfectly.

daily pages

A lot of my bullets are quite short though, so I did initially find the blank space on the right hand side of the page off putting. Once I realised it was a good place to use up some stickers to pretty up the pages, I was fine with it. The big thing that worked was having my dailies with me in my EDC. My Weeks is too big to carry around so I haven’t had my to do list on me for ages. It was so nice having something come to me during the day and being able to capture it in the moment.

What isn’t working with this though, is having to flip back and forth between my dailies and my weeklies.

Particularly during my experiment with using a fountain pen, it was getting annoying, and I was smearing the ink too much.

bullet journal weekly spread

So this has definitely made me realise I probably need to separate my preplanning from my dailies.

I’m so glad I did One Book July

It’s definitely helped me learn about what’s important in my planning. I’ve been able to use this to work out what I actually need for next year, and it’s going to be pretty simple.

If you’ve never done it before, or you’re just in a bit of a mess with your planning, I highly recommend it.

The big question: as it’s now August, have I ditched the bullet journal?

Surprisingly (to me), I haven’t. I have adapted my system and incorporated my Weeks back into the fold, but I am still bullet journaling daily.

a6 notebook and hobonichi weeks

The plan is to use up the notebook and then move back to my Passport TN and use it in the same way as the notebook. Although the notebook worked fine as a purse, I prefer the extra storage in my TN. I then have a couple of months to check whether this bullet journal and Weeks combination works before committing to a 2024 set up.

Did you do One Book July? How did you find it?