Planning & Goals

DIY Planning Setups: Bullet Journals & More

a to z blogging challenge -- diy planning setups: bullet journals, printouts, filofaxes, and other planner types

In yesterday’s post, I talked about calendars. I rattled off a whole list of different paper and digital calendars/planners that you can use to organize your life.

But what if those aren’t quite your style? What if you want more customizability?

Here are some options I’ve found through cruising the world of #planneraddicts.

Bullet Journals

Bullet journaling is a recent craze in the planning/journaling community. It’s a combination of a planner, a task list, and a journal. Here’s an example:

Bullet Journal spread layout planner
Courtesy of


A bullet journal can be any notebook, but graph or dotted paper works particularly well (Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are popular). At the beginning of the notebook, you create an index. You list out months and note important dates. Then you progress through the notebook by day, listing out tasks, events, and notes in no particular order (unless you want one). You can code items with symbols of your own device. And you can, at any point, break off with your scheduling and ramble for a few pages of thoughts, plans, or otherwise. has a much more exhaustive setup guide.

Following that, you can customize any way you like. Click on the images below for close-up views and links to full posts where other bloggers have outlined their own bullet journaling strategies.



Filofaxes are another type of paper planner which are special for their customizability. They look like this:

filofax pretty pink planning binder schedule

Courtesy of

Unlike bullet journals, the history of the filofax goes back all the way to WWI, according to the official website at Like bullet journals, they are hugely customizable, but unlike them, you don’t have to do all your own decorating. Filofax and other companies make pre-designed paper refills for all kinds of purposes. You don’t have to replace a filofax like you do a notebook–just its filling.

FilofaxUSA has countless types of layouts/paper to fill your filofax, but there are tons of other stories on Etsy and elsewhere that sell more “fun” (colorful) paper. There are monthly calendar layouts, yearly layouts, to-do list layouts, diary page layouts, blank pages, and more. Some bloggers even make printables for custom pages. LimeTreeFruits, for example, has printables for self-care pages, health trackers, and to-do lists. And finding more freebies and cool stationery is only a Pinterest search away.


These are two very popular types of DIY planners. As a disclaimer, I have only ever tried the bullet journal and found that I liked my current planner system (my Passion Planner) better. I also tend to prefer notebooks to binders, but maybe someday I’ll invest in a filofax and give it a try.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into a more customizable way to plan your life. If you know of another DIY method for planners, I’d love to hear about it in the comments! Otherwise, I’ll be back tomorrow with the letter E.


7 thoughts on “DIY Planning Setups: Bullet Journals & More

  1. I was a filofax fan for many years, but my back troubles meant I had to cut down the weight I carried around in my bag, so it went. But I’m looking at something smaller & lighter as I really miss it … more akin to a bullet journal.


    1. I kept a bullet journal in a pocket-size Leuchtturm1917 dotted journal, about the size of an index card. It is very portable, but perhaps doesn’t have as much writing space (especially for journaling/brainstorming) as one would like. I’m sorry about your back!


  2. I started using a bullet journal this year. I have to say that I love it and I love how much it helps me stay organized. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to coming back for more later in the month! Cassie from Mommy, RN


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