So, it’s new #bujo day. Goodbye pink @LT1917UK that saw me through since May. Hello beautiful owl!


Someone asked about my layouts. Every journal starts with: 1. Six months advance planner 2. Three pages of 2021 goals planning (I do this every year in Dec).




Here are the #bujo pages I lay out at the beginning of each month.


1. A 2-page calendar overview. Stickers & markers are my friends!

2. A page for reflections/doodles/projects + one to remind me to pay bills!

3. A housekeeping spread w/ recipes & cleaning reminders.

A few notes about my monthly spread:  I jot down recipes I want to try in top box and source, I jot down family faves (we call them “repeaters”) in bottom box for days I’m stumped on what to feed people,and I am a terrible housekeeper and need to track the last time I cleaned things!



Finally, every week I lay out
1. weekly overview
2. then a page per day M-F and a single page for the weekend. Each daily page is different depending on whether it’s a writing day, a research day, a teaching day, etc. FLEXIBILITY and CREATIVITY are why I love #bujo planners.

People want to know about my box size for weekly overview. I use a dotted #bujo because it’s easier. Each box is 8 boxes across and 18 down. I skip one box between days. (This is modified from something I found on the internet and I looked but can’t find it.)

My #bujo spreads are NOT about tracking productivity. They’re about leading a more creative and balanced life because that’s what I need to function. So they won’t work for everybody and that is OK.  If you are going to #bujo do it with kindness please.

As for weekly trackers I keep these to the basic things: water, vegetables, sleep, exercise. There are a gizillion trackers and I’ve tried most of them. What I discovered was that they made me feel anxious and bad. They convinced me perfection was my life project–not creativity.

A few notes on my weekly spread: I like tracking weather and meal plans so I use little boxes each day to do that The box with typewriter is for my writing goals so I don’t overschedule. The box with the safety pin is where I put things I need to remember next week.

Time to lay out weekly pages: less than 20 mins. Seriously. That’s it. And you get to use stickers and felt tip markers or colored pencils so #coloring happens.  I look forward to these 20 mins all week. It’s my reward for getting to Friday!



1. Box for top 3 to dos. Trust me. You won’t do more.
2. Box for my daily writing process
3. Hearts and boxes for daily gratitude
4. Box for all the other stuff I did so I don’t feel I “wasted time” if I don’t get Box 1 done. <— game changer

A daily page fully formatted.



Part 2: My #Bujo Planner 101, in which I cover supplies. (Long, and full of opinions so look away now…)

First: if you are new or confused or overwhelmed by the crafty nature of #bujo, please go to @rydercarroll‘s website. He invented this system. Like all systems it has grown/changed/been adapted. So let’s honor the creator and remember why he did this.

You will particularly want to visit the “LEARN” section:

“But where are the pretties?” you ask. The colors. The washi tape. The Dutch-door multi-page spreads with the watercolor art work and calligraphy?? Start with: a journal. As @rydercarroll reminds us, an old spiral bound is FINE. If you want more there are tons of options, including pre-printed & laid out #bujo planners. The classic option is the dotted A5 @LT1917UK.

Here’s the one that went everywhere with me for 4 months. It’s thin, lightweight & fits in a bag. Ink can show through. #palimpsesty

Not feeling #palimpsesty? There are a growing number of heavy weight paper options. These are heavier in every way there is. And more expensive. But pretty.

Here’s one from @NotebookTherapy (moons), one from Vivid Scribbles (dragonfly) and one from Archer and Olive (sun/moon).

Now you have to fill those pristine blank pages. My essentials 1. No 2 pencil for layouts because: mistakes 2. @tombowusa correction tape. I like their hybrid style 3. A clear ruler. I like this Westport version because it fits in #bujo pocket 4.@ZebraPen mildliners. Trust me.

If you like the idea of drawing and are hopeless (me!), I highly recommend these stencils from @NotebookTherapy. Unlike other stencils out there, these are sized for the boxes in a dot-grid planner. It’s astonishing what your can achieve with little strings of flags and circles.

If it’s stickers you are after please know that these can be a) addictive and 2) difficult to store. Still determined? These are my most used. Carpe Diem “Seasons” and “Calendar” stickers. Available in lots of craft stores, and of course online. They are on most pages of my #bujo.

For those of you who are domestic goddesses, or wish you were (me!) and have to do it all and then feed a family and clean up after, you will love these stickers from Carpe Diem and @happyplanner_co. I don’t like vacuuming but love the little vacuum stickers.

I love visual cues in my planner and my favorites come from Symposi Press on Etsy.

Here are the ones I use.

I particularly love the cupcake stickers for people’s birthdays and the moon phase stickers to remind me why people have gone bonkers. The water glass tracker is awesome.

It will come as no surprise I love words. I like motivational sayings. I like old type fonts. Which is why I love these by @tim_holtz. I make poems with them, lift myself up when feeling blue, and have occasionally used them for writing prompts!

I also love bugs and natural history and leaves and stuff. I think it’s all those scientific manuscripts filled with doodles that did it to me. I like the magic vibe at @papermintystudio on Etsy and these gorgeous stickers from @FlowMagazine and @WorkmanPub.

And then there’s washi tape. It took me a long time to figure out what the hell to do with it but I’m getting there with the help of The Washi Tape Shop (look for them online or on Instagram). They have great customer service and a fab selection.

Finally (!) if you just can’t (I have days/weeks/months like this…) then @happyplanner_co has a sticker set of…boxes and doodles. Yep. You do not even have to draw straight lines. You just have to peel and stick.

That’s it for #Bujo101. One footnote: many of these products are made by women-owned and operated businesses. So you can feel good about supporting them with your purchases. 

x Deb