After experimenting with planners for years and mostly having them not work well, writing the posts this month has made me realize why what I've finally settled on DOES work for me. I got into bullet journaling a little while back, and I'm currently working with a system of two bullet journals, which you'd think would be too complicated. But it's not, and it works for me because it allows me separate space for both expansion AND organization. I suppose I could use one notebook for both, but I find that I really need to separate out the "feels" of both of them.
To start off, bullet journaling is a simple system whereby you create lists in a journal, indicate the nature of each item by a specific bullet type, and then migrate items to either a calendar or a daily list. Bullet journals also tend to incorporate indexes, monthly pages, and other forms of list organization. There are tons of great explanations of the method on YouTube and in blogs on the web. My favorites are Bujo Boosted and BohoBerry on YouTube.
I love planners, but something in me rebels at having to organize the information in my head down on paper, even though it feels good to not have to keep it all clogging my brain. I want to do it, but I just don't do it, preferring instead, apparently, to fly by the seat of my pants.
What I realized does work for me is dumping everything into a simple list on paper, without having to make any decisions about where it goes or when I need to do it. I do segregate these lists into "Home," and "Work," and one or two other lists. I have a Midori style journal which has a paper monthly calendar, a folder for sticky notes and stickers, and a notebook of lists.
In a separate journal, I have my weekly spreads (which I have decided to do by hand), and anal-retentive spreads like goals, books I'm reading with check boxes for chapters, exercise challenges, and other stuff. After I brain dump into my first journal, I'll migrate that information as needed into my weekly spreads as I see fit. I've also got some other goodies I use.
Yes, it might be nice to have it all in one place, but I tried that, and it didn't work. I think it was because I was trying to be creative and organized in one place, and that combination just didn't work on either account. Part of the problem was that in a "regular" planner I lost track of my lists, and it ended up being too much work to find the list items that I needed to put in my daily to-do's. And in my life, I have stuff that goes on different lists, which gets too complicated if I don't have a book just devoted to the darned lists.
So check out YouTube, and if you want to be a total geek, check out JetPens, and have fun getting organized!