Discbound Bullet Journaling with Nicole Lara

Welcome to the October issue of Boho Berry Guests!

One thing I love about this “little” community of ours is how diverse we all are. We comprise all ages, genders, and walks of life. While I love sharing my Bullet Journal system with the world, I’ve come to realize that I don’t always have all of the answers for all of you out there. 

On that note, I’ve decided to start inviting guest bloggers to come on and share how they are adapting the Bullet Journal system to meet their needs. 

In this month’s installment of “Boho Berry Guests“, I am over-the-moon excited to welcome Nicole Lara of Nicole’s Journal to the blog. Nicole is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, and I am thrilled to welcome her to the blog today!

Please join me in giving her a super warm welcome. Take it away, Nicole!


I’ve been a planner girl since I was young. I would draw weekly schedules and make lists of what topics I had to study in a notebook I carried with me every day to school. I dropped this habit when I  entered college because I thought printed planners were more ‘effective’ than handwritten ones, but I had no clear idea of what I wanted and I barely used those printed calendars I bought.

Thankfully, 8 months ago I watched Ryder Caroll’s video and finally had a clearer idea of how I could use a notebook to plan. On top of that, watching Kara’s videos on her beautiful journal drove my creativity crazy. However, I was hesitant to use the system because of one tiny detail… they were using a stitched notebook! My OCD and Type A personality demand I have a notebook that I can section out and modify as I need to.

My planning style is always changing, so my notebook must be able to change with me too. This is why I decided to give discbound notebooks a try.

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.

PERKS OF HAVING A DISCBOUND NOTEBOOK

Before talking about how I set up my notebook and how I plan my days, I wanted to touch on the advantages and disadvantages of having a discbound notebook as a journal so it serves as a reference for you in case you wanted to try it out as well.

PROS: 

It feels like a regular notebook but works like a ring binder. You basically get the best of both worlds. A notebook that is light and portable combined with the functionality of being able to remove pages and add inserts to serve your needs.

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.

The freedom to choose the paper that best serves your needs. As an artist and someone that sketches in her journal, having high-quality paper is key. With my discbound notebook, I don’t have to settle on the paper other companies’ notebooks have but instead use paper I know works for me. I also have the freedom to mix dotted paper with graph paper and blank paper in the same notebook with the distribution that I want.

(You can find my free digital paper if you scroll down my website)

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.
(Example of how I add blank pages to doodle)

 

Reuse spreads you’ve made or take advantage of printable resources. I personally don’t like drawing year calendars or having to rewrite spreads I will repetitively use. Instead, I buy printables or make my own and add them to my notebook.

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.
(This spread is an example of a page I can constantly add to my journal without having to redraw it after I run out of pages for my daily plans)

There is almost no limit to how you can make it your own. You can buy different covers, add dashboards, dividers, colored paper, coloring pages, tabs, journaling cards, and so much more!

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.
(A coloring page I added at the beginning of September)

CONS:

  1. Discs can sometimes make writing uncomfortable. Similar to rings, the discs can get in the way when you’re writing on the opposite side of your dominant hand. The good thing is you can fold the notebook on its own so that all the paper and inserts in the notebook serve as support and the discs don’t protrude as much as they do (something you can’t do with ring binders). This is why I always have a dashboard on hand to protect the page that’s touching the table from getting dirty.
  2. Pages will sometimes come off a little. However, this doesn’t bother me that much since it rarely happens and when it does it’s usually because I rushed while turning the pages.

HOW I SET UP MY DISCBOUND NOTEBOOK

My journal set-up is quite simple. Even though I could make a more ‘complicated’ system with a bunch of inserts to track a lot of things in my journal, I chose to use it only to plan current projects and unique non-repetitive tasks and events.

To track repetitive tasks and events (bills, doctor’s appointments, etc.) or routines (morning/night, planning, beauty, etc.) I use apps on my phone.

I use dividers to section my planner notebook into 4 parts:

Permanent collections: These are spreads that I’ve created or downloaded that I know I will use regularly and for a prolonged period of time. Examples of collections that I have here are: year calendar, calendex, productivity tracker, monthly review checklist, weekly checklist, etc.

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.

Monthly and weekly planning: Here I have my monthly plan and my weekly planner inserts. Recently I decided to make my weekly planning spreads in a digital form and print them, because after drawing my weeks several times I have a better understanding of what I need. This gives me more time to plan and draw in my daily spreads.

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.
(Weekly planner inserts)

Daily planning: This is the section for my day to day planning. This is the most used part of my notebook and is the space where I go to create my plan of action.

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.

Projects notes and freelancing: I use the last section of my planner to write quick notes and to sketch anything related to my current personal projects or my illustration freelancing work. I have a separate notebook where I write more detailed notes, so this section serves as a space to write when I am on the go and I can’t bring two notebooks with me.

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.
(A quick doodle tutorial I drew on the back of my notebook)

Besides this basic set-up, I include decorative elements such as dashboards, tabs, and coloring pages to give it a personal touch.

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.
(A dashboard I designed and added to my journal to personalize it)

MY PLANNING STYLE

Every morning, after I am done with my morning routine, I sit down at my desk to make the plan of action for the day. The first thing I do is to review my permanent collections, monthly plan, weekly plan and review where I am in my current projects. This gives me a better idea of where I stand and what I should work on.

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.
(Project planning at its best!)

The way I organize my daily tasks is ever evolving since I started bullet journaling. The main thing I focus on is to write down my top 3 tasks for the day and any event/appointment.

After I am done planning, I take some time in the morning to relax through doodling/coloring in my journal. I find this, along with meditating regularly, has helped me quite a lot in staying calmer and to release stress.

This is one of the main reasons why I love bullet journaling. There are no lines or limits in my daily pages, so I can be as creative as I want any day and create a beautiful journal along with a more organized life.

This month's edition of Boho Berry Guests featured the talented Nicole Lara and her discbound Bullet Journal.
(I doodle and color in my journal to relax and because it is fun)

I certainly don’t follow the ‘original rules’ of bullet journaling, but the magic of a bullet journal is that it’s meant to be unique. The creator himself said that your Bullet Journal can be anything you need it to be. This freedom to choose what I want my days to ‘look like,’ is what most attracts me of this system.

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Nicole Lara

Nicole is a Dominican freelance illustrator that has a passion for art and organization. To share my talent with the world, she created the Instagram account @nicoles.journal to document how she uses her journal in her unique artistic way.

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