Future Planning in the Bullet Journal

Future planning is often touted as one of the weak points of the Bullet Journal system. While I agree that there is not really a built-in way to plan for future events, there are definitely quite a few options out there to get the job done.

Today, I’m going to cover 5 of the more common ones. Sound good? Sweet! Let’s go!

HOW TO HANDLE FUTURE PLANNING IN YOUR BULLET JOURNAL

5 different ways to handle future planning in your Bullet Journal

** One thing to note before we begin is that a few of the following pictures are NOT my Bullet Journal. I’ve adapted the Moleskine that I used in this video to be a “practice bullet journal” of sorts for trying out new ideas/spreads before implementing them in my beloved Leuchtturm1917.

THE FUTURE LOG

The “future log” is Ryder Carroll’s original solution to long-term future planning. Here’s how Ryder explains it:

“This Collection is used to store items that either need to be scheduled months in advance… or things that you want to get around to someday. Set up your Future Log by graphing the pages by the amount of months you’ll need. Two equally-spaced horizontal lines across facing pages creates a six-month calendar, for example.”

Simple Future Log - Bullet Journal

While I love the simplicity of this method, I found out pretty quickly that splitting the months up this way left me little room for my crazy schedule of appointments and events. By the time I had written in birthdays and holidays, I had almost run out of room in each month’s “square”.

That’s not to say that I’ve given up entirely on this method though. I still keep a future log in my Bullet Journal, but I only write in birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. I schedule my future appointments a little differently. (We’ll get to that here in a minute)

Future Log - Bullet Journal

In my version of this spread, I have my 3-month future log on the left, and a “Brain Dump” page on the right. The brain dump is a place where I can jot down ideas and tasks that I don’t have a place for yet in my daily or monthly pages:

Choose this method if:

  • You can easily fit your future appointments into the space allowed.
  • You’re a Bullet Journal purist ;)

This method may NOT be for you if:

  • You have a LOT of events and appointments to keep track of.

THE DIGITAL/ANALOG MASH-UP

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little sacrilegious when it comes to future planning in my Bullet Journal. Why? Because the way I future plan is by using a digital tool in conjunction with my analog notebook.

My husband and I share an iCal calendar for all of our events, schedules, and appointments. When an event comes up, I simply log it into our iCal calendar. I do this whether the event takes place tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. The main reason that I do this, of course, is so that Mark always has a heads up as to what’s going on.

5 different ways to handle future planning in your Bullet Journal

If the event or appointment happens to be during the current month, I also immediately write it down on my monthly spread. When I’m sitting down for my nightly planning routine, I reference this page for whatever events and appointments I need to write in for the next day.

If the appointment or event is further out, it just remains in our iCal calendar until that month rolls around. At the beginning of each new month, I take a close look at our iCal calendar and record any events and appointments that are already scheduled into that new month’s spread.

This system works great for me because it’s consistent. The fact that our iCal calendar is shared keeps us both apprised of what is going on. If I only kept appointments in my Bullet Journal, I’m afraid that we’d get our wires crossed along the way. Hence this synchronous blend of digital and analog.

Choose this method if:

  • You need to easily share your appointments/schedule with others.
  • You need to set digital reminders when important events/appointments are approaching.

This method may NOT be for you if:

  • You want to stay completely analog and don’t like the idea of introducing a digital tool to supplement your BuJo.

THE STICKY NOTE METHOD

One method that is often recommended is “the sticky note method”. The idea here is simple:

You keep a sticky note on your current daily page. As events or appointments come up, you simply jot them down on the sticky note with their respective due date/time.

5 different ways to handle future planning in your Bullet Journal

Keep moving this sticky note forward each day. As the date of the event or appointment approaches, you can then include them on your daily or weekly spread and cross them off the sticky note.

Choose this method if:

  • You like seeing all of your upcoming events/appointments in one place.
  • You don’t mind having a big ol’ sticky note slapped onto your current page all the time.

This method may NOT be for you if:

  • You have a LOT of events and appointments that may not all fit on a single sticky note.

THE ALASTAIR METHOD

The Alastair Method (named after its creator, Alastair Johnston) is a great way to keep a list-type log of all future events and appointments without having to worry too much about organization. (Check out his explanation right here!)

The general concept is to draw a series of columns for each month on the left-hand side of your page. I chose to make mine for the next 4 months, but you could easily increase that to 6 or even 12 depending on your needs.

5 different ways to handle future planning in your Bullet Journal

To the right, you simply add in each future event as it is scheduled along with it’s date. Then, put a dot in the column that represents that month.

When you are setting up your monthly spread each month, you simply scan down that month’s column and migrate those appointments into your monthly view.

Choose this method if:

  • You want a simple log that doesn’t require a lot of set-up.
  • You like the idea of having all of your future appointments in a list format for easy reference.

This method may NOT be for you if:

  • You want to organize your events and appointments chronologically.

THE CALENDEX

Yeah, so remember earlier when I explained my method for future planning? Well, I may or may not be switching to a blend of iCal and the Calendex from now on!

The Calendex is a unique blend of an index and a calendar. I had seen this method floating around on Pinterest for some time, but really didn’t give it much attention until it was featured on the Bullet Journal blog last month.

Eddy Hope’s Calendex system is nothing short of genius if you ask me! I decided to take the plunge and implement this into my Bullet Journal this year.

Eddy Hope's Calendex is a great method of future planning in your Bullet Journal!
I decided to use the same color-coding system in my Calendex that I use in my monthly spread.

First, you draw out a table of 12 columns (one for each month of the year). If you’d like, create horizontal lines along each monthly column to separate the weeks.

When an event or appointment arises, you simply jot it down in your daily spread, along with it’s due date. Then, turn to your Calendex, find the related date, and write the page number in the first available square.

Eddy Hope's Calendex is a great method of future planning in your Bullet Journal!
In my daily pages, the color corresponds to the color code on my Calendex. What I love about this method is the ability to write notes and tasks to go along with each event/appointment.

A quick glance at your Calendex now shows you that you have an event scheduled on that day, and you can flip to the page number listed to see what it is.

(For a much more thorough explanation, definitely head over to Eddy’s guest post on bulletjournal.com)

Choose this method if:

  • You like the idea of writing down events and appointments wherever you are in your bullet journal.
  • You’d like to add notes and tasks related to your appointments within your daily pages and still have a central location to view upcoming events at a glance.

This method may NOT be for you if:

  • You like to keep things super simple.

MY BULLET JOURNAL SUPPLIES:

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So there you have it folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed my little walkthrough of some of the more popular future planning methods out there!

Now tell me… which future planning method do YOU use?

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Kara Benz

Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.

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