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My Hybrid Planning System for 2021

hybrid planning system

I’m trying something new this year for my planner set-up. I call it my hybrid planning system because I am using two different systems to plan my life.

Why am I doing this? Why can’t I just use one planner like a normal person?

Well, I have tried so many different planner systems in the past:

  • The Happy Planner
  • A standard dated planner
  • An undated planner
  • A Bullet Journal (both physical and digital)
  • Notion (by itself)
  • Google Calendar
  • Reminder App

I have tried them all. But I never get more than a few months into each system before getting bored or finding it doesn’t work as well as I need it to. And then I go on trying something different.

I have tried using physical planners and digital planners. They both work great but there was always something missing. I would miss the simplicity of just writing something down when I had a digital planner. Or I’d miss the copy-paste tool when I was using a paper planner and my hand was tired.

After so much trial and error, I have finally come up with my perfect method.

my hybrid planning system

This article contains affiliate links. That means, if you click through and make a purchase using an affiliate link, I will earn a small compensation at no extra cost to you.

My Hybrid Planning System

Over the past few years of going between different planners, I have always come back to the bullet journal. I like having a blank book to organize however I want. It has also become a place to get creative with different media in a way I never have before.

Realizing this I decided I definitely wanted to keep using my bullet journal.

However, I don’t always have my bujo on me. Often it’s easier to pull out my phone and jot down my thoughts on a notes app.

But most apps don’t have the capability to organize my notes like I want.

This past year I have discovered Notion which is an all-in-one workspace to organize my notes, projects, and databases.

Plus it’s an app too!

So this may sound confusing since you can do anything you want in both a bullet journal and with Notion but let me explain.

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How I’m Planning to Use My Bullet Journal

This past year I’ve really enjoyed using my creative brain more, so I’ve decided to keep using my bullet journal. I love creating art for my own use and enjoyment. I think my bujo is going to become kinda like a life journal. Although, I don’t want to just call it that. I plan to keep using the normal bullet journal type stuff as well.

Daily To-Dos

I like to still write out what I’m planning to do in a day down on paper. I’m more likely to do something when I actually write it on paper. I also plan to write down my daily focus for each day as well to help keep me on track.


I have recently made reciting morning affirmations apart of my daily routine. I have found that my creative brain wants to make my affirmations artsy. Meaning using fun fonts and colors to write my affirmations and I simply can’t do that in Notion.

My Creative Space

My bullet journal has become a place to let my creative brain flow and go to work. I can create whatever I want, wherever I want, and with whatever I want.

When I have an awesome day I can journal about it with some pictures and art to document it. Same as when I have a more difficult day and just need to sit down and creatively journal about it.

My bujo is my safe place where I can be my creative self. I can also use it to go back and reflect on my past self to see how far I have come.

Simply, my creative brain won’t let me get rid of my bujo so it’s here to stay.

Related: 2021 Bullet Journal Set Up

How I’m Planning to Use Notion

Notion is amazing. You can create so many pages wherever you want at any time, which you can’t do in a bullet journal. This is what I plan to use Notion for:


When I have a project I’m planning I don’t have to worry about writing something down in one place and not being able to move it later. If I started a project in my bujo I would run out of room or focus too much time on making it look nice. That would just cause me anxiety.

By planning projects on Notion, I can have different pages and move them around my workspace very easily.

hybrid planning system - projects in notion


Notion has become a wonderful book hub. I can use it to hold all the information about books I have, want, or are currently reading.

Over the past few months, I have built myself a perfect database that holds all the information about a book I could ever want. It’s super easy to organize with the sort function build into Notion databases.

However, I still want to keep a running list of books I read in a year in my bujo. I’ll write down the title of a book on my “books read” spread. As for all the information I want to store about a book, that can easily go in my books database.

Hourly Time Blocking

Most of my days I like to keep the same from week to week. So I’ve built an hourly time blocking table in Notion. If I want to change anything, it’s super easy to shift things around without having to make a whole new page.

Daily Log Tracking

I like to track my daily stats, and in Notion, I can easily compare those stats from day-to-day. I track my sleep, my exercise, my steps, etc. I’ve set it up so as I add these stats to my daily log I can easily review them when I do my weekly reflections.

My Blog

Everything about my blog (except my growth stats) are in Notion. I am actually typing up this blog post in Notion now. It’s easy to type up a blog post or save some interesting website about growing my blog on Notion.

I’m already on my laptop when working on my blog. It just makes sense to organize it on there too, oh, and because copy-paste is a thing too. Can’t copy-paste something you’ve handwritten…

Running Tasks List

I’ve found that it is much easier to keep all my tasks in a Running Task List. Everything is in one spot rather than all over the place in a bujo. It’s much easier to change the “do date” in Notion than in my bujo. And if I don’t know when I’m going to do a certain task yet, I can leave the “do date” blank and add one later.

Brain Dumping & Knowledge Vault

I often get my best ideas when I’m grocery shopping, or out for a walk, and don’t have my bujo. However I always have my phone and guess what! Notion is also an app! When I have an idea pop into my head I can pull out my phone, open Notion, and start writing. Plus when I go back to the idea later, I can easily organize or add to it.

Then there’s my Knowledge Vault.

Anything that’s knowledge-based is organized in Notion; books to read, music to listen to, movies/shows to watch, or quotes I like. They are all easily saved on Notion and will never be lost.

Basically, Notion will be my project manager and a giant knowledge base, as well as a place to collect ideas.

Now I can’t take credit for this idea. I have been trying to figure out what to do for the upcoming year in terms of how much to use my Bullet Journal but I wasn’t convinced that it was ok to use two planner systems. It just didn’t seem fair to say one system wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t until I came across a video on youtube by Mariana’s Study Corner that I realized I can totally make two planner systems work. She is also doing a Hybrid Planning System. Highly recommend you go check out that video too.

Final Thoughts on my Hybrid Planning System

It’s ok if one planning system doesn’t work for you. If you can organize it properly, you can use two or even three planning systems simultaneously. Just make sure it works for you. You don’t have to make your system just like mine or even like anybody else’s. Remember, everyone’s brains work differently. Take some time to discover what works best for you and helps your productivity.

I don’t remember where I heard this, but I love this quote:

“You’ll be more productive day-to-day after you first take the time to establish a system that works for you.”

Seriously take the time to figure out what works for you and you won’t regret it.

What’s your current planning system and how does it work for you? Let me know in the comments.

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5 Ways Busy College Students can Jump-Start Their Week on Sunday

Last week I gave a list of things to do on Sunday to have a successful week, but that would assume that you have most or all of your Sunday. As busy college students you may work on Sunday, need to study for an upcoming exam, or need to catch up on some sleep.

In order to be a successful college student you also need to plan your weeks in advance. Time is precious and very important when it comes to needing to find time to fit in every little thing you need to do as a student.

busy college students

Here are some easy tips and tricks for busy college students to help jumpstart your week on Sunday.

This article contains affiliate links. That means, if you click through and make a purchase using an affiliate link, I will earn a small compensation at no extra cost to you.

1. Plan your week

Grab your calendar or planner or whatever you use to keep track of assignments and exams.

Turn to a new week and start filling in the days each assignment must be done by and when you are going to work on them. Careful not to assign too much in one day.

Now schedule in your study times. Don’t forget to schedule breaks too!

Lastly, schedule when you are going to sleep and eat. This may sound ridiculous but I’ve seen many college students who don’t plan when they are going to eat lunch and then they fall asleep in an afternoon class because of low blood sugar. Don’t let that be you, plan a half-hour every day for each meal.

Related: Time Blocking Your Schedule as a College Student

2. Quick Meal Prep

As a college student, saving every penny is crucial. The best way to easily save money is to plan your meals ahead of time.

Take some time to look through your fridge and freezer and write down every meal you can make from what you already have on hand. Then schedule those meal ideas to a day of the week. By doing this you spend less time trying to figure out what to have for dinner every day. To college students, time is precious.

Lastly, the best way to save money on food is to bring your own lunch to school. Don’t spend $5-$10 each day on lunch at the Cafeteria or the local fast-food restaurants. That can add up fast if you do it every day.

Make it fun by getting a brand new cute lunch box.

Also, here are some easy lunch ideas you can pack ahead of time for the day:

  • Salads (add nuts or an egg for more protein)
  • Sandwich (pb&j, lunch meat, tuna, egg)
  • Leftovers from the night before
  • Pre-made smoothies

**Don’t forget to add some fruits and veggies with your lunch too?

3. 20 Minute Clean

Set a timer for 20 minutes and start picking up your living space. You’ll be surprised how much you can get done in 20 minutes.

Waking up on Monday morning to a messy house can be an instant source of stress and you don’t want that to carry through the rest of your week.

Remember these 20 minutes of effort today can save you hours of stress tomorrow.

4. Self Care

As a college student, you are busy all the time. Often you become overwhelmed with all the assignments and studying you need to do. This stress can wear you out and have a negative effect on your week.

Sunday is a great day to forget about all the things you have to do and destress. It’ll help you start your week off calm, centered, and focused. Take some time, it doesn’t have to be a lot of time, like 30 minutes to an hour, to treat yourself. Make sure to take care of yourself first before your assignments or you’ll become stressed a lot easier.

Here are some ideas to destress:

  • Take a bath
  • Meditate
  • Go for a walk
  • Read a book (for fun!)

Related: 17 Self-Care Ideas

5. Go to Bed Early

Honestly, this is probably the hardest thing on this list but also the most important for a successful week. You do not want to start your Monday morning groggy and falling asleep in your first class of the week. After your self-care time, crawl into bed, think about or write some gratitude for the day, recite some positive evening affirmations, and go to sleep.

Here are some ideas for positive bedtime affirmations to help kickstart your morning the night before:

  • Tomorrow is gonna be the best day
  • I have done by best for today
  • I am thankful for today and grateful for tomorrow
  • I am allowed to fall asleep

Related: Evening Routine for College Students and Morning Routine for College Students

Final Thoughts

Many college students have to work on the weekends and truly it sucks, but it is only temporary. Work hard now and you’ll reap the reward on graduation day.

These 5 things can easily be done Sunday evening if you’re busy all day studying or working. Or do some of them in the morning if you work into the evening.

How do you get a jump start on your week? Let me know in the comments below!


busy college students