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When it comes to bullet journals and planners, everybody has their own ways of maintaining upkeep.
You may even find that you’re asking yourself ‘How should I maintain my own planner?’ Especially if you’re hating the way you’re planning your planner right now.
So then you peruse through Facebook, Pinterest, Google, and Instagram (much like I assume you’re doing now!). Let’s be frank- you’re going to see every type of planner maintenance out there. You may see a lot of ideas, yet it’s important to have some direction and clarification behind each type of planner organization system.
Do you particularly like the idea of not having to plan your planner more than once a week? Batch planning may be for you. However, there’s no magic way to determine whether it will be what you like best, so you may as well continue learning everything there is to offer!
What Is Batch Planning?
Batch planning is creating or structuring organization over a longer period of time in your planner. Typically this is made for 1 or more months in advance. Batch planning is generally created purposefully in 1-2 larger chunks of time.
Typically within 1-2 months of completing the last ‘batch’, you will again create the ‘next batch’ of planning for the following months ahead.
Batch planning exists to help maximize your time. You have the luxury of not having to worry about planning your planner for a few weeks or months. All you have to worry about is maintaining the present and adding to the future of your planner.
This is a very different system compared to maintaining your planners or bullet journals from week to week. Like any system, some people may find more value to batch planning than others.
Will I Find Value In Batch Planning?
You can do this every week or every month… it’s up to you!
It’s hard to fully determine if you will find value in batch planning. I’ve seen some very organized people who still prefer to go week to week. I’ve seen some less-focused people find a lot more value doing lots of planning in one sitting.
For those who are unsure on how to structure planning their planners or bullet journals, I’m going to say just give a method a shot. If you like it, then keep the planning structure. If you don’t, continue researching other methods.
Still not entirely sure about batch planning? Ask yourself these questions to see if it may be a better choice for you:
- Do you hate the idea of having to plan out your planner on a weekly or daily basis?
- Do you have a relatively consistent schedule?
- Are you comfortable with ambiguity for long amounts of time?
- Will you be able to use your spread if you don’t like how it looks down the road?
- Do you have a few uninterrupted hours to make all of this in one or two sittings?
- Do you have a pretty good vision of how you want your next couple of months to look?
If you can identify with at least three of those statements, you may really enjoy batch planning.
Now, in the planner world, batch planning works for both very structured planners and self structured planners (bullet journals, for example). However, how it’s created will have some differences for each.
Batch Planning In Structured Planners
To think, it’s all pretty and ready to go!
Beautiful structured planner layout from plannersandpastimes from Instagram.
For people who use more structured planners (examples- Happy Planner, Erin Condren, Blue Sky), batch planning would look like creating systems in advance (example- exercise trackers created for the next 6 months). For those who have predictable schedules, this may also look like logging information ahead of time for the upcoming months.
Are you having trouble imagining what it looks like? Let’s take my exercise tracker suggested in the previous paragraph. Let’s paint a picture.
I use the Happy Planner Fitness planner. Batch planning for me looks like layout out my meal entries, water logs, and exercise times ahead of time. While I still have to take the time to log my entries daily, batch planning saves me from having to add the stickers at the same time. Definitely saves a few minutes per day!
Typically, batch planning in structured planners tends to be a lot more simple. The planner’s structure already exists. Frequently, many well-known planner systems also have accessory systems in place to make planning your planner much more simple. For instance, placing a sticker that has your water logging tracker in your planner takes a grand total of 30 seconds. Drawing may take a couple of minutes.
Batch Planning in Bullet Journals
If you think of it, the future log is basically a mini version of batch planning!
Check out this fabulous future log by sketchdots on Instagram!
For people who use a bullet journal, batch planning would look like creating monthlies, weeklies, dailies, and collections/trackers at least one month in advance.
I’m going to warn you: batch planning beyond one month for anything beyond a tracker is going to take a lot more work than it will for a structured planner.
For trackers, you’re completely capable of creating a tracker that lasts much longer than a month in just a couple of pages. This won’t be nearly as tedious as creating multiple monthly and weekly spreads.
Let’s be clear, this isn’t knocking batch planning for bullet journals whatsoever. However, you have the right to know that the amount of time spent batch planning in a bullet journal is going to be much higher. This particular detail is probably the biggest difference between the two types of planners.
Something to consider: Nobody said you can’t use some of the accessory systems from structured planners in your bullet journal. They work great for simplifying and cutting down time. My favorites to add to a bullet journal when I’m in a time crunch are the Happy Planner Sticker Sets. They are amazing for adding some extra value while making life just a bit easier.
What Batch Planning is Not
Batch planning saves time in the long run. But it’s not an easy way out. You still have to put in work. Regardless of how you plan your planner, you need to maintain it.
Batch planning is not sitting down for 8 hours to get your next three months planned out, and then never touching it again until the three month the next three month section.
You still need to actively be involved in your planner at least a couple of times a week. Things are going to change. New activities will occur. Old, known about activities will be cancelled. While your structure is set ahead of time, you still need to maintain the accuracy of the planner.
Don’t just make this and leave it be! You still have to fill it out!
Beautiful, minimalist weekly spread from happymama2412 on Instagram!
2-3 times a week: Make sure that your planner activities are up to date and accurate. Make sure you are aware of what is going on in your life that you need to know about. Update your trackers .
Once a week: Make sure your weekly details and goals are current.
Once a month: Fill out your structure you’ve determined you want to follow for the month. Fill out your month in review.
As needed: Create doodles or specific themes for your spreads. Add a personal touch.
Batch Planning is not filling out all the boxes ahead of time.
You are certainly welcome to create the boxes. You’re certainly welcome to build a structure a certain way. But personal recommendation: don’t fill out those boxes for beyond one month at a time.
This is mainly just a safety recommendation. If something significant happened in your life that changes your ability to adhere to your previously filled out plan, you’re not going to be in quite a panic over having to change what you created. I’ve experienced it. It is such a pain!
Note- if you have a highly regimented plan that you’re intending to stick to and have external accountability to adhere to this, then you certainly can fill out your boxes ahead of time.
Anything Else I Should Know About Batch Planning?
Remember, above all else, keep it simple and have fun!
Beautiful empty monthly layout by _bujo.babe_ on Instagram!
Like any system out there, batch planning is not for everybody. If you already plan your planner weekly and this works for you, don’t mess with success.
If you don’t have the time to dedicate planning in one or two chunks, don’t feel pressured to try to maintain this type of planner organization system. Consequently, if you really like the concept of batch planning, you could try to do 2-3 weeks at a time. There’s no one way to batch plan!
Speaking of the concept of no one right way to batch plan, how you choose to maintain your planner organization with batch planning is up to you.
For instance, you may desire to completely build your next two months. That includes everything; your theme, your colors, your doodles, and your quotes! This is perfectly fine.
However, something else to consider- only structure out the bare bones. Just draw your lines and your boxes for the next two months. Then, as you approach your week, you can start adding the ‘fun’ details. This almost presents as the best of both worlds; it saves you time drawing lines, but you are still able to be fun and spontaneous.
Last, but not least, remember to keep it simple. Especially with batch planning. Why? Because batch planning takes an investment of time. The more complicated you get, the harder it is to keep up.
How do you plan your planner? Are you already a batch planner without even knowing it? I’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts on this system, especially if you’ve already tried it in the past.
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