My 2021 Planners

New year, new planner setups β€” you know the drill. Not a ton has changed since 2019, actually, but here’s a look at how I’ll be organizing my 2021.

Bullet Journal

Continuing on in my fourth bullet journal, I’ve picked the theme “lights” for 2021. You can see it in two forms in this cover, torn out of some magazine or other that I had lying around: the lantern in the bottom left corner and the stars across the top which admittedly you can’t really see in the photo.

(I know people like to start a new bujo for the new year; personally, I tend to have enough space for the whole academic year and start a new one around summer. Not sure yet if I’ll change this after I graduate and semesters no longer define my life.)

Usually I like to pick a word or phrase as kind of a guide for the year.Β Put your heart into it happened to resonate with me while I was flipping through my collection of stickers and printouts; it might be a bit cheesy, but it makes me happy and that’s all that matters.

I’m once again setting goals for the year, “21 in 2021,” but this time around I plan to split it up and set quarterly goals, in the hopes that it’ll remind me to check in and actively work towards them (instead of setting them and forgetting them).

This bujo probably won’t last me much longer than the end of the semester, so it doesn’t make sense for my future log to cover anything past that. Plus I mostly use Google Calendar for events anyway. (I forgot to photograph this before I started filling this out, so just disregard the blue Post-it notes.)

I’ve gone back to a simpler monthly cover, with a Polaroid-style image and mini calendar, as well as an original-bujo style list calendar. In case you couldn’t tell, my accent color for the month is a medium/dark blue because it’s my birthday month and blue is my favorite color; I tied in the year’s theme of “lights” with the printed image of a candle in a jar.

Not pictured are my trackers, because each of those is just a title and a list of dates:

Books & Blog Spreadsheet

Back in 2019 I started using Kal’s Book Blogger Spreadsheet Template β€” the 2021 version is live and here! β€” which I’ve since been gradually modifying based on my own needs and preferences.

(Out of respect for all the hard work Kal puts into her template, I won’t be going into much detail about the sheets I haven’t changed significantly; you can check out her post for more information, inspiration, etc.)

Last year I created my own spreadsheet, borrowing heavily from Kal’s template. This year, I’ve continued to make changes, but some of these layouts may look familiar if you saw my 2020 planners post. Obviously 2021 hasn’t started yet, so in the screenshots below you’ll see that I’ve plugged in some data to show how things work.


Reading Tracker

This is for sure the sheet I access and update the most. The format is basically the same as Kal’s, but I’m including it here since I for one am always curious about what stats everyone likes to track. I also like to add my latest read to the top instead of the bottom, so that I don’t have to wait for the whole sheet to load and scroll all the way down.

In my case, the most salient stats are (from left to right)

  • start and end reading dates
  • book title (color coded based on rep)
  • series title and number
  • author (color coded based on rep)
  • pub year (bolded for frontlist and ARCs)
  • target audience
  • primary genre
  • format (Kindle, audio, print, ADE/PDF)
  • ARC? (yes/no checkbox)
  • reread? (yes/no checkbox)
  • score (out of 15 – based on my rating system)
  • ⭐ rating (out of 5 or DNF)
  • reviewed? (yes/no checkbox)
  • miscellaneous notes


Reading Challenge Prompts Tracker

Reading tracking, part two, for all the reading challenges I end up joining. Pretty self-explanatory?


State of the ARC Tracker

Inspired by Evelina’s State of the ARC monthly meme, this was a way to maintain accountability and keep Mt. ARC TBR under control. (The remaining count and totals at the bottom are automated, because I am bad at math and also too lazy to constantly keep updating them.)

That said, lately I haven’t requested or read a ton of ARCs, so I may not need this one anymore β€” look at that 1 single remaining ARC for 2020!!! We’ll see if I’m still using it by the end of the year.


Book Stats

All that aforementioned data from the first tracker goes into the formulas for these pretty pretty graphs! The only things I manually update here are the Book of the Month table and the New/Unread counts in the monthly stats table. (I could definitely work out formulas to automate this too, but I kind of like the accountability and satisfaction of changing these numbers.)

Recently I’ve been working on pivot tables as another way to organize and visualize all the data, but I haven’t worked with pivot tables in literal years so it’s been slow going and not yet fit for public viewing.

Kal has tons of other graphs in her template; I’m mostly just interested inΒ 

  • distribution of star ratings
  • distribution of reread vs backlist vs frontlist vs ARCs
  • monthly average rating, read count, DNF count
  • newly acquired count; remaining newly-owned TBR count
  • read count and DNF count by genre


Blog Stats

This one’s also pretty straightforward:

  • follower count (on the 1st of the month)
  • monthly views, visitors, likes, comments, top post
  • post count by category
  • total posts for the month & all-time


Post Tracker

I created this last year based on Sunshine & Stationery’s 2020 bullet journal setup, and (before I went on hiatus) it really was helpful for staying on track to get posts published on schedule, for time management, batching graphics, etc. It’s also a nice accessible record, in case I want to look back on what posts I published when.

  • What method(s) do you use to plan your time and track your commitments?
  • How frequently, if ever, do you reevaluate your planning systems?
  • Are you all set up and ready for the new year?

7 thoughts on “My 2021 Planners

  1. This is all so organized and pretty. I haven’t prepared my planner for 2021 yet, I really have to get to it because I want to keep my reading and some other stuff organized and listed. Got some good ideas from here, thanks for sharing!


  2. I love the theme of lights, I also ended up going with a blue as my main colour for my january set up. I’ve definitely toned down my bujo spreads this year, I’m focusing on using minimal colours but putting more energy into the artistic side to help me get back into art. I tend to reflect on my planning systems yearly? Definitely in December but also mid way through the year and for the bujo spreads I’m constantly reflecting on the layouts making sure everything is still working for me. The spreadsheet trackers are so pretty, I’ve always wanted to track my reading and blog stats digitally and I did for a bit in 2019 but honestly…I’ve learned I’m not a digital planner. I’m more of paper planner and so I just never check in on the digital spreadsheets and forget to update them 😦

    I use my bujo it’s my only method at this point to organise myself but the amount of journals I’m using this year has erm increased to 5 I think? They all have different purposes haha. Loved this post Izzy! πŸ’œ


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