Hello there! :)
A digital, hand written notebook, which is completely searchable by hand writing recognition, with stickers and drawings in all colors and shapes and synchronized on all devices? Sounds too good to be true, but it exists! :)
I have been using the combination of a tablet, digital pen and writing app for 5 years, currently with iPad Pro 9.7′, Apple Pencil and the GoodNotes app, probably the best combination for me so far. I take notes in the university like this, because my lectures contain many formulas and only little text. At work, I use the App NotesPlus, because the information contains sensitive data and I am therefore not allowed to store it in the cloud, which I have activated in GoodNotes for private and university purposes for practical reasons. For my everyday life, I have a planner, a so-called Bullet Journal with my tasks, appointments, notes and even less important scribbles. I have a free template for this notebook for you to download below. :) I didn’t manage to create it at the beginning of the year, but I made it for the beginning of this semester, because the demand for it is so high. All you need for a Bullet Journal is an empty notebook and a pen. You can find out more about how this actually works in my article on the 2017 planner.
Then why do I create a template at all when you normally start with an empty notebook?
It takes a lot of time to design a bullet journal. Especially the creation of the monthly overviews can give a lot of pleasure to some, the other finds a ready-made overview more practical and wants to save time. That’s why I’ve prepared a few elements of the planner for you, but you can extend it as you like. If you use GoodNotes, you can even erase, move or change every single line I have drawn and every word I have written. This keeps the planner individual but you have less work and maybe a little inspiration.
Which devices or apps can I use the template with?
In principle, this is possible with every app and every tablet and touch pen. You don’t need expensive equipment, at the beginning I used my old iPad mini and a touch pen. I offer below both, a version for GoodNotes and a PDF file that works with each device that can read a PDF file. With GoodNotes you have the advantage that the template can still be changed, unfortunately, this is only possible to a limited extent as a PDF.
Why am I currently using GoodNotes and no other app?
For me, font recognition is essential for my notebooks. That’s why many apps wouldn’t work for me. Noteshelf 2, for example, looks very promising, but as far as I know, it doesn’t yet have hand writing recognition and the possibility to open notebooks in several tabs. I have previously been using NotesPlus until it crashed on my old tablet every now and then, now I use it for work, but I don’t find the handling and the search function as intuitive as with GoodNotes. At the moment I’m still missing some features of GoodNotes, but I hope that these might be added to the new version.
So what did I put in this template?
First of all, there are several cover pages so that you can pick the one that fits your style. It then contains monthly overviews, both as a list and in the classic calendar format. In addition, there is a habit tracker with which you can manifest habits, a page in which you can enter and rate your viewed films or read books, a travel overview, a timetable, a shopping list (but I usually use the app “Bring”) and a page for notes.
This year I decided to create an English template only, if you would like a German template, please write me, if the demand is big enough, I might make another one. I also kept it quite minimalistic this year but added stickers on the last pages, which you can simply cut or copy and place anywhere in the notebook. How this works you can see in the following animation:
Why should I use my bullet journal, calendar or notebook digitally?
The paperless office, i.e. the digital archiving and creation of all documents, as I am doing now, saves a lot of paper. You don’t have to print out scripts or documents, just sign them digitally. For example, for scanning, I use the app “Scanner Pro”, because it has OCR as font recognition.
Thanks to this digital storage, the documents are better sorted and you almost always have them at hand. Everything is much tidier, as long as you put it down correctly.
Do you want to add something to the to-do list in bed to clear your head? Or to search your notes on the way? With a synchronized app on your phone, you can view the documents or add something even if the tablet is not in reach. Of course, this is not suitable for large entries but works great for smaller notes. GoodNotes even has a desktop version that allows you to view and edit documents.
At university, I do not carry a huge pencil case, only two pens. A black Muji gel pen and my Apple Pencil, because on the iPad I can write with any colour, even the colour of my highlighter can be selected. Thanks to shape recognition I do not have to use a ruler and the compass. Forgot to write down a note in the middle of your text? No problem, the text can be easily moved and arranged in any order.
An infinite variety of stickers
Images or stickers from the Internet can be inserted in seconds using drag and drop or the import function, so you don’t have to buy stickers or washi tape and you can also insert your own photos.
The most important feature for me: Everything is searchable. Whether it’s the name of a formula in my scripts, the idea I had for a blog article, a shop where I bought something, or a little side note, once I write something more or less readable in my notebook, I can just search for it. When exporting as PDF, this searchable text remains.
Now I have talked enough, here you can find the dropbox links for the template, first as GoodNotes document, second as PDF. It would be nice if you could only download the template you use, Depending on whether you use GoodNotes or not.
(Updated: 8. April – removed mistakes on april and may pages)
You can find the old page-templates (lined, blank, half lined,…) in my older article: Bullet journal 2017. If the link does not work for a moment, Please be patient, because then I have to upgrade my Dropbox subscription for higher traffic. Why don’t you try again the next day? :)
I put a lot of time and love into the Bullet-Journal template, if you want to buy me a coffee for it, you can do it here:
I would be very happy about it, but of course, it is not a must :). Feel free to leave feedback and ideas for improvement here as comments under the article or just write me an email.
Have fun designing your Bullet Journal! :)
Lot's of love,