Inventing The Grid Tool wasn’t my plan. But before I invented it, falling in love with all the beautiful Bullet Journal planner layouts on Pinterest gave me a huge gridding headache.
You see, I’m lazy. Irrigation system in the garden? Check. Automated kitty litter cleaner – yes, please! Most days, if I can get my kids to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner, I’ll take that over a balanced meal. When Konrad Zuse said he invented the computer because he was lazy? That man right there is my spirit animal.
Yet every time I went to draw columns or rows in my bullet journal I had to break out a ruler, calculator, pencil and a big eraser (in the very likely case that I’d mess up my math). I also had to find some scratch paper (for calculating or testing) and a pen (to trace over the final lines). Then it would take me all afternoon to set up my monthly calendar grids, far future months, weekly and daily spreads, etc. Grrrr.
And when I found a new layout I wanted to try or needed to set up the next month’s spreads? I was back to square one.
What. A. Pain.
So, obviously, this is the point where I seriously considered giving up on Bullet Journalling.
I mean – what’s the point of doing all this work over and over again? Isn’t Bullet Journalling supposed to be fun? Here I am measuring in inches, whereas my bullet journal’s increments are in millimeters! I thought “There has to be a better way!”. So I sat down at my kitchen table and wondered – what if I had something:
- like a stencil – with pre-measured sections for making rows and columns?
- small and portable?
- simple to understand, but with enough functionality to make multiple sizes of evenly-spaced grids?
- that works with my favorite (A5) planner in 5mm increments (which also happens to be the most common Bullet Journal size and measurements)?
- that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?
- that works with any size pen, pencil or marker – no itty-bitty stencil holes?
But most of all, it had to solve the issue of having to calculate and use math every. single. time. I. need. to. draw. a. grid.
So I did what any research hound does – I pulled up Google and went on a hunt. And I came up with… practically nothing? No easy solution I could just buy and use OOTB? Hrumph. Well, there goes lazy plan #1. This quest for simplicity just wasn’t going to be that simple – I had to do something else.
The Mother of Invention
It took me about a week to conceptualize, prototype, test, and finalize The Grid Tool. It’s geeky, practical, affordable, portable, easy-to-use, and a huge time saver – especially for those of us who like to have beautiful-looking straight and evenly-spaced rows and/or columns.
Measuring the SMART Way
The tool itself is about the size of a bookmark (7 1/2” x 1 13/16”) and uses the common 5mm grid measurement. It can be used in A5 size (approximately 5 inches wide by 8 inches tall) journals, planners, organizers or notebooks with blank, 5mm square grid or 5mm dot grid pages.
Anyone can use it to easily make 2-9 (or more!) evenly-spaced rows or columns. You can also use it to mix and match different sizes by dividing the page into quarters, fifths, sixths, sevenths, or more – the sections drawn out on it make it easy to visualize how you can fit them together.
How I Use The Grid Tool
Once I built my prototype, I put it to work creating the layouts I use most often along with a few layouts I’ve envied.
I use the 1/2 page (2 sections) to quickly split my Daily pages into 2 rows.
I use 3 sections (out of the 4 section layout) to create a 3-column layout for my Far-Future quarters (6 months on a 2-page spread – 3 months on each page).
Speaking of months, creating a Monthly 2-page spread with 5 rows and 4 columns on each page used to be a pain. Now the job is quick and easy!
Get Your Own Grid Tool
I’ve opened an Etsy shop and offer several sizes as a downloadable printable PDF.
Care to Share?
I'm certain there are MANY more row and column combinations possible.
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The Grid Tool makes it easy
to create Pinterest-worthy rows and columns in your Bullet Journal or daily planner - no math needed!