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Inventing The Grid Tool: An Unexpected Journey

Inventing The Grid Tool wasn’t my plan. Neither was falling in love with all the beautiful Bullet Journal planner layouts on Pinterest. But all they ever gave me was 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.

Journal + Pencil + Calculator + Ruler = Frown

Bullet Journaling Sucks

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.

No Grid Spacing Tool?

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.

Inventing and Designing

Examples of Grid Spacing Differences
Examples of dot grid patterns printed at different size intervals.

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.

Spacing the SMART Way

The tool itself is about the size of a bookmark (7 1/2” x 1 13/16”). It’s available in several sizes, including A5 size (approximately 5 inches wide by 8 inches tall). And I specially designed the first version to work in 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

hero image The Grid Tool smarter spacing ruler on a 2 page monthly spread

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.

Dailies

I use the 1/2 page (2 sections) to quickly split my Daily pages into 2 rows.

Far-Future

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).

Monthlies

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!

The Grid Tool makes spacing easy

Photo of The Grid Tool spacing ruler Master Set with compatible journals and notebooks

Create Pinterest-worthy rows and columns in your Bullet Journal or daily planner – no math needed!

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.

Share your inspiring creations with everyone by tagging your photos with #GridToolLife


Published

June 3, 2018

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About the author

𝗛𝗶, 𝗜'𝗺 𝗖𝗮𝘀! Hundreds of amazing people have purchased my art and designs online since 2001. I was born, raised, and currently live in Minnesota where I parent, teach, garden, craft, cook, and read. I'm an Inventor, Entrepreneur, Professor, Marketer, and Technologist. And I'm here to offer a lifetime's worth of experience to you. Enjoy!


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