Atoma notebook

WARNING: image heavy post, but you know that it’s worth it :)

About a month or so ago, a lovely reader (Fran at GM) took the time to email me about a notebook that she’s been using as her bullet journal. I really appreciate the time readers put into emailing me some wonderful suggestions. I’m sure Fran has shared her ideas on other bullet journalling sites/social media, so here is my take on the Atoma discbound notebook. Before I go on, I wanted to send a super thanks to Russ at Atoma for the entertaining email banter when prepping to receive a sample of this delightful notebook, and also for the notebook sample itself :) This is the link to the Australian website; however, they are a Belgium brand, so you can also buy them overseas. Please note, I was provided with a sample of this notebook and was not paid for this review.

I have to admit something: I had never in my stationery hoarding life, even come across a discbound notebook until I started this little venture into the bullet journalling world. There I said it. I know there are other varieties in the market out there, but out of all them, I really liked the look of the Atoma and what it could offer. Maybe it’s because it’s sexy sleek, or the long fibre paper, or the durable aluminium discs. So here are the specs to the notebook that was given to me:

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This is an A5 size, with 8 aluminium rings, and Executive style cover in chestnut (I know the photo is black and white. I’m currently in love with this photo format). The notebook itself is slightly wider than an A5 size, but this has actually worked to my advantage (read below when I talk about my folder system). This the Atoma side view of the rings.

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Atoma has plain, grid, and ruled refills. The sample that I have had a mix of all of them. The grid is 5 x 5 cm light blue lines with a red margin to the left, and the ruled has 8mm spacing also with a red margin to the left and light blue lines. The white is pristine and just lovely to write on. If you’re buying the notebook for the first time, I suggest purchasing the one with the paper you will use the most of, then buy refills of the others (Atoma don’t usually mix refills when you purchase them, so the notebook I received was so that I could sample all the refills). I was also sent a translucent lime cover with some knockout translucent turquoise rings as an archiving solution. This archiving part will be in a follow-up post in the next few months.

So this is a sample pen test of the paper quality using all the pens that I could use at any given time in my bullet journalling.

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This is the back of it. Some ghosting, but not enough for me to see any overlap when I’m writing.

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It’s also really easy to take pages out and transfer them to different places in your notebook. I was surprised at how durable and sturdy the pages were and even when the notebook was shaken around, nothing fell out. This is how the pages look half put in place (bottom part of picture) and half taken out (top part of picture).

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So how have I been using the Atoma as a bullet journal?  Well, the daily bullet journalling just wasn’t cutting it, and I had a lot of future planning that needed to be done that was just getting lost in random lists. Sooooo, I decided to create (read: handwrite) my own weekly pages on the plain refill paper.

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This is where I put all my appointments and at least one important task for me to accomplish that day. I use the grid paper for writing down my main task with the subtasks listed below. I also write down notes from the day that I want to remember (e.g. doctor appointments, ideas for Etsy products, quotes, overheard conversations, etc.) with a date on the side.

d30runsheet

I won’t start a new grid paper for each week, rather I just transfer it from week to week. It ends up being a runsheet of tasks, that way I don’t need to keep rewriting tasks on each page. I’ll only rewrite a task if both sides of the page are full. I’ll place the completed runsheet at the end of my notebook as it gets filled up. It’s so nice to not have to rewrite everything each day/week! I still use the original bullet journal key, if anyone was wondering.

I usually carry around some sticky notes, but on one particular day, I had run out and forgot to refill my stack the night before. I needed to write down a shopping list and also some random notes about house inspections that I could take with me and not take my entire notebook. So I decided to divide a plain sheet into four parts, and used one part to write down my shopping list. I’d transfer this from week to week and add as I go.

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These are the other three remaining sheets. Notice how I stacked them on top of each other? I did it this way, so that they wouldn’t move around willy-nilly when my notebook is in my bag.

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Last, but not least, I have to say that I’m not a fan of the 8mm spacing in the ruled pages. That’s just me and my handwriting quirks, and has nothing to do with the quality of the notebook itself. I didn’t, however, just want to note use them, so I decided to make some pockets out of them. I used to do this in my very first bullet journal when I needed to carry around heaps of notes from lectures or forms that needed to be completed. I used the Piccadilly notebook at the beginning of my bullet journal journey, and even though it had the pocket at the end, sometimes, you just need more pockets.

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Now I mentioned above that the Atoma is slightly wider than an A5 size notebook. This ended up being just magic for the folder system because everything in Australia is an A4 size, when folded in half, of course, it’ll be an A5 size. To make these folders, I used two sheets of paper. I cut a slight diagonal on the page in front so that I can see what documents I have in the folder. I attached the front page to another page with some washi tape on the bottom and one side. I also reinforced the diagonal cut out because it can start to look manky when you need to get documents out all the time. And that’s pretty much about it – it’s that simple.

d30pocket

You’ll also notice in the picture below that I’ve written something on the cover. These are all the documents that are currently being held in the folder. I write these in pencil, so that I can rub out when I’ve taken out a document and add on another. I’ve made two of these folders, and I love that I can also transfer these into different parts of the book and they don’t have to stay stagnant in one location.

The verdict on the Atoma notebook: I love the quality of the paper and its slimline, sleek features. I will probably change the covers though because it’s super flimsy and I tend to write on my lap during the day because I’m always on the move. All in all, for all the reasons above, I’m a fan and will happily endorse this product :)

Additional goodies for your Atoma: I’m going to purchase the tabbed pages and maybe even the folders. I’m also thinking of buying the A7 refills to save on the plain A5 sheets for those random notes that I make during the day.

The verdict on the Atoma notebook as a bullet journal: Right now, it is really working for me. The weekly pages for future planning and my runsheet for rapid logging (a-la bullet journalling) is working a treat. I’ve been using this for a good month now, and it’s running like a fine oiled machine. If you hadn’t noticed from my planner pages, we’ve been very busy. We bought a house and we’re also preparing for another member to be welcomed into our little family. Having the freedom to move pages around has been fantastic. I’ve been writing separate collections for house and baby related to do lists, and being able to take these pages out and look at them for daily planning has been an absolute godsend! In a bound notebook, I have to keep flipping back and forth! I haven’t featured these collections in this post as there are a lot of personal details and information that I just can’t be bothered editing, and I’m sure everyone can imagine what it looks like anyway.

And there you have it, bullet journal community and notebook aficionados of the world. If you want a quality notebook, then head on over to Atoma. If you needed some bullet journalling inspiration, I hope this has piqued your interest, or at least given you some ideas into any hacks or mods you might like to try. Send me an email or show off your bullet journal on Instagram :)

Happy planning! P.S. Here is my super stuffed Atoma bullet journal (taken a few days ago).

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dm

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18 thoughts on “Atoma notebook

  1. Nice one. The rings make the binder look very sleek and different. The way you’re using it is interesting; gonna have to learn a bit more about bullet journaling.

  2. Love love love this review and overview on how you’ve been using your discbound. :)

    My favorite tips are the washi’d folder notebook pages, cutting up the blank sheets for lists, and of course your hand-written beautiful week on one page planner pages!

    The placing one main task on some of the days is a great idea I will snatch right up from you! :) Doing at least one thing every day to get closer to our goals is progress :)

    The running task list is my favorite hack by far and will continue to think about how to incorporate that into my system. Thanks again for the lovely article!

    1. Awww thank you, Kim :) Glad I could inspire you with some ideas, as you’re always a constant inspiration to others. Truly flattered xx :)

  3. Thanks for the shout out Dee. Glad you’re enjoying the Atoma! And nice to see how you’re using it, thanks.
    The pocket idea is great. I have a couple of plastic ones but like the DIY version you showed and will adopt it in future. It could make a nice way to store small mementos too when the pages are swpaped out fo the journal into the archive. Look forward to reading your archive post when it comes up.
    The ‘sticky note’ option is handy too – I’ve tended to put slips of paper/envelopes with shopping lists inside the back cover but a slip in the same place as my daily list would be easier to find and add to.
    I’m still settling my BuJo/GTD integration in; gave it a major overhaul last week and seem to have them working nicely side by side now. I’ll give it a bit longer and let you know how it goes.

    1. Hi Fran! No worries – you deserve the shout out for recommending such a great notebook for bullet journalling :) Let me know how you’re going with your set up. I love seeing how others are making their planner needs work for them. I’m especially interested in how you set yours up because you’re also using the Atoma :)

      1. Dee, I couldn’t respond to Fran with saying a thank you to you for sharing your experiences and tips in such great detail. It may not be clear in my post to Fran but most of my layout (even if not the type of list) and symbology has come from your pieces. The symbologies suit my thought process and these GTD type methodologies force collection and review which I was lacking before. Thanks again and good luck with the new systems!

        1. No worries, Pete :) I’m glad that some of the quirks of my system have worked well for you. You sound like you have yours figured out, plus or minus a few elements. Good luck with it all :)

  4. Hello! I’m searching through lots of information to do with bullet journaling at the moment and came across your site.
    I’m really interested in the Atoma book you are using and am thinking about taking it up – what size are those discs you have on the A5?
    Also I’m curious to know what kind of planning you use for your work? I have a similar (but very different!) job in that I’m a teacher of the deaf and work with many people and have many tasks I have to write – some general, some family specific, activities for different goals to be achieved and at different ages and stages – and I struggle to keep on top of all the information, lists etc. I’m constantly reinventing the wheel to try and capture everything I do. I tried digital apps but I must say I love to write and the thinking processes that go with that motor activity! I’m hoping that bullet journaling will help me but already I can see some flaws in that system for me – like carrying over many incomplete tasks each day would be a nightmare.
    Would love your feedback when you have a moment. Or maybe you have already written about your work system?
    Cheers Moira

    1. Hi Moira! Thanks for stopping by my blog :) The Atoma discs are 16mm aluminium discs. I use the bullet journal for work as well, but I haven’t really posted anything about it on my blog, mainly because of confidentiality of my clients. I tend to keep my work bullet journal separate from my personal bullet journal – for a few reasons, but mainly so that I maintain work-life balance and I’m not taking work home with me. I’ve been using the bullet journal for work for a year and a half now, and only in the past few months have I really turned back to using a day-a-page to plan, and I use a similar runsheet style to the one I mentioned here in this post. The runsheet is like a master list of my tasks, and I allocate for each day. For bigger projects, I tend to have a separate runsheet specific for that project alone. For example, I run groups at 3 different year levels and at different times of the year, I’ll do refresher training courses, update data, retest students, parent training, etc., so I write this down on my runsheet with the date in the margin of when it’s due. I’ll also write this in my planner on the days they are due. Future planning is key for me, so I need to put these tasks and appointments/meetings in or else I miss them completely. This is sadly the fallback of the bullet journal – lack of future planning. I love the idea of the rapid logging system and throughout the day, I’ll make notes about different encounters with teachers or parents, etc., to jog my memory about things that may have happened that day. I think that the best advice I can give you is to experiment for a few months, and you’ll find a rhythm to suit your planning needs. The bullet journal isn’t a perfect system, but the ideas and concepts are fantastic starting points in jump starting your planning needs. I hope this kind of helps, and I didn’t ramble on for too long on something completely different from what you wanted. Feel free to email me again if you have any questions :)

    2. Hello Fran, I am the same as you, in that I hate re-writing lists but I can’t use / transfer data from (what were) my normal single sourced electronic smartphone / IT based to do lists at work so I researched a lot of GTD type ideas. My layouts have varied in the last year of use, and I include a brief overview as food for thought: (task lists over a 2 page spread into split functional areas for both work (space for the 3 different IT systems I had to use and a space for tasks with people) and home (errands, stuff to do online (to avoid procrastinatory surfing(!), notes and things to tell my wife(!)), to a pre-Xmas adoption of a page for each element of MoSCow but work and home are now combined). All have worked well in some areas and not so good on others; so I am still refining / cherry picking ideas / seeing which I like best.
      My life isn’t as scheduled as Dee’s or how your’s sounds so I don’t need to write a plan for each month (however, I use Outlook on the standalone system at work for any meetings) nor each day (often, despite best intentions, a task cannot complete as desired on a nominated day if something a fastball crop up so the list was worthless). What I do need, infrequently, is to log something which is outside of the immediate date range but is usually within the next 4 weeks which, obviously, lack of the monthly or daily then fails me on. Therefore, I have section which I know as Brought Forward and it is really simple! Basically, I have 31 pages set aside with ” of month” written at the top and, basically, insert anything in here which is required the next time that date comes around (like I said, its usually within 4 weeks). If it is beyond this timescale, I put the month in one of Dee’s left hand columns and it works really well. The only slight nause is that it is a second list to look at daily but the reward overcomes this. Recently, I tried migrating things from my other task lists here to create a pseudo daily list if I thought I could achieve them but ended up moving them to successive days when they couldnt be done – I’d even tried the coding system from Strikethru but only ended up constantly referring back to the original list to see what on earth W12 was for example! So, I only put the time sensitive Must Dos in here now; they usually get done first, on that day before I hit the other task lists. Hope this helps :-)

  5. Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. It was really helpful. I think I’ll start with an Atoma for work and give it a whirl!

  6. Hi! Gorgeous site and journals ^.^ I was wondering, have you heard about this: https://www.rekonect.com/ ? I was lucky enough to get a preorder in and have one in my hands; wish I had known about Bullet Journaling sooner! I think it has a lot of potential as a BuJo now and in future iterations.

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  8. Thanks for your tips. I add two of my own. 1. Here in Canada I found the Arc punch from Staples that punches pages that work well with Atoma. The Arc punch was 1/4 the price of the Atoma punch. And 2. I’ve been using erasable Frixion pens so I can experiment with pages. Best wishes!

  9. Hi Dee!
    Was wondering, do you have a tutorial on how you made the folder in ur Atoma? I use that notebook as well!

    1. Hi Vanessa! I’ve written it down to put as an additional blog post :) It’s actually quite simple to make. Just take two pages of the atoma paper. Cut a quarter off the top of one and place on top of the other. Use your washi tape of choice to tape the two pages together, et voila :)

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