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