Last year I bought my first Hobonichi Weeks planner and then left it in my drawer for the majority of the year gathering dust. I couldn't fit it into my system as I already had the Jibun Techo and several other notebooks in use, so The Hobonichi Weeks was left abandoned.
However towards the end of 2018, I knew I wouldn't be using the Jibun Techo again and started to wonder if I could fit the Weeks into my 2019 system. I spent the last few weeks of 2018 testing the Weeks out and trying to get a feel for it, and I felt confidant that I could use the Weeks for a full year.
Overview of the Hobonichi Weeks.
The Hobonichi Weeks is a slim diary / planner / organiser (whatever term you prefer). It’s that familiar, portable size that a you see from numerous different annual planners. As with all things from Hobonichi the simple is elevated to something more through thoughtful design.
The Hobonichi Weeks comes in a number of different cover designs that range from plain, bold colours through to the quirky. I have the cactus design which comes with tiny stitched cacti of all different forms. I have a clear plastic cover to protect the cover and for the extra pockets. I bought this last year directly from Hobonichi, it’s not something I have found from any third party retailer.
The Weeks includes two bookmarks which is always very useful. I use one to mark the current month and the second for the current week. I think two bookmarks in planners now is a standard with more and more brands additional an extra bookmark.
Finally, the paper. It is similar to other Hobonichi planners with beautiful tomoe river paper that I love because it handles pretty much any writing tool. The paper is a cream colour which I know can put some people off. Personally I like this because I find it softer on the eye.
The layout inside is simple as with most things from Hobonichi. The first two pages are three year long calendars, the 2019 calendar on the left hand page giving this prominence and more room. On the right hand side there are two smaller calendars, one for 2018 and another for 2020. Having the previous year on this spread is quite useful for checking last years dates. I have referenced this a few times this year already.
The next double page is dedicated to the full year with a tiny amount of space for you to make notes. I guess the idea is that you can add annual dates, mark off annual leave, that sort of thing. I haven't used this spread at all because I am not sure what I could mark here, or how I would fit it in.
Then you head into your monthly spreads which starts from Dec 2018 and runs through to March 2020. The additional coverage is helpful as you’re not completely restricted to the year, you can start early and you also have space for future planning.
The spreads are good but space is minimal due to the size of the planner. The simplistic design does mean that the space is maximised as much as possible. There is a grid pattern on each of these pages too which helps the user to maximise the space and keep their writing tidy.
There is a small amount of note taking space around the sides on this page. I have jotted down monthly appointments, actions or to-dos here which is quite useful. Having some sort of ‘space’ for the extra things is always useful, whether that’s notes or decoration.
On a final note, as this is a Japanese planner there are Japanese holidays included in red throughout. These are easy to ignore but could be a little confusing.
After the monthly spreads you head into your weekly views. I love the layout of these pages, the week is on the left hand page with 7 days, each with an equal amount of space (hurrah!). On the right you get a grid page which is blank for anything else you may need to include.
There are some small little flourishes on these weekly pages, which again maximise the available space without giving you the feeling of overcrowding. Firstly you have the phase of the moon under the days date. Not an important feature but kind of interesting and useful. Secondly there is a Japanese quote on the bottom of the page, which I cannot translate or understand, but this is a feature of the Hobonichi Planners. There is a small monthly calendar in the bottom right. It highlights the current week within that month but again allows you to glance ahead if needed.
And finally the week number is called out at the top of the page, 52nd Week, 1st Week, etc etc.
The back of the planner has around 60 pages of grid paper for notes. I rarely use these but having some space there is very helpful and it doesn't add to the bulk of the planner because of the super thin tomoe river paper. There are also a handful of pages in Japanese with some interesting illustrations but again I cannot understand anything there. These pages seem to adjust each year and have a different focus.
My use of the Hobonichi Weeks.
I am using the Weeks as a functional planner. I am not decorating the pages in any way, I use only fountain pen and ink or a gel ink pen. The purpose is to keep track of my tasks and appointments for the week. On the right hand side of each week I lay out the tasks I have for the week. I also use the space if required for any additional notes, such as physio exercises and headache patterns.
I like the format and layout of the weeks for lots of reasons. The layout is very similar to the Travelers Company Weekly + Memo Weekly refill which I have used for years. This format has always worked well and I enjoy it.
The size is great too making it portable and allowing me to focus on the short and mid-term time frames. I still use a digital calendar for long term appointments, but this works great for managing my month and week.
I usually plan out my week on a Sunday and see what I need to get done in the next week. The week is then referenced and adjusted if necessary and the tasks reviewed and assigned a day in a different notebook.
The Hobonichi Weeks has found a purpose and place in my rotation and I really enjoy it. It’s a simple planner that most people will have used at some point, but the Hobonichi Weeks satisfies all those small extras that the stationery nerd enjoys. High quality materials, cute designs and paper that is a total joy to use.