Hobonichi Techo

2018 Planner Review.

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At the end of each year I like to reflect on the planners I have used and how I have been using them. I share the planners I have set-up for the coming year but I think it’s important to also review the past year and what has worked well. In today’s post I will run through all the planners (yes plural) that I had planned to use this year and run through what worked and what didn’t. If you’re interested in reading the 2018 Planner Plans post you can find that here.

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Jibun Techo

The Jibun Techo was new to me for 2018. I had never used it before and I was so eager to get my hands on this planner I had to buy from the US and important it, taking the hit on customs. It was a worthwhile decision because it’s been my most used planner in 2018. I wrote a full review of this planner and created a video walk through which you can see here.

But to touch on some of the highlights of this planner the paper quality is excellent. It has a version of tomoe river paper which means the pages are super thin and handle fountain pen and inks really well. I recorded a small clip of the sound the almost full planner makes, a stationery nerds dream.

The weekly layouts are brilliant and hold a huge amount of information. It’s actually very impressive that they’re able to craft that much space out of the page. Over the course of the year I made small adjustments with how I used these pages, but mostly I’ve stuck to my original review.

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And then what really makes the Jibun Techo that little bit extra special is the extras. The pages at the front of the planner that let you record the books you’ve read, the movies watched and a few extras I didn’t use are all really useful.

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With one of the monthly overview pages I used it as my Habit Tracker. Having all of this stuff in one planner was not something I’d been able to do before, so the Jibun Techo was unique in that way.

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There is a lot to like about this planner and for list makers and memory keepers it’s excellent.

Hobonochi Techo Cousin Avec

I have been a Hobonichi user for a few years. The first year I used a Hobonichi Techo is was the English A6 size and it was a sort of journal. But I found that it overlapped a lot with how I used my Travelers Company refill so with my next Techo I switched it up, and then I guess lost my way with it.

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This year I bought a Hobonichi Techo Cousin but I couldn’t find a way to use it. I tried several different set-ups including a bullet journal, a health tracker and a goal planner but nothing stuck. Unfortunately for most of the year the Cousin went unused.

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Hobonichi Weeks

This was my first Hobonichi Weeks and I bought it as I was already ordering from Hobonichi and the design was so damn cool. I was attracted to the slim size and thought I would use it as a functional diary which is how I started out, but this didn’t last very long and I just forgot about it.

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Pre-empting my 2019 plans I wanted to give the Hobonichi Weeks another run. In October I started using this to track my ailments (I seem to have a lot these days). Headaches and their severity, eczema outbreaks, physio progression and so on. I wanted to know what I felt and when over a period of time so I could link this back to the environment, place or circumstances that may have been aggravating these things. This did work out quite well but did mean I wasn't using it consistently each day. I wasn’t sure this was the best way to use one sole planner so I went again.

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In the past couple of weeks I have started using this as a diary again. Working out my week in the day sections, figuring out where everyone in the family is and what’s going on. On the right hand page I’ve been noting down the big things I need to get done that week. In the run up to Christmas this has been really helpful.

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Travelers Company Weekly + Memo Refill

This has been a constant notebook I have used for years now and I love this refill. My use over this time hasn’t changed either. I record small snippets of my day and decorate the pages. Nothing practical, no times, purely things that I experienced on that day.

Overall thoughts.

I went into this year with too much. I always do this, but this year it wasn't manageable and as a result I didn't use some of these planners. I hate being wasteful like this, but it has influenced my decisions about 2019.

The Jibun Techo has been a great planner for 2018 and it’s almost become a form of analogue time tracker. It’s enabled me to see how I spend my personal time and the things I achieve each week.

Next week I will be sharing my 2019 planner plans. I have most of the items already and I will share with you what they are and what attracted me to these planners. 2018 has been a year of personal change and as a result what I need from my planners has changed too.

Baum-Kuchen shared an excellent post on choosing your planner and the evolution of their planners. If you didn’t see this check it out here, it really got me thinking about what and how I use my planners.

Using my Hobonichi Techo as a Wellness Tracker.

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It appears I have gotten a point (age) in my life where I need to be more mindful of my health, be more aware of the things I am doing to my body and to take better care of myself. There have been some ongoing ailments I have been dealing with since my son was born. They are relatively small but, now 2 years later, they feel like they’re hanging over me. In part I was not doing enough to get rid of these things, and on top of it there were new challenges that I had to cope with. This reached a boiling point in May when a ridiculous bout of eczema and psoriasis cropped up out of the blue and left me feeling quite down.

So in order to try and make sense of things and understand what was going on I needed data. I turned to my stationery as a way of tracking what was happening. After enthusiastically buying the Hobonichi Techo Cousin in January and, for the first time in a few years, not actually using it, I decided to dig this out and use this as my wellness tracker.

The Hobonichi Techo Cousin was the ideal choice; predated pages, a good size page to record everything and then for an added perk I could use my fountain pens on the sweet sweet tomoe river paper.

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Priority One: Tracking my food.

The first thing I needed to track was my food and drink intake. There are various suggestions that dairy, caffeine and various other things can irritate skin conditions. Therefore I wanted to see if I could find any patterns and truth to this.

Each page of the Hobonichi Techo comes with a 24 hour clock on the left hand side of the page and I have been using this to track what I am consuming and when. This has been fairly simple and just requires a little honesty even on those indulgent days.

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I would also note down my water intake. I am usually pretty bad at drinking enough water, but since tracking this I have noticed a huge improvement. The heatwave we’ve been experiencing may also have played its part here.

Priority Two: Tracking my ailments.

The second thing I needed to keep track of was what was causing me problems/grief/irritation and when. Too often when trying to relay things to doctors or physios I couldn’t quite pin down how long something had been a problem, or when it had started, or the level of discomfort, and where it was occurring.

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Underneath the time bar there is enough room for these notes each day. In here I have been adding in other things during the day that are relevant. For example I am taking a few liquid supplements at the moment, both of which are included in here if I have taken them. One of them is particularly disgusting and so I am not the best at having this everyday but knowing when I have taken it makes me more self conscious of making sure I do.

I also write down if my eczema was particularly irritating and where I was suffering. I would record if and what medication I was taking to alleviate the irritation. I don’t like to rely on medication for my eczema so it’s useful to know what I use and when.

I also have a flat foot from a longstanding childhood condition. Since gaining a lot of weight during pregnancy and all the crazy hormones that come during pregnancy this condition has gotten a lot worse and now requires regular consultations with doctors and physio appointments. In order to get the most from this I have also been using the daily pages in the Hobonichi to note down issues with my foot, any days where I am struggling, any pain I feel. I also track my physio exercises here and when I am increasing the exercises. I hope that by tracking this information, during consultations I am far more aware of how my foot has been during a given period and what exercises help, or in some cases don’t.

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I track my exercise, how long I exercised for and what type of exercise I’ve done. Part of getting back to myself was re-adding exercise back into my life. But there was another reason to track my exercise, I could see if a particular exercise what irritating my foot too.

The last thing I track here is my meditation. I have been using Headspace to try and learn how to manage my thoughts and anxiety, to try and carve out a bit of quite space within my day and generally to be more mindful. In order to ensure I am doing this everyday and taking the time writing it down in my Hobonichi focuses my attention.

Overall Thoughts.

This is all really very simple stuff, I’ve not invented anything particularly special, it’s just something that takes time. I have my Hobonichi by my desk so its easy to note these things down through the day as I need to.

The idea of the wellness tracker is just that, to try and make sure in my Year of Me, I am doing everything I can to be a healthier person and take care of my body rather than being passive through this process and losing more time. There are other things I want to include within this such as my mood for the day, my stress levels and what may be triggering this and my control over them. Given some more time working with this system I will be looking through the information I have gathered and see if there are any patterns. While taking the effort to note these things down I also have to do something with the information in order to really utilise it.

This post has been a little different, with a loose link, to my stationery habits but I wanted to share how my simple stationery tools have helped to focus my mind. There are plenty of digital tools I could have used for this but they have the potential to complicate and distract. Pen and paper means I get down everything I want, quickly, without fuss in the way I need it. And the act of writing this down has forced my brain to acknowledge what’s happening in my body and perhaps is helping in the healing process.

This could prove to be one of my most valued and treasured notebooks.

2018 Planner Plans

The start of a new year always means a change over of planners. It’s a time to refresh and create new habits, a chance to review the way you have been working and planning over the past 12 months and refine.

I haven’t been too good at the refining part, but I have reviewed. Here is what I plan on using during 2018.

My beloved black Travelers Notebook

My beloved black Travelers Notebook

Travelers Company weekly refill - the memories planner.

I have written about these notebooks in a previous post comparing the horizontal and vertical formats. This year I bought the pre-dated version and will be continuing to use this as a form of capturing small fleeting snippets of my day.

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I really enjoy looking back through these notebooks, I include ephemera, quotes from books I may be reading and decorate the pages most weeks. This is a staple notebook that I can’t ever see changing for me.

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Jibun Techo - the time tracker.

This was an eleventh hour addition to my 2018 plans. I only found out about this planner in November and immediately ordered one (I have no will power). There is a lot to like about this planner system and a lot of content in a small concise notebook. Its thin, light to carry around and has the wonderful tomoe river paper making it fountain pen friendly.

I am using this as instructed by the notebook, tracking and planning out my day, including the weather, my food. It almost becomes a time tracker of sorts showing me where my time is spent and the things I accomplish, people I see and tasks I have achieved.

A sample of my week in the Jibun Techo

A sample of my week in the Jibun Techo

I track my month using the monthly pages in this planner. I always like to see a full picture of my month on one spread. I like that this planner includes colour and bold type which is very different to some alternative planners on the market.

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I think as I use this more and more I will mould this into the type of planner I want it to be. Once I feel I have found a way that works for me I will of course post a full review of the planner here on the blog.

Field Notes Resolution Edition - the daily to-do list.

This is my to do list on the move. I have a day per page and just throw in everything I need to do that day. There are other to do lists, such as my master house to do list which is really handy to reference when I am on the move.

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I like the bullet point format of this notebook and this is the first Field Notes release I have liked in some time. They’re practical notebooks that I have a defined and specific use for. I can see this edition becoming popular and perhaps a staple product for Field Notes in the future.

Simple to-do lists

Simple to-do lists

Hobonichi Weeks - the planner.

This is my traditional in-my-handbag diary. I was tempted into this purely by the cute hedgehog cover and because I was already ordering the Cousin so why not throw it in my cart.

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Based on my week shown in the photo I am not confident that I will use this planner for the full year, I haven’t been great so far at keeping up so the odds don’t really look great.

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Hobonichi Techo Cousin Avec - the health tracker?

I have used a Hobonichi for a few years trying out my first Cousin last year. I chopped and changed its use and thought I had a firm role for it this year…but things change.

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I thought about making this a journal where I experiment, draw, journal and this may still be its use. But somewhere out of the blue on 1st Jan I started writing down practical personal information. I’m not sure I can really call this a health journal but its something along those lines.

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2018 is going to be the year of Me. That may sound a little selfish but I seem to have lost myself somewhere over the past 2 years being pregnant, a new mum, a wife…all the things lot of people contend with, but I haven’t taken care of myself in the way I should. So maybe this years Hobonichi Techo is about tracking everything to do with me. My ailments, mood, weight etc. It’s a planner I’ll figure out as I use it and find the best way to do things.

The Bullet Journal - the missing planner.

I haven’t properly bullet journaled for some time now because I got lost with the system. I have a work bullet journal that helps me to remember things and stay organised. Since implementing this at work, I’ve become better at my job.

But personally I stopped bullet journaling because the spreads felt like work, and the habit trackers felt annoying. I think I need to revise this and find new ways to bullet journal using a format and a system that works for me. This starts with finding the perfect notebook and I think for me this would be a Baron Fig Confidant, it’ll need some researching on spreads that are useful and generally borrowing (stealing) ideas from other people.

Too much?

Probably. I feel a little exhausted after reading through this post, so you dear reader have probably not even made it this far. It seems like a lot of words and thoughts on planners. I shouldn’t have bought some of these planners, but because I did there is a pressure there to now use them. I need to refine my planner routine and lifestyle. I would love to use 1 or 2 properly but I don’t actually think thats achievable for me. I quite like my little pile of planners.

I will review these planners at different points through the year and let you know how I am getting on.

Bullet Journal Update - September 2017

My Hobonichi Techo Cousin in a Midori MD notebook cover

My Hobonichi Techo Cousin in a Midori MD notebook cover

Bullet Journaling has become a thing for me. I have watched numerous videos and read a lot of posts about how people set up and use their bullet journals with the aim of finding my own style. I think after all this time I have found the solution that works for me.

The 2017 bullet journal plan

When I started out the year I had a clear idea of how I would be bullet journalling. I ordered the A6 Hobonichi Techo avec which is the smaller size of the Techos and the avec is two half year books.

My A6 Hobonichi Techo bullet journal

My A6 Hobonichi Techo bullet journal

The Hobonichi Techo has the essential elements of a bullet journal - monthly pages, pre-dated daily pages and pages that are suitable for future planning. Using the Techo as my bullet journal meant that I had a planner that was literally ready to go.

By March my mind started to wander and I was pining after my old Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal. Binge watching YouTube bullet journal videos pushed me towards the DIY option giving me the flexibility to change things regularly and having space to be creative.

Experimenting with daily layouts 

Experimenting with daily layouts 

Time for a change

In March I set up the second half of the month creating only weekly and daily spreads and using the time to try out additional ideas such as a reading tracker and a home to do list.

My reading list tracker 

My reading list tracker 

From April I set up the bullet journal properly and quickly found a layout from YouTuber Amanda Rach Lee that worked as I wanted it to. It was a double page spread that showed a small weekly overview on the left hand side and the remainder of the page contained my daily to dos. This weekly overview was exactly what I was looking for and it remained unchanged right through until August.

The weekly spread that worked so well for me

The weekly spread that worked so well for me

There were some pages that I found I wasn’t using and I very quickly dropped. The habit tracker, time log and project pages were discarded as I wasn’t using them and they became tiresome to create.

Despite being happy with the weekly layouts I found it a chore to set this up week after week and my notebook quickly started to look messy and unorganised.

Todays bullet journal set-up

In August I decided to go back into my Hobonichi Techo but this time use the Cousin. I like the A5 size and appreciate the extra room but I also like the week on two-page view that you don’t get in the A6 size. I have been using these pages as a rough time tracker to monitor where my time is spent each day. I still haven’t perfected this and feel like I am trying to find the right way to use these pages but for the time being they serve a functional purpose.

Weekly pages in the A5 Techo Cousin 

Weekly pages in the A5 Techo Cousin 

I use the monthly spreads as designed, to plan and note down everything that I need to remember for the month.

Monthly overview pages 

Monthly overview pages 

The daily pages are the most important aspect of the bullet journal for me. I use this as a practical planner and therefore really appreciate the pre-dated pages. I use the right hand side of the page to create my to do list. Everything gets dumped in here, mostly the night before but sometimes I plan ahead and add in to do’s for further on in the week.

How I set up my daily pages and how I use the page that starts off a new month

How I set up my daily pages and how I use the page that starts off a new month

On the left hand side of the page there is a time planning area. Most days I don’t really use this but sometimes I note down appointments here to show a loose structure to my day.

Things I still deliberate about

It seems a little silly to deliberate how to use my planner but I love using stationery and want a system that works for me. Over the course of my bullet journaling I have come to the conclusion that I am not a decorative bullet journaler. I use this as a tool to get my life in order and dump all my to dos in one place. Because of this the Techo is perfect for me. The tomoe river paper lets me use all my fountain pens and gorgeous inks. I have found that the Cousin is the perfect size and I like having everything in one notebook.

As the 2018 Hobonichi Techo planners have just been released I am now thinking about how I improve on this set-up and what I will need for next year. I am in no rush to order and will continue to see if my Techo bullet journaling sticks, but I really think I have found the best solution for me and as the cool kids say ‘planner peace’.