Hobonichi Weeks

Hobonichi Weeks Review.

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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.

Layout.

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.

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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.

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Monthly Spreads.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Weekly spreads.

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.

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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.

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And finally the week number is called out at the top of the page, 52nd Week, 1st Week, etc etc.

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The rest.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Overall thoughts.

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.

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.

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.