Leuchtturm1917

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’.

How I use my Notebooks - June 2017 Edition

I have always found it interesting to see how people use their notebooks and I have shared my own uses on the blog before (see here and here. Today I have another mega post sharing my current notebooks and how I am using them.

Regular size Travelers Notebook

I have three Travelers Notebooks which I admit does seem like a lot. One of these I use everyday and does move around with me, the other two stay on my desk and hold refills that are used less often and for specific purposes.

Black, Blue and Brown trio of Travelers Notebooks

Black, Blue and Brown trio of Travelers Notebooks

Travelers Company 019 Free Weekly refill - this is a refill I have used in the past but at the beginning of this year I chose to use the Hobonichi Techo as a replacement. The Techo didn’t work in the way I’d hoped, so I have returned to the free weekly refill. In this refill I make a few small notes on my day and decorate the pages a little. Its great to look back through these refills once they are completed because it really helps you appreciate everything you have done over a period of time.

019 Free Weekly Refill

019 Free Weekly Refill

Travelers Company 017 Free Monthly refill - I use this insert to plan out my month and keep track of any appointments. This is a very functional insert with a lot less decoration.

Soukime A5 Slim notebook - I am using the olive/khaki slim Travelers Notebook style refill with plain paper. This refill is dedicated to anything related to the blog and includes post ideas, lists, video ideas and secret plans.

Soukime A5 Slim Travelers Notebook friendly refill

Soukime A5 Slim Travelers Notebook friendly refill

Travelers Company 003 Plain Refill - this refill sits in its own Travelers Notebook because as I work my way through it, it becomes quite bulky. It has become a sort of scrapbook where I keep photographs and ephemera related to my little one. I don’t use this refill everyday just when there is something noteworthy that I want to record.

Over the past year I have filled three of these refills and they have become one of my prized possessions. I store the completed refills in the Travelers Company 10th Anniversary edition tins.

Passport Travelers Notebook

To add to my regular size Travelers Notebooks I also have the camel passport size Travelers Notebook which I love. In here I have one notebook for my general notes. At the moment this is the Travelers Company 005 lightweight paper refill.

I also have a 007 free weekly refill which I use to doodle and jot down notes from my day.

Some dodgey doodling

Some dodgey doodling

Baron Fig Metamorphosis Flagship Confidant

This is my long hand, morning pages style journal. I write in this once a day, sometimes twice. This notebook is a way for me to empty my mind and organise my thoughts. I usually have my current pocket notebook with me when I am writing in the morning so that I can jot down any relevant notes that come out during this brain dump session.

The beautiful Baron Fig Metamorphosis notebook

The beautiful Baron Fig Metamorphosis notebook

Leuchtturm1917 A5 Notebook

This is my bullet journal notebook. The Leuchtturm1917 is a popular bullet journal notebook because of its numbered pages, two bookmarks, and ready made index. At the moment I use a double page to plan out my full week. At the start of the week I create each new spread and plan out my tasks. Each day I review, add and move around my to dos. I don’t really decorate this at all and like to keep this functional and simple.

Hobonichi Techo Cousin

This is my work notebook. Originally I did buy this thinking I would try my hand at art journaling and emulate the lovely pages I see on Instagram and YouTube, but it didn’t really work out. I found it very hard to keep decorate each daily page.

My early attempts at some form of art journaling

My early attempts at some form of art journaling

I didn’t want to waste such a lovely notebook so I decided to use this for my work notes. The dated pages work well for this and help me to keep track of when tasks need to be done or when I started a task or project. I use the bullet point section at the top of the notebook to add important tasks for that date. I use the weekend days for overspill notes if I need to.

For a while I did try out Mike Rhode’s daily plan bar on the daily pages but I found it didn’t leave me a lot of room for any notes. I plan on using the weekly spread pages at the front of the Techo for a variation of the same thing.

Mike Rhodes daily plan bar in action

Mike Rhodes daily plan bar in action

In the front cover of my Techo I have a blank Field Notes tucked away just in case I need a bit of additional room, not that I’m paranoid or anything.

In Summary

I always have a few notebooks in use at one time. Every notebook has a purpose and I like having notebooks for specific projects. Over the years the Travelers Notebook system has worked really well for me because of the flexibility of the system, the quality of the paper and the number of different refill options available. That’s the main reason I have so many of these in use at one time.

I hope you’ve enjoyed peeking into my notebooks in today’s post. I love to seeing how people use their notebooks so please share any interesting information in the comments below.

Leuchtturm1917 A5 Hardbound Notebook Review

I have been using the Leuchtturm1917 A5 hardbound notebooks for some time and I have just realised that I have never reviewed them on the blog. Today I am fixing that error.

I see the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks as the Moleskine upgrade. It seems to be the notebook choice people progress to once they dip their toes in the Moleskine waters and realise how disappointed they are with the paper quality. Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are readily available through various different outlets, specialist or mainstream, and sit in a similar price range to the Moleskine notebooks. The key difference is they outperform the Moleskine notebooks in almost every way.

They’re so pretty.

Ok, maybe this shouldn’t be point number one in a review but I am a magpie and pretty things catch my eye. The range of colours for these notebooks is really impressive and has to be a big selling point for Leuchtturm1917. I have used a number of these notebooks over the years and each time I have bought a different colour. I am currently using the orange dot grid notebook as a bullet journal. Recently for Leuchtturms’ 100th anniversary they released three metallic colours in gold, silver and copper.

Good quality paper

The paper in the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks is an off white colour with a faint grey ruling. I have found with some other notebook brands the colour and darkness of the grid pattern too dark and therefore off putting, but with the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks the grid is faint enough that it blends into the background when you have scribbled all over the page, but dark enough to guide you.

Leuchtturm1917 dot grid in the background, Life Pistachio with white paper in the foreground

Leuchtturm1917 dot grid in the background, Life Pistachio with white paper in the foreground

The paper quality itself is really impressive too. When testing out different pens and pencils in this notebook I have found that it can handle most things. I have successfully used fountain pens, drawing pens, coloured brush pens and pencils. With some broader nib fountain pens and wetter inks there can be some show through but the finer nib fountain pens work just fine. With gel pens, ballpoints, rollerballs and pencils this paper works perfectly.

The additional extras

The extras you get with the Leuchtturm1917 notebook are what really make it a popular choice. At the front of the book are a few pages which are set aside as an Index.

This works hand in hand with the numbered pages throughout the book. All very handy for reference purposes, or for bullet journaling.

You also get two bookmarks with the newer editions of these notebooks. I have found this a really useful feature, one bookmark is never really enough.

2 very useful bookmarks

2 very useful bookmarks

In the back of the notebook there is the handy pocket in case you need to keep hold of any bits of paper.

In the background is a Leuchtturm1917 pen loop in matching orange

In the background is a Leuchtturm1917 pen loop in matching orange

A lot of notebooks claim they lay flat when in use, but I think Leuchtturm1917 notebooks actually do. For a notebook packing so many pages (249 plus the index) I think this is pretty impressive. It lies flat on the desk when in use and due to the elastic on the cover stays closed when you want it to.

Useful elastic closures

Useful elastic closures

Overall thoughts

I have used these notebooks for long form writing, for note taking at work and for school, as well as for bullet journaling. I have tried a number of their different grid formats and I have always really enjoyed each different notebook I have completed. Everything about this notebook makes it a joy to use, I can’t sing their praises enough.

My Journaling Habits

My main journaling tools 

My main journaling tools 

Journaling has been part of my daily ritual for some time. Ever since becoming engrossed in paper and writing implements a few years ago I have found different ways to journal. Curiosity lead me to search online, find blogs and Instagram feeds for inspiration. This has developed my journaling habits to where they are today, a very different place to where I started.

In many of my previous posts I have in some way outlined how I use various different tools, specifically paper. You can find two previous posts here and here. However since then I have changed up the way I am journaling based on the tools I enjoy the most. This post will give an outline of my current journaling habits.

Daily Recording

A simpler spread in my Midori 019 refill

A simpler spread in my Midori 019 refill

I like to record a snippet of my day, big or small. Last year I had been using my Hobonichi Techo to do this, however I now use my Travelers Notebook and the Midori 019 refill. This refill is an undated planner that I use to note down a few small details of my day. Sometimes I include some sort of ephemera, other times it’s purely writing on a page with no decoration. I have found that this format of daily journaling has stuck because it’s easy to do and I can commit to it. You aren’t overwhelmed by a large space on the page and pressure to fill it with something meaningful. A few simple lines will do.

And something with a bit more decoration

And something with a bit more decoration

For those times when I do need more space or have something special to record I use a blank Midori insert. I have been using this as a travel journal, a daily journal and somewhere I can try and be a bit creative with watercolours, doodles and washi. A lot of my journaling in this insert has been inspired by various different YouTube videos and Instagram accounts.

A bit of travel journaling from a recent trip to the Isle of Wight

A bit of travel journaling from a recent trip to the Isle of Wight

My deviation to the Travelers Notebook for journaling means that my Hobonichi Techo has fallen by the wayside. I found I was repeating myself in the two notebooks and at times I couldn’t fill the larger Hobonichi Techo pages - I was just going through the motions. I really enjoyed my Hobonichi Techo last year but as things stand at the moment I cannot see myself finding a use for this planner again this year.

Organisation and planning

The notebooks I use for organisation and planning also take a form of journaling. They are records of things I have done on a specific day or week and can be reviewed in a similar way to my journal. At the moment I have two systems, the first one is specifically related to organising everything related to my blog and studying. For that task I use the Midori 017 free monthly diary and a Keep a Notebook ruled insert. The calendar allows me to schedule posts and plan the time I need for homework. It gives me an overview of the month and from here I can plan out when I need to get things done. I find the monthly one page view really helpful in organising both of these side projects that I have outside of my day to day work.

My calendar view for my studying and blog activity

My calendar view for my studying and blog activity

The Keep a Notebook insert is where I capture blog post ideas and plan them out. I write down the main points I want to cover within each post and list out the photos I want to take. This system works really well and also acts as a capturing tool. I know by using this one notebook I have everything in one place. These two refills are housed in my brown Travelers Notebook and sit on my desk.

Blog post brain dumping 

Blog post brain dumping 

The second, and newest element of my planning, is the Bullet Journal. This is a new system for me and provides me a weekly and daily view of my tasks. This captures everything from when a post will go live that week through to my household chores and any personal or social events. The thing I have found really useful with the Bullet Journal set up so far is sitting down on a Sunday and thinking about my upcoming week. I can essentially empty my head getting all the boring and mundane things that are part of everyday life written down in the Bullet Journal. From there I can figure out what I can do when and try and make sure I don’t miss anything. As I said this is the newest part of my personal organisation but so far this is working well and I hope it is something I can keep up as I think it is helping me to become more organised.

My dailies in my Bullet Journal 

My dailies in my Bullet Journal 

On the go journaling

I have one final form of journaling but this takes a more relaxed format. I use my current everyday carry pocket notebook for writing down a stream of consciousness whilst on the move. I am currently using the Baron Fig Explorer Apprentice notebook in my passport Travelers Notebook. I work from the back of my notebook so that these small journaling entries are kept together. The front of my notebook is then used in the normal way. Entries are usually small notes about how I may be feeling or a little rant about something. Some days I don’t write down anything, other days I write down quite a bit. It's a very simple, no rules style of journaling.

Journaling on the go

Journaling on the go

My thoughts on my journaling habits

I wish I was a person who was able to have fewer organisation and planning systems and find a way to incorporate these things into one, but honestly I am not sure it would be possible. I could perhaps use my Travelers Notebook as a Bullet Journal which would mean one less notebook, but would increase the number of inserts I am carrying, therefore the benefit would be minimal. At the moment this is the set-up that is working for me. Most of these notebooks stay on my desk and I am not burdened with carrying them around. The one notebook that comes with me at all times is my passport Travelers Notebook.

Whilst arguably there is duplication here, all of these systems mean I get to enjoy the tools I love using. Each one enables me to play with something different. My Travelers Notebook and the Midori paper lets me experiment with my fountain pens and ink, the Bullet Journal and the Leuchtturm1917 notebook allows me to use fineliners and gel pens. I guess it’s not all about efficiency, it’s also about having some fun with pens and paper. It’s become a way for me to unwind and relax each day and that is something to be valued.