2019 Planner Plans.


Deciding on what planner(s) to use for the coming year is a tough decision. Buy a planner that doesn’t fit in with your requirements and you spend too much time trying to find a fix, but find the right planner and it can act the perfect assistant.

I have a bad habit of buying too many planners. There is so much choice and variety available it can be hard to be concise with your purchases. If you read my previous post I didn't fare well with my planners in 2018 and I didn’t want to repeat those errors going into 2019.

What I have learnt from this year is that my planner needs have changed. What worked before doesn't seem to hit the spot anymore. Luckily I recognised this early enough and I was able to research and figure out what changes I needed to make for 2019. In today’s post I will share my decisions with you and how I think I will be using my planners in 2019.

Planner 1: MiGoals 2019 Planner.

I haven’t used a MiGoal product before but a couple of months ago I started digging around to understand what this planners were about. I have bought the 2019 HC Diary in Coral, drawn to the layout and how this seemingly traditional goal planner had found a way to not be stuffy.


The Layout.

The layout of a planner is always crucial and also really personal. It comes down to how you like to see information, the way your mind interprets tasks and the types of information it’s important for you to capture. Some people like guidance from their planners, others don’t. So finding a layout that does what you need is always the most crucial aspect of your planner decisions.


In the MiGoals planner the weekly spreads are allocated a double page, space for your weekly view sits on the left hand page and on the right there is a small habit tracker, weekly focuses and a massive notes area.

I was drawn to the planners simplicity. The weekly pages give you enough space to jot down those extra things that may not fit into a specific day. Each small section is clearly defined but not intrusive.

The monthly calendar is paired with the weekly spreads. So the January monthly calendar is followed by the four weeks that sit within January, then you get your February calendar, followed by February's weekly pages and so on. There is a tonne of space too with weekends getting extra room! It’s a miracle. There is a small section underneath the calendar which sets out your monthly goals, a small to do list and space for some notes.


The bulk of this planner is pretty standard...nothing groundbreaking but they haven’t tried to do anything too dramatic. And that’s a good thing.

Goal Planning Pages.

The thing that really drew me to this planner, a little surprisingly, was the goal planning sections. There are around 30 pages that get you into the right headspace to review 2018 and plan 2019.

There are a load of inspirational quotes which isn't everyone’s cup of tea. What I like is how this planner focused my mind on what I want 2019 to be. The goal planning pages are conversational in style rather than formal and stuffy. (Although that being said they did slip in the dreaded annual, 5 and 10 year outlook section which I really don’t like.) Some of the questions included within these pages are What situations get you excited? What subjects do you enjoy learning about? What do you find easy that others don’t? A few years ago things like this would have caused my eyes to roll but actually they focused my attention.


There is a Toolkit for Success spread that helps you identify who can help you achieve you goals and the things that make you happy. These aspects of the MiGoals planner make it feel a little bit more human, not focusing only on the aspirational goal or its success or failure, but they make you consider everything it takes to achieve a goal.


There is a page where you can review 2018, things that you’re pleased with and things you want to improve and then what you want for 2019. You can then also rate your year on a series of factors and the planner has space to do this again at the end of 2019, a nice compare and contrast opportunity.


The Goals pages.

The goals pages are the really interesting piece though. There are 10 in total. Each goal page gives you space to outline your goal, put a timeframe on it, say what sort of goal it is and why you have set yourself that goal. Then there are Key Milestones where you can highlight the things that will be big markers to achieve in that goal and a To do list. There is finally a Reward and Outcome section. All of this information is on one page making it simple to see all aspects of your goal on one page.


It is in this section that you’re inundated with inspirational quotes but I think this is done on purpose. By limiting you to concentrate on one goal per double page there are no distractions, no opportunities for your eyes to wander to goal number 2. You’re there to concentrate on one goal only. It’s quite a clever little trick.


I have set myself 7 goals, none of which are crazy and all are personal to me, nothing work or career related in here. The Key Milestones and To Do sections helped me to break down each goal into smaller parts which hopefully should make it a lot less overwhelming. It’s kind of like habit or project planning tool.

Why I chose this planner.

The MiGoals planner is not something I would ever have considered in the past. It would have appeared to embody everything I disliked in a planner but this year I was drawn to it because of its goal planning section. There are review sections and prompts throughout the year to guide you back to these goals and see how they are progressing. By including them in the planner itself it keeps it with you most of the time and stops these goals from becoming lost of forgotten by February.


I really like the design and layout of the planner. Everything is concise and simple. I am really not fussed on the multitude of quotes in there, but the usefulness of the planner makes them easy to ignore. There are helpful guide pages to show you how to use sections, two bookmarks and decent paper.

Planner 2: Baron Fig Clear Journal.

This was a journal I ordered a while back when Baron Fig announced the planner. As yet I don't have it so I cannot give a comprehensive overview. I have just finished reading James Clears Atomic Habits which was surprisingly interesting. And yes there is a theme emerging here.

At the moment I aim to use this journal to track projects and personal items but until I have it in my hands....which won’t be until mid-Jan…then I cannot fully decide on how to use it.


Planner 3: Hobonichi Weeks.

As I found a way to work with my 2018 Hobonichi Weeks I am using this again in 2019 as a diary. Co-ordinating the basic things and having this as my carry around diary. Nothing interesting in here, no decoration purely function.


Planner 4: Travelers Company weekly + memo refill 2019

This was always going to be part of my 2019 set-up as I have used this for years now. It will continue to be the place I record little memories of my day and add a creative splash. I can decorate, use stickers and washi and make this a fun and memorable journal that I will want to review because its a marker of my year. In contrast to my Hobonichi Weeks nothing functional or administrative will go in here.


Overall thoughts.

Despite the usefulness and my enjoyment of the Jibun Techo in 2018 this doesn't feature in 2019. The Jibun Techo became a time tracking and organisational tool that I don’t feel motivated to use going into a new year.

For 2019 I needed to become more focused with my goals and the direction I want the year to take. I started 2018 thinking about what I wanted to do for the year and gave it a theme, a la Cortex. And the theme that cropped up was the ‘Year of Me’. I think I have done quite well with that theme in 2018 but I hadn't put any detailed thought into it, I found my way and things whirred around in my head but I didn't think about how I would do this and what I wanted to achieve. 2019 is going to be a continuation of this theme because it doesn't feel complete, but now it needs structure. I believe that is where the MiGoals planner can help.

As always I will share this journey here with you and when I have been using the MiGoal planner a little longer I will provide a comprehensive review of how the planner works in use but I have very high hopes.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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’.

The Hobonichi Techo as a Bullet Journal

I have used a bullet journal system for around ten months with a bit of a gap in the middle. Juggling a baby meant that my Leuchtturm1917 do-it-yourself format wasn’t manageable so since the beginning of this year I switched into a Hobonichi Techo Avec. On the whole the Techo has worked well as a bullet journal. I have utilised the space and layouts available but there are things that I have really missed using that don’t fit within this pre-structured format.

First, my set-up.

The Techo has successfully housed the essentials of my bullet journal. My habit tracker is at the front of the Techo on the simple line per month view. I did consider using these pages as a future log as it felt like the natural fit, but that would have meant that my habit tracker wouldn’t have worked anywhere else.

My habit tracker pages 

My habit tracker pages 

The layout on these pages work perfectly as a habit tracker. The blank space at the top of each month is where I list out each different habit I want to track. The dates are already filled out for me and the grid makes it easy to check off the different habits each day.

A close up view of the habit tracker

A close up view of the habit tracker

I’ve used the monthly calendar as intended, an overview or in bullet journal language, the future log. I use this to add in appointments and its a great overview of how busy you may be over the course of a month.

The daily pages are used for my daily to-do lists. These pages are a great size for me to jot down everything I need to remember, events I have on that day and tasks I need to complete. I also include little bits of information such as the weather, or during February my InCoWriMo recipients. The benefit of the Techo is I can add future tasks in easily as all the dates are already marked out.

A daily page. I use the monthly header pages to mark which inks I have been using for that month

A daily page. I use the monthly header pages to mark which inks I have been using for that month

The Techo has worked as intended, a place to hold all the things that rattle around in my head and bring some form of structure to them. It has kept me semi-organised so far this year and because of that I cannot fault it.

Here’s the but(s)… The thing is, now I find I have a little bit more spare time. My little person is older and I can find a bit of time each day to allow me to plan exactly as I want to.

This has got me thinking about the Techo and its downsides. First up, there isn’t enough spare or blank pages in the Techo. Any collections or notes which are needed for long stretches of time don’t fit into the bullet journal. As you can see I have snuck in my reading list in two of the available spare pages but there are other collections or notes I want to keep such as a home improvements list, a projects page or a workout schedule. As it stands I can’t have them in my bullet journal, these notes float around in other notebooks and get a bit lost.

One of the only available spreads. I have used this to track the books I have been reading

One of the only available spreads. I have used this to track the books I have been reading

I also miss decorating my previous bullet journal, the Leuchtturm1917. I liked playing around with different layouts, practicing my lettering and decorating the different pages. Using my Techo I don’t get to do any of this and whilst I could decorate some of my daily pages I don’t find myself doing it. The structure seems to stop me experimenting and trying out different things.

The thing I really miss from the A6 Techo is a weekly view. The larger Cousin has this feature but the smaller A6 doesn’t. Having a weekly overview to add appointments or tasks would be really helpful. This was a spread I used a lot in my Leuchtturm1917, it gave me time to think about the upcoming week, make some notes and plan ahead.

The Techo is wonderful and I have written a few reviews (see here and here), singing its praises. I thought this year using it as a bullet journal would be perfect but sadly I find myself getting a bit bored by it. It lacks the flexibility I am looking for so I have decided that in April I will be back in my Leuchtturm1917 to see if I can give this more manual bullet journal the time it needs.