After 3 Months of Hobonichi Weeks

In my last Hobonichi Weeks post, I showed how I used the Weeks for planning. I’m now in my fourth month of using the Weeks as my main work and personal planner, and so far it seems to be working well. I wanted to update you on how I am using the various sections after three months of planning with the Weeks.

Monthly View


I use the monthly view in much the same way as I did for these three months. I just write in notable events or major meetings on the boxes. The list boxes on the lower right side holds my monthly tasks or goals. The circles mark the days when I was able to avoid spending money on hobby stuff (notebooks, TNs, stickers, washi, pens). I am almost out of these nice transparent circle stickers, hence the hodgepodge of colors used in this month. Lastly, I still have not found any use for the left margin.

Weekly View


Nothing has changed much in my use of the weekly pages. The left side holds my events and meetings as well as my coffee and meal trackers, while the right side holds my task list (squares) and bullet journal (circles). I added reminders on both the bottom of the left side and the top of the right side, although on most weeks it does not really help me remember and I need a better way to highlight these areas.

Brain Dump


A new section had come up suddenly, the Brain Dump section, and it went into the blank pages before April. I don’t really brain dump everyday, but I do this whenever I feel particularly disorganized at work. In a future Weeks book this will probably be transferred to the Notes pages at the end of the book.



In the hopes of controlling my spending, I dedicated a page in the Notes area to be my wishlist.

Snail Mail


Lastly, I added another page to be my Snail Mail tracker. This is where I try to keep track of which penpals I have not yet replied to, so I know how much behind I am with my correspondences.

At this point in my Weeks use, I feel like I really may have found my planner peace. I love how compact and light the Weeks is, and how tolerant the paper is to most gel pens and fountain pens. At the beginning of the second half of the year, I feel pretty confident that I will be staying with the Weeks for planning my 2017.


Planning in Hobonichi Weeks

A few weeks ago I previewed the Hobonichi Weeks which I got secondhand from a local planner group. I got this on the 4th of April, and immediately moved into it the next day, so I have already been using it for about a month and a half now. Let me show you how I’ve been using it for the month of April.


The monthly view is mainly used for tracking appointments. This gives me a good view of the whole month and immediately see where I have some free spots for setting more appointments or events. I also use this month to track my no-spend, where I put a translucent circle sticker for the days I did not buy things on my no-spend list, and list what I bought if I failed. April had been a sad month for that, with a lot of days of weakness. The bottom area of the page is used to track monthly goals or reminders, as well as a very short wishlist.


Most of the weekly views will be the same. The horizontal days on the left page are used to track appointments and major reminders, and I use the right page/grid notes page for my to-do lists. I put each day’s to-do list roughly in the corresponding horizontal area as the days on the left. If my lists are running too long, I make a second column and go from there. I rarely go beyond the twelve slots for each day.


Sometimes I use sticky notes for lists that are not part of the to-do list. The idea being I can remove this list later on if I so choose.


I also use the notes page for keeping track of some events that I want to remember. To distinguish between my to-do list items and the memory keeping, I use check boxes for the to-do list and tiny circles for events.


I have also started using highlighters to mark unfinished items that need to be transferred to the next week’s lists. This makes it easier for me to spot unfinished items when I do my week’s initial planning on Mondays. I also do use correction tape if I make mistakes.

Overall I’m quite pleased with my current planning system with the Hobonichi Weeks. The fact that the Weeks is super light actually makes it easier for me to keep it in my purse, and I am able to refer to it at times. It helps that I have a lot of extra pages to play with, so I can keep notes and other lists with me as well. The only thing I may have some issues with is the fact that I am using only one color of pen, and this is only because I am choosing to use a fountain pen instead of the Pilot Coleto to do my planning. It is a trade-off I’m willing to take for now.


Hobonichi Weeks

On Instagram a few weeks back I teased about a new planner I was testing, and it’s the Hobonichi Weeks! One of my main issues with the Hobonichi Techo A6 is the fact that it can be on the heavy and thick side, especially if I use a leather cover. This weight and bulk keeps me from having it in my daily carry, but I still would like to have my daily planner in my EDC. I decided to go for the Weeks, since I read that it was much much lighter yet would still have the Tomoe River paper goodness that I like. Originally I was just planning to stick with the A6 and have it as a sort of desk planner instead of an EDC planner, and maybe switch over to the Avec version (the A6 split into two books basically) next year. Then I wondered if that might be a mistake, and I wanted to try out the Weeks anyway. I figured I’ll see if I can find someone selling their Weeks secondhand.

Luckily there was a girl willing to sell hers for a fair price. She had only used up to February and some of the note paper at the back, so it was still quite usable. It was a blue Weeks and came with a leather cover (made by Sunday Leather Craft actually!), but I wanted to use it on its own. I found out that I needed some sort of cover to have a penloop though, so I went and bought the Weeks Cover on Cover from Crafty Lane. This cover is super lightweight and barely made a dent in the weight of the planner.


The cover of the Weeks is actually quite stiff, almost hardcover compared to the A6. It works out quite nicely, since I would technically not need any additional covers to protect the planner. The Weeks came with this corner sticker already attached (by its previous owner), which was not so bad as I can slip in a few sticker sheets. The Cover on Cover also had a small pocket in front, where I put a card.


The first page is the yearly view of three years, from 2015 to 2017. There is barely any room to write here, so this is just for a reference for the years I think. There is a list of holidays on the bottom of the left page, but it’s in Japanese.


There is supposed to be a year-at-a-glance page that comes after but there’s already some writing from the previous owner, so unfortunately I will not be able to use that. The next few pages are the month-at-a-glance views that goes up to March 2017. There is quite ample writing space here for appointments and reminders, and even more space at the side and bottom for notes. I really like the fact that the week starts on a Monday.


The pages that come after the monthly views are the meat of the planner: the weekly views. The layout is basically a week-on-one-page horizontal with a notes page opposite the week. This is a little different than what I’m used to, and I needed to adjust how I lay out my task-based planning when I moved into this planner. I will show details of how I plan with the Weeks in another post, but basically I use the Wo1P for appointments and the notes page for my to-do list.


The weekly pages unfortunately ends abruptly at the last week of the year, so I cannot use this beyond January 1, 2017. Right after the weekly pages we get to the start of the Note pages. The left hand side is a list of writing shortcuts and abbreviations with space to put your own at the bottom, and the right hand side is a table of contents for the Note pages. As you can see, there are 71 note pages total. I had to use correction tape on the first two lines that the previous owner had used.


The previous owner actually used many pages of the Note area, and what I did was to glue them all together. This way I would be able to go straight to the first available page (14) where I started using the Note pages. Page 13 was actually used, but I didn’t want to glue it down and leave Page 14 unused, which seemed like a waste of paper. Instead I just used Page 13 to hold a few sheets of Post Its. Did I mention that this is still all Tomoe River paper?


Right after quite a good amount of Note pages, we go into some of the extra pages that Hobonichi likes to throw in at the end. Unfortunately they are all in Japanese, and I could only read very basic Japanese and could not understand these.


There are four pages of address book right near the end.


The last page is of course the information page. Again I had to use correction tape to erase the previous owner’s data and put mine in. You can also see the unique product code of this particular Weeks at the bottom right.


The back of the cover on cover, which I forgot to photograph, has a small secretarial pocket where I slip in a stencil. The penloop is also attached to the back, and I think this is probably the most important component of the cover on cover. It’s a nice, non elasticated plastic penloop that has ample room that can fit pens the size of the Platinum Preppy and maybe even a tad fatter.

In conclusion, after about a month of use, I have gotten the hang of planning with the Weeks. More importantly, I am able to keep it with me in my purse all the time because of the smaller weight. I am very happy with it at the moment, and hopefully I will remain happy with it until the end of the year.


No Spend Tracking in the Hobonichi

A lot of us are into some form of No Spend, the aim of which is to help us curtail our unnecessary spending. At one point I knew I had to do something similar, because I have too many things and still kept buying more. I started my No Spend last January 2016, where the idea is to not spend on specific items that I feel I already have too much off. My ban list are: washi tape, stickers, pens, and stamps. Later on, I added traveler’s notebooks to this list.

The way that I kept track of my progress is through the monthly view of my Hobonichi A6. I used these cute little transparent circle stickers, and I put one sticker on each day that I am successfully able to avoid spending for things on the ban list. If not successful, I would put in the name or the source of the item/s that I ended up buying.


January was off to a sad start. I fell off the wagon three times, where I bought a Daiso brush pen, some Kelly Purkey stamps, and a small Sweet Stamp Shop stamp set. I swore this would be the last time I buy stamps!


February was much better! I was only weak for one day, and it turned out to be a bunch of items from Crafty Lane such as Coletos and the current cover for the Hobonichi.


March was really terrible! This was the month where I suddenly went berserk with buying. I got a fountain pen from Pengrafik, some Kikki-K items, a lot of Jot leather covers, a Chicsparrow (coming up on the blog soon!), two Fiskars stamp sets (sigh), and Midori items from CraftyLane (again coming up on the blog soon!).

Clearly I’m not doing very well with this No Spend business, but the layout of the tracking makes it really easy to see when and what I spent on. I am continuing this tracking, and hopefully I’ll do better in the next few months!

Are you on No Spend? How are you doing on it?



February 2016 in Hobonichi

Let’s take a look at how my February was in my Hobonichi A6.


As always I put reminders for the month on the “Coming Up” section, and I also keep up with my quote commentary. I did try out a new coffee tracker stamp, but I think I like it less than the one I used for January. I ended up using the January coffee stamp for March.


I wanted to highlight this page because of two things. One is the demonstration of the powers of Tomoe River paper in the obvious sheen in the ink I used for my quote commentary. It really makes me appreciate writing with fountain pens and makes me seriously consider doing more journaling in this type of paper. The second one is the topic of the quote, which is cats. I burst into laughter the first time I saw this quote. I can always talk about cats, and I can wax passionate about the rescuing of said cats and only the limited space kept me from filling the whole page (and the next!) from simply droning on about cats.


As I mentioned in a previous post, I had fallen sick twice in February. These few pages do reflect that, as I barely even looked at my planner in the days I was sick. It was only afterwards that I wrote in that “SUPER SICK” comments just to remind me in the future of what happened in these pretty much blank pages.


I have also started using some washi tape in my Hobonichi. There really is no purpose other than decorative, and I had initially been resistant to using washi tape because of the inevitable thickening effect to the Hobonichi. It really looks great though, so I will be continuing to insert some washi strips here and there especially on blank-looking spreads.


Lastly, I wanted to show you my monthly spread, which is located in the front part of the Hobonichi. The highlight here is the presence of the blue dots, which indicates the days I was successful in not buying washi tape, pens, stickers, and stamps. I have put these items in my “ban list” because I have too much of those, and I am determined to first use up my supply before I add to it. I was relatively successful for February except for a day when I bought new Coleto barrels from one of my favorite online merchants, Crafty Lane.

This might be my last Hobonichi update for some time. I really don’t foresee myself doing anything differently in the near future, so I would probably do a quarterly update instead of a monthly update after this one.

January 2016 in Hobonichi

For December, I had started planning in earnest in my Hobonichi 2016 A6, but the pages were divided into two days per page. For January, the true day-per-page planning began! I still followed my color coding and task-oriented planning style.

You can click on the images for a closer look at the planner entries.


In every two-page spread, there is a quote at the bottom of the page. One of the new things I did for January was to journal my thoughts about each quote. It was a chance for me to stay in practice for writing, as I do miss some days in my daily journal, and it was also a great way for me to use my fountain pens in this really nice Tomoe River paper.


Another thing I changed was the coffee tracker. Instead of stickers that I used back in December, I instead stamped this coffee mug on every page to help me track how many coffee cups I have drank on those days. I was afraid that the book would become too thick if I used the same stickers, which were on the thick side.


That didn’t stop me from using stickers, though. As a way to decorate my rather bland pages, I used a set of Korean transparent stickers (cat themed, of course!) on almost every page to break up the monotony. These stickers are super thin, and barely added to the bulk of the book. On this spread, I also used the extra unused space to test out some new stencils that I got.


And I did end up with a lot of extra unused space. Some days were not as busy as the others, and so I just let it be kept blank. At first I was very bothered by all the empty area, but eventually I got over it by thinking that I can use these spaces for future use such as practicing brush calligraphy, taking notes, list taking, or journaling.


I find that this system of planning really works for me. I have already continued with the same style in February, and I see no immediate changes that I will be implementing. I feel extremely happy that I have found a great way to use my Hobonichi continuously, and I look forward to the end of the year when I can look back and see a well-used and well-loved book.


By the way, I did add a new insert to my Zenkraft Rustic Roadie A6, which continues to be the home of the Hobonichi. I was able to acquire a Hobonichi-brand photo holder from a fellow local planner, and I am currently using this to hold stickers and odd bits and pieces. In the front pocket of the Zenkraft is one of the stencils I mentioned earlier.


Here are some of the stickers I have in the photo holder. Because it is A6, I can only fit the smaller of my sticker sheets. Some of my bigger sheets I am able to trim down to fit the pockets.

December 2015 in Hobonichi

I had been really excited for December 16, for that marked the first available planning date in the 2016 Hobonichi. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was intending the Hobonichi to be my main planner for 2016, and it was such a great bonus that I could start using it for the last two weeks of December. Here’s a peek at my December pages.


The layout of the last two weeks of December is two-days-on-a-page. I like the fact that they decided to divide it vertically, which works very well with the way I do my planning (task-centered). My color coding is in full force, as well as my coffee intake tracking and restaurants visited. To a certain extent, I thought that this format was really well suited for me, and I wished that the rest of the planner was laid out this way.


There were several places where I didn’t really have a lot to write, especially since I went into a long vacation off work around this time. I used the extra space at the bottom for random things, such as book lists or crafting goals and other miscellaneous information. Washi tape comes in handy here for instant partitioning.


My daughter is a budding artist, and she made this drawing of one of our cats and allowed me to fussy cut it and stick it in my planner. There are also some random page flags that are used, but I couldn’t bear to throw them out after using them. Maybe I’ll reuse them at some point in the future. Even though I was on vacation, we had a lot of social appointments and I didn’t have a lot of time to try adding some decorations. I had been planning to decorate for Christmas day, but as you can see I only have my page flag reminding me to decorate!


This bit where I was trying out some new decotape runners I got for cheap irks me a bit. The quality reflected the price, which is why this looks really messy. I am just consoling myself that these are marks of use and I should not be ashamed.

All in all I really enjoyed using the Hobonichi for the last two weeks of December. I am now well into the day-per-page format and I can say that so far it seems to be working, and I don’t feel daunted having twice the amount of writing space. I can foresee myself going through with Hobonichi planning for the whole year, but also this early I can say that maybe the Avec would have been better.

New Blog Planner in Pocket Size

As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m slowly transitioning to an exclusively pocket size TN collection. This means all of my previous inserts needed to be converted into that size, and that includes my blog planner. Previously it was in a regular size insert. I decided that the start of a new year is a great time to switch to a new insert, which is what I did.


This is my new blog planner. I used a pocket size (3.5×5.5″) blank Moleskine cahier, which allowed me to use my own layout for the planner pages. For January, I decided to keep to my old format. I used clear stamps to label the first page of the planner.


The monthly page is again hand-drawn, except for the daily headings and the month name which are stamped. I decided to do a unified color scheme per month, and as you can see here, January is orange.


The weekly pages are in the same color scheme (orange for January), but each week only has the three days corresponding to my scheduled publishing days. There’s enough space to put either a task list relating to the assigned post, or a draft, or post notes, or all three. There is of course less space compared to a regular size insert, but I can work with this since I have small handwriting.


I have drawn in the monthly page of the next month (violet for February!), but haven’t done the weekly spreads yet. As I had an extra page at the end of the January weekly pages (I wanted to have the monthly page at the right hand side), I decided to use that for a place to put in some blog post ideas. Here’s a sneak peek of my future blog posts!

I’m so far pleased by how the blog planner looks. Perhaps the only complaint is that the paper of Moleskine is notoriously unfriendly to fountain pens which is why I’m using just my Coletos here. I also wanted to start using up my pocket notebooks so I decided to go with the Moleskine despite that handicap instead of making a new insert.

Back to Basics Planning Challenge: Conclusion

The end of November marks the end of the Back to Basics Planning Challenge that I undertook. To refresh you with the concept, here’s what I wrote in my previous post about the challenge:

The idea of the challenge is simply a no-decoration planning challenge, to demonstrate if we are able to plan without the expensive accessories such as stickers, washi tapes, and stamps. The terms of the (completely optional) challenge is as follows:

  • Weeks 1-2: Absolutely no stickers, no washi tapes, no stamps. However, you are allowed to use an unlimited amount of pens as you like, which you can use to draw your decorations, aside from actually planning with.

  • Week 3: Functional stickers and stamps are now allowed. Examples include water intake trackers, arrow stickers, etc. Washi tape is only allowed if they served a functional role, such as tabs.

  • Week 4: Decorating with stamps is now allowed, along with the functional stickers and stamps. The idea is to use only the items that can be reused.

Here’s a sample page of the last two weeks of November planning.


And here’s another one of the first week of December.


If you are saying that there’s barely any change, then you are correct. My conclusion of this challenge is basically that this sort of planning works perfectly for me. I find that I rarely need any stickers or washi tape when I plan, and the only stamp that I ended up using are these coffee trackers. It’s nice to have something to fill up all the empty spaces afterwards, and I tend to use it almost consistently as a brush calligraphy practice area.

It really depends on how the brain works. I feel quite cluttered and pressured if I think that I have to decorate my planner with a certain theme, which detracts from the actual planning process. I appreciate the simplicity of this planning style, and it helped me realize as well that I do not need to buy more stickers and washi tape just for the heck of it.

Hobonichi A6 2016

Here it is! This is the planner I will be using for the entire 2016, which is quite the feat given that I have been changing layouts a lot for most of 2015. As I mentioned earlier, I am housing it in my Zenkraft Rustic Roadie A6, which is perfectly sized for this particular planner.


I wanted to show you the various sections of the Hobonichi, although there have been lots of posts written about that already. But I particularly wanted to show you how I will be using each of them.


The first spread you will see is a 2-year overview for 2016-2017. This is a great place for a quick glance at the whole year. I intend to keep this spread mostly blank, encircling only the dates when the first day of my periods start.


Next we have a four-month spread, arranged in columns. Luckily it starts in December 2015, so I was already able to start using this section. Having the whole month in one column gives a great way to look at trends, so I will be using this to track my weight (red), the days I am able to publish a blog post (purple), and the days I am able to exercise (orange). Having only an outline of a square means that I had scheduled a post/exercise but was not able to follow through. These monthly columns go all the way until March 2017.


After the monthly columns comes the month-on-two-page spreads, again starting with December 2015. This will be mainly used as an events/appointments planner, as well as tracking of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. At the bottom I wrote down my color coding key, which I use for both the monthlies and the dailies. This section continues yet again until March 2017.


The next section is the last two weeks of December, arranged in a two-days-per-page layout. I’ll just be using the same type of task-oriented planning that I’ve been using for the past two months. I would really have liked the whole December to be included, but at least the 16th is almost here and I can finally move fully into the Hobonichi as my sole planner.


After December, the actual day-per-page planner starts. At the beginning of each month is a page with a “Coming Up” section, which can really be used for anything. I’m planning a general reminder or something like a top-5 for each month to help me stay on track and not overlook any events or important tasks. The opposite page is a good representative of the daily pages of the planner, and a number flag is printed on the side to denote which month you are looking at. There is a moon phase at the top, as well as a list of (incomplete) countries celebrating a holiday on that day. At the bottom is a Japanese quote translated into English, and a month-at-a-glance calendar at the bottom. Distinctive to the Hobonichi is the fact that almost the whole page is just made of faint grids with a 12 printed on the left margin in the case that you wanted to use this as a time planner. I don’t, so I just ignore the whole margin thing.


We get another of those two-days-per-page similar to December at the end of the daily pages, for the first week of January 2017. After that comes about 9 pages of dot grid paper that can be used for notes or whatever purpose you want. It’s not apparent in this photo, but the dots are actually in red.


Finally we get to some random useful information at the end of the book.


I’m really quite excited to get going with the Hobonichi! It will be part of my 2016 goals to keep using this planner consistently for the whole year, which I’m very optimistic about now that I know how writing on Tomoe River paper feels!

Will you be using a Hobonichi for 2016 as well? How do you intend to use it?