Planner Picks for 2018

So. It’s that time of the year again! Time to decide on my planner system for next year.

For reference, here are my thought processes for deciding my planners for 2016 and 2017. To summarize what actually happened, I have been using the Hobonichi Weeks rather consistently for most of 2016 and 2017. I really do enjoy the format of the Hobonichi Weeks, and certainly the Tomoe River paper is a big factor too. At some point though, I noticed that I tended to leave my Weeks at my work desk, and barely look at it when I take it home for the weekends. Perhaps it turns out that the Weeks was still too big and bulky.

In the past few weeks I transferred my planning to the Hobonichi A6 Weekly Calendar (a supplemental book for the Hobonichi Techo A6), which is actually only slightly wider than a pocket size insert. It is quite the adjustment because the days of the week are oriented vertically, and for the past two years I’ve been using a horizontal planner. I was worried that there would not be enough space for my daily tasks or my weekly task overviews. So far though I have not yet encountered any space issues. I still get the Tomoe River paper goodness and the fact that I get a whole year in one book. I have already ordered the 2018 Calendar.

 

On the other hand, the Weeks makes me really nostalgic. I love having everything in one book, including my collections, a monthly layout, and most importantly my bullet journal. None of the current designs for the Weeks really calls to me (not like the Meow), but if I had to choose I would get the Coffee Bean one.

Image credits: Hobonichi 1101.com

One of the reasons I fell off the Weeks was because I ran out of notes pages at the back, and had to transfer the bullet journal to a Weeks supplementary notebook (which is similar, but is still a separate book from the main planner). Of course, this year Hobonichi had to introduce the Mega Weeks, the same Weeks but with that crucial upgrade from 72 pages to something like 212 pages! If I got this, I would not be encountering the same issue with running out of pages for the bullet journal. It would definitely be thicker and heavier though, which means it might devolve into a desk planner anyway. I have to admit, the FOMO (“fear of missing out”) is strong with the Mega Weeks.

Image credits: Hobonichi 1101.com

My default choice so far is going with the Hobonichi A6 Weekly Calendar, which I am going to be treating as a pocket insert in a pocket TN. I can pair this with any number of my inserts, but definitely there will be at least one other insert that will become my bullet journal. This setup will be light and portable, and I can see myself using this all the time since it will be with me everywhere. It will also be the cheapest option, since the only thing I will be buying is the 2018 Calendar. The TN and the inserts are already things I own, and in fact I lean heavily with this option because of that. Granted, there is some sunk costs with the Hobonichi Weeks (thinking here of the custom Jaquie Ang cover which did not come cheap), but I’m not too concerned with that and anyway I’m not sure if the Mega Weeks will fit in there.

 

 

Folklore Prints Planner Kit January 2017 – Fresh Start

First of all, happy new year! 

One of the newcomers in the Philippine planner kit scene is Folklore Prints, who released their first kit last December. As I was super pleased with it, I knew I wanted to get the next one which happens to be the one to greet the new year. The theme for the month of January is Fresh Start which is an appropriate theme for the new year. It incorporates the Pantone color of 2017, Greenery. Let me show you the contents of this month’s kit in this virtual unboxing.

First of all, the kits come in this beautiful owl themed envelope with a handwritten sticker bearing my name.

Upon opening the kit I am greeted by a green tissue paper which matches the theme. There’s a note with another handwritten bit telling me that I received a little extra bit in the form of a cat decotape as thanks for subscribing to the first kit. I could already see that this kit is filled to the brim with awesome things! Let’s take a look at the contents.


Each kit usually comes with a set of six beautifully designed A5 cardstock. This month, one of them is personalized with my name, how awesome is that?! There is also a stack of A5 paper which I take to be a sort of letter paper which would be great to send to penpals.


This next bit really excites me! It is a cold laminated personalized dashboard and a monthly habit tracker insert, both pocket sized! I’m really looking forward to using this insert for the next year! I also got a cute little sticky note pad and a set of tabs, both very useful for planning.


One of the things I really look forward to in a planner kit is coordinated stickers, and Folklore Prints does not disappoint! I get three sheets of planner stickers and five sheets of deco stickers, both of which I’m sure I’ll be using in my planner and bullet journal. 


Since it’s the start of the year, I also got a 12-month calendar. Subscribers were asked to submit photos to be put into the calendar and of course I could not pass up the opportunity to get high quality prints of my cats. Aren’t they beautiful? I also received a set of five journal cards in the polaroid style, which would be great to use as tip ins in journals.


Lastly, I also got a pack of die cut ephemera pieces in the same theme. These are absolutely gorgeous pieces and my favorite is that adorable pair of peas!  

Overall I’m really quite pleased with the quality and design of Folklore Prints Planner Kits. They come with a whole variety of useful accessories for planners and are really designed to be used daily. I paid Php675 for the kit including shipping which I think is pretty reasonable considering the quality. This kit arrived on December 30, just in time for the coming month. My favorite has got to be the personalized calendar!

Interested in subscribing? Head on over to their website and watch out for next month’s release!

CBTL The Giving Journal 2017

One of the things I look forward to in the holiday season is the “coffee planner” offers of various coffee shops. CBTL (Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf) is my preferred coffee shop and I really do like the look of their planners even if I don’t end up using them in its entirety. Last year, I attempted to use its weekly layout with notes page as a creative journal but to my sadness the paper couldn’t stand up to brush pens and fountain pens, and that killed the drive for me to use it. This year, I still got myself a CBTL Giving Journal anyway and I am planning to use it for some sort of journaling.

One of the things I like about this journal is that it only takes 12 stamps to¬†complete. It didn’t take me long to get this, and in fact I was already able to acquire this before December.

The journal, as always, comes with a cardboard sleeve with the name of the journal and the CBTL branding.

At the back is a nice big caption with space to put your recipient’s name if you are giving this as a gift.

I chose the purple journal, to match the one I got last year. It’s great that the icon embossed on the cover was a top view of a coffee cup, which I thought was appropriate given my coffee addiction. The cover has a nice smooth leatherette/suede feel to it, and it’s a delicious shade of purple. The journal also has two ribbon bookmarks built in.

The first page is the personal information sheet.

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The next few pages are a sort of introduction. I really like how the artwork is scattered all over the place, and the doodly style of it is really appealing.

The start of each month has a sort of cover page, with a two-page artwork with an inspiring quote. It’s really beautiful, and I think it can even be colored in if one wishes.

The spread after that is a monthly overview, with top 3 priorities, goals, learnings, featured here among other things. The opposite page gives us a bit of a peek into the activities that CBTL holds for their charity.

Next we have a two-page monthly spread that starts on a Monday. Each day has a nice amount of space for either appointments or artwork, depending on how you would like to use the journal. There’s also a smaller, fainter copy of the monthly artwork on the bottom of the left page.

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The weekly pages are structured in the same manner as last year’s. The notes pages alternate between blank and lined. The weekends are grouped onto one line, which may be a turn off for some.

The very end of the book has a few pages of lined pages for any additional notes.

The back cover has a gusseted kraft pocket that has a sheet of planner stickers which are always appreciated. What surprised me about this is the branding of the sticker as being made by Viviamo, which is the company that makes the Belle De Jour group of planners. I’m not sure if that means they made the entire planner, or only the sticker sheet.

Overall I am quite pleased about the entire Giving Journal, and I am really hoping I can do it more justice than last year’s.

Do you have a CBTL Giving Journal? What do you plan to use it for? I’d love to hear about your plans!

 

 

Hobonichi Weeks 2017 – Meow Meow Meow

A few weeks ago I wrote about having a planning dilemma of choosing between the Hobonichi Weeks and a pocket sized planner for my 2017 planning. I had been sorely tempted with a particular Weeks, the Meow Meow Meow, purely because it has cats. The more I read up about it and watched people’s Hobonichi unboxings, the more I became convinced that I had to have it. In addition I had moved back to the Weeks after a few weeks using a pocket planner, and found that I really liked the idea of having a single bound (but portable!) volume for the whole year.

When Crafty Lane opened another preorder batch, I finally decided to jump on it and order the Weeks. My package arrived about a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like I had made a good decision.

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Here is the Meow Meow Meow Weeks. It is undoubtedly pink, on the side of soft pink, with the cats embroidered on it. The cover feels very much like fabric, and compared to my 2016 Weeks it is a little bit more of a soft-cover book.

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Here is a close up of the cats. The fabric pattern is more apparent here. I really like the effect of the embroidery, and the cats are adorable. The fabric does feel like it would get dirty easily and show it in a very obvious manner, compared to the darker colored and more sturdy surface of my 2016 Weeks, which means it absolutely requires a cover.

I did already write about the innards of my 2016 Weeks, but I wanted to show what differs with the 2017 version and what I plan to use each feature for.

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The first spread after the cover is the 3-year overview. There really isn’t any difference with the 2016 version.

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The next spread is the year-on-two-pages, where each day of the year gets a tiny little box. I am not sure what I’ll use this feature for yet, but it seems to be made for some sort of tracking. Again, nothing is different here between 2016 and 2017.

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We come to the monthly views next, which spans December 2016 to March 2018. The only difference here is that the Sunday boxes have been increased by one column so that all days of the week are sized the same. It’s a small but definitely positive change. I am probably going to use this the same way, which is to record appointments so I have a visual overview of them.

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After the monthly views we come immediately to the weekly views, which comprise about half of the whole book. It starts on the first week of December, which means I can start using the Meow Meow Meow as early as November 28, 2016 (I’m so excited!), and if I’m not mistaken it goes all the way to the last week of December 2017. The biggest and most annoying change that happened with the 2017 Weeks is on the weekly spread, and that is the removal of the three lines at the bottom of the days of the week on the left hand side of the spread and was replaced with a two-page spread of the Japanese quotes. I used to put motivational phrases there, or something I really wanted to remember for that week. Now, it’s a whole five rows of unusable space, and I need to think of a way to reclaim it.

The main body of the weekly view will be used the same way as I do now, which is appointments on the left and task manager on the right. It’s working really well, so I see no reason to change it.

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After the weekly pages, we come to the bulk of the other half of the whole book: the Notes pages. We still get the index in front, and you can see here that a page has been added and now we get a total of 72 pages of notes (compared to the 71 pages of 2016). Extra pages are always welcome! There’s quite a lot of things I’m planning for this section, and it deserves its own post, but the main block of it will be used for bullet journaling.

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There are still a few pages of informational stuff after the notes pages, but they are all written in Japanese. I did appreciate this particular one, which is all about cats and dogs. I’d have a lot of fun figuring out what it’s saying, and it’ll be good Nihongo practice for me.

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Towards the end of the book we come to the address pages, which had been reduced to a single page; the 2016 one had¬†four pages. I do understand why this change was done, as I imagine a lot of people had turned to their phones to record their contacts. I do use these pages though, for doctors’ information. I still get space for six contacts, so that may be enough for my needs.

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Lastly we come to the information page and the serial number for my particular book. Nothing has changed here between the years.

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The Weeks itself came with the sticky pocket which I think is really essential, so I’m happy they did not change this. Since this is the first time I’m using the Weeks from the beginning of the year, I also get to receive the railway map and the Life Book flyer. I forgot to include it in the photos here, but the Weeks also came with a Uni Jetstream multipen in powder blue. It turns out to be a good writer even for a ballpoint, so I’m quite pleased by this inclusion.

The changes in the 2017 Weeks are a combination of good and bad, and while the loss of the bottom section in the weekly spreads are quite substantial I think it’s not a deal breaker for me. The rest of the features have been maintained, and that is the one I really care about. Overall I still feel like I’ve found planner peace with the Hobonichi Weeks, so I am quite satisfied with my purchase.

Are you also using Hobonichi Weeks for 2017? I’d love to know how you plan to use it!

 

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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?