Planning Dilemma: Hobonichi Weeks Vs Pocket Planning

I am honestly having a lot of trouble with my planning system right now, and not because it’s not working. It actually works! I find that I work best with a weekly view, with the days of the week on one side and a notes page on the opposite side. My dilemma is as follows: I am a huge fan of Hobonichi Weeks, and I’ve found a great planning system with its weekly views and the other features of the planner. In fact, I was able to spend about five months of continuous planning in it.

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On the other hand, I have recently discovered that I work just as well with the pocket size version of the Hobonichi Weeks. And by this I mean the weekly planner insert of CN Papercrafts works really well for me. As long as I have an accompanying bullet journal to help document my days, I can use with the smaller amount of space for my day to day planning needs.

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Now that the 2017 release of Hobonichi has come out, I am starting to again think that the Weeks is the planner for me. The moment I saw the Meow Meow Meow Weeks, I felt a really huge pull to get it (the cats were such a tease too!). To make things even harder for me (or easier, depends on how you look at it), there are several merchants who offer preorder service so I don’t really even have to mess with customs or post office. Perhaps the only disadvantage of this is the relatively steep price of the Weeks to begin with. It’s really quite the investment.

Image credits: 1101.com
Image credits: 1101.com

On the other hand again, I have a tremendous amount of pocket TNs that will remain unused. For the most part, I only have one in active use; maybe two at most, if I am feeling a lot of writing mojo. If I used the pocket size weekly planner insert as my main planner, then I would be able to really put into use my pocket TNs and it would justify the original purchase of them instead of just sitting pretty on the shelf. At least this way too, I don’t have to shell out a huge amount of money for planning for next year, since my current insert can handle 7 months already. If I really stretch, I could even use up my pocket insert stash and hand-draw the weekly layouts myself!

Pocket TNs, charms, and a lone fountain pen

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I’m not really sure what I should do! What do you think?

 

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

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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

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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

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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.

Wishlist

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

Snail Mail

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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.

 

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.

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.

Back 2 Basics Planning Challenge

For the month of November, I’m participating in the Back2Basics Planning Challenge by KateB of KateBTPS in YouTube. To know more about this challenge, take a look at this video:

If you don’t want to watch the video, let me give you a quick summary. 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.

At the end of each phase, assess how you felt. Were you able to actually plan without all the accessories? Were they actually just extras, or did you find that you could not plan without them? Did you feel like you did not enjoy the planning process without them?

I decided to try this for the month of November, primarily because I was also going to test out the Hobonichi-style planning and was starting with nearly a blank slate. I do feel like I have too many stickers and washi tape, and wanted to see if I can convince myself that I don’t need them to plan with. I am using a passport size Midori refill (unlined) for the whole of this month, on a day-per-page layout.

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The monthly layout unfortunately already has a strip of washi tape. I had drawn out this calendar before I saw Kate’s planning challenge, but I would not let that bother me, and I don’t consider this stage a failure. I also had already put a sticker to denote an upcoming wedding, another strip of washi to denote the upcoming APEC event, and a sticker to denote a holiday.

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Here are the rest of my planning pages for the first week. I’ve been quite comfortable with just using pens for planning, although I needed to change my approach to my coffee intake tracking. I wrote out the word “coffee” in block letters, and colored in two letters for each cup of coffee I drank. This is now equivalent to my usual stamping of three coffee cups in my previous layouts.

One of the things I felt weird about was all the blank space remaining after the planning parts. Where I would normally slather on stickers or washi tape or stamp away with my stamps, I just tried putting in some brush calligraphy practice. This made me feel better, and now I have all this space to go back to for more calligraphy later on.

I feel like I can comfortably continue on to the rest of the challenge without much difficulty, but I am definitely looking forward to being able to use functional stickers and stamps by Week 3! What did you think of this challenge?