Planner Tip: Migrating Lists

September 11, 2019

I often have people ask where my lists come from. I keep several levels of lists in my Hobonichi:

1- Daily lists (morning rituals at the top of the pages, to-do items that I’ve identified down the right of the page). The items on this list are pulled from the weekly lists AND any day-specific notes I’ve written on the weekly calendar. I use this page throughout the day.

Examples today come from my planner insta – good place to go if you want to see more pix like these.

2- Weekly lists – on my weekly pages, I keep a running list of to-do items (down the left) and all of my scheduled events (it’s my “hard calendar landscape”; I know some prefer digital for this!). I also will add some extra tasks onto specific days if there’s something that specifically needs to happen in a time-sensitive manner. For example, I received an email last week that school conference signups were going live Monday at 6 pm, so I put a checkbox on Monday at 6 pm to sign up. I use this page every morning to create my daily list, but then sparingly throughout the day — usually only when I need to add a new event or task. The items on the weekly list are pulled from a) my monthly list or b) directly from my ‘inputs’ (ie: if a task comes up at a meeting, or one arrives in the form of an email, or if I just happen to think of something I need to do randomly!).

okay most of my weekly lists get WAY more cluttered than this!

3- Monthly listsgoals & habits – I look at these each month and weekly when I’m doing my review & pulling together my weekly lists. Other than that, I don’t go back and forth to the monthly goals lists all that much. I do very much enjoy the ritual of creating them and thinking about what I’d like the coming month to look like! These go on the blank monthly pages embedded throughout the daily pages of the Hobonichi.

monthly list example

4- Quarterly lists – or actually quintiles in my case! These are where I look at my collection of yearly goals & think about the season (back to school? summer? holiday? etc) and decide what I want to focus on. This list goes in a thin ‘accessory notebook’ that stays tucked into the side of my Hobonichi at all times.

Q4 list (with a little mini ‘habits’ note attached)

5- Yearly collection of goals – this is a most holistic fuzzy approach for me at this time and seems to change yearly. I usually use some kind of tool (last year – the Inkwell Press Goalsetting planner pages) to think about what I’d like to achieve in a coming year. To be honest though I don’t always do that much looking back when I curate my Quintiles lists! But maybe this will be something I will start to integrate a little more in the future.

WHEW. Yeah, I keep a lot of lists. But it honestly feels much more streamlined than this post makes it sound! The key for me is having designated times for creating these lists & corralling my inputs. The whole thing is definitely GTD-inspired, but with my own twists.

Okay off to a) work out and b) prep for work. Feel free to ask any planning-related questions and I can address here or in a future post!


  • Reply gwinne September 11, 2019 at 9:03 am

    In theory we have very similar systems, in practice you seem better at actually doing what you set out to do, at least in the non-work realms. I DO meet work deadlines (always external, mostly self-imposed) but carry over week after week things related to my household. I can see both that some of that is “choice” (i.e. at the end of the day I’d rather watch a TV show with my kid than [x]) but also, really, there’s very little “give” in my schedule to do anymore than I am, without sacrificing sleep. And I have enough sleep issues that that’s not really an option, anyway. Writing THIS was a choice. But I’m eating breakfast. 🙂 And now to the work.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 11, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      What kind of household stuff? When it comes to anything home improvement or house related … unless it’s throwing things out. I basically ignore it. I’m pretty minimal and oblivious.

      • Reply gwinne September 11, 2019 at 6:42 pm

        Like, it’s been on my to do for MONTHS to call back the guy who gave me an estimate on gutters. Also, picking out living room furniture. There’s A LOT in this category. Things that are important and somewhat big ticket, but not immediately urgent. I’m very low maintenance in terms of day-to-day household tasks. I meant to do a lot of that sort of thing over the summer and it just didn’t happen. Clearly it’s not a priority. But it really should get done… Single parent problems, partly.

        • Reply Ellie September 12, 2019 at 12:06 pm

          Thanks for sharing your planning process! I have a somehow similar one since I switched to the Hobonichi (thanks to you!). Besides for the planning, I also keep a lot of lists electronically. I am using the Evernote app which is great to collect “ideas” (books, movies, travel destinations, weekend activities, gifts, inspirational thoughts, etc.). The electronic way works best there because most of these ideas come from seeing something online so I can just copy / paste links. I also still use the Notes app from the iPhone but that is more for check-lists like holidays packing lists, grocery shopping, etc. Or to jot down to-dos that will later on migrate to the Hobonichi. So yeah… I think I have a lot of lists too! 🙂 But that has helped me a lot in feeling more organised and less overwhelmed over the past years. Like for things, every thought has a place.

          • Ellie September 12, 2019 at 12:13 pm

            Sorry, my previous comment was meant as a general one, not a specific reply to the reader’s comment! (Phone screen is not always accommodating. I must have pressed the wrong reply button!)

            Thought on that issue of household related things, I have experienced a similar issue. I have a running list of such things that are indeed important but not urgent. I will try to set myself a goal for next year to tackle one item of the list every quarter. And really schedule time to make it happen. Not fitting it around the rest. Taking 3-4 items a year would be a big achievement already!

  • Reply Melissa September 11, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Is this all in one planner? The Hobonichi Cousin? I’m currently using the Jibun Techo and am thinking of switching to something that will give me more space.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 11, 2019 at 12:49 pm

      Yep, all in the Hobonichi techo cousin!

      • Reply Melissa Lee September 11, 2019 at 10:29 pm

        Do you find the Cousin too heavy to lug around? I’m thinking of switching to it but am worried that it’d be too heavy to get much use out of. Have you tried the A5 Cousin Avec? What are your thoughts on those?

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 12, 2019 at 6:40 am

          I don’t find it too heavy but I don’t do a lot of walking with my bag. I did not like the avec bc i really prefer having everything in one book! I think I tried it in 2017 or 2016.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 12, 2019 at 6:41 am

          (As in everything for the whole year. It drove me crazy not to have, say, the August weekly pages with me
          in the first half of the year.)

          • Melissa September 12, 2019 at 2:24 pm

            That makes sense. It’s nice to have the whole year on hand to flip-to and refer to.. OK! Your post and comments here have helped me take the plunge! I just bought the Hobonichi Cousin A5! Very excited to start planning. Please keep these planner posts coming. Seeing you organize your planner (especially the daily pages) give me ideas for my organization. 🙂

  • Reply Aly September 12, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    I going to get a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and take a hard look at this. So helpful. Thanks so much!!

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