Best Laid Plans

Day 148: BLP Ep #3 – Overview of Current Systems – Hobonichi & Beyond

August 10, 2020

This episode is a virtual walkthrough the Hobonich Techo Cousin, which I have used for years and was using at the time of recording. I haven’t made up my mind about 2021 yet, but going back to this old standard is certainly a strong possibility.

Since the episode is an audio walkthrough, in the show notes today I hope to mostly provide some visual aids to illustrate what I was talking about. So here we go . . . some Hobonichi glamour shots. I hope these are a helpful adjunct to the episode!

beautiful 2020 cover is a photo design by Hiroshi Hitano
Will I be able to use it again, given memories of 2020 thus far? I guess only time will tell . . .
open! To the left behind the pencil board, there are pockets for stickers (not shown in this shot, but they are there. I am fairly minimalist but I like to use a few stickers for accents.)
Here’s the ruler with the French writing on it (shown with the A&O Bullet Journal I’m currently using). It is a sentimental item that was given to me by Josh’s grandmother who passed away in 2019.
Yearly page near the beginning of the Hobonichi! Perfect for habit tracking; I used to use it as a family illness tracker back when my kids were constantly getting and passing around URIs. (Bizarre that this isn’t really a thing in our household anymore – one COVID silver lining!)
Monthly page! These are at the beginning of each month’s daily pages, and for me they are perfect for defining goals for the month.
Weekly pages. In my preferred vertical layout so you can really see the spaces in the week. If I do use the HTC next year, I will start doing more of a time blocking style since I like the concept as well as the visual aspects.
A daily! In my pre-bullet-journal style. Again, if I do go back to the HTC I have some fun ideas about how I will meld some of the current elements I use with these pages. Note use of the built-in timeline on the left.
Here is the table of contents of my “accessory notebook” (really the Hobonichi Memo Book). I’m not entirely sure I will use this next year — it’s not as fun for me as a dot grid journal, though it is handy & convenient!
In contrast to the above, here is a shot of how I use my bullet journal to create weekly pages. I love using this notebook so much that I may go to a hybrid approach next year!
Random “journaling” type page in the bullet journal. One benefit of having undated blank pages . . .

I hope these visual aids help! There is so much more I could say, but what I was trying to do in this episode is to create a feel for my physical planning landscape (rather than the routines and rituals that go with it!). PLENTY more on that to come ๐Ÿ™‚

The Hobonichi Store for 2021 will be opening in the beginning of September – they actually have a very cute/fun countdown that they are doing through the month of August, where they gradually unveil new features and covers. You can find many of their products on Amazon or Jetpens, but it’s REALLY fun (for me anyway!) to place an order from their store. This year’s freebie is a BRUSH PEN, which I’m really excited about! Here’s their 2020 Spring Store (I’ll link to the 2021 store as soon as it’s up!).

Episode #4 will feature my first guest (yay!) and then Ep #5 will be allll Q&A — you all sent me a treasure trove of great questions, so thank you! Please keep them coming, as well as suggestions for great guests, products to review, techniques to discuss, etc! Thank you all for listening (I’ve been thrilled with the initial response which confirmed that the world DOES need a planner podcast!) — and please feel free to leave a review (esp on apple) or tell your friends.


  • Reply Gina August 10, 2020 at 11:10 am

    I recently ended up getting just the July – Dec Techo Avec. I can’t bear to plan beyond that at this point.
    Thanks for turning me to the Hobonichi!

  • Reply Diane C. August 10, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Youโ€™re new podcast is so much fun!
    I love how the weekly view allows for 24 hour time tracking/ blocking. Do you know of other planners/ calendars that do this? Iโ€™ve been looking for a new weekly planner and most are 6a-6p, or something like that, but I want to be able to track the whole day, especially since I often work til 10:30 or midnight.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 11, 2020 at 9:24 am

      The Jibun Techo has all 24 hrs (though MN -6AM are slightly cramped!)

  • Reply neuromd August 10, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to Hobonichi as well! This year, I went with the Hobonichi Day Free, which is perfect for bullet-journaling. Every week, I actually draw in a simple one week spread over two pages because I also prefer the vertical layout (doesn’t take much time, and it is part of my weekly review–more like “preview”)

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 11, 2020 at 9:23 am

      ooh yes that will be perfect for you!! (This is random but I was surprised to hear that the day free does not come with the ‘freebie’ – this year the brush pen. I feel like that’s not fair somehow ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Coco August 10, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    inspired by your current bullet journal style, i’ve started!!!! YAY!!! I’ll do it at least for 30 days to decide if I’ll stick to it. I’m really enjoying your podcast!
    where should I send questions? here are some:
    1. if you make a mistake in the journal, what do you do? doesn’t look nice to cross
    2. do you add things to your daily page lists as you remember them throughout the day?
    3. how often do you review your previous years journals?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 11, 2020 at 9:22 am

      If it’s a minor mistake, I will just leave it (like a minor spelling error). If it’s an event that is cancelled, I will neatly drawn an arrow and write “cancelled” (I think that looks nicer than crossing out!). i definitely add things to my daily lists sometimes. and I very rarely review old journals but the ones I’ve saved I’m very glad i have!

  • Reply Lily August 10, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    Iโ€™m so grateful you introduced me to the hobonichi about 5 years ago! I have the Avec cousin this year. I love the flexibility- when I was studying i used the weekly pages non stop for planning classes, meetings etc but now my electronic calendar takes care of that aspect and the weekly pages are just for a start of week sketch of evening plans. I use the daily pages much more now (in a similar way to you). The avec is great for a fresh start mid year – much needed this year!

  • Reply Joy August 11, 2020 at 10:37 am

    I love a vertical layout, too. I can separate to-dos, menus, and appointments so much easier plus thereโ€™s room for time-blocking, which Iโ€™m hoping to try while Iโ€™m working from home.

    Thanks for the weekly review list. I copied it with my own additions on a page in the back of my planner and used to to plan this week.

  • Reply Sarah August 11, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    I love the acknowledgement n the episode that these days post its are pretty useful for planning! I couldnโ€™t bring myself to put any school dates until I got some little post it flags. Now I find myself using them for everything more than a week in advance and part of my Friday afternoon ritual is looking through the next week and replacing post itโ€™s with pen wherever I can.

  • Reply Rebecca Hindin August 11, 2020 at 10:52 pm

    I loved this episode! (Truth is I love them all– bobw too obviously) thank you for bringing your charm and endearing love of planners and planning to the masses. Can not wait to hear more! ๐Ÿ™Œ

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 12, 2020 at 6:27 am

      thanks so much Rebecca!!!

  • Reply Vicky Winkler August 17, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Hi! I’m really interested in the Hobonichi Cousin for next year, but I’m confused by their site – can you provide guidance somehow to help navigate their products? Thanks!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 17, 2020 at 3:24 pm

      I think I will have to do an order clarification post of some kind!

      There is also a lot of useful info on Jetpens – not on how to order, but understanding the different types.
      Maybe I’ll do screenshots when I order, too! I promise it’s not that bad ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply Vicky August 21, 2020 at 12:38 pm

        Awesome, thanks!

  • Reply Carrie August 19, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    I’ve been interested in getting a Hobonichi planner for years, thanks to you talking about them on BOBW ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t seem to find the answer to this anywhere…. when the Hobonichi Techo is open, does it lay flat?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 19, 2020 at 2:53 pm

      it absolutely lays flat ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Bex September 13, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    My new Hobonichi techno cousin, just arrived for 2021- so excited!!!!
    Thank you for introducing me to the Hobonichi line ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply Hilary McConnachie September 14, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Hi Sarah, I am eyeing the Day Free Hobonichi. Can you recommend a good, basic pen to use with it? I don’t care so much about what the pages look like with the ink, my bigges priority is to be able to write things down and have them not smudge with minimal drying time. Thank you!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 14, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      Uniball Jetstream! comes with the planner if you order from hobonichi ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply Hilary September 14, 2020 at 2:27 pm

        Great! Thank you! I am very excited to use Hobonichi moving forward. I never would have heard of them without your Blog. Many Thanks!

  • Reply Jessica LaGrone November 3, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Sarah, I JUST got my first Hobonichi for 2021 yesterday inspired by this podcast and post. I was struggling with whether to get the Avec, but your daughters words about wanting to have everything in one place resonated with me, so a chunky Hobonichi Cousin (I’m a big sticker-er) it is. Now looking for pens that are fine-point and do minimal or no ghosting. I hate ghosting. Have you already posted on this?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 3, 2020 at 3:53 pm

      I use the uniball Jetstream. There IS some ghosting – Iโ€™ve learned to live with it as price to pay for such a compact book!

      • Reply Jessica LaGrone November 4, 2020 at 8:34 am

        Thanks! Look forward to more Best Laid Plans!

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