Planner Update: Out with the Old, In with the New

With the start of the new year, it’s time to look at the planners that worked and the planners that didn’t. Some techniques worked better than others.

Out with the Old

For 2019, I used the Mark’s Edit planner for my work planner and the Hobonichi Techo A6 for my personal logging.

Mark’s Edit planner

The Mark’s Edit had nice paper but I don’t think the format worked as well as I’d hoped. As you can see from the photo above, I didn’t really fill in much each week. I occasionally included some daily logging info to transpose into my Hobonichi. But clearly, this was not an effective tool for me. My work calendar is held hostage in Outlook and meetings get shceduled and rescheduled and moved so frequently that within a month or so, it became pointless to write them down. I ended up jotting the occasional note and list but mostly, the calendar was left blank.

Mark’s Edit planner

The grey ribbon book mark indicates where the calendar ends and the blank “notes” pages begin. I didn’t use even one of the blank pages so I carried around a half-used notebook. I decided not to buy another one.

Hobonichi + Coal Creek cover

For the last month or so, I’ve been carrying my Hobonichi in a new Coal Creek leather cover. The material is lovely and the cover is well-constructed. The interior pen loop is not very effective. Even with a thin pen like the Caran D’ache 849, the cover doesn’t close. A pen loop on the right side would probably be more effective. The tolerances on the cover are really tight. If you over-stuff the Hobonichi, the cover will not lay flat either. It might work better with the Avec version as it splits the year into two smaller books. Cover aside, I actually logged my daily activities with the Hobonichi with very good regularity. I only ever missed a day or two and was usually able to back track and add in the activities from those days. I used Austin Kleon’s logging method to track my daily activities. Rather than using the Hobonichi for journaling or daily scheduling, I used it to write down things I did, what I watched or listened to and if I did anything or spent time with anyone. I like the method a lot and plan to pursue the same technique again this year.

In with the New

Simplicity Sewing Planner

For my planner this year, I found this Simplicity Vintage Sewing Planner at Joanns. It caught my eye because of the vintage sewing illustrations on the cover and the discbound rings. The covers are thick plastic. I swapped out the plastic discs with more durable copper metallic rings. The calendars are undated but include the months at the top of each page. There are also pattern planning pages, swatch pages and a few other craft/sewing specific pages. The pages are half-letter/A5-ish in size. The tabs and cover extend further out so it’s definitely a larger planner than I used last year. The advantage of this planner is that I can remove pages I’m not using and add in new pages. The tab divider pages are inspiring to me with vintage illustrations and pithy quotes which I find super inspiring. I pulled out the weekly pages for the last half of the year and just left the monthly calendars to lighten the weight of the planner.

I don’t normally like spiral binding but there’s something super appealing about the discbound system. I have a hole punch I can use to add different pages and additional papers too. This means I can adjust the system as needed throughout the year.

Knock Knock planner

As a replacement to my Hobonichi, I found this Knock Knock “You Got This” Journal. I had intended to buy another Hobonichi but when I saw this book, I couldn’t resist. The top of each page has a place to write the date and each page has dot grid in fluorescent orange. In the bottom corner is a “Productive Procrastination” square with a fill-in-the-blank question or word search, etc. Between the grey-on-grey, paper-covered hardcover with orange elastic and the puzzles, I was willing to take a chance on this notebook.

Knock Knock planner writing sample

When I tested my favorite everyday pens, I was thrilled to discover that the book withstood fountain pen ink as well as an assortment of felt tip, rollerball and pencil.

Knock Knock planner writing sample reverse

No bleeding on the reverse of stock and I discovered a cache of inspirational quote stickers. Hopefully, this book will be as inspiring to use as the hobonichi. The pages are a little larger than the Hobonichi so I’ll have more room to log my daily activities.

What is your planner set-up for 2020?

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Girl, I have so many. I have the Hobonichi Techo as a sort of “What I Did Today” log. I use the calendar in the front to record dates I started and ended books. Then I have an A6 Midori Page a Day calendar which I bought at the Vanness table in Dallas. I keep thinking “What was I thinking?” but I’m going to try to use it some way anyway. I also have a Hobo Weeks for my handbag. Then I have a Midori Slim cute cats calendar, just because it was too cute to resist and my calico and orange tabby are both in it. Fighting. Which is what they do. Finally, my husband bought me this neat Midori Professional calendar. I’ll use that as I sit next to my computer at home and plan my online classes. Then there is my Passion Planner Academic. So yes, I am planner ridiculous. At least I did not buy the Hobonichi Cousin this year!

    If anyone has suggestions for ways to use all these calendars, I would love to hear them.

    1. I record what I’m reading but not the official start and end dates. Great tip, Denise! I use my planners to track movies I watch, tv series we watch, podcasts I listen to, etc. I catalog them for no other reason than to remind myself “where did I see or hear that?”

      Do let me know which planners work for you.

  2. Interesting planner! Where did you find that Knock Knock? It sounds kind of fun.

    My planners for 2020 are fairly simple. I have a Moleskine weekly notebook (Alice in Wonderland cover, how can one resist!) for planning, finances, task management etc.
    I did a trial run of the same weekly + memo layout in a Traveler’s notebook in December, but no. I love how the leather looks with use, but I just can’t get over the non-flatness of it all in there and things sliding around on the strings. I so want the TN to work, though

    Then I added the Hobonichi A6 for the QuoVadis page per day challenge. I’m afraid it’s rather too small for this purpose, but we’ll see. And that’s it for planners. I have a Hobonichi weeks to replace my Moleskine, but I’m not too keen on the size (or the paper!!). So Moleskine it is, I guess. Works for me 🙂

    1. Good luck with your set-up, Charlotte. I thought the A6 Hobonichi would be too small last year but there are some days when I didn’t have all that much to say so maybe the smaller size will feel less intimidating for you too?

  3. I’m blown away that such a cool planner could be found at Joann’s! That’s not a dis on Joann’s, it’s just that it’s not a place I think of for planner stuff (and yet I have purchased planner stuff at other craft stores, so go figure).

    My current planner of choice is A5 discbound: quilted black leather cover with “copper” metal rings, and custom Agendio planner blended with various other inserts.

    1. I guess the enthusiasm for bullet journaling and “fancy” travelers notebooks have made all type of planners interesting to craft stores. I found some nice add-one for my travelers notebooks at Michael’s.

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