Posted on Fri 18 November 2016

2017 planner setup

Second Hobonichi order

My second (and last) Hobonichi order arrived this week, so I'm finally all set for 2017. I've changed my mind a few times in the past couple of months about what setup I want for my 2017 planners, and no doubt I'll change my mind throughout the next year, as well. But for now, I'm set on what I'll start the year with, at least.

Warning: image-heavy post!

Roterfaden A5: journalling

A5 Roterfaden and regular Traveler's Notebook

My Roterfaden will continue housing my Kindle, an A5 Tomoe River pad for writing letters, and my journal. My journal itself will change slightly, though.

Hobonichi Cousin Avec

Hobonichi Cousin Avec inside Roterfaden A5

My first Hobonichi order was for the Cousin Avec set for 2017 and the second book (July-Dec) from 2016 to test the Cousin layout. I used the 2016 book for about a month as an all-in-one planner, but decided I could fit everything onto an A6 page after all, and I like having planners and notebooks that are only as big as I need them to be. I also kept the Cousin in my Roterfaden, which I love, but which feels a bit chunky and heavy when I'm carting it around the house all the time.

I thought about selling the 2017 Cousin Avec (which is why I kept it wrapped in plastic while using the 2016 version to test how it fit into my planning setup), but ultimately decided to try it out as a journal, instead. I don't remember the last time (if ever) I tried a dated journal, but I've been writing in my journal almost every day recently anyway, so I think this could work quite well.

Seven Seas Crossfield A5

Seven Seas Crossfield

So far, this has been my journal. The Tomoe River paper in this notebook is amazing, and in my eyes it's a little superior to the Hobonichi Tomoe River paper.

Notes in Seven Seas Crossfield

Because this is a plain notebook, it's undated, so I can pause my journalling in this notebook while I try the day-per-page Hobonichi, and come back to it later. But I've also been using this as a commonplace book of sorts, writing in quotes and notes from books I read. And I've sometimes written a few pages on whatever I'm thinking about, or a big decision I'm trying to make. Since the Hobonichi limits how much I can write each day, I'll keep the Crossfield as an overflow journal, as well as a commonplace book.

Both of these will be housed in my Roterfaden, since the Avec is so slim it can fit neatly beside the thick Crossfield. Which means I won't have any issues switching between the two for different types of journalling.

Traveler's Notebook by Traveler's Company, regular size: work notebook

Midori Traveler's Notebook

I call this a work notebook, because it's the one I use to actually get work done, but really it's kind of a combination planner and notebook. It houses a couple of inserts and an A6 Hobonichi.

Hobonichi Original Avec

Hobonichi A6 Avec

For my daily to do list, I prefer a small-sized page. When I was using the Bullet Journal system in my regular Traveler's Notebook, I ended up purchasing a passport size for my daily planning, because I found the regular pages too big. But for monthly planning, which I use extensively, the passport was too small. I still haven't found a perfect combination of how much room I need for each of these, so I'm going with two different planners in 2017.

Hobonichi a6 Avec inside Traveler's Notebook

The A6 Avec Hobonichi will just be for my daily to do list. For now I don't have any plans to use the monthly section, but it's not a big proportion of the book, so I don't feel too bad wasting it.

Hobonichi a6 Avec inside Traveler's Notebook from side

I'm planning on keeping this in the middle of my Traveler's Notebook by sliding the cover into the kraft folder insert I have, which I saw in this blog post. Since my Traveler's Notebook is the one I have with me when I'm actually working, it makes sense for my daily to do list to be there, too.

Hobonichi A6 weekly booklet

Hobonichi A6 weekly booklet

When I got my second Hobonichi order, I added a couple of cheap things I wasn't totally sure I needed—this is one of them. Because Hobonichi shipping is so expensive, I knew I wouldn't want to make a new order for one or two cheap things, so I just threw them in, in case I wanted to use them later.

At this stage I'm not sure I need or want the weekly booklet. I'm going to try tracking my expenses and income in here, and slip it into the kraft folder behind the A6 Avec, but I may not stick with it.

(The other cheap item I threw in was the set of Weeks memo books. I had a plan for those a few weeks ago, but with my current setup I'm not sure what—if anything—I'll use them for.)

Tomoe River inserts

Notes in Traveler's Notebook

Besides my Hobonichi, I'm using two inserts in my Traveler's Notebook. I use Tomoe River exclusively these days, for two reasons: one being that it's amazing paper, and I write with fountain pens most of the time, which shine on this paper. The second reason is that Tomoe River paper lays flat more easily than other papers, because it's so thin and soft. Compared to the paper in Traveler's Company inserts, it's a lot easier to make Tomoe River inserts lie flat. I do a lot of writing in this notebook, so flat pages are important for me.

More notes in Traveler's Notebook

One of these inserts is for all manner of notes: phone numbers, notes during calls, outlining and drafting blog posts, brainstorming ideas, making notes during interviews for articles I'm working on.

Plain sketch notes

The other insert is for my sketchnotes, though lately I haven't been drawing in these so much, so they're more just notes for articles I'm writing. Anyway, when I was drawing more in these notes, I wanted to keep them later, so I had a separate insert for them. I still do that now, even though I spend less time making them look interesting.

Sketchnotes with pictures

Jibun Techo, A5 slim: planning

Jibun Techo 2017

If you follow me on YouTube or Instagram you'll know I've been raving about this planner recently. It's a competitor to the Hobonichi, made in Japan with Tomoe River paper, but much harder to get hold of outside Japan. After ordering mine, I decided I didn't need it after all, and expected to sell it. But once it arrived I realised I liked it more than I expected to, and didn't want to give it up.

Jibun weekly page

The Jibun doesn't have any daily pages, which is the only real drawback for me (the pages are a bit busy for my liking, too, but that doesn't make it less usable). The Jibun is made up of monthly and weekly pages only. This is why I'm using the Hobonichi A6 for my daily to do lists. At first I tried using the weekly column layout for my daily to do list, but there's not enough room to write everything I want to there, and I couldn't find a good way to distinguish completed and incomplete tasks in the tiny spaces.

Jibun weekly plan

The column layout is designed as a timeline, for planning time-based tasks or appointments. I don't have a lot of those, so what I need more is a daily to do list. However, I've found the Jibun is handy for planning how I'll spend my time each day. I've started blocking out events and chunks of time throughout the day in my Jibun. I'll plan chunks for different types of work, and block out time needed to travel to and from events. This has been helpful in making my plans more realistic, because I tend to only get two or three big chunks of work time in a day, around events, meals, and breaks for naps or exercise.

Jibun monthly page

In the monthly section of the Jibun, I plan almost everything. Any events I'm going to, appointments, meeting friends, travel, deadlines for my freelance work, and birthdays go in here. It can get pretty busy, but I like having everything in one place, so I can see at a glance how busy I am, and what's coming up soon.

So the Jibun is where I plan ahead for what's coming up. In my A6 Hobonichi I plan for the day, and in my Traveler's Notebook inserts I get work done.

Hobonichi Weeks: Hello Code planning

Hobonichi Weeks

This is the one planner I think I probably don't need, but I wanted to give it a go so I would be sure about whether I want another one next year. No doubt if I sold it, I'd remain curious about it and end up buying another one for 2018 or even later in 2017!

I initially bought this to use for uni planning, as I was expecting to study throughout 2017. The Weeks layout seemed a good fit for uni, as I could use the monthly layout for planning deadlines (I was studying online, so no lectures or tutorials to attend), the weekly section for deadlines and planning work to get done, and the notes section for planning assignments and taking notes on lectures and readings.

But I decided not to keep going with uni, so I'm going to use the Weeks as a planner for my company, Hello Code. We're not making enough to pay me a salary yet, which means I tend to fit in working on my Hello Code responsibilities whenever I find time around my freelance work. I'm hoping that using a planner for this work will give it a little more structure and help me stay on top of it more regularly.

In the monthly section I'll be planning deadlines for my work on the Exist iOS app and content marketing work like guest posts, interviews, and writing content for our blogs.

In the weekly section I'll rewrite deadlines from the monthly view, and use the grid pages to keep a to do list for the week.

In the notes pages I'll write outlines and drafts of blog posts, brainstorm ideas, and plan out new iOS features to help me think through the logic before writing the code. These are all notes I usually make in my notes insert in my Traveler's Notebook, so I'll just be attempting to keep them all together with my Hello Code planning.


Phew! It's a complicated setup in some ways, but it covers all my needs, and mostly caters to my preferences. I'd love to have a Jibun with daily pages in the future, and I'm not sure I'll end up sticking with the Weeks, but I'm excited to try this setup and see how well it keeps me on track in 2017.

P.S. I make some stuff you might like: Exist, a personal analytics app to help you understand your life, and Larder, a bookmarking app for developers.

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase something via one of my product links, I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you). I only add affiliate links after writing a blog post, so the products I mention are truly what I want to write about.

© Belle Beth Cooper. Built using Pelican. Theme by Giulio Fidente on github. .