Analogue life Bullet Journal Productivity

Farewell, my Hobonichi

Readers might remember my excitement on getting my first ever Hobonichi planner a few months back. It actually feels like a few years ago, but that’s 2020 for you.

I’ve been using it throughout the year, but I have to admit it hasn’t received the attention it might have. In short, there’s too much in these planners and too much that goes unused.

Let me explain.

I personally love the daily pages and that’s where I’ve been doing my personal reflective journaling this year. The A5 size gives me the perfect space to pour my heart (and head) out in a legible fashion. The monthly pages are great for an overview of what’s to come and important dates – and how there are always fewer days remaining until deadlines than I’d previously imagined!

I never found the annual pages useful and my schedule changes just too rapidly to do anything with the weekly spreads. I tried my best, but it felt like I was just replicating the digital calendar I rely on. A time-consuming and ultimately futile exercise.

Looking at what other Hobonichi users have shared online, it soon became clear that many of them have a much more predictable and regular schedule that I do. Lots of students putting in their class timetable, lots of parents putting in their shifts at work and babysitting schedules.

Let’s add to all of this the eye-watering cost of a Hobonichi Cousin here in the UK: more than £50. I could buy ten A4 dated planners from Collins for that much. Honestly, I’ve checked.

Yes, the paper is a delight. Yes, the Japanese styling and content warms this Japanophile’s heart. But for so much of it to go unused is really a waste. I’ve shelved plans to get another for 2021 and will simply rely on my Bullet Journal. Scheduling my time across the days, weeks and months will remain the responsibility of my digital calendar. Highlighting a focus of each day and some brief reflections on it will live in the bullet journal.

I’m still a little torn as to where my long-form, reflective scribbles should go. I don’t want to abandon the practice completely as it’s both cathartic and almost meditative. I might just grab one of the many, many unused notebooks in my study and take it from there. I know some people include this kind of thing in their bullet journals, I just don’t know whether it’s for me.

I have so much of this stuff in my Day One journal, including photos of written journal pages. Perhaps that’s where all this content should live.

Isn’t it nice to have to think about a problem so simple and so far removed from the disaster that was 2020? I’m sinking into it like a warm bath.

(Photo by Mike Tinnion on Unsplash)

3 comments on “Farewell, my Hobonichi

  1. ethnicolor

    You should know by now I also go through the same whirlwind romances with different notebooks, and I daresay I always will. The surprise of 2020 for me is that good old reliable Apple Notes has somehow taken the role of ‘spouse’ in my notebook and journaling life. I too have flirted with Hobonichi-san. Moleskine, Leuchtturm and ThemeSystem are just three of the half-dozen or so handsome devils I allowed seduce me this year, yet I stepped softly away from each with barely a touch. The plain truth is that each time I launch Apple Notes on any device, somehow I’m compelled to take those yellow pages and no-nonsense typefaces _seriously_. Writing in Apple Notes _means_ something, whereas scribbling away in whichever notebook I have floating on my arm this week is more like an affectation, an excuse to have gorgeous pastel and cotton-cream pages fluttering around me. Just a few years ago I would have laughed at the notion that Apple Notes could replace Evernote or Bear or even OneNote, however it’s now become the stout pillar that I think of as ‘real’. I’ll always have a roving eye for paper notebooks, I know that, and I’ll probably always have some elegant beauty never quite out of reach. Yet Apple Notes is now the Keeper of my Books of Record, and somehow that seems to be an end to it; it’s the one I trust.

    Liked by 1 person

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