Updated: Jan 7, 2018
"Planner peace" - have you heard about that one? I don`t think that there is an official explanation of this state of mind, I would explain it as : the moment in time when you have found the perfect working paper management system!
Planner peace is rarely achieved
Well, I`m speaking for myself but this might be true for a lot of you: planner peace is really rarely achieved, can last days or even months but can turn into a searching frenzy easily again. You have found a paper planner, you like the paper, you like the layout, you have transfered all your data into this new planner, you are using it, you are happy with it! That`s the ideal situation!
But ... with time (sometimes after weeks, sometimes after months) you might think, ah well, but I do not need this box top left, I would rather have it top right...ah, but this paper is too bright (or too yellow)...but this planner is much too bulky to carry around...my fountain pens do not really work on this paper...I need more room to write my dailies...I have too much room and don`t know how to fill it...bullet journaling is too random and unstructured for me and I`m missing fixed boxes...I don`t have time to draw a layout every week…
Well, this could go on forever and I bet you can add to this list out of your own personal experience!
But let me tell you, this searching for a new planner is quite normal! Sometimes your surroundings have changed, a child was born, you started a new job, you are now retired and suddenly the planner that you have used for so long, does not work for you anymore.
So don`t feel guilty, everyone has been at that point, the only thing to do is go ahead and search for the system that will work for you!
My search for the perfect planner:
I have been at that point a lot and I have used a lot of planners in my life. Started with a Filofax, went to Erin Condren, to the livewell planner from Inkwellpress, to various ones from Franklin Covey, to bullet journals in various notebooks, my last one was a planner from Baron Fig.
But something wasn`t right with all of them:
too small (Filofax personal size)
too big (Erin Condren)
too bulky (Inkwellpress)
too colorful (Erin Condren)
paper not good enough for my fountain pens with ink (Franklin Covey + Filofax)
too much space
too little space
not organized enough (bullet journal)
over-organized with pages I did not use (Inkwellpress)
So I sat down and made a list about my perfect planner with all the important points:
small enough to carry around
Monday start, both in monthlies and weeklies
fountain pen friendly (very important for me!)
blank pages (in dot grid, graph or lined) for trackers or lists
language either english or german
no rings/no coils/no bulky whatsoever
keep everything together in one place (planner + trackers)
organized but not overorganized
with pages I will use as they are and not remake them into something else
black+white, so that I can use colorful inks
box for weekend days the same size as weekdays
I looked at that list and thought: ok, your planner is a book with about 500 pages, how do you want to carry that around???
At around the same time I was always reading about this famous Tomoe River Paper which is supposed to be the perfect paper for fountain pens. Very thin but with no bleeding at all and very nice to write on, which brings out the best of your colored inks. I always shied away from this paper as this very thin paper creates a lot of ghosting. But on the other hand, to have a paper where you can use all of your inks without bleeding or feathering, well, this would be great and a little ghosting wouldn`t matter at all.
Digging a little bit deeper in the internet and what did I find? A planner system with Tomoe River Paper: the Hobonichi Techo Planner
I couldn`t believe what I read while browsing on their webpage, I was instantly hooked to this system because so many of my wishes were answered.
Hobonichi is a Japanese company, founded in 2001 and at first only producing for the Japanese market with planners in Japanese. In 2013 they create a planner in English as well, the Hobonichi Techo Planner.
450 pages (225 sheets) of fountain pen friendly Tomoe River Paper, a lie-flat one-page-per-day planner with 4mm graph paper in A6 size, black+white+little red..... ok, before I write done everything, just tick everything as "done" in my list about my perfect planner from above. This planner has everything that I could think about!
The company has quite a few different planners, only the Hobonichi Techo Planner is available in English. The other ones, the Hobonichi Techo Original, the Hobonichi Techo Cousin, the two-book Hobonichi Cousin Avec and the Hobonichi Techo Weeks are all available in Japanese. All these planners can be used by people who do not speak and read Japanese. The dates are all written in numbers, the months as well, so they are very easy to use. Only the information pages at the back of the books or the daily quotes are not readable for someone who does not understand Japanese. But everything else is fine and the books are explained very well on their webpage.
The planners come in different sizes (A6, A5, wallet size). I have decided to go for the A6 size in English, so I have concentrated on the Hobonichi Techo Planner and all the accessoires
Here is what I ordered (and the delivery was super fast, the box arrived on the 8th day after ordering, it went from Japan to Switzerland):
Ok, and then I had to stop :-) they have so many nice things, you could just go on shopping endlessly...
Please do not get me wrong, I`m not paid by Hobonichi to write about their products, I paid for myself for everything that I have ordered. I just write about it because I really like their products!
The A6 Techo is a really small planner, it looks tiny compared to an Erin Condren or Inkwellpress planner, so don`t be surprised when you see it for the first time.
If you are not familiar with the sizes: A4 is nearly the same as letter size. A5, which is half of A4, is about the same as junior size. Again, half of A5, is A6, so it is about half of junior size. This makes the A6 size very portable.
The lines of the graph paper and the dots of the dot grip paper of the Techo are 4mm apart. They can be used as a guidance or you can just write over them, they are not too prominent on each page. If you do not write too big and with a small tipped pen you can write well inside the lines.
And this is how I use all these nice things:
I use the monthly overviews as a planner for all my appointments
the page before every new month, called "coming up", is for my running list of tasks. These tasks need to be done during the upcoming month but not necessarily on a certain date
at the top of my daily pages I list three tasks for this day, but not more than three as more are likely not being done
I use the rest of the daily pages for my dairy entries, special things which happened on this day. For these entries I use whatever colored ink that I like at that moment.
at the top of each daily page, right beside the title with the day (number and weekday) I put a small weather sticker
and at the bottom of each page I put a small sticker to see what I have done on this day, a laundry sticker, shopping cart sticker or washing machine sticker and so on
at the back of each planner book there are 6 sheets (=12 pages) of dot-grid paper. I use these for random notes or lists
I have added the index tabs to the first page of each month, it is now easier to find the start of a month
and the best thing is: this planner book is completely lie-flat! You open it, you smooth the paper very carefully once and it stays open!
The Weekly Planner
The Weekly Planner is a separate small book, even small than A6. It therefore fits perfectly into the cover of the Hobonichi Techo so you can always take it with you
the Weekly Planner gives you an overview of a week on two pages
the lines of this graph paper are only 3.75mm apart, so here it gets really tiny
but as before, use them as a guidance or just write over them
my fountain pens with a F-nib work perfectly well on this graph paper
I use these weekly overviews for everything related to my sticker shop
I can now plan ahead my blog posts, when to list new items, what I have listed when or maybe to check on any deadlines
to use the Weekly Planner gives me the possibility to keep apart my private life from my "shop life"
but as I can take both with me without any problems I always stay up-to-date with both
in this picture you can see that the weekly planner is slightly small than the Techo A6:
The memopads or notebooks (3 in one package)
these small cute notebooks, I just love them!
each notebook has 24 sheets (= 48 pages) of graph paper which is perfect for any tracker
you can fit 4 years of monthly trackers into these small notebooks
or four different trackers of one year into one notebook
for example I have a household tracker, I have one month on one page which then allows me to track my household task in the same notebook for the next 4 years (48 pages = 4 years with 12 months)
I mark each box of the day for the task when I have finished it
the second notebook I use as a tracker for my gardening tasks. One book will last me for one year. I have the monthly trackers in front and then use the rest of the notebook as a diary where I , for example, write down when the flowers are starting to bloom, when I have planted what and where or on which day in the winter time I have fed the birds
and the last small notebook I use as a tracker for my sport activities, this is a running list with dates/puls/mileage/watts etc. This will for sure last me more than one year as a) I don`t do that much and b) you can fit a lot on one page :-)
these small notebooks have a 3.75mm graph paper, perfect to color out the boxes and still fit one month on one page
the Pencil Board
I don`t use that board very often, but mostly when I write on the left side of the planner. The stickers I use tend to bulk up the planner and give it this nice used look. But you do not have an even surface anymore. To get an even surface again you put this board beneath your page and it is easy to write again.
this board can be used as well when you tend to write with a heavy hand. The paper is very thin and to avoid marks on the other pages just put this board beneath the page.
And all of these, the planner, the weekly, the notebooks and the board, they all fit into the cover! Isn`t that great? Close the cover and it is small enough to fit into your handbag or your backpack.
I have decided to get the Pottenburn cover because it has a zipper for total closure and with the light colors it looks so fresh (perfect for the spring time!)
Is this now planner peace?
I would say "YES"! Because this small planner system combines everything which is important to me:
fountain pen friendly paper
I can now use whatever pen+ink I like without worrying about bleeding or feathering
if I feel like using pink one day and the other day blue, I can just go ahead and use these colors, and I do not have to think about this and that color which does not work on this or that paper
and the ghosting isn`t too bad and can be totally ignored
the paper is really thin, it makes a kind of a crispy noise when you turn a page, this is quite lovely!
all in one place
planner, to-dos, tracker - all in one place, all portable
all organized pages
as nice as a bullet journal is but for me it was kind of unorganized and I had to look up too much in my index pages to find anything
and running lists of my daily tasks during the month were just too messy and did not work for me as well, much better to have a daily page where I can write down my tasks and, very important, where I can plan my future tasks, even if they are three or four weeks away
Right now I enjoy using my Techo Planner every day, I love to write in it, to see the colors of my ink, to hear the paper crinkle and to have everything in one place :-)!!
So I say "thank you" to you, for staying with me until the end of this very long post. I hope that you have found or will find a planner which is working for you. Have you found planner peace with your planner?
See you next time and (planner) peace to everybody on this world!