When I bought my Hobonichi Techo Cousin, I was worried that I would only use certain layouts and would have giant swaths of blank pages. It took me a few weeks to find my groove, but I’m now happy to share that I’m using all of the layouts. This is a fluid process and bound to change, which is perfect! That’s what I loved about bullet journals – you can use whatever method meets your needs at the time. But I like that I don’t have to draw a new layout each week or worry about getting dates wrong (which happened to me all of the time). I was spending a lot of time trying to draw and create the perfect layout, which meant that I was losing time in other places in my life.
My yearly view is my habit tracker, which mostly focuses on cleaning and chores around the house. I hate cleaning my house; I hate going through mail; I hate washing the dishes. But I’m one of those people who loves to check things off of lists. So each month I sit down and try to figure out what I want to make sure I do every day (laundry, dishes, counters, pick up floors, take care of the mail, clean out the litter box) and then create a checklist. I tweaked it a bit for August; for example, I never forget to clean the litter box, so I took that out and added a reminder to take my vitamins every day. This is a flexible system that allows for that!
I’m using the monthly view as a blog schedule/planner. I use the list section on the left side of the page as a brain dump – any ideas that I have for posts or little tasks that I want to get done goes here. When I sit down in the morning at my computer to work on my blog, then I have a to-do list ready to go, which helps conserve my brain power. It’s color coded: pink for books, green for writing, blue for flora/fauna, purple for knitting or crafting. My goal for blogging is to publish three posts a week, so it’s pretty easy for me to glance at this page and see if I’m on track. I don’t put anything into the calendar until the post is finished and scheduled, which helps me gauge my progress.
My weekly view is the main planning section of my hobonichi, but I wasn’t using this at all when I first began. Here is where I track the weather, sunrise/sunset, my schedule, my progress with various areas of interest, and my time. I use the vertical time ladders to track what I’m doing each hour. I am usually able to track until I get home from work, and then I’m doing so much at once that it feels impossible to accurately portray my tasks!
And here’s another brain dump opportunity! The column on the far left is where I write anything that needs to be done, and then I try to figure out where to put it during the week. It’s easy enough to migrate over to the next week, if necessary.
I’ve started tracking my moods as well. I’m using The Inside Out method because I’ve seen that movie so many times that it’s easy for me to remember which colors are which emotions. I’ve thought of other moods that I want to include next year, so I’ll be playing with different ideas to get ready for January 1st!
Here’s the thing about the mood tracker: it really forces me to look at my day holistically instead of dwelling on the little things that have irritated me. Do I really want to color in a whole square red (angry) just because of one incident that drove me bonkers? Usually not. I have been able to push that aside and think of all of the happy moments that I had and judge the day to be overwhelmingly joyful. Isn’t that amazing? I would have never guessed that I had so many happy days, but it really helps to look at things as a whole.
This is the section that has changed the most since starting. Right now I’m using it only with my morning ritual. It was too much to add the wrap up at the end of the day. I either forgot about it or was too tired to write anything!
I start by writing my daily gratitude, which is typically something that happened the day before. I write a few lines here and have found that it’s so easy to think of what I’m grateful for! Then I do some quick oracle work, usually only ten minutes or so. This is one of my favorite parts of my morning ritual and gets my brain really working and oriented towards the day’s goals. The pink section is my daily intention, which is usually a variation on the theme of productivity, seeing the world honestly, and doing what I think is right.
The blue section at the bottom is new. I’ve been wanting to study poetry and feel terribly inept. So I’m slowly working poetry into my day by copying a few lines in here. I’m starting with Tennyson because that seemed like a safe place to gain some confidence. Maybe one day I’ll be writing my own poetry in this section but I think I’d need a lot more than the 20 minutes or so that I’m taking now!
And that’s my hobonichi lately! I really love it so far and am so happy that I decided to buy it. I’ve been waffling over it for over a year and finally decided to just do it. Lord knows I waste enough money in other places anyway! It hasn’t felt like a waste and has been something that I spend a significant part of my day on for over a month now. Here’s to hoping it sticks!
My favorite tools for planning:
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