My review of the Hobonichi Planner.

I started using my new 2016 Hobonichi Planner almost a week ago, this review have been on the list for a while now. One month, at least.

The story of how I ended up with the Hobonichi Planner starts in the middle of January, when I realized that my digital calendar system didn't work at all. So, I conducted a small experiment for the remaining two and half weeks of January where I used a Field Notes to emulate a planner. The experiment worked pretty well. So I spent the next week looking into various alternatives.

I had three requirements:

  • It had to work with fountain pens
  • It had to have a variety of layouts for different kinds of planning.
  • It had to be compact.

I looked at everything from Moleskine to Filofax to Hobonichi. The reason I went with the Hobonichi was mostly because I had it on good authority that it was fountain pen friendly and that it looked like a product designed by someone who uses a planner, and not just threw something together the last minute.

My opinion after using it for ten months is that this is the best planner out there for most people. It has what more or less everyone needs, and it does what it does very well.

The paper handles fountain pen ink very well, I have never seen any bleed through since I started using it. But the dry time is brutally slow. It isn't a big problem for me, even though I write with my left hand. But paper that dried faster would be very welcome.

Let's move on to the various pages you get in the book.

  • Yearly Calendar
  • Yearly Index
  • Monthly Calendar
  • Coming Up!
  • Daily Pages
  • Memo pages.

This means that you have places for more or less everything you need. I'm not going to get into how I use it, here, that will be a part of my larger Getting Things Done post, that I'm going to write soon. But you have a place for the large overview: Yearly Index. You have a place for the details: Daily Pages. And you have a place for your monthly goals: Coming Up.

The format of the Hobonichi Planner is very compact, while you at the same time have a lot of room. And it isn't often I wish there was more room. But there is a larger version, it is, unfortunately only available in Japanese. I have three wishes for the 2017 version:

  • Shorter drying time.
  • Having all the versions available in English.
  • Different start dates, like the Japanese version have.