I’ve written summaries of my Hobonichi use in some previous years: 2017, 2019, and 2020. This Japanese daily journal is a popular Instagram and Reddit subject as it’s part of the larger craft journaling scene, like the Bullet Journal.
This year my Hobonichi has served its customary purpose as the tool to plan my day every morning. I always buy the Japanese version of the planner as the layout just suits my use a bit better than the English version, even though this means that the daily quotes on each page remain mysteries to me. Each morning, I block out the day’s calls, errand times, times to fit in the daily training ride and make some notes on what really needs to get done that day.
For me it’s a planning exercise. It’s rare that I refer back to the Hobonichi after the planning is done. My work calls are driven by the Microsoft Outlook calendar and when the slots open up for the ride, errand or appointment, I’m ready for it. The next morning, I’ll glance back at the previous day for a quick assessment as to whether there’s some impact on the coming day.
I also use the monthly calendars for long term planning- particularly holidays, business trips and cycling events. Even though it’s all duplicated on the phone/iPad/PC calendars, I’ve long relied on doing the planning and thinking on paper- just because I can’t see the big picture on a computer calendar for whatever reason.
The biggest change this year has been adding more special purpose notebooks to capture reading notes. This was kind of a breakthrough for me this year, finding an efficient way to take notes on reading. As I mentioned, this was based on a reread of Ryan Carroll’s Bullet Journal Method. I now read a text straight through, then go back, skimming for the purpose of rapid logging the main points I want to record.
Since it’s now been 3 months, I think I can say I’ve added a daily Bullet Journal habit to the morming Hobonichi ritual. So at times during the day, I make some progress notes in the Bullet Journal. If I’m taking notes on a book, those go into the the same notebook.
Unfortunately, while analog note taking has been a success this year, on the digital side I’ve still not really developed a good methodology for my current needs. I’m using DEVONthink as a hub more consistently to store documents, but the input really just isn’t there- seems like too much work. So my aspirations to funnel notes into DEVONthink and then out into this website have just not panned out as hoped. I know that the key is to keep friction down and the efforts casual. I’m drawn to thinking with pen on paper, so the formalization of typing it in is the friction that holds the process back. Small steps, always just the next action and no more.