Bullet Journal: Fueling Digital/Analog Harmony with a Hobonichi Weeks

TL;DR

Analog tools assist planning. Digital tools expedite writing and other tasks. Productivity mandates awareness of, and easy access to, all matters related to a single task. The Hobonichi Weeks answers the call for a skilled maestro, embracing and sustaining digital/analog harmony. Here’s how.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Hobonichi Weeks Planner: Satisfying Bullet Journal Goals

The Hobonichi Weeks marries the size of a long travel wallet with the glory of Tomoe River paper, encouraging brain dumps throughout the day. Faithful input births faithful output, enhancing productivity. To use the Weeks is to love it, a critical consideration when choosing the core of a bullet journal system. We naturally gravitate toward the inherently enjoyable!

Each component of my bullet journal system responds to one or more goals, among them:

  • eliminate tedious and time-eating duplicate data entry
  • dwarf migration chores
  • instill digital/analog harmony

By adding a Hobonichi Weeks to my one-grab multi-component system (thank you, A5 Lihit Lab SmartFit cover!), I tied up the last loose end on the road to planning nirvana.

The Weeks slides in/out the Lihit Lab’s front slot pocket. My definition of perfection.

My little buddy keeps watch for me (while trying his best to eat the dangling BookJigs bookmark ribbons)

My little buddy keeps watch for me (while trying his best to eat the dangling BookJigs bookmark ribbons)

The wallet + Weeks combo = my dream EDC, efficient and functional

The wallet + Weeks combo = my dream EDC, efficient and functional

To instill digital/analog harmony between bullet journal and digital files, I decided:

  1. Every task would live only in its birthplace, the Daily Log. Read: no migration.
  2. When a task is assigned MIT status, insert a circled number before the checkbox.
  3. Add activity dates to the task entry.
  4. Include file alerts.

Let’s look at each step in the workflow.

 ✧︎︎︎  No Migration

Traditional bullet journaling involves moving a task to the day when it will be tackled. When one delays the task, it’s moved forward yet again. I resist busy work. In this case, I replace Migration with an easy numerical scheme. The scheme serves as the glue between digital and analog. More on that below.

✧︎︎︎  MIT Status and the Circled Number

My evening reviews include checking for still open tasks within the bullet journal. I choose 3 as MITs (Most Important Task) for the following day. Let’s say I choose 2 tasks from the July 11th Daily Log. That day’s log totals 9 entries, all task-oriented. I’ve touched none thus far. Now that I’ve chosen two tasks from this log, I assign numbers 1 and 2, circling each. Why?

  • It provides a quick indicator, capable of pulling triple-duty.
    While numbers appear throughout the log, only MITs merit circles.
  • Seeing a circled number confirms the task is in progress, where the associated checkbox remains empty.
  • I can use the circled number when saving related digital files, yielding a direct path to the task concerned.

✧︎︎︎  Breadcrumbs: Adding Activity Dates

Many websites provide a mini navigation trail, such as Home → Issues → Development. This is what I mean by “breadcrumbs.” Within my bullet journal, tasks include breadcrumbs. When I work on a task living in the July 11th Daily Log, I add the dates of activity (when I performed work related to the task) to the task’s line, e.g. 7/13,15.

Why? My habit involves adding notes, flowing directly from the day’s work, to the Daily page of my Hobonichi Cousin Avec. Tasks also generate research and resulting digital files. When I look at a task, I want to know about all related notes/files, without rifling through assorted devices or paper sections.

✧︎︎︎ More Breadcrumbs: Adding File Alerts

Example, with the added breadcrumbs appearing in boldface:
①︎ 🔲 task entry 7/13,15 gD pb
That single line now tells me:

  • I worked on this task (in July 11th Daily Log) on July 13th & 15th. Notes unfolding as I performed the task can be found on those two Daily Pages.
  • The task sparked research, resulting in saved files in Google Drive (gD), and bookmarks at PinBoard.in (pb).

PinBoard.in bookmarks include a description field. I exploit that field, adding searchable info, e.g. 17.0711.01 7/13. Like file names, the bookmarks tell me the Daily Log location housing the task (0711, year 2017), the precise task (circled #1), and the date I performed the work (here, 7/13).

In essence, each tackled task presents its own mini table of contents. And, each file/ bookmark generated by a task refers me to the relevant Daily Log, and the precise task.

One More Thing

Some situations—such as walking the dog, pushing a grocery store chart, indulging a photo shoot at the park, and pumping gas—reduce reaching for paper and pen to a dicey proposition. As detailed in a previous post, the iOS Just Press Record app, living on my iPhone with a complimentary complication on my Apple Watch, responds well to the need. One tap on my watch face starts recording my spoken notes. A second tap ends it. Because the iCloud-friendly app auto-transcribes the verbal notes, a Siri (Spotlight) search will pull the transcript into view on each iOS device. I can then copy/paste into another app, or create an entry in the Weeks. The latter is as close as I come to duplicating entries.

Call to Action

Late-breaking thoughts don’t discriminate. They hit when they desire, regardless of current activity or location. Respecting that reality, I revamped my bullet journal system so all such thoughts land in the same container. That mandated a level of portability unknown to the A5 Lihit Lab bundle. Enter the Hobonichi Weeks.

Do you have a reliable catch-my-thoughts system? Thoughts power dreams; dreams require achievement planning. For that reason, thoughts must be carefully embraced, i.e. wedded to real or virtual paper.

You deserve the best, defined here as the realization of your dreams. Gift yourself with a seat in a favorite chair, and indulge the time required to better grasp your notation needs on a day-to-day basis. Some may view this as a mundane “little step.” Personal opinion: if the base bricks are misaligned, the house built upon that foundation will lack stability. Consistency and stability share a parent, named Productivity. ‘Nuff said!

👋🏽😎 Til later

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