How to improve your Jibun Techo with Useful Repurposed Forms. (Martial Eagle (Africa). Snapped @ the National Aviary, Pittsburgh PA)

How to Improve Your Jibun Techo with Useful Repurposed Forms



♦️ Pub: Nov 16, 2017 | Updated: May 22, 2019 @ | Reading: 9 min. | Words: 2,286 ♦️
The inherent beauty of Japanese planners, like Kokuyo’s Jibun Techo Biz Mini, lies in their flexibility despite the preprinted forms. Read: a bullet journaler’s dream. I found several forms irrelevant. A few tweaks here and there gave me genuinely useful repurposed forms. Witness the “how,” detailed below.

Bullet Journal Collection in the Jibun Techo (2018 Biz Mini)

The Jibun Techo B6 Slim Mini, adding a mere inch1 to the width of the Hobonichi Weeks, easily doubles as a wallet. When I added an insert (trimmed A5 Hobonichi memo book) for my Daily Logs, I also exploited built-in form pages.

By the way, why hassle tailoring an A5 booklet to fit the Biz Mini, when the Mini offers its own companion-sized Idea booklet? The grid of the latter runs under 3mm. The grid, of both the A5 Slim Idea and A5 (Cousin) Hobonichi memo book, presents at 3.5–3.7mm. The tinier B6/Mini grid works fine in the Biz Diary, where my notations remain short. But for longer writing stints, no way. Hence, my box cutter missions. Bonus: the trimming likewise converts B5 Kokuyo, Midori, and Muji (narrow) books, allowing me to enjoy stellar paper quality with narrow lines.

The Perpetual Calendar (a/k/a Yearly Index)

Jibun Techo (Biz Mini): Perpetual Calendar
Jibun Techo (Biz Mini): Perpetual Calendar

Unlike the Hobonichi Perpetual Calendar’s 1-row-per-day slot, the Jibun provides a divided day slot. I using the first 5-block row to note:

  • R(ead)
  • A(udible)
  • W(alk) or R(un)
  • P(hoto Shoot)
  • # (hours slept, rounded up or down to a single digit)

The second row reflects dedicated exercise. (I use the word dedicated to keep myself honest; otherwise, I’d try to claim time for walking around the grocery store. 😂😂)

  • ✓ for each 10 minutes of exercise

I use pencil for the ✓. If I exceed 50 minutes, I erase the ✓’s, replacing them with an h:mm note (rounded to nearest 5 minute mark). I thank Nicky Kegan for the tick-off idea. Another FaceBook poster gifted the 10-minute-increment idea, but I’m unable to find the specific thread concerned for proper attribution.

Jibun Techo Biz Mini Factory-Printed Pages, Repurposed

Hobonichi books offer assorted calendar spreads, as does Kokuyo in its Jibun Techo family of products. The Jibun goes beyond the basics (e.g. standard month view, vertical weeklies), tossing in a slew of pre-printed labeled forms. Something like “Japan Map” does nothing for this state-side gal, but others float my bullet journal boat. With a little imagination, no page goes unused in my beloved Jibun Techo Biz Mini. Examples follow.

Japan Map → Ink Swatch

Let’s get real: a map of Japan personifies irrelevance to this American resident. On the other hand, those two pages embrace pen and highlighter scribbles, gifting a mighty fine ink swatch collection.

RePurposing Jibun Techo's 2-page Japan Map → Ink Swatch
RePurposing Jibun Techo’s 2-page Japan Map → Ink Swatch

Favorite Phrases → Tracking: Comprehensive Daily Writing Log

After using Hobonichi’s 2017 Cousin Avec’s 10-horizontal-block Vertical Monthlies, I wanted to continue that format into 2018. The Jibun Tech’s Favorite Phrases set —facing pages— answers the call.

I keep a Comprehensive Writing Log tracker. Turns out, I only “need” 5 horizontal block spaces per day: 3 for the daily word count, and 2 (Editing, Research) for checkmarks.

Because I don’t want to reach for the 2017 Hobonichi Cousin Avec for related prior records, I configured columns to cover July 2017 through December 2018.

Jibun Techo Biz Mini's Favorite Phrases, repurposed as my writing log
Jibun Techo Biz Mini’s Favorite Phrases, repurposed as my writing log

Recommendations Pages → Forest Therapy HitList

Solo workers, operating from a home office, enjoy both thrills and chills. In the latter category: days can pass without stepping outside. In my experience, nothing pulsates a sense of inner calm like Forest Therapy. Surrounded by huge trees, with a lake stretching as far as the eye can see, my ego dwindles, restoring proper perspective. In short, Nature forms my church. I deem at least one weekly visit mandatory, and two highly desirable.

I researched and then created a master list of local parks with glorious lakes. I also included favorite nature spots destined as all-day ventures, given the extended driving periods incurred to reach them. Page two appears below as a sample.

Incidentally, be advised: when ideas seem in short supply, I plan a brief but effective 48 hour retreat. The Newport News, Virginia area serves as a favorite option, as do some areas along North Carolina’s eastern seaboard. Without fail, as I gaze at the ocean at either locale, new ideas gush!

RePurposing Jibun Techo's Recommendations pages → Forest Therapy HitList
RePurposing Jibun Techo’s Recommendations pages → Forest Therapy HitList

What I truly love about these and similarly formatted Jibun Tech pages → ya get two checkboxes per entry. Sometimes I’ll visit a particular park on, say, serial Fridays at 4:45p. Reason: birds, as creatures of habit, tend to repeat visits along the same timeline. What I “grrr, just missed him!” with my camera last Friday around 4:45p, I’ll likely catch the following Friday around the same time. These double-slots embrace  such  serial entries.

Book & Movies Lists → Audible and Kindle Books to Tackle

An embarrassing number of books, Audible and Kindle, clamor for my attention. Because both sets sit hidden behind iPad apps, I forget about them. Resolved: no more!

Some Kindle and Audible books are short; others mandate a substantial time investment. This explains my decision to include book length within the listing.

The headers:

  • ✓ (completed)
  • Date started
  • Size (# of pages, or # of listening hours)
  • Author Initials
  • Built-In Rating (smiley face, duh!, or frowny face)
  • Title

As regards Rating, books inspiring an extreme reaction, positive or negative, will witness an additional signifier. Keeping things intuitive, I’ll award a great book with green highlighting over the checkmark. So bad I gave up midway books? I’ll cover the frowny-face with red highlighter ink.

Authors, don’t panic! I add negative commentary to public review pages only where the author’s handiwork proves membership in the scam club. Y’all know the ones: completely irrelevant copyright pageS (!) copied and pasted from elsewhere; wazza punctuation mark? “writers”, with a single alleged sentence running through 2-3 pageS; never saw a grammar rule worth honoring numbskulls; persistent sloppiness via rampant homonym confusion — in a word, LAZY writers. I may dislike a story, but that’s a me-only deal. I ain’t gonna knock folks with different tastes. Ya gotta earn my ire.

Promises List → ReUsable Grocery List

With a master grocery list before me, I debated whether to keep the double-spacing of the Biz Mini’s Promises List. I visualized myself prowling a grocery store aisle. That sparked an easy choice. To keep things readable without squinting, I respected the double-spacing while compiling my list.

Next decision: which items from the master list belonged in my collection? Compromise: list the items most frequently populating my errands list; and, retain space to pencil in infrequent items as circumstances warrant.

I will not use a Frixion (erasable) pen for this list. The decision flows from a user reporting page thread-loosening in the wake of repeated erasures of an item. I’ve not experienced that phenomenon. Then again, my habit involves erasing only once. Given the predictable repeated erasures associated with this list, I choose to err on the side of caution, sticking with true penciled ✓ marks.

Washi tape hides the factory imprinted header. I use a Kuru Toga .5mm pencil to select items ( ✓ ) to purchase. My all-time favorite eraser, the Campus 2B, ensures clear erasures with no paper damage. Tip: I slice those rectangular BadBoys in half. Each still seems to last dang near forever.

RePurposing Jibun Techo's Promises Pages → ReUsable Grocery List
RePurposing Jibun Techo’s Promises Pages → ReUsable Grocery List

Gifts Received / Given → Goals Milestones by Month

I began with a centered vertical line of each of these facing pages. I then drew a horizontal line after each group of 7 doublespaced rows. This yields a total of 8 sections per page, for 16 months. My intention: accommodate November 2017 through December 2018. I’ll use the extra space to house project names as they bloom in my mind’s eye.

On my “soon” list: enter the section header name in upper right corner, and the months into the slots. I’ll use the excess space to list names of personal projects as they materialize. I can then use columns to checkmark or color my progress throughout the same period.

Last point: for reasons known only to my Maker, I seem incapable of drawing a line directly atop the targeted line. To starve Poindexter (my inner critic), I use the smaller end of a gray MildLiner for line drawing. Ha!

Jibun Techo Gifts Received / Given → Goals Milestones by Month
Jibun Techo Gifts Received / Given → Goals Milestones by Month

Blank Facing Pages (1 set, 2 pages) → November 2017

The 2018 Biz Mini starts with November 27th. The book arrived in October. I ain’t Job. Result: I configured the planner to reflect November 2017.

The Perpetual Calendar, or Yearly Index, understandably ignores November and December 2017. The remedy appears on the left page.

Jibun Techo Biz Mini: Blank Pages → Nov & Dec Perpetual Calendar
Jibun Techo Biz Mini: Blank Pages → Nov & Dec Perpetual Calendar

The right page houses my DIY Gannt Chart for November, mimicking the structure starting with December 2017.

Jibun Techo Blank Pages → November Gannt Chart
Jibun Techo Blank Pages → November GanttChart. “Gantt,” the one word I persistently misspell. Grrrrr

Jibun Techo A5 Slim Standard: Massaging Extra Vertical Weekly Pages

A screenshot illustrates one among countless approaches to filling otherwise unused Jibun Techo weekly spreads.

Jibun Techo A5 Slim Standard: before-the-pen Housework Spread covering a full year. (Tufted Titmouse. Snapped @ Triangle Area backyard, NC)
Jibun Techo A5 Slim Standard: before-the-pen Housework Spread covering a full year. (Tufted Titmouse. Snapped @ Triangle Area backyard, NC)

What about November 2017 in the Primary Biz Sections?

I refer to the standard Month view and the Vertical Weeklies. Because I live in each, these two items were first on my fix-it list. A previous post details tweaking the Biz Mini for immediate use.

Why Did I Choose Late October as my Planner Move-In Date?

I chose late October for my planner move for a few reasons.

1️⃣ Only diligent daily use reveals snafus in a new planner scheme, threatening faithfulness. To trust the system, it must prove reliable. Reliability flows from faithful use. My sweet spot of hmmmm 🤔 discoveries tends to complete by the 2-week mark. Sure enough, I found myself conjuring tweaks along the way. With the lion’s share of snafus tamed, I’m well prepared to glide into year 2018.

2️⃣ I devote the extended Thanksgiving weekend and the year-end holiday week to family and friends. Once upon a time, I used that period for hammering out planner and similar missions. Standing at the gravesite of a too young! friend readjusted my priorities.

3️⃣ End-of-year months witness numerous 2018 entries. The Hobonichi Cousin Avec hammered a point: jumping back and forth between two books, solely as a consequence of calendar location, irritates. The natural tendency is to avoid irritatants. Not good!

I avoid the hassle by immersing myself deep into the new book by early November. Since I’ve yet to encounter a downside flowing from this timing, it’s emerged as my preference for this annual ritual.

4️⃣ Duplicate dated spreads present extra space to exploit. I tolerate Tomoe River paper Jibun Tech Standard), but love the Biz MIO paper. Yet I’ve purchased more Standard versions year after year than Biz. Two reasons: the Standard’s über thin profile welcomes companion books (Idea, Life) without effecting bulk. And, the Standard offers a few more weekly view sets than the Biz. This, in turn, plays to my early-bird start inclinations.


Call to Action

You may love dot-grid, narrow lined, blank or grid paper. Or, you may adore digital solutions. Whatever your preference, worthy goals and useful tools play the hand-in-glove game. You tend to it, faithfully, and it will tend to you. Suggestion: invest the time —now— to determine what works best for you, to minimize if not prevent wasted time on the continuum. The immediate goal: conjure a system complimentary to your flow. And, enjoy!


  1. The precise dimensions of these dueling portability champs: — Hobonichi Weeks: 94 x 188mm / 3.75 x 7.4″ ——  Jibun Techo Mini: 120 x 190mm / 4.72 x 7.48″

How to improve your Jibun Techo with Useful Repurposed Forms. (Martial Eagle (Africa). Snapped @ the National Aviary, Pittsburgh PA)
How to improve your Jibun Techo with Useful Repurposed Forms. (Martial Eagle (Africa). Snapped @ the National Aviary, Pittsburgh PA)


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