MultiYear Hobonichi Weeks: FineTuning Companion Memo Pads 4/5. (Keel-Billed Toucan, S. America. Snapped @ The National Aviary, Pittsburgh, PA)

MultiYear Hobonichi Weeks: FineTuning Companion Memo Pads 4/5



♦️ Pub: Dec 6, 2018 | Updated: Dec 6, 2018 @ | Reading: 9 min. | Words: 2,338 ♦️
The internal pages of my Bananas Hobonichi Weeks reflect multiYear usage. Two primary companion Memo Pads accommodate my daily EDC concerns.


Mapping This Series: Setting Up a Multi-Year (2019) Hobonichi Weeks

✦︎ Overview
✦︎ 1. Exploiting the 2019 Year view; RePurposing the 2018 + 2020 Calendars
✦︎ 2. ReConfiguring the Week-View → Editorial Calendar / Record
✦︎ 3. Enlarging (69 → 99 pages) and Mastering the Notes area
✦︎ 4. → Enlisting a Few Memo Pads for Core EDC Use
✦︎ 5.  Eliminating Items from the Weeks, and Why

The Basics

Hobonichi Weeks Memo Pads always arrive as a 3-pack. Each pad is comprised of 20 sheets / 40 pages. Amazon carries them with a typical $11-ish price. They’re much cheaper on the Hobonichi site, but the outrageous forced shipping fees swallow savings.

The Basic Memo Pad LineUp

The beauty of highly portable Hobonichi memo pads
The beauty of highly portable Hobonichi memo pads

Two crazy-thin booklets live in my Weeks condo. Each attaches to the Weeks via insertion into the factory clear cover’s front / rear flaps.

Although held within nominal temporary containers, the items discussed in this article form the crux of my productivity / accountability system. Yet I recognize: today’s crucial notation will soon lose vitality. For that reason, I refused to locate these notes directly within the 2019 (multi-year) Weeks itself.

A second rationale supports this arrangement. Because the core of my EDC rests in these Memo Pads, I can swap them among books with ease.

Special Alert re a single Memo Pad in front

When a Memo Pad is inserted into the front inner flap of the factory clear cover, lumps interfere with writing. I refer to the cut out produced by the page holder. It drove me nuts (short drive, admittedly).

Don't panic! It's easy to tame the front clear cover's lumpiness for writing purposes
Don’t panic! It’s easy to tame the front clear cover’s lumpiness for writing purposes

When I know I need “sumdin” to counteract a physical hassle, I start with my #StationeryNerd bookshelf. I found cardboard, but experimentation underscored its thickness. Plan B: visit DollarTree and browse the shelves for ideas.

Bingo! I screeched my aisles tour when I glimpsed a 3-pack of different colored flexible plastic kitchen cutting boards. For a buck. Bonus: one = yellow, matching my Banana Weeks. Purchased!

While out and about, I next visited Target, where I found gummy-like sticky adhesive. Once back home, I used a box cutter to trim the plastic board, applied strips of the adhesive, and flattened the board atop the inside cover. Problem solved!

Summary: respect mechanical reality; make necessary adjustments.

The EDC Core BuJo Companions

1️⃣ Daily Log / BrainDump

Every thought worthy of capture, unless a dated event, hits this area —only. My reasoning:

  • eliminate the risk of losing the fleeting thought while indulging a game of Where’s Waldo (i.e. where-to-put-this query)
  • prevent potential confusion —I know every captured item lives in this singular analog area

Two tweaks make this log sing.

First, I exploit the built-in margin. As I tackle a task, I add certain notes. The margin morphs into a mini table of contents. It tells me when I worked on the item as well as the existence, if any, of related fresh digital files (i.e. gD, for Google Drive).

The mini table of contents rings true for all but one type of task: quickies, defined as those taking only one sit-down session to start and complete. In such cases, a lone checkmark signals a hit-&-run completion of the task.

Second, a colored block precedes every actionable item, as opposed to the standard hand-drawn checkbox.

✧︎︎︎ The benefits of using a colored checkbox

My weekdays begin and end with a routine, which includes review and planning.

When checkboxes, checkmarks, and text all bear the same color, the wall of text tends to “hide” the checkboxes from tired eyes, i.e. the forest for the trees syndrome. Switching to a highlighted box provides superb contrast for distinguishing still-open vs done vs ignore-me-for-planning-purposes entries.

Most yellow highlighters produce a neon-like coloring. I use genuine-flat-color Bic Brite Liner highlighters. The Bic also eschews puddling at the end of the highlighting, unlike MildLiners and friends.

Summary: This small tweak ignites racing through multiple pages during the review process. Because the colored squares are unique, they pull my eyes as I review. I zip through several pages, wasting no time fighting through wall-of-text tedium.

✧︎︎︎ The benefits of combining the Daily Log and BrainDump listings

I repeat: I refuse to entertain any hint of Where’s Waldo while entering data. In other words, I want to insert data, not look around to choose an entry point.

Years of bullet journaling taught me that separate lists pull separate treatment. Translation: I ignore them until the list concerned “requires” attention.

BrainDump entries range from gotta-do-soon to distant-future considerations.

Gotta-do-soon actionable items merit the colored checkbox treatment. Others continue to sit comfortably, visible but unobtrusive. The consistent reviews ensure I see all items in the Daily Log.

None of the items situated within the Daily Log pull the spiderwebs likely to materialize with some other lists. Consistent reviews render that phenomenon impossible.

By the way, I dump my thoughts throughout the day using the same black-inked pen. I add the yellow blocks only when performing a review, or during a Pomodoro break.

2️⃣ Monthly/Future Log, Focus, (Habit Tracker,) WF List

The paltry size of the date blocks presented in the Weeks’ standard month calendar forced my hand. Those boxes prove hostile to multiple events.

Month-as-lists supplant the Weeks standard calendar for hardlandscape purposes. That gives me the desired elbow room.

✧︎︎︎ What Didn’t Work, and Why: a Habit Tracker

What don't work, and why
What don’t work, and why

I spent the last few years with a Jibun Techo, relying on its monthly Gantt Charts for tracking. For this Weeks multiYear vibe, I devised a test page: month list for October on the left page; habit tracker on its companion right facing page. Took less than two weeks to confirm: nope!

First, the overall page size worked against me. I forgot about the assorted events I track— e.g. respecting my self-imposed bedtime hour, standard wake-up time, critical parts of my preDawn and evening routines. Adding those items to 12 or so other habits proved impossible.

Second, the entirety of the chart instilled a jumbled feeling. My growing dislike slowly morphed into avoidance. So, I went back to the drawing board.

✧︎︎︎ Tweaking the Monthly-Log Memo Pad

I killed the habit tracker once October concluded. Rethinking my approach, it finally dawned on me this Future Log, like the Weeks itself, should cover 2019 through 2021. Duh!

For November, I opted to stay in the 2018 Jibun. This Memo Pad, serving as my hardlandscape Future Log, spans December 2018 through December 2021.

This approach consumes 37 of the 40 pages comprising a Weeks-size Memo Pad. In addition, more than a dozen rows remain free at the bottom of each page.

✧︎︎︎ Hardlandscape Monthly Calendar via Dated Vertical List

Presenting each month as a list personifies an easy setup. Just list numbers 1 through 28, 29, 30, or 31 vertically. Go back down the list to denote the day name with an initial (i.e. M through Su). No live brain cells required, as the task is too short to haul Murphy’s Law into view.

I completed the December 2018 through February 2019 calendars in one sitting. Another session witnessed my application of month titles to successive pages. Pomodoro breaks continue to permit lazy completion of the entire booklet.

✧︎︎︎ Mini standard-view calendar: discarded

As initially constructed, the month-as-list calendar lived on the left facing page. On the same page, I also created a mini month cal, which ate 6 rows.

Rats! Sometimes ya just gotta pull out an eraser and try again
Rats! Sometimes ya just gotta pull out an eraser and try again

When I decided to remove the habit tracker from the right facing page, I became much more sensitive to extra space.

All facts conspired, resulting in the death of that mini calendar. But I do prefer seeing week chunks. To honor that desire, I draw a line after each Sunday row within the month-as-list calendar. That small revision duplicates the essence of the pulled mini-cal. Hence, I lose nothing while gaining space.

That extra space provides 16 rows which, in turn, accommodates two luxuries:

  1. Top 3 projects in focus for the month
  2. Waiting For/ Keep an Eye On List

If I run out of room for the Waiting For list, I still have those 3 extra blank pages in the rear.

Additional Memo Pad Companions: The Sometimes Crew

✦︎ Dual Time Blocking

My internal clock awakens me around 4-ish a.m. The 4a hour belongs to admin and self-care chores. At 5, I indulge my #5amWritersClub writing habit, taking me to or beyond 6a. A color-coded timeline (The Plan) suggests my activities for the rest of the workday.

With 2019 in mind, I experimented. For 2 weeks, I kept the Daily Log in an old half-used Weeks Memo Pad. For another 2 weeks, I used an archived Cousin Avec.

As activities unfold, I add time-based notations. During the evening or weekly review, I add color to denote the category of work —creating color-coded The Reality time blocks. At week’s end, I compare the two sets of blocks —the Plan vs the Reality— within the context of the full week. In short: accountability! Further time blocking details, including my mathematical approach to setting up each week, is available for the curious.

Dual time blocking remains as essential to my productivity scheme as the Daily Log. The latter stays with the Weeks at all times.

Based on my workflow, after the one month experimentation phase, I concluded the A5 Cousin better responded to my time blocking needs.

I rush to add: a 2019 Cousin is not guaranteed to cross this threshold. I’ve used the full Cousin, and the Avec. The latter irked during review sessions, pushing me to frequently consult both half-year books. The Cousin irritated, as it’s simply too cumbersome to carry. I don’t sit at my desk all day long. For these reasons, I’m still considering other BuJo-component sidekick options. Among them: the B6 Cafe Note, A5 Studio Note, and A5-Slim xxxxx.

Recall my determination to keep this MultiYear Weeks as my primary planning baby. To accommodate that desire as well as the reality of away-from-desk moments, I kept that old Memo Pad, rededicating it to O&A (out and about) time blocking concerns.

Whether Barnes & Noble, a small mom & pop coffee shop, a Raleigh spot favored by self-employed folks in the area, or a conference (y’all know we sneak in other stuff at conferences), the Weeks will remain the sole needed item for transport.

This time block oriented Memo Pad sleeps in my glove compartment. Unlike pens, dedicated Memo Pads exude uniqueness. Therefore, while I may forget to grab a pen, I won’t forget to grab an essential Memo Pad. Result: this dude’s got a homie!

✦︎ Writer’s Hat Sidekick

I’m at a park. I overhear a conversation, part of which includes delightful phraseology. I memorialize the snippet in this dedicated Memo Pad.

I need a break. I decide to hit the town center area of a nearby small town. I exercise my descriptive muscle, detailing the outfit of a passerby or two.

You get the idea. Rather than carry around my full Writer’s BuJo component, I also keep this dedicated MP in my glove compartment.

I duplicate / migrate nothing. The singular purpose of the Memo Pad renders that chore silly. It’s easy enough to retrieve the MP from the glove compartment, as needed, and join it with the Writer’s BuJo during review or concentrated writing sessions.


The multiYear Weeks serves as my core EDC and Blogger’s BuJo. Experience gained during previous bullet journal years schooled me: exploit the best of a planning book to tailor it to my primary concerns.

Rather than fight space issues, I learned to embrace them
Rather than fight space issues, I learned to embrace them

For this multi-year flavored Weeks BuJo, I flipped my standard approach. Just-for-now items populate booklets external to the Weeks itself. Only items with a permanent flavor are awarded a spot directly within the Weeks itself.

I expanded the number of pages from the pre-numbered 69 to my renumbered 99. Doing so honored my need for roughly 80 pages, and desire for a back-pocket friendly BuJo.

The latter ruled out the thicker Mega Weeks. Note: Tomoe River paper expands with use. A classic Weeks stocked with a Memo Pad or two, plus extended usage? Ok. The same with a Mega? Fuggedaboutit.

I divided the Notes section into two main parts. The section opens with the collection of lists and logs relevant to my core concerns. It continues with part two, that is, the collection relevant to my blogger’s hat.

With awareness of my notation needs while in the street, I dedicated extra Memo Pads to writing and time blocking, each stored in my glove compartment. This eliminates the “need” to haul cumbersome larger books when away from the desk.

Call to Action

I took the time to study my workflow, personal strengths / weaknesses, and the nature of my external ventures, to build a system around those realities. As always, my umbrella goal from year to year remains the same: figure out the best configuration to coax my faithfulness to the analog system.Done!

Your dreams are worth a definitive planning system, reflecting your needs and desires, as well as strengths and weaknesses, at every turn. Yes, it takes time to pull it together, initially. But LawdHaMercy → the ongoing payoffs make it among the most worthy time investments conceivable.

Next: Eliminating Items from the Weeks, and Why

MultiYear Hobonichi Weeks: FineTuning Companion Memo Pads 4/5. (Keel-Billed Toucan, S. America. Snapped @ The National Aviary, Pittsburgh, PA)
MultiYear Hobonichi Weeks: FineTuning Companion Memo Pads 4/5. (Keel-Billed Toucan, S. America. Snapped @ The National Aviary, Pittsburgh, PA)

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