Erin Condren Coiled LifePlanner

Erin Condren Coiled LifePlanner

If you prefer a less plain look for the notebook you’ll be carrying around, Erin Condren’s line of planners feature colorful, interchangeable cover designs. The LifePlanner is packed with motivational words, stickers, monthly tabs, and three weekly layout options (vertical, horizontal, and hourly).

Wirecutter recommended the weekly LifePlanner as the best planner for memory keeping:

What really separates the LifePlanner from other memory-keeping planners is the sheer number of accessories—covers, stickers, sticky notes, pens—available for decorating it. An Etsy search for “Erin Condren stickers” alone yields more than 185,000 results currently, and Erin Condren’s site offers plenty of other accessories. If you’re interested in the planner community, the LifePlanner has the most active posters on Instagram, in Facebook groups, and on YouTube channels like this one.

You can buy a LifePlanner at Amazon for around $45-70 (the hardbound, undated versions are a bit cheaper). If you purchase one through Erin Condren’s site, you can get the cover personalized with your name. The company also sells a lot of other books for more specific needs — Goal Setting, Daily Planners, Teacher Lesson Planners, Wedding Planners, Academic Planners, etc.

Kokuyo Jibun Techo First Kit 2019

Kokuyo Jibun Techo First Kit 2019

The Kokuyo Jibun Techo is a 3-in-1 system, featuring three separate booklets that catalog different aspects of your life.

JetPens outlines the booklets:

  • an annual “Diary” booklet for planning out schedules and to-do lists
  • a “Life” booklet for recording more permanent information
  • an “Idea” booklet for jotting down anything else that comes to mind

Unike the Hobonichi Techo, which has an English edition, the Jibun Techo’s pages are mostly in Japanese, though you can find translated sample pages in JetPens’ gallery.

You can find Kokuya Jibun Techo 3-in-1 sets at Amazon for around $47 to $55.

Hobonichi Techo 2019

Hobonichi Techo 2019

It seems impossible to not be charmed by the Hobonichi Techo. I came to it years ago by way of Shigesato Itoi, creator of cult video game series Earthbound/Mother and head of Japanese daily planner company Hobonichi, and that sent me into this obsession with journals.

The appeal comes from its portable size (A6 4.1x5.8″), light but durable paper (Tomoe River), daily quotes mostly translated from Japanese sources, and wealth of cover options. It also helps that Hobonichi’s promotional photos and videos are always on point, showing off the versatility of the planner as a scrapbook, artbook, and journal.

Wirecutter’s reviewers seemed to really like the imported planner too, but it’s hard to recommend it when availability is still limited. Catching a Hobonichi Techo while it’s still in stock at Amazon is hit or miss, and you can also keep checking the official site and JetPens. The planner by itself runs around $37, and there’s a huge selection of covers varying in prices.

Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal

Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal

Bullet Journaling (BuJo) is like using a planner in Expert Mode, requiring you learn a new system of lists for marking up and tracking your life. Here’s how the official Bullet Journal website describes it:

Though it does require a notebook, Bullet Journal® is actually a methodology. It’s best described as a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system. It’s designed to help you organize your what while you remain aware of your why. The goal of the Bullet Journal is to help its practitioners (bullet journalists) live intentional lives, ones that are productive and meaningful.

It seems like a very efficient way to fill up a planner with anything you want to chronicle. And the Leuchtturm1917 is designed specifically to accommodate the system, offering a built-in guide, a symbol key, and index pages. 

Wirecutter picked it as the best Bullet Journal:

Leuchtturm1917’s Bullet Journal is a collaboration with Ryder Carroll, the creator of bullet journaling — it’s the only bullet journal offered on his website. The front and back pages of this notebook have some instructions and tips on how to use a bullet journal. The other bullet journal we tested, Rhodia’s Goalbook, offers no tips, and our testers preferred a little direction for getting started. They also preferred the stiffer cover of the Leuchtturm1917 and the pale color of the grid dots on the page, which are more pleasing to the eyes than standard grid paper.

Amazon sells the notebook for $25, but make sure you’re buying from Bullet Journal and not a third-party seller, as there are review complaints from people who received standard editions instead of the BuJo version. And Ryder Carrol has a book dedicated to teaching you all about the system, called The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future.