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.