Planning doesn’t have to be pretty (and using the Hobonichi Weeks as a bujo)

This is the busiest I’ve felt in a long time.

Over the past two months or so I’ve had a lot going on. One thing that’s suffered has been my planning. I’ve still been planning, I just haven’t had the time to make my planner look all pretty and Instagram worthy.

Once upon a time if I didn’t like how my planner looked, I just didn’t plan. I’ve got myself out of this ridiculousness by using the Hobonichi Weeks. The perfect layout of this planner has allowed me to have simple, neat spreads that keep me on track when I’m at my busiest.

The Weeks is quite a small planner, but you can pack so much into the weekly pages.

I remember thinking when I first purchased one in 2018 that it would be far too small for me. However, thanks to the clean layout that has very little wasted space, and the small grid size you can actually fit a lot of planning into these layouts.

When I started getting busy, the first thing I did was flip my Weeks into a vertical layout.

The right hand page allows me to write lots of lists, which is basically all I do when I’m super busy. The left side I pop appointments and plans in and allow myself to put a few stickers down. It might not be everyone’s idea of a basic spread, but took me all of five minutes to set up on the Sunday evening, and 5 minutes dropping a few stickers in at the end of the week. (If you like this mini vertical kit, you can find it here)

After a couple of weeks of vertical planning I needed something even more low maintenance.

The pen smudge really helps to prove the title of this post!

I decided to try my first pen only spread in my Weeks!

I began planning the above week in this way because I started writing the to do list the week before. As tasks for next week started coming to me, I started jotting them down in that week. Then once Sunday evening came, planning the week was simple.

  • I added in any events coming up, using an event signifier (looks like an O)
  • Next, I added in my meal planning (lunches and dinners)
  • Then, I added in my social media planning for the week
  • Finally, I started moving over tasks from the right hand page over the left on the days I needed to do them

Doing a brain dump of all the tasks on my mind, before I come to plan my week has proved really helpful. It’s allowed me to review my week pretty much all in one go (that’s not to say tasks don’t get added during the week) and cross out things that I decide aren’t worth my time. Anything not completed at the end of the week then got moved into the following week.

The next week I moved the basic planning on a bit

This week, I had a week off work and so many of my tasks didn’t need to be done on particular dates. Therefore, the right hand side basically became my master to do list. I only used the left hand side of the page for events, day specific tasks and notes. I always struggle to find somewhere to jot down little notes that I need to remember, so using the weekly side for that has been perfect.

This has been some of my favourite planning recently.

Even where it’s been messy, or the ink has smudged I’ve not cared.

This has been a welcome reminder that my planner doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact I’m starting to realise that sometimes the messier it is, the more useful it is.

While I used to only use my Weeks as an every day carry that I did bare bones planning in, through doing this I’ve discovered another great use for it. I’m going to keep compiling the ‘brain dump’ lists each week on the right hand side of the page. It’s become invaluable for planning out my week and organising my thoughts. It also means that any weeks I don’t have time to do ‘full planning’ I at least have my to do list prepped and ready to go and doing everything else will just take a few minutes.

I’ve written posts before about how great the Hobonichi Cousin is for bullet journaling.

Thanks to my recent planning, it seems the Weeks also lends itself pretty well to it. With simple weekly and monthly spreads, and lot of note pages for collections this planner is ideal for bullet journaling without the hassle of drawing everything out. It’s actually very similar to layouts I used to do in my Travelers Notebook which I used as a bullet journal many years ago.

Thinking about it, I may have a play around and set up my new 2020 Weeks as a bullet journal.

Have you gone back to basics with your planning before? Let me know how you found it in the comments below!