Using a Hobonichi Weeks as a Bullet Journal

You may have seen me mention that I’ve been using my Hobonichi Weeks differently recently.

After some particularly busy weeks, where I didn’t have time to plan ‘prettily’ I started relying a lot on my Hobonichi Weeks.

I’d generally struggled to use the Weeks for proper planning, and mainly used my Cousin. Recently though, I realised that the layout of the weekly pages was perfect for doing some bullet journalling and pre-planning. Some weeks, this may be the only planning I do. Others, it allows me to do a bit of a ‘brain dump’ and figure out what my actual priorities are for the week ahead before I do my full planning in the Cousin.

I’ve found planning in this way really productive, so today I’m sharing how I do it.

Before I start anything in the Weeks, I do my meal planning and food shop for the week.

I talked about how I do this in my planner set up post from last year. There’s been a few minor tweaks to how I do it, but essentially the process is as follows:

  1. Review my monthly spread in the Cousin, to see if there’s any days I’ll be out of the house at dinner time, or will not need to take food for lunch to work.
  2. Plan out my meals on the left hand page, using each third to denote a meal time.
  3. As I write out each meal, I create a shopping list on the right hand page.
  4. Add to the shopping list with any regular items (milk, fruit etc) and household items I need.
  5. Do food shop. 

Next, I do my social media plan for the week.

This is pretty simple. I have a list of photo ideas in my B6 Stalogy and a checklist to show when the photo has been taken, scheduled and posted. I review the list and mark off whatever I have posted that week, add in any photos I’ve taken/plan to take and decide what will be posted this coming week. This is then logged on the yearly pages in my Weeks. 

Once those things are done, I basically have everything to plan my week.

Next is my favourite part – the brain dump. On the right hand side of the page I list everything in my brain that I think I need to do that week. Sometimes, I start writing this midway through the prior week, just so I have a log of it somewhere. There’s something really satisfying about writing out a long list and just getting it out of your brain.

Once that list is created, I start filling in the rest of the pages. On the right hand page, in the left hand column I write my meal plan.

The right hand column of the left hand page I write my social media for each day. 

The remainder two thirds of the left hand page is for the bullet journaling. I keep things simple here, and use the usual O to denote an event and these get written at the bottom of each daily box.

For tasks, I go through the brain dump on the right hand page and start writing them in on days that I intend to complete them on. I use the usual dot for all tasks. When a task has been assigned to a day I put one line through the dot on the right hand page.

When the task gets completed, I then mark it off in both places.

This process is when I decide how I’m actually going to spend my week.

When you have all the tasks on your mind written down in front of you, it’s so much easier to really review your week and decide what’s important. Going through this process I’ve been able to weed out tasks that wouldn’t have added enough value to warrant spending time on them in a busy week. Other tasks I’ve reviewed and realised there is no time pressure to do it and so it can easily migrated to another week. Something I need to get better at is using the migration signifier. 

I also follow the bullet journal way and if a task gets migrated too many times, I realise that it’s clearly not important and cross it out.

I usually plan on a Sunday evening and planning this way is a lot quicker than how I used to plan.

This generally takes me about twenty minutes to do. I found that when I was trying to do ‘full’ planning in my Cousin each Sunday evening, it was taking me a long time. If I ran out of time and went into Monday with no planning done, I felt lost. This allows me to start my week feeling organised.

I then spend the rest of my week, slowly planning in my Cousin. For the first days of a week, sometimes it’s more a log than planning. With the pressure off, I enjoy planning in the Cousin more. I spend a little more time making it pretty (sometimes). I’ve also switched around the layout a couple of times, and started planning/recording different things. 

Some weeks, the Weeks is the only planner I use.

Using the weekly pages in this way, it has more than enough space to plan out my week. I’ve grown to love this planner a lot more.

I love creating pen only spreads using this method. I have used the odd kit (because I have a stash of them) and have managed to make them work alongside this way of planning. 

If you saw my Weeks set up post from last week, you’ll know I’m going to be planning in this way in 2020. Before I discovered this way of pre-planning though, I wasn’t going to use a proper Weeks in 2020. I had bought two Weeks. One was intended for work, the other for meal planning. However, after realising how great this method was, I changed my mind. Work will now have a bullet journal instead. In case you’re interested, I’m using an A5 Nuuna.

I’m sure this method will develop over time.

But at the moment, this has been making me the most productive I’ve been in a long time. I’ve had a really busy couple of months and it would have been easy to be overwhelmed. However, planning in this way has stopped that. Clearing tasks out of my brain and onto the page makes me feel great. To then review those tasks and decide what’s not important enough to do, makes me feel even better.

If you often find you have way too much to do, this method may work for you. You obviously don’t need a Hobonichi to do it, any notebook will do.