since my high school gifted me my first one at the age of 12, i’ve been perpetually on the lookout for the holy grail of planners; the one that has everything i’ve ever wished for, and maybe a few things i never knew i needed thrown in for good measure.over the years, a few have come close, but none have taken the crown as yet. will 2015 be the year of the perfect planner? here are the contenders:
the planner (iconic, south korea)
a six-month, start-when-you-want planner (the building blocks are there, but you fill in the dates yourself). if your planning habits border on the obsessive, this is the schedule book for you – there’s a double page ‘project plan’, then a double page ‘simple plan’, then six ‘monthly plan’ double page calendars, each one followed by ‘weekly plan’ double page breakdowns.
the back half of the of the book is free note pages – blank, lined, and patterned – and ends with a world map (complete with timezones) and a map of korea. the latter is perhaps superfluous for a lot of users, but you can’t fault them for catering to their local market.
the part i really like about the planner is the physical construction of it: at 9.4 x 15.7cm, it’s relatively compact – about the size of a paperback novel. the paper is sturdy, and although it’s a softcover, it has a thick plastic sleeve over it, which does a pretty good job at protecting against bending and creasing (and split tea – damned clumsiness). overall, it has a solid, weighty feel. not heavy, exactly. sort of… robust? after years of flimsy planners, this one feels sort of akin to upgrading from a cheap buzzbox to a luxury car – not a bentley, but maybe a merc or an audi. oh, and the flower print cover is cute : )
i bought mine from the journal shop here in the uk. of the companies i’ve used since moving to london, i’d have to say they’re one of the best on price, delivery, and customer service. if you’re outside of europe, fallindesign (south korea) and mochithings (usa) also stock it.
hobonichi techo (hobo nikkan itoi shinbun, japan)
yes, that’s techo, not techno (as i see it mistakenly called by a lot of stationery bloggers and vloggers) – it’s a japanese planner/scheduler, not 90s dance music.
i’m weirdly drawn to these diaries, though my initial foray into using them wasn’t particularly successful. the paper is thin and lightweight, but designed so that the ink doesn’t bleed through. you can still see a ghost of what’s written on the previous page, though, and that’s a bit offputting for me. also, i can’t seem to break away from the idea that you need to be ‘creative’ with your hobonichi. there are blogs and instagram hashtags and youtube videos dedicated to people’s art and comic and scrapbooked journals. i’m not built that way – my creativity comes out in words and music, not pictures. visual arts is – for me – a source of frustration, not joy. back in january and february, i tried to write and draw in it every day, but i could never seem to get into any sort of rhythm. life was stressful in early 2015, and writing/drawing in my hobo was not a respite. time will tell whether i’m drawn back to it at some point – it lives on my dressing table, but has been gathering dust for months now.
yet i still feel like i’ll preorder another one at the end of the year. because i’m incorrigible.
traveler’s notebook – passport size (midori, japan)
the midori system is amazing, in a wabi sabi kind of way. it’s sort of like a rustic take on a filofax – a leather cover with elastics threaded through it, from which you build up a series of specialty notebooks to suit your personal planning/journalling/note-taking style.
i bought what is sometimes referred to as a ‘faux-dori’ cover, and a mix of inserts – both official midori, and other brands. my faux-dori came from papergeekmy – a malaysian etsy store. her products are really high quality, but at a more affordable price than the official version.
so the theory is great. the practice was a leaning pile of notebooks that wouldn’t sit flat – i’d have to take them out of the binder to use them, or write precariously on an uneven surface. messy writing leads to a very annoyed lola, so a lot of time with this planner was spent with gritted teeth.
it works wonderfully for some people, but it hasn’t really happened for me. mine mostly gets used for writing lists: shopping lists, packing lists, the odd to do list. the diary insert has been almost completely neglected.
luckily, with the chop-and-change insert design, i can put this aside and pick it up again if and when it suits me. i don’t think i will expand its usage in 2015, though.
any fellow diary nerds out there with recommendations? have you found your holy grail planner yet?