Saturday, January 4, 2014

Obsessive Stationery Disorder: Tricked-out Notebook Planner

Since it is the New Year, I thought it would be an appropriate time to show off my planner. This is my current solution in my never-ending quest for the perfect planner: it's a notebook that I've tricked it out quite a bit.

I'm currently on the second generation and it constantly evolves as I tweek and adjust and as my needs change. I filled the first generation in about three months, which feels about right. I'm not sure what I'm basing that on, but it feels right.

There was a zero generation which helped start this and only when I was nearing the end of the first generation, did I start searching the net for more ideas. Awesome to see all the ideas people have to make up for the general lack of stationery that I most gratefully don't have to deal with.

It was also nearing the end of the year, so the stationery blogs I follow naturally began to start posting planner/journal related posts. This is when I read A Penchant for Paper - Rethinking DIY Planner for 2014 where she linked to the Bullet Journal. (I noticed later as I made my through The Pen Addict podcast that Ryder Carrol was actually a guest on Episode 70.) The system was similar to the one I had implemented in the first generation, but more explained and streamlined. I applied the parts that worked for me and it's been great.

Really looking forward to tweaking the second generation and moving on to the third.

*NOTE: I live in Japan, otherwise known as land of awesome stationery, and a lot of these things might not be available outside Japan.

So without further ado, this is my current planner/sketchbook/cashbook/journal.

A B6 Delfonics Rollbahn. A great notebook with grid paper, clear pockets in the back, and a band to keep it closed.

In front, I've attached a monthly calendar where I keep track of my work schedule, important due dates, volunteer days, travel dates, movie release dates, and any other info I need to plan future activities.

I need it to transfer easily to the next notebook, hence the mini binder clips.

Taped down with masking tape because they kept getting hooked on something in my bag and getting pulled off.

The inside is made up of different kinds of pages.

Daily page.

Check boxes for tasks, bullet points for notes. When one page is finished, unchecked tasks are migrated to the new page. Notations are from the Bullet Journal: checks for finished, arrow for migrated, and X for cancelled. The current Daily page is marked by Kagura; the thickness of the clip makes the page easy to find.

Cashbook pages.

Just that. Each day, I balance my cashbook and write the details of what I buy here. The current cashbook page is marked by Tsukiyo.

The Kagura and Tsukiyo clips are thick and near the end it's a bit bumpy, so I use a cutting mat as a shitajiki to keep things flat.

Sketch and journal pages are self-explanatory, right?

List pages are also pretty self-explanatory. Books I want to look into buying, #MelSketch100 ideas, possible blog posts, etc.

Month pages.

One side is a sticker calendar with scheduled blog posts. I'm hoping this will keep me blogging more regularly. The other side is Tasks/Goals of the Month (another idea from the Bullet Journal).

Daily, cashbook, sketch, and journal pages are marked and numbered by different colored small sticky notes on the top.

List, month, special pages are labeled by sticky notes on the side.

Two other pages I'd like to mention are the Rules page and the Index.

"Rules (more like guidelines)" are on the first page.

I've written things that I've found make my life is better. So I've written them on the first page so I see them regularly.

The next page is the Index.

This idea is also from the Bullet Journal and it's to keep track of the contents as the pages fill.

Behind the notebook pages are the awesome clear pockets in the back where I hold loose stuff like bills, address labels, ticket stubs, and family pictures.

These pockets are a major reason I chose this notebook. Love them.

I also secured a three pocket B6 clear file with some corner stickers so I could hold even more things.

Not sure if I really need it, but I'm keeping it.

In the very back after the clear pockets, I keep the small sticky notes (in card form secured by more corner stickers) and an envelope containing random stickers.

On the back cover is another three pocket clear file, originally for the Hobonichi Techo (containing a train map of the major cities in Japan, some Book Darts, and a set of Picotto Fusen, which I'll write about at another time) secured by large corner sticker.

Behind it and in the corner pocket sticker is a stencil that I mainly use in the monthly planner.

I've also attached my pen of choice, an 0.5 Black Zebra Sarasa, in a pen holder, keeping the pen snuggly inside the notebook.

And that's about it.


The Gear (links are generally to the Japanese sites)



  1. I share your obsession and admire your notebook.

    1. Thank you very much. And it's always nice to know there are kindred spirits out there.

    2. Also, I just saw your blog and your yarns and knitting are gorgeous!

  2. You can dispense with the tape over the binder clip by taking the metal 'handle' off after the clip is secure. You simply squeeze the two arms together and slip it out of the black part.