188: Q4 Planning & The PKM Stack


I’ve been using Hobonichi for three years and I first bought it because I could do the weekly planning with it (I kept hearing about it on this podcast and wanted to try). They’re great for a newbie to visualize what’s going to happen, what to expect and has space to draw a line in the middle to compare what I planned with what ended up happening.
I agree it can be confusing when it’s the first time buying and because of its almost-cult status, it sells out very quickly. However, there are restocks usually from the end of October until mid-January. It’s also very easy/addictive to go down the rabbit hole of their accessories.
Besides the Jet Pens guide, I also suggest the Hobonichi official guide: Hobonichi Techo Book Buying Guide


Very happy to hear the announcement of this year’s Focused calendar! Thank you.

Great timing on this episode; I was just about to pay to have a 2nd edition of the Cal Newport Time Blocker planner shipped to the UK. The Hobonichi, while expensive, is much better value as it covers the whole year while letting me do a lot more with it.

Choosing which one to buy was tough, I went with the hardback ‘Hon’ A5 in the end.

In line with the chat in the episode, I’d been falling victim of ‘it’s not me, it’s the tool’ thinking so going more analogue and more intentional for the ‘last mile’ as (@MacSparky said) between longer term plans, project planning, task lists and managing my day is the plan. The Hon looks perfect for this.

Now just to work on my handwriting … :grimacing:


Any recommendation for picking a paper planner should include consideration of how your mind thinks, what kind of scheduling you have to do, how many extra features you want/need.

In my case, when I looked at Hobonichi, it was a bit too freeform for what I found works best for me. I work as a computer technician and I never know when anybody is going to call and I don’t know how long each job is going to last. For this reason, I picked a vertical weekly planner. I like the size of my Jibun Techo Biz B6 Slim, because I can carry it along with my clients’ computers to work on from the car to my shop, and it fits well in the iPad pocket of my bag. I can write small, so I don’t need the A5 size.

Pens when writing small: Pentel I series multipen in .5 mm. Much more ink than D1 size and fairly cheap from JetPens.com. One can mix and match refills at any time. No blobbing.

If there’s any drawback, it’s the fact that Japanese planners are Monday start. It’s easy enough to change the default start day in your electronic planner, but every time I see a US Sunday start wall calendar, it mixes me up.

Oh my God, the paper in Japanese planners is absolutely incredible. The Japanese are artisans at what they do and they’re also hyper competitive. They’re always pushing the envelope on what their paper can do. That benefits everyone.