It’s that time of the year!
On the internet, everyone who’s into planners or journaling is living for the hyped-up planner season. September is when the Japanese planner/scheduler market went above and beyond to create fantastic new layouts and release new designs for the year 2020. Because planning 3 months ahead of the year is not too crazy, for us stationery addicts.
I’ve continued to use my trusted sidekick, the Hobonichi Cousin Avec set throughout the entire 2018, and is still going strong this year as well. However, the overwhelming peer pressure and FOMO in the Hobonichi community had led me to pull the trigger on adding a new techo to my line up for 2020—a Hobonichi Weeks Mega.
An apple green one, to boot. (Did you know that green is my favorite color?)
To be honest, following the release and being able to look at the entire lineup of Hobonichi’s 2020 designs in August had really hyped up my anticipation. I’m immediately enamored with the Weeks’ designs this year, even though I opted not to use one for 2019. My first choice was the Tokyo Tower design, and Apple Green had closely followed in second. (I know that people are shoving the Penguin Weeks design in my face, but no thank you, I’m NOT going to be using THREE Weeks next year.)
What’s a Weeks Mega?
The Hobonichi Weeks Mega is essentially a Weeks, but with additional note pages in the back to serve the writers or users who desired more space in their planner. It comes with the typical horizontal weekly layout with a blank note page for each week and has a total of 213 memo pages as opposed to the original 69 pages! This new book form was first introduced in the 2018 lineup and features the same high-quality Tomoe River paper that Hobonichi users love. Touted as “Techo on the Go“, the book size is still slim and portable. Here’s a cool video about it in 2019!
I’ve used the regular Weeks from 2015 until 2018, and I’ve found that I never fill up the grid memo pages, or find a way to utilize it in a sustainable way that justifies its cost. It’s also the reason I kept away from it in 2019…but this year the Weeks had really stood out in the planner community in the United States. I’m so inspired by all the ways bullet-journaling and planner users are utilizing the Weeks, I had to give it a try.
Finding a purpose for my Weeks Mega
As a stationery enthusiast, it’s very easy to follow the trend and end up accumulating things you end up not using—pens, stickers, washi tapes, notebooks, planners. This year I decided that to really make the best use of a planner, I need to give it a purpose or find a use that will serve me in everyday life.
For 2019, my trustworthy Hobonichi Cousin Avec was where I’ve consistently journaled and written down things about my days. The Take-a-note A6 planner had been useful for work and scheduling. The Hobonichi English planner is what I carry with me every day, just in case I need to jot things down or want to convert a thought into words.
What can I do with a Weeks Mega? How can it add to my life, serve me, and help me grow as a person?
A marketer’s little green book
I took inspiration from my friend Phyllis who had recently finished her residency. She had kept a ring planner filled with notes and pages that she typically reference in her clinic while dealing with patients. I then think about my job as a marketer, a content strategist, that writes a lot of copy and need to be up-to-date about digital trends. What if I start collecting a reference book of my own that includes grammar tips (English is my second language), marketing hacks, and memorable swipe files?
Monthly Calendar as an index
I’ve decided to test out this idea by prematurely using this techo even though it’s not 2020 yet. I redacted the monthly dates of January, February, and March 2021, and instead re-dated them with September, October, and November of 2019. The monthly calendar view will serve as an index to the memo pages (which are numbered). If I find myself referencing topics more than once, I’ll highlight that entry to make it stand out more.
Swipe file, grammar lessons, memorable quotes
I started writing down cool copy that I see on websites, TV ads, Facebook, and books, labeling the date and the title as I go. When I come across some grammar mistakes, instead of relying on the “fix” button of Grammarly or other spell-checker, I look into the reasoning and wrote it down in the memo pages. Hopefully, this will reinforce my learnings from the mistake and make sure it doesn’t happen next time. I may also use some bookmark/tabs to track useful pages. Perhaps it’ll already be quite chunky by the end of 2019!
As for the weekly calendar view, I foresee myself using it as a copy-writing exercise I’ll challenge myself to do each week. In any case, I still have three months to figure out how I’ll use it. I can’t wait to see the progress of my learnings throughout the year.
Decorating my Weeks Mega
Now the hard part’s over, the fun part begins! Part of the thrill of ordering from Hobonichi’s webstore was waiting for the order, unboxing, and sharing the haul. I joined in a local group order this year to make most of my big purchases at the beginning of September. This Weeks Mega was an impulsive decision, and the fastest way I could get it at a reasonable price is from Amazon Japan. Boy, was it fast. I placed my order on Thursday (9/5), and it arrived at my doorstep on Tuesday (9/10).
Here’s my unboxing and “dressing” ceremony for the Hobonichi Weeks Mega in video form.
I dug out an old Cover on Cover “Au Bon Pain Dore” from Hobonichi’s 2017 store. I knew it would be useful someday, especially since I keep buying patterned Weeks for the subsequent years. The pattern is super adorable and just calling for a clean colored canvas. The design cleverly highlights the space where the year “2020” is displayed. I find the pop of purple really unique—it reminds me of the broadway musical “Wicked”!
Hobonichi’s Cover on Cover for Weeks can first seem a bit tight for the Mega, but in my experience, the plastic is flexible and can stretch over time. I stretched mine out by laying a heavy book (my Cousin techo) on it overnight.
Oops…I did it again
In my excitement, I messed up the placement of the free clear pocket each Weeks comes with. I stuck it on the wrong side and ended up making a mess ripping it from the inner cover and moving it to a new spot. To disguise the flaw (part of being wabi-sabi), I used some washi stickers to cover it up. I’m very satisfied with the end results, and I feel happy each time I open the cover and see the flower and the girl!
To get used to using a Weeks again, I started taking it out with me at all times. After all, the point of a swipe file is that inspiration can come at any time. I also take it to work, as that’s when I’ll take note of my marketing learnings the most. Here’s a #HobonichiInTheWild picture since I’ve started using my Weeks! It goes well with my Tori-to-Hana cover from 2019!
How are you using your Weeks this year? Or perhaps you’re using a Weeks Mega as well? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to be inspired and see what creative ways we can use the Hobonichi! Meanwhile, I’m going to go have another mooncake to celebrate a belated mid-autumn festival!