Getting Started with the Hobonichi Cousin at Work

In the middle of summer, one of my fellow Bullet Journal Google+ Community members posted something about the Hobonichi line of planners. As soon as I saw them, I coveted one. They are beautiful planners. But I didn’t want to take the plunge until I knew for certain I would like them and that they would work for my planning needs.

I examined them. Very closely. I read reviews. I created my own faux Hobonichi layout in my Leuchtturm1719 notebook.

I liked it. And it worked.

So I politely requested Hobonichis for my birthday and my loved ones delivered with 2 complete Hobonichi Cousin notebook setups.


The goods. Blue on the left for personal. Pink on the right for work.


I decided that I would try (for the 3rd time) to keep work notes and personal / other stuff notes separate. For most of 2014 I kept all of my bullet journal notes in one notebook. Home, work, podcasting, film projects, dreaming…everything. All of it in one place. This method worked extremely well for me, but it also meant that sometimes at work, there were some very personal notes, or if I was having a particularly busy time at home or with Educating [Geeks], I had a lot less space to fit my often copious work notes. Work stuff started feeling kind of unprofessional and jumbled, and so a 2 notebook system was born.


Hobonichi Cousin Dec. 2014 monthly layout in my work journal

One of the things I love about the Hobonichi layout is that it gives you a ton of opportunity in a small space.

I use my monthly layout as my master view for everything coming up for the month. On this layout, I forgot to put in a couple of my bullet journal signifiers, but that’s not really a huge deal.

Here you can see all my details for December. It’s a fairly slow month compared to what October / November have been like. It’s one of the few months this semester where I don’t have an event on the weekends (\^O^/).


Hobonichi Cousin Dec. 2014 spread – left side closeup



Hobonichi Cousin Dec. 2014 spread – right side closeup

In these closeup you can see the tasks I’ve assigned for the month running down the left side. I write them to the left of the week they need to be completed / worked on.

For tasks / appointments that last for more than one day, I indicate that with the straight line going through all the applicable days.

There are several items in pencil because for one reason or another, they’re not yet set in stone. I may be deciding when I actually need to work on it, or in the case of the questions on days off, I’m waiting for approval from my supervisor. Once those things have been decided on, I’ll write them in pen. As you can see, I’m trying to plan time off for the holidays and I’m still scheduling some to-dos for some of my 2015 events.



Hobonichi Cousin Dec. daily spread

In the Hobonichi Cousin, they do a great job of giving you a head start on the notebook by giving you planning space for the entire month of December even though this is a 2015 notebook.

Rather than the 1 page per day, however, you get 2 days per page. The book also lacks weekly spreads for December, so these pages end up functioning like a hybrid of the daily and the weekly spreads found in the rest of the book.



Hobonichi Cousin Dec. daily spread – Left side closeup




Hobonichi Cousin Dec. daily spread – Right side closeup

Since these 2 day per page spreads are kind of like hybrids between the weekly and daily spreads, that’s how I’ve treated them here. I’ve gone through and filled in any pertinent tasks that must be completed on certain days, my regular weekly tasks (which I don’t include on the monthly spread), meetings, appointments and information regarding the other people on my events team.

Again, tasks that last more than one day are continued by the solid line crossing days. If the task or item lasts through multiple spreads, I rewrite it on the next spread because I’d get too confused otherwise. The blue vertical line shows me when my student worker will be in the office. We have another full-time temporary employee who I’ll include here as well once we figure out her work schedule for this time period. The orange vertical line shows me when I’m unavailable because I’m doing something for Educating [Geeks].

I think I’m really going to enjoy those simple color coded lines. They give me really important context information without me having to fill in a ton of information or rewrite stuff a bunch of times.

As with everything in my life, this is the start of a grand experiment. I’ll do my best to share my progress and highlight my successes and failures. I’m really excited about the potential of having 1 book that tracks an entire year at work and at home. For both, this should help keep my notebook clutter down while also giving me a good overview of what 2015 looks like after the fact.

What experiments are you trying for the end of 2014? What productivity projects are you looking forward to in 2015? Feel free to share your projects in the comments!




  1. Sophie Gist · November 18, 2014

    Great article thank you Megan, I am so excited to try mine. See you passed on your addiction that you caught on g+, to me, fitting!

    • megcalcote · November 18, 2014

      We’re just passing addictions back and forth. I’ve been eyeballing some frixion pens. My Coletos have smeared a couple of times in the Hobonichi…

  2. Kathy Stevens · November 18, 2014

    I love this! I ordered my first Hobonichi a few days ago and I love your ideas. Thank you!

    • Megan C · November 19, 2014

      I hope you enjoy your Hobonichi! They’re really lovely 🙂

  3. kellylynch · November 19, 2014

    Ditto on the addiction that caught me via Google+. I wonder how long it takes for the Hobonichi to arrive from Japan??

    • Megan C · November 19, 2014

      It took about 10 days for everything to arrive in Arizona from Japan.

  4. Sophie · November 20, 2014

    Oooh Megan I now need to look at pens 😁Frixion clickers, must have!

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