Hobonichi, ADHD strategies, and a free planner template download


The lineup for the 2017 Hobonichi Techo planners was announced this week. I drooled and swooned over the new covers. Especially this one:

Screenshot 2016-08-23 20.20.53.png
The 2017 Mina Perhonen Hobonichi Cousin cover

The techo with this cover costs $170 in Kiwi dollars, before shipping. Ouch. But I love the Hobonichi. I love the paper. I love the careful design. I love the binding. I love everything about it except it doesn’t work for me at all.

schedule for blog.jpg
My 2016 Hobonichi

Reason one: there’s only one page per day and I need two (more about that in a second). Reason two: I customize it anyway. I print out (and buy) habit-tracker stickers because apparently I have reached the point I can no longer remember if I have taken my meds each day unless I see proof. I had an actual self-inking rubber stamp made for tracking if I hit my daily writing goals. Reason three: the Hobonichi is supposed to be complete in itself, so you can’t add pages. But I need pages, for projects, and weekly reviews, and blog post ideas, a To Buy When I Have Lots of Money list etc. It’s been kind of ludicrous this year. I’ve been running five planners simultaneously: Blogs, Projects, Weekly/Monthly reviews with forward strategic planning, the actual Hobonichi for my weekly planning, and my everyday carry journal in which I was doing my daily planning as well as journaling.

When I logged into the Hobonichi website I fully expected to choose something to order on 1 September when they go on sale. Instead I went and spent $60 on FranklinCovey Classic inserts, because they have two pages for a day.

franklin covey.jpg

I need both those pages. I may actually have adult ADHD, who knows (more probably I am just lazy and unmotivated) but I sure find it helpful to live my life according to the same principles that are recommended to adults with ADHD. The Adult ADHD Toolkit is my bible, and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who struggles with executive function aka Getting Shit Done.

Screenshot 2016-08-23 19.19.52.png

I need to write everything down.

My daily to do list starts out with Have a Shower, then Eat Breakfast, because if it’s not on the list, life looks too hard. There’s just so much to do when you’re trying to adult, you know? I can very easily spend a day lying in bed. It helps me beyond belief to write everything down. Every step. Every hour. I need a list of tasks I have to do. And then, very importantly, I need a place to write what I am actually going to do right now, in this next ten minutes. The next action required for whatever I’m working on. I know it’s horribly anally retentive, but it works for me (you can see why I wonder if I do actually have ADHD).

So with the FranklinCovey inserts, I get the space, I can cull my other stuff to fit one single binder, and run it for everything (except my journal).

But then I was bitching to my friend Chris that I was going to have to tape and re-punch the FC inserts, because FC binders have seven holes, and the rest of the world has six. And because she is a genius Chris suggested instead of taping and re-punching literally 365 pages, I print my own inserts instead.

Have you noticed how many times Chris has improved my life over the last couple of years? I certainly have. She’s like a productivity/effectiveness deity.

Having enriched the FranklinCovey coffers with a bushel of money already, I bit the bullet and designed my perfect printable daily planner insert. It holds everything I need. And now I’ve made a template for myself, I figured I’d share it in case anyone else wanted to either use it, or adapt it. You can download it in pdf from the link.

writer’s daily planner sheets A5

planner sheet

It’s undated, and designed to be printed on A5 paper (dear Americans, this is the larger Filofax size, and basically the same as Franklin Covey Classic. You’ll have to cut down from letter size, but there are no crop marks for this).

Let me list to you its features, as you peer into the workings of my distracted, flitting mind.



A) What blog post will I write/post today? Sized to fit 1″ PostIt flags, so when I almost inevitably fail to write the post I can move the task to the next day’s page.

B) Three key priorities per day maximum. What I must focus on to achieve my goals, instead of making planner templates.

C) All those things I need to do every day (not necessarily all at once). If it’s not ticked off I haven’t done it. Also forces me to not “forget” to exercise.

D) 8 tasks to do for work, 4 for home, and bills to pay. My To Do list is always much longer, but I can’t do everything in a day. Making myself choose tasks from my full list forces me to focus my attention on the most important tasks and work effectively.

E) My writing goals for the day. No Zero Days can mean whatever you need it to mean. If I only write a sentence then at least it’s not a Zero Day. I made progress. I didn’t just lie in bed all day (this happens).

F) The one important thing I need to remember that day. Designed for a 1/2″ PostIt.

G) Each square represents one Pomodoro. There’s a total of 16, making 8 hours of work. I cross them off as I work. I actually use a double Pomodoro of 50 minutes, with a 10 minute break. That way I get to cross off two at once *celebrates*. Before now I’ve been using this awesome checkbox stamp from CoolJapanSTAMP.

H) Summary of my daily word count, and time spent actually working, according to Rescue Time. Without this I can fool myself I worked hard when I only spent 20 minutes actually writing shit.

I) Daily schedule, running from 6am to midnight. Fun fact: for about two years I woke up at 3.40 so I could write before I left for work. This schedule would not work for that. I fill this out in pencil and PostIts, like I did my Hobonichi up above. Every task has a time slot, including recreation.

The reverse is a simple lined page, for Next Actions, or, for humans who unlike me can hold more than one thought in their head, notes and extra tasks.


You can see I put the Daily Plan on the left, and the Next Actions on the right. This is because I’m right handed. I can take the Plan page out of the binder to plan everything the night before. Then the sheet I use throughout the day is Next Actions, and it’s much easier to write on it without the rings by my wrist. For lefty use, reverse position.

Screenshot 2016-08-23 20.35.05.png

I have this 6-hole punch, which I bought on Etsy. It’s cheaper and sturdier than the Filofax ones.

So, yeah. That’s how I schedule my days, including weekends. As always, there are no affiliate links on my blog. If I recommend a product it’s only because I like it. And now I have to find someone to buy an unopened 2017 FranklinCovey Classic insert pack.


EDIT: There’s an A4 version of the planner here: writers daily planner A4

14 thoughts on “Hobonichi, ADHD strategies, and a free planner template download

  1. Aw, I’m glad I’ve been able to help!! :beaming: And that would be my problem-solving superpower. Very handy for work and such. Too bad it doesn’t work on my own life so much. Neither does my finding superpower, dammit.

    I am so impressed at how quickly you created the insert templates! They look awesome, too. :all the gold stars:

    Not sure I could manage such a tightly structured life, but maybe it would help me actually accomplish things. Hmm…

    Bummer about the Franklin Covey pack – far too late to cancel?? Return it?

    1. It totally IS your superpower!

      This is the FC returns policy, and it confuses me. The two parts of the policy seem to contradict each other?

      “Our 100% satisfaction guarantee provides you with a full refund, credit or exchange (at our discretion) when you return your purchase within 30 days when customers merchandise falls into one of the following categories: (a) faulty craftsmanship or; (b) goods are damaged on arrival (c) or if you are not satisfied with your purchase for whatever reason. Products ordered incorrectly can be returned provided it is in “as new” condition for exchange only. . . . We have a “no refund policy” for purchases ordered incorrectly. It is imperative that you carefully review your order prior to submitting it.”

      So, I don’t know. I mean, I’m not satisfied with my purchase, but that’s because the thought of all the work they’d need to use is off putting. But it wasn’t off putting enough to stop me ordering them originally. I didn’t order “incorrectly.” And a credit isn’t much use to me. Plus, Kiwi, so I don’t like making waves. I’ll probably just try reselling them and hope? Or find a good home for them?

  2. This is amazingly awesome! Thank you so much for sharing!

    If you’re unable to cancel the order or return it, you may want to post it on instagram and see if anyone is interested in buying it. There are a ton of planner people on there – someone might want to take it off your hands.

      1. Trust me, I’ve gotten tons of ideas! I’ve been really loving my bullet journal, but there are things here I’ll definitely be incorporating!

  3. Katie

    Someday if you really feel like opening the kimono, I’d love to see a filled in page! Did you use Word or a google doc to create that? Do you have a monthly or weekly pages as well?

    I used to do FC planners before I went digital. I even bought their Outlook addin for $$ to replicate their method digitally. It which sort of worked but it was very buggy. I’m beginning to realize that there is someone visceral about the paper based planning. You sure are tempting me back. I love the custom daily template.

    1. I can add pics of yesterday’s planner pages if you want? I use a Kikki K monthly pages to track appointments and blog posts. Because Kikki K is an Australian brand it’s much cheaper than Filofax. I actually just decided to do away with weekly pages. I don’t think they add much that’s not covered by monthly and daily. I can always change my mind later and get some weekly inserts. I also use a mix of other random pages for setting goals and action planning. You should go back to paper. There’s something about writing things down. I used online everything for years, and I am so happy I went back to paper.

      I used Word to make it.

  4. Pingback: One Task October – With a Squid Ink Pen

  5. Pingback: Review: The D1 Archer Planner – With a Squid Ink Pen

  6. I totally love your daily planner. IT is going to really help my ADHD brain. Have you, by any chance got the document in an A4 format?. I haven’t got the computer skills myself to be able to make it A4 but I would love it if you could if it’s not too much trouble.
    Many thanks,

    1. I made an A4 version for you. I haven’t actually printed it out to test it so let me know if there are any hiccups with the file. I tweaked the design for the extra space as it didn’t scale up particularly well. The link is in the edit at the bottom of the post. Thanks for reading!

      1. Whoa!!! Thank you so much. I didn’t think you would, but boy am I glad I asked?

        Thanks for being a superstar and writing the great article and also doing an A4 version of your amazing Daily Plan.

        All good wishes to you, may your day be blessed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s