I've had my Jibun Techo for about two months now, so I've had time to experiment with how I want to use it. I still love it, but I've tried a few different ways of incorporating it into my planning setup and wanted to share what worked for me so far and what didn't.
For the monthly pages, I'm using those the same way I did initially. I write down everything with a date: appointments, events, meetings, and freelance work deadlines. I use Google Calendar for entering events and reminding me of them later, but I usually transfer events over to the monthly pages in my Jibun at the start of the month. I also tend to go back and transfer events again once a week, as I tend to add things like new events or appointments.
The weekly pages are the heart of the Jibun, and this is where I've adjusted my approach most. Initially I tried to use the daily columns for my daily to do list, but I had two problems with this: one is that I like to write long to do lists every day, because I tend to procrastinate, so I like to always have something productive to do rather than whatever task I'm avoiding. Short to do lists just lead to me procrastinating by doing nothing.
The second issue is that I couldn't find a way in the small space to check off completed tasks that was easily scannable. Initially I tried crossing out tasks I'd completed, but for some reason I find that really hard to scan through.
I only did that for one day before realising I couldn't tell at a glance which tasks weren't yet completed. Then, since I wasn't using the hourly increments printed in the columns, I tried using those as checkmarks. I circled the hour next to any task I entered, and ticked the circle when it was done. I liked having a place to check off each task, but I still found this approach too hard to scan.
After doing this for a couple of days I realised I was finding the daily columns too cramped for my to do list anyway, so I switched back to using my Hobonichi Cousin Avec just for daily to do lists.
In the Jibun columns I started planning out how I wanted to spend my time each day. I would block out times for lunch, naps, exercise, and work, and refer to my plan throughout the day to try to stay on task.
It worked pretty well, but I didn't love having my daily plan separate to my daily to do list, and didn't always refer back to it, because it was in a separate planner.
After more than a week of using the daily columns for planning how to spend my time, I decided to try a sort of journalling approach to using my Jibun. I do have a full journal that I use for writing about my thoughts, feelings, big decisions, etc. but I don't always write down exactly what happened that day. I do tend to write about what happened each day in my daily note in Exist, but it's a very short note so I can't always fit everything in. I tend to stick to whatever's most relevant to my mood for the day, since the note accompanies my mood rating in Exist every night.
So in my Jibun I tried making notes on various things that happened each day. Sometimes there's a lot to write, and sometimes not much. I started using washi tape to fill in the gaps, but I only have two rolls of washi, and didn't want to fill up the pages with just those.
I have an order on the way now from Stickerific with some new washi tape and some stickers to help me fill up the gaps in my Jibun as I continue using it in this way.
I don't know how long I'll stick with this, but I find it fun and it's fairly quick. I like that it just has very short notes about the different things that happen each day, but if I find I'm too lazy or forgetful to keep up with it, it won't be too useful.
I still use the built-in to-do list section down the left side to write out the various tasks I need to do for the week, and I refer to these when making my daily to-do lists in my Hobonichi. I've also started using these coco fusen page flags for repeating tasks that don't have hard due dates, like housework or regular reports I need to write. I used to keep these tasks in Todoist, but they would inevitably end up overdue and needing to be rescheduled all the time. I find it less stressful to simply move around the page flags than thinking about a precise day and time I might get a task done, and being greeted by the angry red of an overdue task if I don't stick to that plan.
In case that was a little overwhelming, here's a simple breakdown of how I'm actually using my Jibun Techo now:
- The monthly section is for planning anything with a hard date: events, appointments, work deadlines, etc.
- The weekly columns are for short journalling about what happens each day.
You can read more about how I'm using my Jibun alongside other planners in my 2017 planner setup post.
I've also started a Facebook group all about the Jibun Techo planner. You can join up to get ideas of how to use your Jibun, share your own experience, or find out more if you're thinking of buying one.