five months with the stalogy 365 a6 notebook - ink between the teeth

Nov 13, 2017

five months with the stalogy 365 a6 notebook

I've been using a bullet journal since July 2017. I'm a fairly recent convert, but my planner has changed quite a bit since the first time I drew out a habit tracker. Shall we take a dive?


It felt right to make small tweaks to my planner's formatting as the weeks went by. You would think that with the laziness of summer break, there wouldn't be much to do: but between planning chores and hang-out sessions I actually started to run out of space! I slowly shifted towards using six lines per day, and this has been the perfect number for me.
For those considering using this size of the Stalogy 365, each page has 26 squares vertically. This means that you can dedicate seven lines per day (including the header of day of the week) on two facing pages, as long as you double up on the weekend. This also gives you four extra lines for things like a "next week" or "tasks" section, like I've done.

I also gave up on using fountain pens for entries. I didn't want to carry them around, since I usually leave them at home anyway. Now, I use them for setting up the planner, not for actually filling things out. It's nice and therapeutic! I love trying to find color combinations I haven't tried out before.

Using washi tape, I made "tabs" for every month. They're very unobtrusive, but I like the little splash of color it adds! With bookmarks I don't really need them, but still: it's really cool to see the number of months I've made it through a year. Plus, it actually gets me to use my washi tapes. I have a hoard I definitely don't need right now.

I now leave free space for "other things"—I have two blank pages at the beginning of every month (before my daily planning begins), and two more at the end of every month. I've used this space for numerous things: stoppage notes for my current Dungeons & Dragons campaign, places I want to visit, drinks I want to try, budget planning... I've always been the person who planned just in case, so these pages have been really helpful to me.


The Stalogy notebook definitely benefits from the popularity of the Hobonichi Techo. There's a veritable avalanche of cover options available on the internet, all of which will fit the Stalogy. Leather, cloth, vinyl... manufactured or handmade... there's something out there that will fit for you.

After handling the Stalogy for a month, I knew I wanted to get a cover for it. It seemed naked: the pages are flush with the cover, so its easy to crumple them if you toss it in a bag. Furthermore, as a "daily carry" item, I wanted to make sure that it included things that I felt were necessary.
I purchased my cover from AliExpress. I figured that, since I'd be lugging my Stalogy around everywhere, I wanted a cover that was inexpensive and/or colorful enough that you wouldn't notice if it got a bit dirty. Covers on AE seem to straddle that gap well enough for me. I've found success searching "hobonichi cover," although using different terms nets you slightly different results. The one I chose this adorable blue one.

I thought it was quite cute! I like the flowers, and the color was really appealing. The inside looks the same as a similar Techo cover: it has the same general pocket arrangement, bookmark shape, and pen loops.

I carry a small stack of index cards with my planner. I have tons of them, so I figured I needed some way to use them all. I use an index card for something like a shopping list. Because I live so close to my local grocery store, I tend to make small purchases twice a week. Index cards are the perfect size for a list dedicated to the average trip.

Here, I clipped a shopping list to a page (the clip I'm using is by Midori and is shaped like a crocodile; theyre quite bulky, but made out of recycled paper, I believe). I like to keep "in progress" notes with my current day, while blank cards go in the back.

I use the triangular bookmark for the month-at-a-glance page, and the rectangular bookmark for the current week. I like how the cover also has all these card slots. I very rarely use them for anything other than storing small things like Post-it notes. For someone who doesn't use cash and travels frequently with their planner, it'd be great for a credit card and an ID.


These are the things I have with me—not necessarily while I'm out and about, but certainly in my tool kit.

Pen: I use the Parker Jotter (blue-black Monteverde Soft Roll, extra-fine) and the Uni Jetstream (0.7) in conjunction. Definitely my favorite combination. I use the Jetstream to fill in tasks, while the Parker is used to jot tasks down. I generally only carry the Jetstream, as it writes just fine while on the go.

I used to own a Midori (Traveler's) bullet pen, and a Pilot Birdy. The bullet pen has been lost to time now (but it was a lovely prize from Patrick Ng while it lasted!). The Pilot Birdy, unhackable and missing its clip, was woefully retired several years ago. Ah, to be an easily-carried pen.

Index cards: I keep at least five of these with me, just in case.

White-out: Holy cow, do I make mistakes. I make tons of mistakes, and because the Stalogy has so little real estate, it doesn't make sense to just scribble something out. I use and swear by the Tombow Hybrid Style mono correction tape.

My kingdom for a white-out tape that is slim and portable. I feel like it just isn't possible, but I wish it was.

Post-it notes: These are for tasks that I need instructions for, or that require a little more information than I have space for. For example, I might write "build succulent planter" on my daily task: I would then use a Post-it for anything associated with that task (buy cactus soil, visit X nursery, etc.).

Highlighter: This one isn't so important, but it's certainly helpful. I use it to mark holidays. I could probably also use it for pressing tasks?


So, how does the Stalogy + cover work in my day-to-day tasks? Quite well, actually. As a student and an employee, I always need to keep track of things I'm working on. Looking at my planner, you can probably tell that a lot of my tasks are jotted down rather haphazardly, but I don't feel like this method is claustrophobic or bad.

I'd rather have a messy and functional planner than a spotless one collecting dust. I think for anyone who picks up the habit of using a planner from seeing pictures of bullet journalers on Instagram might feel like they need to have a carefully filled notebook that takes an hour to fill out. I think that kind of planning is gorgeous, but I could never personally sit down and make that happen. I don't have the time, for one, nor do I have the space (A6 is quite small—smaller than my hand, even). It feels right to white-out mistakes, scribble out tasks, write notes in the margins. A notebook that you don't mind throwing around is one where you have no problems making mistakes in. You should never feel restrained by perfection.

Additional notes

While browsing AliExpress, I found a small selection of notebooks emulating the Hobonichi Techo. They almost certainly do not have the same paper quality, but if you're looking for a very inexpensive alternative (sub-$10, including shipping) to the Techo, you might want to look here. If you do purchase from AE, be wary of covers that include binder rings. I've found that covers with a clasp on the front tend to be those with binders. YMMV.

Oh, and you'll probably find results for covers that are probably meant for the Traveler's Notebook (or maybe the Weeks?). They're actually quite cute; I see Van Gogh painting and food-related ones pop up fairly often. Taobao has a wider selection of covers, but you need to be vaguely adept at reading Chinese characters (or, at least, have a firm grasp of the auto-translate function). There are several guides you can find on Google that will show you how you can purchase from Taobao when you're not based in China.

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