I am so happy to be giving digital planners another go with a Hobonichi digital planner! I tried digital planning throughout the school year of 2020-2021, but haven't really succeeded because I used ones that I made or found free template pages. I had the opportunity to try out this Hobonichi Dated Digital Planner in Goodnotes that is dated for 2021-2023.
This is a sponsored blog post, but I am writing my unbiased review for this planner.
This is how my first weekly went. I love how it looks with all the colors, and I even created some digital stickers to use in my planner.
Overall I really enjoyed my time planning in this digital planner. I learned how to use my digital planner in a way that is fun and helpful instead of time consuming and tedious like it used to be for me. I also think the price for this planner is worth it because it's for not just one year, but you get two years, unlike other planners.
I did have to look up what a Hobonichi planner was and how to use it, but it's just like a bullet journal where you can customize the spreads to your benefit.
I find myself gravitating towards the weekly spreads the most (in any planner too not just this one, I just can't find myself keeping up with daily spreads) because I like to look at the overview of the week with enough room to mark stuff down. Daily spreads are too overwhelming to use every day for me and monthly spreads are not meant to write everything down but are for a glimpse at the month. Weekly spreads to me are that sweet center spot between the two.
The planner that I'm using has rainbow tabs, making it easier to see them (plus I love color). There are different spreads that are super helpful to stay organized, which I'll show a little later in this post.
It has over 900 pages and a lot of hyperlinks (this means you could tell the maker put a lot of time and effort into creating their product, which I appreciate as a user). It also looks realistic to me with the shadows and tabs of a physical planner book. There is the option to choose between Sunday and Monday start as well, which as a customer I absolutely love (I chose Monday).
I love that it's also pre-dated for the customer, because sometimes you don't feel like setting up the entire spread with all the numbers and dates. You can always put stickers on top of them, but it's nice that they're all labeled out just in case.
I also love how the two years are separated as two halves of the book too, it's easy to follow and use without getting lost.
The hyperlinks all work, however, on the weekly page when I tried to paste within the time boxes, it would create these blue lines, only allowing me to paste in the planner margins or where the time boxes are not on the page (see image above). This is probably a glitch with the app, but it's just something I wanted to bring up in case it is on the designer side.
I also feel like the font for the month names on the side tabs are a little too big, but at the same time it does help since they are in white which can be hard to see. I love how they turn black when I'm on that page too, it's super helpful to see what page I'm on with that contrast.
There seems to be a mix of about 4 different fonts for the titles, day numbers, week numbers, and time numbers (as a graphic designer I notice and it does somewhat bother me, but I'm not sure if I'd care as much if I wasn't a graphic designer). Again, just thought I'd mention it but not too big a deal.
Most planners come with different spreads to get the most out of them, and this planner is no exception. It comes with the regular yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, but also has some extra spreads such as unlabeled notes pages with sections in them too, and note pages at the end of every month.
This is an extra notes page that I used to plan my giveaway for Instagram. It was so easy to copy and paste this into my Instagram caption. There are little numbers in gray circles at the bottom which I found out are more sections within each numbered tab at the top, so organized!
Here is the yearly overview from July 2021-June 2023. Every number and title is hyperlinked, which is amazing. There are also more pages broken down for each month in columns for half yearly overviews. I don't personally use yearly layouts too often because they are overwhelming for me, but they are handy to reference if you have something planned months ahead or just to reference the calendars.
A glimpse at the monthly spread, which I personally don't use too often. (I am in the middle of job searching so not too much going on in my life right now too, which is why it's so blank). I'll probably fill it in at the end of the month with pictures and such, rather than at the beginning since I'm don't have much planned yet.
This is my second weekly spread, which looks similar to the first one because I think this is my style. I love overwhelming it with stickers and time blocks because I love color and seeing what I did at what time on what day, and I can see what's coming up ahead.
I use the daily pages to journal and show some pictures and stickers. Since I am graduated I have no class or assignments to write down, and I am looking for a job so I have no projects to write down either. But I find that using the daily pages as a dedicated journaling space is helpful anyways so I can write more personal stuff about each day.
I will admit, I felt stuck between the two types for about a year now, but I honestly think that purchasing a digital planner that someone else made is what works for me. I am convinced to keep up digital planning with this planner.
I believe that the only reasons that people are turned away from digital planning is because they feel that they need an expensive tablet to plan on, they have to purchase the planning app, and they don't know how to actually use the digital planner.
There are so many benefits to using digital vs paper, my favorite is that it's better for the environment because it's paperless. You can also use way more colors for pens and highlighters, and it's easy to add images and stickers, which you can add unlimited amounts of, resize, and move around anytime. I also love using the text tool because my handwriting isn't the best, so this keeps it more neat looking. Plus, look at these two planners, they're basically the same size.
The only downside that I saw for digital planning is that it loses the page flipping feeling that I love when I look back and reflect on my past planners. However, an app called Zoomnotes is taking the digital planning community by storm because it has that page flipping animation and ups the game of digital planning.
If you still find yourself finding excuses for not switching to digital planning, I've provided how to import your digital planner into Goodnotes and how to use hyperlinks below.
In the Goodnotes app, simply tap the plus box (like in the image above), tap "import" and it should automatically open Dropbox if you have it, and then tap the planner and it'll import, that easy folks.
If you don't use Dropbox, you can tap the "share" icon for the planner wherever you have it located and tap "open in Goodnotes" and it'll import that way too.
A lot of people are stirred away from digital planning simply because they don't know how to use hyperlinks and get the most out of their digital planners, so I thought I'd make this image and explain it more.
When the top bar is blue and looks like the left of the image, you are in edit mode of Goodnotes, which is when you can draw, add text, add pictures, etc.
When you click the icon that I'm pointing at in the image, it will switch modes to view mode, which is where you can't edit anymore but can use hyperlinks to jump to certain pages quickly and efficiently.
To go back to edit mode, click the icon again, it's in the same place in both modes but looks slightly different.
There are more pros than cons in my personal opinion for this digital planner. It's easy to use, has different layouts, and is super organized.
I hope this helps you if you're trying to switch to paperless planning. If you ever need help with your planner, I'm always available. Feel free to leave a comment, email me, DM, or whatever is convenient to you.
Here is the link again for the planners:
And the rainbow one that I'm using:
Follow @ipadplanner on Instagram for more tips on using digital planners