Junko's Planner Set-up

14 comments Nov 17, 2017

Hello!  This is Junko.  I am a younger sister of Ayako and the other member of Cute Things from Japan.  Nice to meet you!  Because I am not good at English, normally I don't have an opportunity to communicate with you, but my sister said she could translate it for me so I decided to write a blog about my planner set-up. :)

I know some people use several planners like one for private and one for work, but I use only one planner - Traveler's Notebook undated monthly insert in a regular size.  I tried different planner styles such as weekly style, vertical style and one-day-a-page style like Hobonichi, however, none of them worked for my current situation.  As we write here, my little son needs frequent visit to the hospital and rehabilitation programs every week, and our schedule is quite fixed throughout a month which I already remember when and where.  And on those rehabilitation days, we are both so tired that I don't have any energy to do anything other than just going home.  Therefore, when I was using a planner with many free space, I often left the space unwritten, and that made me a little sad that it was as if my life was not fulfilled.

Because I still wanted to have a way to jot down bits and pieces of my day but knew doing it with planner just wouldn't work, I decided to use a passport size Traveler's Notebook for little memory keeping and set a rule for me to use it only when I want.  This way, I don't feel pressure of filling out the page before the new week arrives.  For a planner, I decided to just use a simple monthly planner that I can briefly write down our schedules.

It's been working great especially that I can visually see my son's rehabilitation schedule at one glance (I use this Shiba dog rolling over washi tape as rehabilitation icon) and I can easily see when he is tired.  He often had fever on Thursdays and now I know why.  Twice a month, he has rehabilitation everyday through Monday to Wednesday and is so tired on Thursday.  So I put this cute lazy Ojisan planner stickers on Thursdays to keep that in my mind that Thursday is a day to be lazy at home for him.  We sometime go out to a park to get some fresh air, but normally it is our "stay at home" day. 

Another reason that a normal dated planner did not work for me is that few months of the year, he takes a long rehabilitation programs at the hospital which requires me to stay at the hospital with him from Sunday afternoon till Thursday afternoon (we can go home for the weekend).  In this kind of months, I prefer to have the calendar starts from Sunday instead of Monday because by Sunday noon we are back to the hospital and I feel like my weekend is Friday and Saturday, not Saturday and Sunday.  So my planner has to be undated so that some months can start from Sunday while other months start from Monday.

Here is my February planner that we were at the hospital and the month starts from Sunday.  This undated monthly insert enables me to switch the calendar system between Sunday start and Monday start, and I really love it.  I love using Classiky day washi tape to label the day and decorating the planner with my favorite Ojisan stickers.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE ojisan planner stickers a lot.  Ojisan means "middle age man" in Japanese language, and he is an original character of a stationery maker Midori.  He is so fun and cute.  I used to like vintage theme collage style decoration.  However, now I love cute and fun decoration that makes me giggle. :)  Even though I am truly blessed to have my son and love him so much, I must admit that my mind can sometimes get occupied with negative feelings.  He just turned two years old, but he still cannot stand or walk by himself.  The doctor said that he is doing great, much more than they expected him to do, so there is still a good possibility for him to be able to walk in the future.  However, I often became impatience and made him overwork home rehabilitation that made him so tired.

Then I met Midori's Ojisan stationery.  I thought maybe something that I was missing was "to get relaxed", so I started decorating my planner with things that make me feel relaxed - Ojisan stickers, kawaii stickers and washi tapes and lots of greens like leaf and plants theme.  After doing this "planner therapy", I noticed that I feel less stressed about home rehabilitation and can even enjoy the program with him.  Every morning, I open my planner and see all the cute and fun decorations there including lazy Ojisan, and I start my day with little giggle and smile. :)

Here, it says "I wanna go home..."  We were doing the long rehabilitation at the hospital (two months), and I really wanted to go home.  If I just write "I wanna go home", it looks very serious and the written words could give me even more negative feeling visually, but with a help of this Ojisan sticker, it made me giggle. :)

I know my situation is a little different from yours, so maybe my planning system is not so adoptable to your planner system.  However, there is one system I would like to share with you about planning, and that is "reserve yourself."  This is something that my son's doctor recommended me to do in order to not get stressed out.  It is very simple.  If you know that your day or week or month will be a busy one, you write a square in your planner and "reserve" that time frame for yourself.  I personally think this system works the best with vertical type planner, but you can do it with any planners.  I reserve my Saturday for myself every weekend, and on this day, my husband looks after our son and I spend the Saturday just for myself.  Most of the time, I go to my favorite cafe and enjoy reading a book over a good coffee.  Sometime I meet my friend or go shopping or get a foot massage.  If my husband is busy, I ask my mother or sister to look after our boy and I still keep the day for myself.  The important thing is that you don't give up on the reserved time frame easily.  It helps you a lot to get refreshed and gives you energy.

Of course, you don't have to book one whole day.  You can reserve 15 minutes of your morning and enjoy a cup of coffee or reserve 15 min of your night and do yoga.  The length of time is not important.  What is important is that when you think you would need a time to get refreshed, you reserve a certain amount of time in advance just for yourself and do the only thing you want to do.  If you love yoga, you can do that, but if you don't like yoga but you want to do it because you need an exercise, you shouldn't do yoga because that doesn't make you relaxed.  You can set another time frame for your exercise time.  The rule is to reserve time in advance, don't put any schedule in that time frame, and do the only thing you want to do.

I believe in the power of stationery that they can bring a little happiness to your everyday life that can lead you to a happy positive life.  Using a planner helps your mind to be organized and planner decoration makes you smile.  I am glad that I could share some of my favorite stationery items with you today.  If you have a bad day, please try and put your favorite sticker or washi tape to your planner.  I am sure you will find yourself smiling. :)

We will work hard to bring cute things from Japan to your hand for your smile.  Thank you very much for taking your time for reading this long article. :)  

Best wishes, Junko

**Items in the Pictures**
- Classiky Set of 3 day washi tapes
- Midori Ojisan stickers


  • Barbara May 9, 2019 at 3:38 am

    Dear Junko,

    Thank you so much for sharing such a personal part of your life, it was a lovely post to read and I wish you and your son all the best of luck. Hard work and perseverance always pay off and it’s so important that you’re taking some self-care time for yourself on Saturdays! I’ll visit Tokyo in April and will surely visit your lovely shop! Hope to see you or your sister there :)

    Best wishes from the United Kingdom,


  • Christa Fischer June 11, 2019 at 12:43 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts , Junko! I will be thinking positive thoughts for you and your son. Your ideas are wonderful!!! Warmest wishes,

  • Margi Elena June 19, 2018 at 9:32 am

    What a pleasure it was to read your post. Your English is wonderful and your post was delightful. I wish the very best for you and your son.
    The cute things from Japan always bring a smile. I am a older woman in United States who learned a lot from your post.
    Please know how blessed you are to have time with your son treasure every moment. Everything will work out.
    I recently lost my son who was only 27. I wish I had just a little more time with him.
    So learn also from me…treasure every second.
    I love your planner. I have pulled away from some of those things that make me happy but I love the sweetness of your work..thank you for sharing. It has motivated me to do more.

  • lena May 16, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Dear Junko-san,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and your stories. I pray for you and your son, hoping that things will get better in the near future, and a hug for you.

    warm regards from Malaysia,

  • LYn Lee May 16, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Dear Junko,

    Do take care. All the best to Keito!

    I have been doing something similar with my Kikki K planner too. But with my kids having many activities, I am thinking of getting the 5 person family planner where there is one column for each person’s schedule.

    Love, Lyn from Singapore

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