Productivity in a Slim and Portable Planner

The Mayday Project — Day 53, a Review of United Bees, Inc. Planners

I recently stumbled across these planners from United Bees, Inc at a Japanese bookstore in San Jose, California. These delightful little planners are thin, simple, portable and packed with a lot of really great features that make them really useful. They have a quirky characteristics that make me laugh. The paper is heavy enough where there is no ghosting or bleeding through the paper (at least with my Sakura Pigma Microns.) I purchased it for about four dollars and it was worth it. The website is in Japanese so I couldn’t get much more information and these planners go for a lot of money on Amazon. This company is also know for its bags and personal care products as well. I am always interested in planners and organization and this was a delightful find.

Looking at the front, the top left corner says “To control the time,” a phrase that when uttered sounds like the catch phrase of a superhero, spoken with gravitas in a deep baritone voice. Also on the front it says “life cube + function notebook,” which I’m sure makes more sense in Japanese, but I really don’t know what a “life cube” is. Written below this is “to those who are ‘particular about life.’” which is just so charming. I like the use of quotes and I think it means to those how are “particular about life” as in they are allegedly particular about life, which seems like a way to describe me. I am allegedly particular about life, but not really. I also really like that all of the features are listed on the front, giving a list of what is inside. I think all planners should list the features on the front.

My favorite feature is on the bottom left corner of the front where it says “I recommend this notebook.” It really made me think, who is recommending this planner? Is it me, the owner of the planner? Is it the planner itself, recommending itself, which seems only logical, because who wants a planner with low self esteem? Similarly, is it the manufacturer? Or is it a quote from some celebrity or authority that they forgot to attribute? Not surprisingly, I do recommend this notebook, so maybe it’s also a part-time oracle, a paper soothsayer to plan your days.

Inside the cover is a page that explains how the planner works. Unfortunately, all of the explanations are in Japanese. Luckily, the headers of the sections are in English, and they seem pretty straightforward in the naming to understand what goes where.

Inside the planner, on the actual pages, there a places to record a number of items. The month and day are left blank, so this can be used starting any time of the year, and if you miss a day, you can just use the next blank page without having a lot of wasted space with pre-dated pages. At the top is a space for Day of the Week, also blank, Weather and Today’s Information. I’m not exactly sure what one should write in Today’s Information, except maybe it’s for holidays, special events and occasions or astrological events.

On the left side is the Time Table where twenty-four hours is listed starting with 6am. This is for time-blocking and planning the day and can be very useful in productivity, but can be a waste of time since a quarter to a third of the day is spent sleeping. Though I don’t have an issue with the 6am start time, this might be more useful if blank and then the hours can be written in, though doing that every day could be tedious.

Taking up the most space int he planner is the Free Space & Photo and the Memo sections. I have not used the Free Space section very much and I wish I had a photo to place there every day. I wish the Free Space and Memo section was combined into more of a to-do or task list with boxes to check off when done. You can do that here yourself, it’s just more tedious.

This planner is 64 pages, so it covers slightly more than two months used every day. The features of this planner make it fun and there is a lot of blank space to make this planner work for you. Many versions of this planner are available but they weren’t in the bookstore where I got this one. Each has its own set of features, tailored to specific times or tasks: Daily, Weekly, Weekly Separate Type, Weekly Vertical Type, Monthly, Spreadsheet, Business Journal, Section, Ruled Line, To Do List, To Do + Memo, Meeting. I’m especially interested in the “Meeting” planner but I haven’t been able to find it online yet. The journals also come in three sizes, though not every format is in every size: A5, B5, A5 Slim.▪️

The Mayday Project is a personal, total wellness plan. These essays will track my progress and development of the plan. Please follow for tips, ideas, inspiration and what not to do when you’re changing your life.

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