Posts filed under Emergent Task Planner

Mini Emergent Task Planner Notebook Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Writing things on paper can take many forms and happen for various reasons. Sometimes, it's just to scribble something on a nice piece of paper with a favorite pen to feel the nib on the page and watch the lines appear and breathe. But, sometimes it's for utilitarian purposes – writing a check, filling out a form, or signing a document. In most cases, the utilitarian writing experiences are glum. The paper is atrocious and it makes favorite pens feel broken. I don't recommend pairing exquisite pens with sub-par paper -- no one leaves happy.

I've written about the Emergent Task Planner by David Seah before. The previous review was about the 8.5" x 11" pad, and I love it. With that in mind, I love the 5.8" x 8.5" spiral bound Emergent Task Planner even more. In fact, I've pretty much abandoned the larger pad in favor of the smaller notebook. I believe it's the best of both worlds.

The original Emergent Task Planner (ETP for short) pad uses smooth, fountain pen friendly paper and does a great job for a full-sized pad. But, after using the smaller ETP notebook for several months, it's won me over. Despite the smaller amount of planning and notes space, I love the size and utility of this notebook. It's the size of a regular Rhodia (or Moleskine) notebook, which I've always enjoyed. It's small enough to stay out of the way on my desk, but large enough to adequately plan my day and react to changes that pop up.

The covers are plain black vinyl with no branding and the spirals are doubled and very sturdy. I haven't put the notebook through hell, but I know it could take a lot of abuse if needed.

46 sheets mean you can plan about 3 months of stuff in one book. For me, it ends up being a 4 month book since I don't use it on the weekends.

I remember loving the fact that I could tear off the previous day's sheet in the morning -- felt like the perfect way to mentally start afresh for the coming day -- but I've come to appreciate the utility of having those previous days in the same notebook. There have been several times that I've forgotten exactly what I did throughout the week when it's time to fill out my timesheet, and the archive always helps me remember. It's a planner, but also serves as a logbook. Personally, I love the utility of a simple logbook of tasks, events, and random little things that happen during the day. For many, this is the exact purpose of the Hobonichi planner.

Either way, it's still a fantastic tool that I cannot recommend enough. It keeps me sane during the day, and I don't want to talk about how I feel when I don't have it with me.

The paper in this book is comparable to the full-size pad. It's very friendly to all types of ink and pen. Given the smaller size of the different sections, a finer pen typically works better for me. In fountain pen terms, I like to use a Japanese fine. In other pen terms, a 0.5 mm or smaller is perfect.

If you're looking for a planner, this is a unique and helpful system created by a great guy who provides a lot of information about using the system. Definitely try it out. Heck, you can even try it out before buying one of the notebooks.

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Posted on November 12, 2014 and filed under Emergent Task Planner, Notebook Reviews.

Emergent Task Planner Review


Pens and paper can be an extremely satisfying obsession. The tools we use to write things down are available in so many unique forms that meet niche needs. Some of them are luxurious, while others are completely utilitarian. I love my tools, but when it comes to getting busy and planning out my days, I always come back to the Emergent Task Planner created by David Seah. Honestly, this planner has kept my cheese on my cracker more times than I care to admit. But while the planner is really good at solving the problem of scheduling my day, it also adds a bit of luxury that makes it delightful to use.


Before diving into the details about the quality of the pad, let me describe the basic purpose of this planner. First, write down the date. The idea is to use one sheet per day to keep everything straight and on task. Next, fill in the three important tasks that you need to focus on. You can write down up to 9, but the pad suggests against it in order to maintain focus. Next, there's a space to jot down the hours of the day, depending on when your day starts and ends. After that, start adding tasks, appointments, and other things that will happen during your day. There's a space in the lower right of the sheet for notes. That's it! It's an efficient way to plan out your day and respond quickly to changes during the day.

So what's so special about this pad? For one, the paper quality. The 75-page pad is printed on 80# paper, which handles most pens with ease, including fountain pens. It's not quite as smooth as Rhodia paper, but it doesn't disappoint either. I've used a wide variety of pens with this paper, and haven't found a bad match yet. It's fair to point out here that this pad is meant for small (ish) writing -- this isn't a tool that most people will want to use with a 1.5mm stub nib or a brush pen. The purpose of the pad calls for portability, speed, and versatility. Some days I use a gel pen, others I use a ballpoint. If I'm feeling fancy, I use a fountain pen. The EF and F nibs do best, while an M nib is a little too large for some of the fields. That's my only gripe, though. The quality of the paper doesn't disappoint. There is slight feathering with some nibs and inks, but no bleed-through. The feathering is difficult for me to notice, and this is a utilitarian pad, so it doesn't bother me. At the end of the day, the sheet is thrown in the trash.


This review is mostly focused on the quality of the paper, because I think it's exceptional for such an outstanding tool. It seems that most utilitarian paper products use cheap paper. I can't tell you if this method of planning is right for you, but I can tell you that it can stand up to most writing instruments you decide to throw at it.

You can download a free copy of the Emergent Task Planner sheet from David Seah's site to see if the format is right for you. If you decide you like it and become hooked (like me), I suggest buying some of the pads that David has made available on Amazon. The pad in this review is a standard 8.5 x 11" size. David also sells other versions of the Emergent Task Planner, such as a spiral bound notebook and a smaller 8.5 x 5.5" pad. David also has lots of other cool forms and tools that I recommend you check out.

Posted on October 31, 2013 and filed under Notebook Reviews, Emergent Task Planner.