Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Contemplating the Perfect Notebook System

I love notebooks and organizers. Lately, I've been trying to come up with the perfect system. Last year I bought a simple spiral bound notebook to carry with me in my work bag so I could jot down ideas at work. It turned out to be a wonderful idea. I have to admit, it was a bit messy and unplanned, but I loved having my notebook with me all the time and I used it so much.
Here's last year's notebook with the pocket full of clippings and inspiration. On the pages I wrote down ideas for blog posts, holiday planning and various lists. This year I'm starting with a fresh notebook (the old one is completely filled, which is actually very satisfying). I've been working out a system for organizing every day--something tailor made to my needs, but easy to jot down daily. Here is what I have come up with:
In the left column, I have my to-do list, with the top 3 priorities written in the top left corner. Those, plus all the other to-do's, are listed underneath, and there is a place at the bottom left for my blog post. On the right top there is a little corner for thankfulness, so that every day I remember to write down several things for which I am grateful. It is so easy and fun and I have really enjoyed having a set place and time for this daily mindfulness. Under that, I list what I am eating that day because--wow--I have really been successful this summer in using this method to lose weight. Then at the bottom of the page there is room for the day/date. I'm loving this system. I thought I'd share it in case it inspires you to set up something similar for your needs. This works for summer; I may make some changes when I go back to work.
Here's a page in action. On the adjacent sheet is notes about anything. Dieter drew a sun, with much coaxing and encouragement from me. Art is not his "thing" I guess. Ken and I are going to make peach jam tonight (the peaches are ready). Off I go!

22 comments:

MoziEsmé said...

I like that! I've been wanting to get a notebook going to keep track of all the ideas I have floating around on little slips of paper that get thrown away. The thankful section is great.

Maymomvt said...

Very organized! I have a small notebook in my purse that has a mishmash of violin practice notes, ideas for christmas, and books I want to read. Not very organized!

kim said...

i really like that! why not right? duh! i bougth one for the the first time this yr so let me start with that but if it doesnt work im brrowing yours (idea)! thanks!

ooh thinking of it i did come up with a checklist of sorts like this for my son (what he needs for a good day: good food, rest, outside time, me time....) just havent implemented it beyong thought yet.

Jessica said...

That's a great idea. I'm going to have to steal it because my system of post-it notes last year didn't really work for me. I love those marker pens, too! Happy peach jammin'!

Iris said...

This is so inspiring Mary Beth! You really do seem to cover all the things that I mean to get around to doing sometime and never quite manage to. Seeing them all described here makes me realise it's all manageable if I take things one at a time and step by step.

I've really been enjoying your summer postings. It's hard to imagine sunshine anywhere in the world at the moment given all the rain that we've been having here in Ireland while we're home visiting my family. Love it too though nevertheless! Enjoy the rest of your holidays!

PolarBearCreations said...

Great idea!
I always have list for this and that laying around my desk so I don't forget things. I will give your idea a try.
Thank you for posting it.
Have a wonderful day! :0)

Meg said...

I like your system, and it's nice to see that I'm not the only one with a notebook!

I just ordered some moleskines to help me be more organized. I ordered a reporter's notebook for my purse--I'm hoping to do away with all the scraps of paper that end up floating around my purse by having a central place to jot notes and reminders. The reporter's notebook was more expensive that I would have liked ($10--ouch), but I love it!

Then, I ordered a three pack of the 5 x 7 size notebooks for other uses. One has my sewing project ideas, another for use with knitting patterns. The last one I'm going to put in my nightstand so I'll have a place to write down those just-before-bed to-do items that pop up in my head.

I also went ahead and switched my weekly calendar now, at the beginning of the school year. I write appointments and weekly to-do lists in it and I use it together with our wall calendar. I decided to switch now so that I could put down all the school holidays, etc, to help with long-term plans.

I love how you've made a place to write down daily gratitude--I should designate a place on my weekly planner to write that down.

kirsten said...

cool idea. i've been carrying around a notebook for a couple of years - it keeps me sane. maybe i should try a more organized method?

periwinkle said...

I carry a note book around but always forget to write in it!! Love the curls .
lisa x

Laura said...

I'm so glad you shared your notebook with us. Cute how you divide up your pages...like the color combo of the markers. Do you write your 'to do list' and 'thankful list' in the morning while you eat breakfast or is everything usually added just when 'it' pops into your head?

Have a fabulous day,
Laura

Waldeck Dry Goods said...

great idea! i'm going to be teaching part time again... this may be just what i need when school starts.

Lisa said...

I love this. I am forever trying to perfect my system. My current notebook is about 5X6 and has sections in it already. I use one for permanant info like birthdays and addresses and passwords that aren't highly secretive (like for walgreens photos or the usps). It's got my congressional reps addresses and the names of my districts council people and the library's hours and stuff like that.

I use one section for a TO DO list, but I do it weekly, not daily. It has two columns, one for things to DO this week, and one for upcoming things I need to remember to do (birthdays, deadlines, etc). That column often has things like "better handles for tote bags" and "toy organization?" and "sign up for swim lessons."

One section is supposed to be for crafty ideas, but I have another notebook at home for that and haven't reconciled myself to having it in two places.

Its_Lily said...

Love it! I've got one in my purse that I've decorated and made tabs for because I think we're more apt to use beautiful items. lol Mine contains a section for wines that I've drank. Yummmm.

Elfin Goddess said...

Hey! I hope you have fun with the stencils :) Dont those dandelions look pretty!!!! And I was really happy to read your post today.....I too always have a notebook, I dont usually carry it anywhere. But i find it invaluable- I jot down ideas, plans, projects, blog posts (!!!). What I am gonna take away from your post is using my notebook to monitor my eating habits....very good idea! cheerio!

Julie said...

What a great system... thanks for sharing your organization with us!

ames said...

That looks great! I definitely need to be more mindful of the things I am grateful for, it's so easy to get overwhelmed by all the to-do's!

And I definitely need to stop just grabbing whichever notebook is closest, I don't think what I have even constitutes a "system"...

Emilie said...

I think I'm going to have to copy you :). Excellent, excellent, excellent!

jessi said...

I was just perusing the calendars and notebooks today and thinking about this - thanks for the inspiration!

JoAnna said...

What a great idea. I just put a 3-ring binder together to help me, but I have needed a notebook/idea spot in it. Thank you for sharing!

amanda said...

Great system. Now I want to go buy a new notebook. Good thing it's not September yet.

mom go green said...

what a great system! i have a little moleskin in my purse that i use for notes and random lists. i joke that it is my version of a palm pda!

Annie said...

I love this idea! I've just started my own notebook and tweaked your ideas a little to work for myself. Thanks for sharing!