How to Organize Notes
How to Get Started
1. Buy a single notebook you love dearly.
- Bookstores, stationery places, and museum shops are terrific sources for specialized notebooks
- Size can be a critical factor to adoption, considering not only the notebook footprint when closed, but also when open
- Are you looking for a pocket (3.5 x 5.5), junior (5.5 x 8.5) or large full sheet (8.5 x 11) sizes?
- Is having the notebook lay completely flat a requirement?
2. Select a complimentary pen/pens you enjoy.
I’m a big fan of using any color other than black so the notes feel a little less like work.
3. Consider what rules you want to apply to your notebook.
- What components should each entry contain?
- Where do actions live?
- Within body & marked
- In margins
- Outside of notebook
- What shorthand will you use to denote certain items?
- Circle actions not done
- X actions completed/captured
- / strike areas where review no longer needed
- *important information
4. Take it everywhere you go.
5. Page through your notes @ least once per week to uncover undocumented tasks.
Notebooks To Consider
When I’m playing organizing coach, I’ve found a direct correlation between people loving their notebook and people using their notebook, so I’ve been on a search or two for something special. I want to point out some of those finds in case their handsomeness can help you get and feel more organized.
- Circa notebooks are the offspring of a binder and a notebook; they are a superb choice when you need to incorporate reference papers, divide, add to, & possibly re-order pages (yes you can re-order pages with ease!)
- Action Day Notebooks are another good choice, as they are beautiful & offer structure including an index; the meeting & idea notebooks in particular are worth investigating
- A quick search on SeeJaneWork will faithfully result in a feminine notebook or two in their ever-changing inventory
- I’m intrigued by these Japanese notebooks with unique dotted lines that beg for good handwriting and drawings; though the notebooks are thin, they just might be this professional organizer’s next choice
- Behance, one of the companies I heart so, produces several lovely notebooks, most are better for task management systems, but the dot-grid selections at the bottom of the page are good for organizing notes
- Built with the premise dark lines distract and white lines don’t (amen!), Whitelines notebooks are another winner; they feature a gray sheet with white lines as such on the right
- Moleskin is a popular choice because they offer a variety of sizes, styles, colors, and their paper is beautiful; I buy the Cahier Large Squared Notebook in Kraft Brown and then typically adorn the cover with pretty paper (you already knew I was a geek, right?!); one of my notebooks is pictured at the end of this post (and, yes, those were my notes @ the top of the post)
- Makers Gonna Make offers a simple notebook that celebrates perseverance playfully in its title
Do you have a favorite we missed? Tell us about the notebooks or methods you find keep your notes organized.