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Hello Little Red Notebook

I am the Queen of the Post-It Note.  I have a secretary desk; the front folds down to form a work space and then folds back up when I’m done to put my books and such out of mind.  The inside of the desk — the part that folds up and disappears — is completely covered in post-it notes.  There are usually one or two on the front of the iPad case.  Those are usually daily to-do lists.  And a few scattered by my bedside table.  There are currently two stuck to the carpet next to my bed.  They’re really important, and I don’t want to lose them.  So I placed them on the carpet because that looked odd.  Therefore, how could I lose them if the weirdness of having two post-it notes stuck to the carpet was always in plain sight?

Please don’t comment on how I need a better system than post-it notes on my bedroom floor.

I tend to get everything done — very little falls through the cracks — but I never feel on top of things.  I spend all my energy trying not to forget things.

BlogHer had a post on bullet journaling yesterday, which I had never heard of before.  I watched the short video to understand what it entailed.

Something about it spoke to me.  Josh went out and got me a little red notebook.  I tweaked his format a bit to fit my needs.

I started out with the index page and the two month pages as he stated in the video.  But on the left-hand month page, I’m writing 1 – 10 words to define my day.  Just capturing a moment or saying how the day went.  Something I want to remember.  That will always be written in retrospect.  I’m using my actual calendar for events because I have too many to keep track of in a notebook, and things change all the time.  On the right-hand page, I’m writing long-term to-do items.  Such as on-going projects or things that I need to get to but not by a certain date.

THEN I added a page called “May Miscellaneous.”  It’s all those tiny thoughts that end up on post-it notes.  Like the name of a song in a commercial (“Original Don” by Major Lazer and the Party Squad — name that commercial!) or a funny name I made up and would like to call someone one day.  All the small, random things that have no other place to go but that I don’t want to lose.

THEN I started the daily lists on the next page.  I made a square box mean “task,” a dot mean “worry or thought,” a star mean “writing idea,” and an exclamation point with an acronym of the name of a current novel mean “a novel note.”

I put the May start and the May Miscellaneous page numbers in the index.  I’ll start a new miscellaneous page every month.

I love my little red notebook.  I’ve gotten rid of all the post-it notes, including the two that were stuck to the carpet.  Everything I have to do is in one place, and that book is never out of arm’s reach.  I can sweep up the novel notes and deposit them in my writing documents whenever I sit down to write.  I can always look down at the book and scan the stars, looking for blog post topics.  And I even have a record of random thoughts or worries; just so I can release them.

This thing is going to change my life.  I think.

14 comments

1 Denise { 05.13.14 at 8:16 am }

🙂

2 Persnickety { 05.13.14 at 8:41 am }

Interesting. I tend to have a notepad, notebook and post it note system at work, but nothing at home. Apart from my book journal ( which is retrospective). I tend to take photos of books I want to read, or things I want to think about.

3 Pepper { 05.13.14 at 8:45 am }

I’m interested to hear how this goes. It sounds perfect. I also have tons of post-its and lists going. However, part of the reason this works for me is because they are out in plain sight where I am constantly reminded I have to do something. I fear if I had to remember to consult a notebook things would get lost. But maybe not. So keep us updated on the progress, please. 🙂

4 Mina { 05.13.14 at 8:49 am }

Oh, bless her, she is endearing in her enthusiasm for a little red notebook, I feel like picking one up myself. Sending you virtual hugs, Mel, because that is what I feel like doing after reading this post, hug you, and maybe rub your left shoulder a bit as well. The smile will stay with me for a longer bit.

5 a { 05.13.14 at 11:41 am }

This is exactly why I prefer to have routines – so I don’t have to remember anything! Twice today someone has asked me questions about something I sent them on Friday, and I have no recollection of what happened. I had to go back and check my emails to try and remember what went on. (Of course, this has more to do with hating everything about my workplace right now and less to do with my memory. Things may improve eventually.)

I did just buy a little notebook, but it’s only for passwords. After that whole CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD ON EVERY WEBSITE YOU USE scare a couple months ago, I determined it was time to start writing them down. Otherwise, I had to keep changing them because I couldn’t remember them at all.

6 deathstar { 05.13.14 at 12:38 pm }

I’ve seen this video. I used to have a diary book (and used post it notes in it) and it was great for many years, until I started to forget to look at it. Or forgot to write something in it. Or I didn’t carry it with me cause it didn’t fit in a certain bag or something. Then my laptop came into my life and and it was all downhill. And then I was hooped. Now my handwriting sucks and I’m afraid if I did all that, I wouldn’t be able to read my own handwriting. I miss all my random thoughts.

7 Ana { 05.13.14 at 12:52 pm }

I love little “life tricks” like this—my trouble is sticking with it for more than a week or two. There are dozens of abandoned notebooks around my office & home (though no little red ones, maybe that was my issue). But I see clearly you are different than me. This says it all “I tend to get everything done — very little falls through the cracks”. Nope, lots of things in the cracks for me these days.

8 JB { 05.13.14 at 2:31 pm }

Love this idea, and I even have a spare notebook at home that’s been waiting to find its purpose in life 🙂 I want a way to record my son’s day-to-day things without keeping a baby journal, and this may be it.

9 Quiet Dreams { 05.13.14 at 8:24 pm }

I’m really fascinated by this as well. I feel like you described with my work tasks all the time. They always get done, but everything always feels chaotic.

10 Serenity { 05.14.14 at 1:51 pm }

I love this. I end up using multiple notebooks – one for to dos, index cards for grocery list, and then an online calendar to keep track of that stuff. Love the idea of having it all in one place and that I can carry it with me. Would be great to have a home one and a work one. OMG. I think I need these notebooks. 🙂

11 Turia { 05.14.14 at 8:11 pm }

I really really love the Moleskine Weekly Planners. They put the week on one page (with quite a lot of room for each day- I always have enough room to list all appointments, track running times, etc.) and then the right is just a blank lined page. I use it for to-do lists and as a space to write down anything and everything. I think I used one for the first time in 2009, and I could never use anything else.

I also just ordered a five year journal from Levenger (http://www.levenger.com/5-year-journal-core-7150.aspx) to try to inspire me to write down a little something about my day-to-day. I wish I had bought one before E. was born, as the journal where I recorded his milestones is a bit more chaotic and it’s not easy to look back at a particular day.

12 Zoe { 05.14.14 at 11:01 pm }

I have been using this system since January and I love it. Ideas and tasks can all live in one place.

13 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.15.14 at 4:46 pm }

This seems like a combination of the daily journal I’ve done since forever and the system I was introduced to at a corporate job — Franklin Covey. I’ll be interested how it works for you.

14 loribeth { 05.22.14 at 8:02 pm }

I have been using a Filofax for 20+ years. My calendar & address book are both in there — although the calendar pages often have post-it note task reminders stuck to them. 😉

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