When you’re researching ways to get organized, sometimes you just need practical tips like how to organize your life with a notebook. We use journals, notepads, sticky notes, dry erase boards, and our phone reminders to jog our memory on things that need to get done. But what if we had one notebook that could help us get everything organized?
4 Tips for How to Organize Your Life with a Notebook
When you think about organizing your life, you may instantly get overwhelmed. There are so many things that make up who we are and what we do in our lives. But when it comes to getting organized and breaking our lives into smaller pieces that we can improve, there are some great ways to go about it.
It's important to get your life organized with a notebook all in one place versus scattered notes and lists.
One way to begin to organize your life is with a notebook. Similar to the benefits of journaling, writing down what parts of your life need enrichment and organization can help you process how to prioritize. And there aren’t really any best practices. It’s all up to you. With a few tips on how to get started using a notebook, you can decide what is going to help you achieve your goals for personal organization and productivity.
Tip #1 Pick a notebook that works for you
There are so many different types of notebooks out there. From bullet journals, blank notebooks, and guided monthly journals like Silk+Sonder offers. There’s a type of journal that organizes information in a way that works for your brain.
The trick is finding the right notebook or journal for you. The key, we think, is to pick what information is most important for you to organize your life. Before buying a notebook, think about what areas of your life need organizing most. If you start with exercise, meal planning, and personal to-do’s, then you may need an entirely different type of notebook than if you chose finances, weekly goals, and work tasks.
Different notebooks for getting organized. Bound, spiral, etc.
Lastly, think about the features and functions of a notebook. If you’re going to carry it on-the-go with you (which we recommend), pick one with a pen holder. You may want one that has a secure way to close so that pages don’t get bent or ripped. Whether you’re going to tear out pages or leave them as-is will influence whether you choose a spiral notebook or a more traditional binding.
Tip #2 Decide how to structure your notebook pages
Once you’ve figured out what to include in your notebook and picked a notebook accordingly, the next tip we suggest is to think about your page structure. Just because you think you “should” include certain things, doesn’t mean it’s going to be helpful for you. Many of us go into overdrive when we begin to write out our thoughts on paper. But the goal of organizing your life with a notebook is not to overwhelm yourself. It’s to simplify your life and allow you to optimize the things you’re doing.
So, structure your pages in a way that supports your personal organization. Don’t get caught up trying to follow some notebook “rules” you think exist. Think specifically about what categories and lists you want for your pages. For example, you could break your pages into topical categories like “grocery list”, “workouts”, “meditation and intentions”, “to-do list”, “shopping list”, “emails and calls”. Or you could break your pages into time blocking segments. For example, on a single day per page and divide into columns and bulleted lists where you write everything in one place. Whatever you decide, the structure of your pages should support the areas of your life that need organizing.
Structure and planning in your notebook is a key element of staying organized.
The bullet journal method can be helpful for learning ways to structure your pages in a customized way. There are different bullet journaling tips on our blog. Plus, a simple Google search will show you examples of page layouts that may help you decide how to structure your notebook to organize your different lists.
Tip #3 Carry your notebook with you
This tip may sound a little odd. Most of the time, our planners and journals have a home on a kitchen table, desk or nightstand. But we’re suggesting something different. When it comes to organizing your life with a notebook, it can be helpful to have it on-hand whenever you’re on the go.
In order for one notebook to help you keep everything organized, it needs to be accessible when you need it. This eliminates our tendency to jot down different lists in different places. Plus it helps you stay focused on what daily tasks you need to complete in order to keep your life organized. Even a quick but frequent review of what’s in your notebook makes it easier to always keep track of important tasks.
Notebook and journal accessories like highlighters and special pens can help.
There are lots of journaling accessories that can help you use your notebook to its fullest. Whether it's a pen or highlighter set to help you color code when you make lists or washi tapes and stencil to help you beautifully organize your pages. Notebook accessories are great tools for paper planning and getting organized with your notebook.
Tip #4 Make lists, take notes, write everything
If you want to know how to organize your life with a notebook, then you have to start somewhere. You may not know exactly what is going to be helpful until you start utilizing it on a daily basis for work, to-do lists, important tasks, information gathering, goals, etc. Part of what makes a good notebook for organization is your commitment to using it.
So, as you begin tackling the areas of your life that need organizing, use your notebook as a companion to getting organized. Make lists, take notes and write everything down throughout your day and week. Each week, make time to review every page for what worked and what didn’t. This can be super helpful when it comes to optimizing your notebook for better organization.
For example, you may find that page numbers would be a helpful addition to your notebook. You may find that your important tasks aren’t differentiated enough from your daily tasks. You may realize there are many things that you included in your notebook that you didn’t find helpful or necessary. Take extra time to review these tweaks that would help your notebook be more useful to you.
Lastly, keep a running list of things that still need to be tackled in your life when it comes to personal organization and goal setting. Learning how to organize your life with a notebook is like everything else. It’s a process.
Examples of different lists for your notebook to organize your life
If you’re just starting out, it can be helpful to think about your life using lists. This is an easy way to keep things organized in a concise and easy-to-digest way. Some of the lists that may be helpful when you’re beginning to organize your life with a notebook include:
- To-Do List
- Daily & Monthly Tasks
- Urgent or Important Tasks
- Grocery List
- Other Shopping List
- Online Shopping & Amazon List
- Important Dates
- Upcoming or Important Meetings
- Upcoming Appointments
- Reading List
- Budgeting Tasks
- Daily & Weekly Goals
- 30 Minute Meditation Topics
- Positive Affirmations
- Intentions and Word Focuses
- Workout Routines
- Emails and Calls List
- Journaling Prompts
- Meal Planning
- Self Care Goals
- Family Members to Call/Reach Out To
- Relationship Goals
- Decluttering Tasks
- Donation and Volunteering Tasks
- Holiday & Birthday Gift Lists
- Health & Wellness Tasks
- Time Management Goals
- Project List
- Productivity Goals
- Morning/Evening Routines
These are just a list to get your started. One approach that may work for you is to pick 5 things from this list to put in your notebook to organize your life. As you get started, you’ll figure out how to list things that will help you stay organized. And you’ll figure out which lists help you stay focused and which ones are just a distraction of information on paper.
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