Simplicity is the Key to Success
We know it’s tempting to sit down and spend a few hours painstakingly recreating one of the gorgeous but elaborate designs you’ve seen on Pinterest, but if you start out that way then you’re probably going to end up with one beautiful page in your notebook and nothing more.
Keep it simple to start with, and focus on what you need to write down and how. Remember you can always add in extras later on, so keep it basic and get used to this before you go big and bold. The more time-consuming it becomes the less likely you’ll stick at it so be quick and to-the-point.
Symbols and Colours
Bullet points are a great way of keeping things simple, but you will need signifiers to allow you to work through your lists quickly and efficiently. You could use different colours and/or symbols to indicate different types of tasks and information, but keep it practical for what you need to do.
If the tasks you’re working on need to be completed in stages then using a symbol for each stage of the task is going to be more practical than colours. Even better, choose symbols that form a picture once the task is complete. A circle could mean you’ve done stage one, a circle with eyes is stage two, and a completed smiley face could mean that the task is complete. It’s quick, simple and visual, and there’s no need to rub out old symbols or find space for multiple colours.
On the other hand, if you want to organise a to-do list into different categories then colours are perfect. Work, home, friends and family could each have a different colour. Or perhaps urgent tasks could be red, medium tasks orange and less-urgent tasks green. This is your notebook so organise things to suit the way you work.
Keep a Log
Your daily, monthly and yearly logs are a great way to keep on top of everything that’s coming up in the future. Your yearly log should be a really basic look at what’s coming up in the months ahead. Birthdays, holidays, exams, deadlines, events, etc. are all great ones to include.
You can then use your yearly log to inform your monthly log, which will include more specific tasks and goals. For example, ‘Mum’s birthday’ in your yearly log could become ‘Mum’s birthday cake’, ‘Mum’s presents’, ‘Book restaurant’, ‘Invite Jane, Michael and Tim’, etc. in your monthly log.
Your daily log can then be used to spread out your tasks and work through them. ‘Invite Jane’ could be a task set for Wednesday. If Jane doesn’t reply straight away then you might need to set a task to remind her on Sunday. When she does reply then you may want to add her to a list of people attending/not attending. Your daily log deals with the nitty-gritty, while your monthly and yearly logs allow you to keep on top of what’s coming up.
Keep it Fun
Dealing with those important tasks on a daily, monthly and yearly basis is great for staying organised, but there’s no reason why you can’t stay on top of those fun things that you never seem to get around to as well. Perhaps you want to read more books but never seem to get around to it. Why not keep a list of books that you’ve read and a list of books you want to read, and add ’30 minutes of reading’ to your Sunday tasks each week.
Or alternatively maybe you want to get out and explore more of your hometown? Keep a list of all the places you want to visit and things you want to do and make it a weekly or monthly task to tick something off of that list.
Index Yourself Before you Wreck Yourself
Make life as easy as possible for yourself and work out a clear and thorough index that will keep you organised. List all the key topics within your index and list the page numbers next to them. For example, you could have ‘July: pg 12-15’, ‘Reading list: pg 5’, ‘Amy’s party: pg 27-30, 38’, ‘Places to visit: pg 3, 17-18’, etc.
You can add to these as you go along, so don’t worry if your index is a little bare to begin with. But make sure your pages are numbered clearly so that your index can do its job, and add a title to your pages to make life a little easier for yourself.
To keep on top of everything, you’re going to need to take some time to reflect on what’s done and what’s still outstanding. You might want to do this on a weekly or monthly basis, but the idea is to look at all the tasks that you haven’t managed to tick off and decide which ones need to be moved into the next section so that they don’t get missed.
Make it Unique
And lastly, decorate your notebook to make it personal and colourful. This is the fun bit but you’re probably going to have to introduce it slowly so that it doesn’t distract from the bits that are keeping you organised. Washi tape, coloured pens, highlighters, even water colours, chalk and paint can be used to give your notebook a personal style. And you can even switch it up for each list, there’s no reason why it has to stay consistent throughout. Go with whatever look you feel like at the time and let your notebook burst into life.
Take a look at some of our beautiful notebooks available to buy online and in stores, and start organising your life right away.