What on Earth is an Everything Notebook?4 min read
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Something that I refer to in many of my posts is my Everything Notebook. Although it might sound complicated or mystical… it’s actually really basic. My Everything Notebook is a place that I used to record… pretty much every random thought that I have.
I do my best to keep information where it belongs – tasks in Toodledo, projects in Asana, recipes in Plan to Eat, time tracking in Toggl, notes in OneNote, etc. Unfortunately, many times that I have thoughts or need to jot down a note, or grab a contact or recipe from someone – the given tool is not super easy to access.
As much as I love to have everything organized and in its place – I found that I often fell victim to “Sticky Note Syndrom”. Except, it wasn’t just sticky notes – it was also a note pad here, a workbook over there, notes in the margin of a book, and more notes in a number of different places in my planner.
This also made it a pain in the rear when I went to process notes each day/week (i.e. find my written notes and transfer them to their proper place). I had to go to a dozen different places to see if there was anything there, or completely forget about it all together. They usually turn up sometime… after you really need them.
Enter, the Everything Notebook. Outside of a small space on my Daily Game Plan pages, this is a notebook that I use for any and all handwritten notes. I keep this notebook with my planner when I am home, and it slips into my purse whenever I go out. I also keep a small pencil bag with colored pens and my fountain pen, but I’ll be honest and say I generally resort to my blue bic.
Pick Something You Like
For this method to be effective, I highly recommend selecting a notebook that you really like. You are more than welcome to use a $0.99 single subject notebook – it will keep your notes just as well. What it comes down to is what you are most likely to use.
I love my Leuchtturm1917 Squared Notebook. It has a hard cover so that you don’t need to have something to write on, and it folds open so nicely so you can write on the entire page. The paper is great, and they have a large selection of colors, so you are bound to find something you like.
When I first got my Travelers Journal, I considered using one of the notebook inserts as my Everything Notebook, but decided against it for two reasons. One, I didn’t want to have to carry that with me everywhere – especially since it houses my daily journal pages which I don’t want to risk airing to the world somehow. Second, I didn’t want to give up my Leuchtturm1917 Notebook.
Develop a System
How You Write
When I get a new notebook, I just start writing in it. Page one and go. I don’t try to be perfect because this is not the ending place for these thoughts. This is a huge relief for me. I gave bullet journaling a try a number of years ago and it was a nightmare – I wanted things to look nice, and most of the time they didn’t. I tore out a lot of pages…
To be efficient with your notes, develop a key with quick annotations to help identify what your notes relate to. Some of my most used symbols include:
* – important
? – to research
+ – add to grocery list
@ – discuss with ______ (i.e. @kevin = discuss with hubby)
$ – add to needs/wants list
k – add to hubby’s to do list
a square box – requires action (add to task list)
a triangle – requires multiple actions, as in a project (add to asana)
How You Process
If you are going to use an Everything Notebook, you also need to have a system in place to process your notes. My daily planning includes a step where I process these notes. I don’t get to it every single day, but the more I do, the easier it is. I also have a step in my weekly planning to finish any unprocessed notes just in case I didn’t get to many of them over the week.
As I go through and process, I slash out the notes that have been transferred. This makes it easy to flip through the notebook to see what has been put in its place and what has not.
If any notes are important or substantial in any way, I will mark that page with washi tape. An example – earlier this year, I used my Everything Notebook to draft out and finalize my personal mission statement. I refer to it often, so I lined the entire long edge of the page with washi tape. You can also tape the corner or the top or bottom edge to differentiate.
Do you suffer from “Sticky Note Syndrome”?? Consider using an Everything Notebook to organize your written notes.
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