Today’s post fits in with several of our ongoing series here on Quo Vadis blog: the Using Planners series which helps give you ideas for ways to effectively use your planner; the Tool Box series which arms you with lots of time management tools; and our new Page Per Day Challenge series, where we will write a page for every day in 2016.
Specifically, today I’ll show you ways to use a notebook (any notebook) along with your planner (any planner) to better plan your day, take notes, record observations, and anything else you need to capture each day.
Several years ago I had heard of people using a notebook along with a planner, but couldn’t figure out what they could be writing in it. I understood the need for a notebook for meeting or class notes of course, but as a day to day tool I just didn’t get it.
Then two years ago I started using a notebook every day along with my planner, and have been every day since. I started off using the Bullet Journal method but quickly adapted it to my needs, streamlined the process and simplified it to make it easier for me to find my notes and daily records.
I’ll show you how I use my notebook along with my planner, hopefully it will give you some ideas but please adapt it to your own needs. There are infinite ways to use a notebook, and one size does not fit all.
First I start by looking at my day in my planner. I prefer a timed vertical format, as shown here in the Septanote (academic year) or Trinote (Jan-dec). The Minister weekly planner and Academic Minister also have timed vertical days. (Click on photos for a larger view.)
But you could do the same with a horizontal format like the Space 24:
I start a new page in my notebook each day. It’s best if I do this the evening before, so I hit the ground running in the morning. Or you can do it first thing in the morning, to plan your day. (This is a Habana notebook in the 6 1/4 by 9 1/4 inch size, which is the same size as the Minister, Space 24 and Scholar planners, making these especially pleasant to use together.) At the top of the page I write the day and date, and leave some space to note important events of the day and the weather.
I start by writing ONLY what I MUST do today. Nothing extraneous or optional. I write my scheduled events, and any tasks that absolutely must be done today. When I’ve completed those, I check my weekly lists to see what else I can fit in today.
As the day goes on I make notes, record wildlife observations, write about my kids, note things to follow up on, whatever else comes my way during the day. You can see I note things I need to bring along to appointments, results, meals, etc.
At the end of the day, my page becomes an excellent record of my day.
Because I go through several notebooks in a year using a page (or more) every day, I keep a list in the back of my planner of the dates when I used each notebook.
Another way to use a notebook is as a satellite to your larger planner, if you prefer to leave it at home or work. (This is another Habana, this time in the 4 by 6 3/8 inch pocket size.)
You can use your small notebook as a capture device, then when you get back to your planner you can fill in any dates. Be sure to synchronize them often so nothing slips through the cracks.
However you use your notebook, be sure to date your entries. You can cross-reference your planner with your notebook to expand on ideas, notes, sketches, charts etc.
Do you use a notebook along with your planner? What are your tips for using them together?