A few months back, Jules wrote about his love for the Midori Travelers Notebook. I had started my own planning system with a small Mead notebook and thought the Midori might work out better for me. Yeah… I was wrong.
The Midori is a great system, but the inserts are pricey and if your brain just doesn’t function in Midori style, it won’t work for you. After a month of trying to force myself to use the fauxdori I made, I went and begged my Mead notebook to take me back. Thankfully it did.
For those that want a simple and inexpensive planning technique, here’s how I do it.
You will need:
Mead Five Star Notebook, size 7IN by 4 3/8 IN, 100 pages
Set of Post-it Tabs
Sharpie marker (to fill out the tabs)
BIC 4-Color Stylus Pen (lets me carry one pen instead of four)
Post-it notes, regular size
Paperclips, any size you like
The Mead notebook has a handy pocket in the front that I keep my Post-it notes, stickers, and paper clips in.
Using the Post-it tabs, I have my main notebook broke down into two sections: blogging and daily.
Blogging takes up the first four pages with a running list of review items I’m working on and personal blog posts I’m planning. I have a chart with columns for received, tested, pictures, and completed. The pages that follow are for daily stuff.
The Daily Routine
I start out by writing the date and day on the page and setting it up as you see here. Taking the time to set up the page each day gives me the reminder to actually use my system.
The positive thoughts and accomplishments page is a coping skill for my anxiety and depression issues. I’ve been told to write down at least five things a day that I’m grateful for and/or that are positive thoughts in general. On my bad days, sometimes all I can put is “I am loved.”, but that is better than nothing.
I use the four different colors in the BIC pen to organize my lists:
- Red – Meetings/must do that day
- Green – School
- Blue – Personal and blogging
- Black – Page labels
To mark things completed I keep it simple: checkmark for completed, x for things I decided to cancel, and an arrow if I needed to move something to another day.
Some people like to write “see <date>” on their planner if a task from a previous day wasn’t completed. I have some not so warm and fuzzy feelings about that.
I prefer to live in the present and not the past, so nothing that needs to get done stays in the past.
Instead, I re-write anything that is moved to another day to keep me from having to look back. It can be annoying to write “schedule dentist appointment” every day I put it off, but after enough times of having to re-write it, I eventually cave in and just do it.
I used to write notes at the bottom of the to-do page, but sometimes I found that I needed that space for more to-do items or notes were valid for more than one day. I switched to Post-it notes so I could move a note between days and throw it out when it wasn’t relevant anymore. If a note will never become irrelevant, I’ll re-write it in the notebook in its own space.
My Notebook Arsenal Broken Down
Currently, I’m using three notebooks, but I don’t carry them all with me. My main blue one will go with me everywhere, but the others travel only between home and work.
Here is my current notebook setup:
- Main book with tabs for blogging, personal, and a few pages sectioned out for my notes on my
upcoming NYC trip and Christmas shopping.
- School notes (and I use a paperclip as a bookmark so I can pick up writing where I left off).
- Video series notes.
There are times, like for travel, when I’ll add another to the pile. Once the trip is over, I’ll mark out a new section for the next trip and use it until there are no more pages left.
I have my other notebooks from months past and from a mental illness standpoint, it does me good to see what I’ve accomplished. I can flip through and see days that I filled up my positive thoughts and days where I may not have but still accomplished quite a bit. It reminds me that while it doesn’t feel like it all the time, I do get stuff and I have positive things in my life.
And that’s it. I know there is a lot to read here, but overall it’s a simplistic system that gets the job done. No major expense. No fuss. Just me and my Mead. The way it should be.