How I Organize My Notes and Sketches



I have mentioned many times that I love to use notebooks and I have one for every type of notes I take. I am seriously addicted to making lists and writing down all my plans and ideas. I am not very good at using digital calendars and note-taking apps. If something is not on paper it does not exist. And if something is on paper it will definitely happen or be used in one way or another. In this post I wanted to share with you what kinds of notebooks and planners I use, how I use them and what for.

I have counted just now and at the moment I have eight notebooks, one printed planner and one hand-drawn planner on my work desk. Here's what they are:



1. Weekly planner

This year I'm using one of my very own 2015 weekly planners that I've been making for my shop. I use the planner for all the things that happen at a certain time: band practices, yoga classes, meetings and appointments, concerts and movies I'm planning to see, travels, visits and so on. I do not put my business tasks in there usually unless I absolutely have to do them at a certain time or there's a deadline. I also color code most of the tasks into three categories: things I have to do, leisure activities and band/music related plans. That way I can visually track how much time a week I spend doing something for my own pleasure (I have to do at least something every week!), how much time I devote to music (which is another passion of mine that takes time and can't be put aside) and how busy I was that week with appointments and other tasks.



2. Monthly and weekly to-do lists

This year I am trying to be more organized with my to-do lists. So I bought a lined A5 Moleskine notebook for this purpose. Each month has a full page with my goals for that month and a list of tasks to reach those goals underneath. Then I have a page for each week with my to-do's for that week. Weekly lists include both my personal and business related tasks, of course listed separately. I draw a square next to each task and tick them when they're done, which is the best part!

3. Daily to-do lists

I already talked about my tiny notebooks that I use for daily to-do lists and even shared a tutorial on how to make them in one of my previous posts. These are really nice to use if you get overwhelmed by huge weekly lists. Just write down your daily tasks and do not think about the rest of the stuff till they are done. I am actually thinking of not keeping those lists anymore, cause I taught myself to be more organized than before and now my weekly lists do not look so overwhelming to me. Plus I developed a kind of a routine by now, for example Monday and Tuesday are blog-writing and photography days, Thursdays and Fridays are production and order packing as so on. So a lot of days I already know what I'm going to be doing without looking at the list. And sometimes it feels like I have too many lists to manage. So I might try sticking to weekly, monthly and yearly lists for a while and see how it goes. But the daily lists seriously worked like magic when I started using them! Before that my levels of productivity were really random and I would go days without getting anything done.



4. Sketchbook

To keep my brain working and staying creative I started a new habit of sketching every day. Since I tend to forget things, I decided to sketch in the beginning or every work day. So that's the first thing I do when I get to my desk in the morning. I don't always feel inspired and sometimes I have no idea what to sketch, but I just start with anything, just draw lines or dots or whatever. Often ideas come in the process. I don't limit myself with the time I spend sketching. Sometimes no ideas come and I get frustrated and done with it in 10 minutes. Other times I get super inspired and sketch for a couple of hours. It may take some precious time out of my work day, but I find it very important to stay creative. Plus I'm terrible at drawing so its very good for me to practice it every day.



5. Learning notes

I've been taking loads of online courses in the past few months. Some of them I take very seriously, download the workbooks and do all the tasks. Others I just play whenever I'm making so I'm not working in silence and learning something new at the same time. Creative Live is my TV! From time to time I'll hear some ideas or information I find very important to remember, so I grab my special notebook and jot those down. Sometimes I even end up doing some of the exercises. I also use this book when I am actually taking the course. Later on I go through the notebook to see if I used the techniques I learned, how they helped and what I should do to continue to improve.

6. Shop/business notes

This little notebook contains information I need to make my products and keep my shop running, such as measurements for making the notebooks, material prices, formulas I use to price my work, time it takes to do certain tasks, future products and collections, list of sites to pitch my work to and so on.



7. Ideas

This notebook is used really randomly. Sometimes I just write down ideas. Other times I use it for brainstorming. Sometimes I don't use it for weeks, because a lot of my ideas are visual and I use the sketchbook for them. But I still keep it and use it sometimes, with no real strategy. I should probably come up with some challenge for myself to use this book more often and work on ideas development more strategically.

8. Random notes

This notebook does not have any certain purpose. I have it with me all the time, so I have paper to write on. I can write meeting notes in there, someone's e-mail address or take pages out if someone else needs paper.



9. Blog planner and year planner

These two are not notebooks, they are simply A4 sheets of printer paper. I've designed a simple blog planner for myself which I print out every month and fill in with blog post topics and tasks to do to get the posts published. As for the year planner, I just used one blank A4, divided it into 12 square sections and filled it with goals for each month of 2015.


That's about it. Well there's also a recipe book and Evernote, which is the only software I use for notes, but not very often. Does this sound crazy? Or do you use loads of notebooks too? I'd love to know what you use your notebooks for and how you keep your notes organized!


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