My Notebooks – How I Stay Organized

Ok, I know I’ve been promising that I would share my notebooks with you for a few weeks, so here it is finally.

Last year, I read this post by Karen which prompted me to get my own journal. (she’s since written more about it and her post is excellent.) I decided to use a squared Moleskine because I love squared paper.

I had some plans for the notebook but my process and what I put in it has evolved and progressed throughout the year. So it’s a constantly-evolving process.

After using my first one for a few weeks, I decided the black was too depressing so I started painting them. I never do a good job but I still love them. So here’s the outside of my second book:

It gets a lot of use and goes everywhere with me, so it gets banged up quite a bit.

The first page has the calendar:

The second page has my personal statement from the Soul Restoration 2 class and then my first todo list page:

I make the todo list pages every Sunday, for the week ahead and then add, cross off, change them throughout the week.

My todo list pages have lists: must-do (for things that have to get done that week), nice-to-do (things I’d like to get done but it’s ok if they don’t), write (ideas for blog posts I might want to write), create (layouts, projects coming up due), blog (art, layouts, books, etc that I’ve already completed that are waiting for me to put up on the blog.)

I then put a piece of paper for each week that has my daily tasks on it. Everyday, I cross them out. As of now, the daily tasks I do are: exercise, sketching, journaling, reading to David, art journaling, collage book (new project for 2012), and blogging thoughts at night. At some point, I had more and I might have different ones in a few weeks. I create these on the computer and print them out a few weeks’ worth at a time. I then tape one for each week.

The page in the photo above is colored with pencils but i don’t do that anymore. It was an experiment and I didn’t like it.

I then use the same book to journal in the mornings.

Most days, I only write one page. Sometimes it’s more but one page is my minimum. This is literally the next page in the notebook. I also sketch in the same book right after this page:

when I first switched to watercolors, I started to glue down my paper:

but now I do it on a paper and then slip it in a 4×6 adhesive slip just like Karen mentions in her post. I then glue my art journal page right next to it.

This means my art journal pages are the same size as the Moleskine 5.125×8.25 but I am ok with that (at least for now.)

I put everything in this one little book. Here’s a double-spread of todo lists:

the mind maps I made in Karen’s class:

the visual board I made there, too:

the love list, or any other homework I had in her class. In all the classes I had this year that involved journaling or writing thoughts down:

Here’s my current journal:

It’s much much bulkier than that now and I am only 3 weeks in. I took this photo when I was almost done with number two:

The blue is the first one, then red. Yellow is the one I am on now and green will be my last one for 2011 (assuming the yellow one doesn’t take me to the end of the year.)

I’ve come to love and rely on my notebook. I carry it with me everywhere. I doodle, sketch, write, and keep my lists in it. My kids love looking through it and never read my journaling. I keep the journaling pages facing each other and never put art or todo lists on the facing pages. And I don’t mind that they are all together.

There you go. Now you know how all about my notebook. This is definitely my happiest way to get and stay organized. I love and adore my books and swear by the process. Let me know if you have any questions and I am absolutely happy to answer.

By the way, I will do my best to catch up on all the comments in the next two days. Thank you for your patience with me.

17 comments to My Notebooks – How I Stay Organized

  • I love these journals. It’s a grown-up diary/planning tool. And I love the covers.

  • Wow – beautiful! You definitely have discipline, because I think we all have make lists, but not all of us can follow them 🙂 I like how you put everything in…starting to think perhaps consolidating might be more efficient and make life simpler!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I am thinking about my organization for 2012 a lot this days and I think your way is just wonderful… think I will wait until the “reclaiming your time” workshop to decide which way will work for me. Can’t wait to get started…

  • kathy

    Thanks for sharing! What a great idea to have everything in one book (it’s so simple, yet I never thought of it 🙂 ) I also enjoyed how you put the soul mission statement in your book…I did that too, yet i never look at mine. Thanks again for sharing. All the best to you and your family.

  • Thanks for sharing your method, I love it! You have taken a blank book and made it work for you. I am always searching for the PERFECT planner (perfectionism + inattentive ADD = yikes!), electronic or paper, but after seeing your journals, I know I have to make my own and combine it with everything in my life. Thank you!

  • These will be family treasures forever! I’d be tempted to find one big enough for the entire year though…but I guess that wouldn’t be so practical to carry around…

  • dawn

    I saw the title for this and came right here to say that this will be so fun and yummy to read so coming back tomorrow after I slept and my back isn’t hurting. I know it will be a good read!!!

  • Grace

    What an amazing post. I do have a few questions. Are your striped covers just tape? Do you still paint them, or did that not work? And I am confused about the art journal pages. I saw in the guest post on Julie’s blog that you appear to perforate them for binding, but here you put them in your Moleskine. The adhesive slip…the watercolors go in those, but not the journal pages? And, isn’t your binding breaking with all that added?

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • karenika

      thank you!! yes the striped covers are just tape. i just like variety so i paint them and then add some tape for fun 🙂 sometimes it peels and i just add more or use as is.
      i did bind many of my previous art journal pages but now I put them in this notebook. the perforations you saw there was from my tearing them out of the book they came in. the binding process always annoys me and takes more of my time than I want so i like glueing them in my book for now. i might change my mind later and do something else. 🙂 i only put the watercolors in the slip cause the slips only take 4×6 and my art journal pages are larger. my binding is so far standing the additions but I will let you know in a few weeks when the book is much fuller. since i started adding the slips and gluing my art, it’s getting bigger faster but i don’t care 🙂 i hope all the answers make sense. feel free to ask more if they don’t, i am always happy to share 🙂

  • dawn

    WOW Karen,

    I didn’t realize you had all these in one notebook. Love that you have it all here. Your art pages are kinda small then I guess, to me they seemed big. I am planning how to do my art journal next year and what kind and how many books to have at once. This was a great idea!! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Grace asked some questions I had too. One more to add though is what kind of collage book are you thinking of for next year. Can you share some info on it.

    This was a good read.

  • Karen,
    I am amazed with all your journal contain; what an inspiring and visually comprehensive post! I love how you use your journal in so many ways, whether it’s list making, longer journal entries, art journaling, visual boarding, or collage. It’s is very organized and neat. I love how your journal is such a clear representation of you as a person, an artist, an individual.

    I have chosen your post, My notebooks-How I stay Organized, as the #JournalChat Pick of the Day for all things journaling on Twitter.

    I will post a link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog and website Refresh with Dawn Herring, and in Refresh Journal:

    You’re welcome to join us every Thursday for #JournalChat Live on Twitter for all things journaling. Our next live chat will be on December 1, 2011.

    Thanks again for such a comprehensive inside view of your Notebooks.

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring
    JournalWriter Freelance
    Host of #JournalChat Live and Links Edition on Twitter

  • Thanks for writing about this! I’ve been trying to reconcile/consolidate what seems to be the scores of journals I keep – morning pages, art journals of all sizes and shapes, Moleskine agenda, journals for specific purposes. I’m going to ponder this one for sure!!

  • MichelleGB

    Thanks for sharing these! I love your journals and that they encompass every day life, creativity and thoughts! What an incredible keepsake and creative outlet. Very inspired to start one of my own now…

  • Kim

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I have been following your blog for a few months now, and have been wondering how you get so much done, with a demanding full time job, two young children, and a husband, too! AND, you blog daily! I’m not sure this would work for me, because I enjoy having a few journals on the go, for different purposes. But, I am definitely not very organized! Thanks again for such a detailed description of your journal and process.

  • putting it all in one book just makes sense! so simple, no wonder I never thought of it! thinking on organisation for 2012, and impatiently waiting for class to start next week!

  • thank you very much for sharing, I think its a great idea. I have had many notebooks, journals and trying to consolidate them.. I think in the past I have tried to over think it, this is such a straight forward way, going to have a go!

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