Friday, July 3, 2015

Creating the Ultimate Most Organized Creative Notebook Ever: Part Two

In my last Ultimate Creative Notebook post, I wrote about what qualities I was looking for in my notebook. After I found a notebook that fits those needs, then came the hard part: figuring out how to keep it all organized. Organization is especially important for a notebook that will be used as a dumping ground for everything.

I found two helpful systems to keep things organized.

The first is the Bullet Journal system. This great for keeping a notebook with different kinds of content organized.  I put a legend at the front so I can keep up with what symbols I use. Over time, I've seen that I only use two symbols. In the future I will probably simplify the list.

Another method is marking the edges of the pages. Here's the Lifehacker post about that. I like this because all I have to do is look at the side of my notebook to see where certain entries are. Using different colors on the edges of the pages instead of just black has worked out better for me.

I mark a topic by putting a color by it in the front index. Then I color the sides of the pages in the same area as shown on Lifehacker. The problem with using color to keep the notebook organized is that if there are a lot of different topics in the same book, it can get confusing.

Things worked the best when I used the Bullet Journal method to keep my all of my notes organized, and added color coding only to note topics I wanted to keep track of and needed to find quickly.

As I was doing research on organizing this notebook, I realized that there are many notebooks out there that claim to keep life organized. I've seen goal books, workbooks, and things like that. They are very tempting. However, I have a history of buying planners, fancy ones and plain ones, with the hope that they could be a place where I pull all of my thoughts together. I use these diaries and planners for maybe a month, and then I don't use them anymore.

I think pre-organized notebooks use systems that work perfectly for the person who designed it, but not for me. They are not easy to customize. I need something that fits the way my mind works and is adaptable. By the way, some of these specialized notebooks are very expensive. I would feel horrible if I invested in one, just to never use it.

I've promised myself that I will create my own notebook first, and if I stumble across some commercially made notebook that fulfills my needs, aligns with the way my brain operates, and is a reasonable price, I would go with it. But that's yet to happen.

As I worked on making a notebook for myself, I began to get a clearer picture of what I would use it for. Starting out, the pages only consisted of simple to-do lists and notes. 

A very boring page

I didn't create as much art in it as I imagined, which was disappointing. I wanted to do art journaling, but I didn't have the time for it, so most my pages were boring. I wanted them to be beautiful and interesting. I did try some art journaling techniques, but I'm not good at coming up with nice page layouts.

An art journaling attempt

I needed to make some changes to my notebook so that adding visual items would be easy. I found an effective way to do this which I'll share in part three.