Hints for Using a Notebook with a Planner | Giftie Etcetera: Hints for Using a Notebook with a Planner

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hints for Using a Notebook with a Planner

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As an advocate of one planner for one life, it might surprise my Loyal Readers to learn that I use a notebook at work. 

notes, work, work-life balance, notebook, notebooks, to do lists

The truth is that I believe it's usually fine to maintain several planners, even if I mostly preach a one planner philosophy.

What's not okay?

Maintaining several calendars!

(If you must do a work calendar or family calendar, I understand, as long as one is your main calendar that contains EVERYTHING.)

In that spirit, I use the calendar in my main planner for scheduling work.

Once at work, though, things go in my work notebook. 

My notebook contains most of the same stuff that I would put in a planner.

Tasks, due dates (with important ones ALSO listed on my personal planner calendar), projects, and file information go in my notebook.

It's okay to get a whole separate planner, like the
 new Franklin Covey Livi planner (which comes in compact or classic and in purple!!!) just for work. 

But if you ever need to archive information, I suggest a bound notebook instead of a planner because the information stays archived. 

For example, as an attorney, I need a record of the work that I do. A running notebook can't be tampered with as easily as a planner. So I use a notebook at the office. Also, if you are a student, you might prefer a notebook. 

How to Make a Notebook Work for You

1. Create an Index

If you use a notebook, you MUST create an index.

I have a video explaining how (starting at about minute 3:30).

Use the same system for your notebook.

Since the Giftie indexing system allows you to put information in ANY order and still find it easily, just reserve the first page of the notebook for indexing.

TIP: That's actually a good place to note starting and ending date of that notebook.

TIP: If you end up having to pull information from the notebook to file it separately (like the instructions for using voicemail that you use daily on your desk), you can either just copy the pages for your files OR pull out those pages and note that you removed them and where you filed them on the index.

I don't add things like an insignificant task list to the index. Limit added topics to those things you might go back to, like customer names, vendors, or routine processes.

2. Use Post-It Tabs

Having tabs for stuff that is in the index and that you might refer back to makes life so much easier.

3. Borrow Ideas That Work in Your Planner

For example, if you do the following in your planner, try them in your notebook:

*Tasks - List them as you do in your planner. If you use context codes or subtasks, do that!

*Labeling - Label each page in the upper right-hand corner.

*Phone Log - If you use codes to log phone calls, use those codes in your notebook. For example, I write, "TC w/ Joan, LM 5:17 p.m. re: crash mting," which translates to "telecom with Joan, leave message 5:17 p.m. regarding crash meeting.")

*Indents - Indent the writing so that you leave a column on the left to note due dates and follow-up tasks next to the writing.

Let me know how you use your notebooks in the comments!


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Anonymous said...

What you've pretty much explained is a bullet journal

Giftie Etcetera said...

Bullet journals are basically notebooks, so I agree!

Cori Large said...

Agreed, this is the bullet journal system.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I use the bullet journal system at work only - in a lined Markings notebook. My planner - a Filofax Pocket Malden - is for everything else. I cannot combine the two because my work tasks are so huge that I would overwhelm my planner. My job is very task driven (no appointments/events) so using the bullet journal system in a notebook works perfectly.

I did try to use both a notebook (bullet journal style) as a companion with my planner for non-work, but I got tired of jockeying between the two and wanted a 'one focused tool' for both work and non-work.

Bree said...

I don't think what Giftie describes is the Bullet Journal system. She gave tips on how to take effective notes so that you can integrate them with your planning. They are similar to a system I've been using since the early 2000s, minus the index. I start a unique page for every topic, rather than continuous page use, so I can find what I'm looking for fairly quickly.

BuJo is a very structured system for logging information on a daily basis, using symbols, rather than note-taking or planning. Ryder didn't invent note-taking, using symbols, nor did he invent the index. He just packaged them together in a new way, using modern, trendy tools.

(Franklin planning system has been teaching task symbols and indexing since the 80s, with their ring systems).