5 Must-Have Notebooks to Organize Your Life

I’m a writer and also admit that I am very Type A. I absolutely love to make lists to organize my thoughts, ideas, tasks, and inspirations.

What happens when you put the two together?  You get a girl who obsessively covets and compulsively purchases anything paper-bound. Heck, I even work in the paper industry (yes, I get the Dunder Mifflin question a lot)!

My notebooks and journals are some of my most-prized possessions. Most people keep their lives in their smart phone, their iPad, or their laptop. I keep mine in these. My musings, endless to-do lists, blog ideas, wedding checklists, and everything in between are held in these pages.

I’m a lover of the written word, a sentimentalist who still enjoys sending handwritten letters when most send texts and emails (don’t get me wrong, I do that too). I love nothing more than the tactile feel of paper between my fingers and the joy I feel as I fill each page with my thoughts.

When I’m at a store and I see a neat notebook or journal, it doesn’t matter how many I already own, I’ll snatch it up. It can’t be helped.

So, what do I consider to be my “must-haves” for organizing my thoughts?  Here they are in no particular order. Maybe you’ll find a few you like.

 

1. Gratitude journal

Express your gratitude daily in this compact, hardcover Gratitude journal.

Express your gratitude daily in this compact, hardcover Gratitude journal.

 

For most of my life I’m sad to say I’ve been a glass-half-empty girl. I’ve seen other people’s boundless optimism and wished I was innately that way. I’m getting better, but that’s partially due to consistently reminding myself what I am grateful for each day.

This journal, picked up from an independent bookshop, contains a writing prompt each day for you to respond to.  I love it and I truly believe it’s giving me a brighter outlook on life.  Its bright orange binding doesn’t hurt either…

 

2. Idea Log

Idea Log

Idea Log

 

This. Notebook. Is Awesome.

This one is the newest addition to my arsenal. It’s a small, spiral bound notebook with a durable plastic cover that fits easily into my purse so that I can tote it anywhere and jot down ideas as the mood strikes me.

You’ll notice that the cover has a little slot to insert your pen or pencil for safekeeping. Gone are the days of rifling through your bottomless purse for a writing utensil, which happens to me all too often. The little elastic band attached to the cover is genius!

The book is divided into three sections:

 

Inspiration

A gridlined page allows you to write or sketch your inspiration. There are boxes in the upper righthand corner where you can checkoff the origin of your inspiration (web, magazine, etc)

A gridlined page allows you to write or sketch your inspiration. There are boxes in the upper righthand corner where you can check off the origin of your inspiration (web, magazine, etc).

Brainstorm

The brainstorm section is where you can take your original inspiration and develop it a bit more. There's room to include the project, date, loose ideas, sketches (if you're so inclined), your formulated idea, and whether the project was ultimately executed or abandoned.

The brainstorm section is where you can take your original inspiration and develop it a bit more. There’s room to include the project, date, loose ideas, sketches (if you’re so inclined), your formulated idea, and whether the project was ultimately executed or abandoned.

Project

If you decide the project you've been brainstorming has been developed enough to execute, you can plan the project in even more detail in the project section. Include your next steps, completion dates, and check them off when you're done.

If you decide the project you’ve been brainstorming has been developed enough to execute, you can plan the project in even more detail in the project section. Include your next steps, completion dates, and check them off when you’re done.

 

I’m using this to fully develop ideas for this new blog. It’s an excellent, portable resource, where I can capture creative ideas on the go.

 

3. Doctor Visit Knock Knock pad

This pad has a place for everything. Write the specifics of your appointment on top (date of appointment, time, doctor, location, purpose, etc). Jot down your symptoms before your appointment so that you can efficiently and accurately explain them to the doctor during your appointment. Take note of your stats when your doctor examines you (blood pressure, weight, diagnosis, etc). Finally, include notes about the doctor's orders, prescriptions to fill, etc.

This pad has a place for everything. Write the specifics of your appointment on top (date of appointment, time, doctor, location, purpose, etc). Jot down your symptoms before your appointment so that you can efficiently and accurately explain them to the doctor. Take note of your stats when your doctor examines you (blood pressure, weight, diagnosis, etc). Finally, include notes about the doctor’s orders, prescriptions to fill, etc.

 

I almost feel as though this notepad was created with me in mind. I’m pretty busy these days between my marketing day job, freelancing on the side, planning a wedding, and developing two blogs. My mind feels like it’s being pulled in twenty different directions at any given moment.

I always have the best intentions when I visit my doctors, but after my appointment I will often forget what the doctor said and what actions I may need to take. If you also find it difficult to keep on top of the details of your health, this is a fantastic resource for you.

I no longer need to call my mother in a panic asking her to remind me of the address for the dentist. And my doctors are no longer irritated by my blank stare when they ask me to detail my symptoms and I realize I’ve forgotten half of them (trust me, this happens).

4. Trio of bright, carry-anywhere notebooks

These bright little notebooks are perfect for writing down your ideas in free form fashion. Designate a specific topic for each one. Or use one for your weekly shopping list, one for your goals, and one for your home projects. The options are endless!

These bright little notebooks are perfect for writing down your ideas in free form fashion. Designate a specific topic for each one. Or use one for your weekly shopping list, one for your goals, and one for your home projects. The options are endless!

 

There were two things that drew me to these adorable notebooks, which you can find at Target. Okay, three.

1. The cheerful covers

2. The inspiring quotes on each cover:

         Looking at the stars always makes me dream. – Vincent Van Gogh

         Joy delights in joy. – William Shakespeare

         Happiness is a bright and shining thing. – Unkown

3. The price. These were $3.99. You can’t beat that.

 

5. Q&A a Day

If you want a record of your life and your musings but you are too busy to write full-fledged journal entries, this journal is excellent. It's a five year journal with just a few lines of space to write in for each day. Every day there's a new question to answer: "What do you want to know better?", "What details from today would you like to remember?", Describe your work ethic, and more.

If you want a record of your life and your musings but you are too busy to write full-fledged journal entries, this journal is excellent. It’s a five year journal with just a few lines of space to write in for each day. Every day there’s a new question to answer: “What do you want to know better?”, “What details from today would you like to remember?”, “Describe your work ethic”, and more.

 

When I was in second grade, our teacher asked us to keep a journal every day for a year. I enjoyed writing in it each day–so much so, in fact, that I kept a journal through elementary, middle, and high school, and into college. I must have 20 different filled journals.

When I entered the world of the working, things changed and I stopped writing daily, weekly, and even monthly. For a few years after college I wrote nothing, and though of course I have memories from those years, many of them will be lost forever as the years go by and my memory fades. What a bummer.

I still don’t have the time to write in a journal every day, which is why I really like this one. You can encapsulate your thoughts in just a few lines. I’m busy, but I’ve definitely got five minutes!

 

These five affordable notebooks and journals help me to keep my life organized and compartmentalized. What about you? I’d love to hear your comments.

Happy Writing,

R

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