I often receive questions from people asking how I set up my notebooks. This post will focus on how I set them up and, in the future, there will be a post detailing what I put in them.
The first step is to choose a notebook. If your prone to writing you may want one with lines, if you like to sketch ideas then maybe plain paper, and if you like lists, or a combination of those ideas, you may prefer grid. I personally prefer grid paper because I feel that it gives me the structure that I need. I have a pretty serious collection of unused (and used) notebooks so sometimes I’ll factor color and edition into my notebooks choice. I prefer Field Notes notebooks because they’re small, made in the USA, 48 pages long, and offer some degree of collect-ability.
After choosing a notebook I’ll usually do something to the cover so that I can differentiate it from all of my other ones. This may be a drawing, some writing, or a sticker… as you can see above all of my notebooks have a different look and feel.
The first page of my notebooks is always the title. It will have a stamp (or sticker) and a date range for the notebook. When I start the notebook I’ll put the top date and when I’ve finally filled it up I’ll enter the end date. I rarely use the areas on the left because not all notebooks include them and I’m a big fan of consistency.
The second and third pages (which face each other) are always my table of contents. I’ll often go back to old notebooks to find lost ideas and this really helps cut down on the time I spend looking. In the grid style Field Notes there’s always enough space to get every page in there.
The last page is always reserved for random notes. Every now and then I need to write something down (like a grocery list) which wouldn’t use up a full page. These smaller notes live at the end of the notebook and, as pages fill up, work their way back until they meet the other entries. At that point the notebook is done and ready to be archived with all of its notebook friends.
There are tons of ways to set up notebooks but this is just the way I have found that works best for me. If you have a different way of doing it I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
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