Notebooks, Inbox and Workflow Review

I am a prolific note taker. I love stationary and have a supply of unopened notebooks ready and waiting. I am also a creature of habit and fussy with my notebooks. I like to be able to write with the notebook laying flat open and that fussiness often means that I write random notes on post it pads, scraps of paper, backs of envelopes – in short anything will do! I still use a variety of coloured pens and highlighters. It is the way my brain is wired! I have written about my notebooks and planners journey HERE

I recently took opportunity to review the way I work. My personal inbox is always full of emails and my desk is often littered with post it notes and ideas. I never chuck away receipts until I have checked them for notes I have jotted down. Why is my inbox always full? Simply because I often want to note something down from the email. Perhaps a link or site to check out or maybe I read something that sparked a thought and I subsequently considered writing an article or blog post.

I therefore devised a plan and whilst it is a layered approach to my email, planning and note system, it does seem to be working, therefore I thought I would share it here.

The process:

  1. Record – this is material I have come across and want to jot down somewhere. It can be anything, notes from an email, something from a blog post, newspaper or magazine.
  2. Access – Do I want to do something with this material?
  3. Organise – Add the material from the Record stage into the various elements that I have decided on. This might be
    1. Professional Development
    2. Blog post or presentation idea
    3. Project information
    4. An appointment or something that needs to be scheduled in my planner.
  4. Reflect – I have always reviewed my planner and to do list weekly and monthly. That way I can ensure nothing falls through the cracks, it is not foolproof, but it works for me and I have not had too many disasters!
    1. I assess material outstanding and note the details on a day when I will action it
    2. Review and perhaps decide that I no longer need it in which case I delete it or recycle the paper.
  5. Doing – Plan and achieve. Observe deadlines for work that is time specific or create a deadline for something I want to achieve by a particular date.

Achieving the process:

  • I designated a place in my office that would collect all the post it notes and other bits of paper that I had used to jot a note on. The place that I chose you can see here.  The box came from TK Max and whilst I didn’t need another storage box, this one was too good to miss!
  • I didn’t want to use a Leuchtturm1917 or my current notebook for this, I wanted to use something else entirely and opted for a Travelers Notebook (TN) system. I do still use my Leuchtturm1917 and planner as I outlined in the blog post above, the only change I have made is that I have switched to plain or dot grid rather than lined.
    • I empty the box in the image above at least weekly.
    • I use the Travelers Notebook to capture the contents of the post it notes etc and the information from blog posts, emails or articles that I want to use for other research etc.
      • In some cases the information from the post it goes straight into my Leuchtturm1917
    • I often suddenly think of something when I am doing something else, so that might be captured on random paper.
    • I date every page in the notebooks and likely did the post it note too!

This process is working for me and I have increased my productivity by at least 20%. Yes this is more fragmented, but does mean that instead of having my Gmail starred folder filled with emails that I want to read again at my desk rather than via iPhone or iPad I can jot the information down and then delete the email, visiting the site later in the week or scope out the article or presentation idea etc.

IMG_1282This blog post found its way from A6 post it note in the box above and in this case went from there to my Leuchtturm1917 then into this blog post, whereas other notes go straight into my TN. These post it notes are from B & M and cost under £2 for two pads (I always select orange & green!)

I will write in more detail about my TN journal and why I opted for that. Do you use one and why? – do leave a comment!

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
This entry was posted in Organisation & Structure, Stationery, Filofax, Journals & Notebooks. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Notebooks, Inbox and Workflow Review

  1. Pingback: Web Finds – 5 June 2019 « Travellers Notebook Times

  2. BookerTalk says:

    I’m drowning too. If I find a website of interest, I bookmark it just to make sure I don’t lose it. But do I ever go back to that list of sites? Um, no. So what was the point of bookmarking! Emails I do try to save into a folder rather than leave in the main in box where I know it will never be found again. But do I look in that folder for items i meant to follow up on? Again, no.

    I need a more disciplined approach similar to the one you’ve developed though more aligned to electronic items


  3. I have a Go-To Notebook ( and love it, but still can’t seem to discipline myself to use it regularly…I go in spurts. Must get back to it…again. At least this one is undated, so I can keep using it regardless. AND I’ve been very good, at least, about filling in the Index so I know what’s on the pages I’ve already used.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.