I keep five notebooks. I posted a photo of them on Instagram yesterday.

I went through a phase of collecting pretty notebooks, pens, stamps, and other stationary items. Collecting them. Not using them. Collecting.

And, when I say “phase”, you should hear/read “has a genetic disposition for collecting and organizing all things stationary related which was passed to her from her mother thus making all of the extra storage needed for these items her fault…forever!”

About five years ago, I decided to start using all of my stationary items and ridding myself of the items I did not use.

In the beginning, I wanted to use it all. I had separate notebooks for everything such as essay notebooks, children’s books notebooks, poetry notebooks, novel notebooks, food journals, exercise journals, dream journals, etc.

It didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t going to work. After a lot of trial and error, I landed on this notebook system, and it works pretty well for now:

Fitness Journal

This is where I log my gym time. I do not log my yoga teaching hours here, though sometimes I do count it as my workout for the day especially when I teach for two hours in a row.

I log my exercises, weight, reps, and distance when applicable. This helps me to see my progress when I am working on lifting heavy, or running longer or faster.

I also use the notebook to compete with myself. From time to time, I will go back and repeat a workout to see if I can do better (whatever “better” means that day).

Journal Journal

I’ve kept a journal since 1995. I’ve burned my journals, all of them, twice in my life. It felt awesome! More on that another time.

I do not write in my journal daily at the moment. I’m writing in it weekly right now.

I’ve recently made a 17-minute journaling class for grown-ups who might have awkwardness around journaling as it can seem (because it is ) self-indulgent.

You can get that class on Skillshare. A longer version of the class is coming to Udemy, soon.

Bullet Journal

All, Hail! I wouldn’t get anything done without my bullet journal.

Currently, I’m using a soft-cover Moleskine with dot grid paper as my bullet journal. This is my favorite notebook. I do not anticipate changing anytime soon. I’ve tried lined, blank and grid paper, but the dot grid is best.

You can learn everything about bullet journals here.

If you want to learn more about my exact set up, let me know, and I’ll document it on the blog sometime.

Idea Notebook

My idea notebook is where I do handwritten discovery writing or list ideas for projects of all kinds.

I do keep an idea list on my phone and collect ideas with my voice memo app as well, but all of the real work happens in pen and paper.

Notes Notebook

I am constantly taking classes online via Skillshare, Udemy, and Skillcrush. I store all of my notes for all of my classes in one notebook. I keep a living table of contents in the front of the notebook, so I can locate my notes easily when I need to reference them.

I also put notes from articles and books in my notes notebook.***At one point, I tried to keep all of this in my bullet journal, but my table of contents got out of control. I think of these notebooks as the rings needed to summon Captain Planet,

–And, no, it isn’t ironic, because four out of five notebooks are made from recycled paper AND my pens are refillable —

but instead of summoning him, they summon little ol’ me to the task of being a productive human.

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