Wednesday, April 20, 2011

3 Ways to Process Life

My bag-of-the-day always holds at least one of these notebooks.

I scribble creative thoughts, for ongoing projects and from random insights, into one notebook.  In another I methodically organize life into goals, plans, and endless lists.  The last spiral-bound records my memories and listens to whatever feelings tumble out of me.

I used to want to find a way to meld all three notebooks into just one since it would be less to lug around.  Practicality, however, never won.  When I pick up a specific notebook with pen in hand, I give myself permission to focus on a certain type of thinking: creative, organizational, or reflective.

I like choosing each book for the details of the task ahead.  Wide pages for spur-of-the-moment thoughts; narrow lines for compact lists.  A variety of colors and page widths to add nonessential flavor.  I do gravitate toward spiral-bound.  I find it the easiest way to write in any situation, whether you need an improvised writing surface as you curl up on the couch or if you need a shield from the prying eyes of the passenger next to you.

Since I've been tri-notebooking for a while each book's utility and aesthetic embody the quirks of each mode of thinking.  I'm free to use sloppy handwriting when ideas bubble up or primly print my everyday lists.  I can guard the cursive-scrawled memories with care, but recklessly tear each finished list out of the organization notebook until only two covers and some wire remain.  Juggling the notebooks is a little cumbersome and occasionally frustrating, but sometimes life can be that way too.

Do you have a notebook or e-list you use everyday?  Do you see your thought processes as modes or something else?


  1. I love spiral-bound notebooks because it's so easy to slide a pen in there. My current notebook is mainly for work and volunteer activities. It's all mixed together. But flip it upside down and start at the back and that's my bakery dreams, recipe inspirations, people to contact, and flavor combination ideas.

  2. Great idea on the flip-notebook, Becky! Maybe I can combine the creativity and organizational notebooks in the future....