The 6 Notebooks I Use as a Freelance Writer and Blogger
Every writer has their own productivity system. This is how mine works.
For many writers, a notebook can serve as a second brain. If that’s the case, I keep six more brains up and running on my desk at all times. I’m not kidding. A year ago, I would’ve thought a six-notebook productivity system was excessive. But after many test runs, I’ve realized that six notebooks simply works for me, and that’s okay.
Here are the six notebooks that help me get stuff done on a daily basis. Feel free to incorporate any of them into your own productivity system and see what it can do for you.
1. Home and health planner
I haven’t used this planner long enough to make a substantial claim about its benefits. However, I can definitely say that keeping track of my health-related habits and home tasks has made me aware of the areas where I can improve my mental and physical health.
In less than a week, I noticed a connection between the state of my home and my general mood, as well as a correlation between how many hours I sleep and how much I write in a day. The discoveries continue, but this planner has already proven itself useful to my daily routine.
If you’re a writer who tends to put your work before anything else, a home and health planner might help you balance things out. You can use it to keep track of all the areas of your health that matter most to you by using it to check-in with yourself on a daily basis.
2. Daily journal
I started journaling on a daily basis during the second half of 2019, when I discovered the magic of bullet journaling and got really into the whole practice. Now, my journal functions less like a bullet journal and more like a place where I just write about how my day is going and how I feel.
Writing is a big passion of mine, but as a freelance writer and blogger, it’s easy to forget that you don’t always need to write for an audience. Sometimes you need to write for yourself. This is why my daily journal is so vital to my productivity system. If I don’t take care of myself, the whole system falls apart. When things feel overwhelming and I need a space where it’s just me and my words, I got to my daily journal.
If you don’t already have a daily journal, I strongly recommend you try it out. Just like the home and health planner, a daily journal can be a way to check-in with yourself emotionally and ensure you have the emotional bandwidth to tackle the day’s tasks and responsibilities.
3. Faux planner
I call this a “faux planner” because instead of just buying a planner and using it, I bought a notebook and turned it into a planner. So it’s a planner, but it isn’t, but it is. Confused? Let me explain.
Starting out in the planner world, I already knew that the confines of a pre-designed weekly spread wouldn’t work for me. But I still needed to track my weekly schedule and goals, so my solution was to develop a simple system that was 100% customizable. A system I could reset every week. A blank canvas. A… $12 notebook from Target that I purchased because I thought it was cute? Hey, it works.
I wouldn’t recommend you create your own faux planner as I did, but I do think having a weekly planner can be a great addition to your productivity system. Being able to see your week at a glance is a great way to keep track of your responsibilities and stay focused on what matters. It can also help you stick to your weekly or daily goals.
4. Productivity journal
This is a recent addition to my productivity system, but it’s one of the most important elements in keeping myself productive. Every morning I get up, get my coffee, and sit at my desk for another day of writing. Before anything gets done, however, I take the time to answer one question:
What’s the plan for today?
To answer it, I write a couple of paragraphs stating what my intention is for the day, how motivated I feel to start my work, and what I hope to accomplish by the end of the day. Something about putting my productivity intentions down on paper motivates me to get the day started.
Add this notebook to your productivity system and see what it can do for you. If your main struggle is getting started, you might find that writing down your daily plan of action will help give you the productivity boost you need.
5. Learning notebook
This notebook is as simple as the name suggests. I’m a constant learner, and as such, I’m always reading a ton of books and articles on topics I care about. My learning notebook is the place where all of those lessons live.
I must mention that I have a notebook for every topic I’m learning. I don’t keep all of the lessons in a single place. Why? Because when I want to read back on the things I learned about email marketing, I don’t want to have to flip through various pages of notes on how to make the perfect oven-roasted chicken. Similar topics stay in their own notebooks.
If you’re a writer, then you’re probably a constant learner too. As such, it’ll help you to be able to go back to your lessons when you need to. You don’t have to keep your topics in separate notebooks, but it would help to divide a single notebook into sections. Either way, jotting down what you learn works.
6. Junk notebook
In a nutshell, this notebook is the junk drawer of the writing world. It’s the place where anything goes and everything is important. It’s also the place where your inner editor is not allowed. You can’t edit or pretty up this notebook, because doing so defeats the purpose. The idea is to be as messy as you want. My junk notebook is the place where I jot down the most random of thoughts in my ugliest handwriting. It’s also the place where great ideas are born.
You don’t need to have a six-notebook productivity system in order to be a productive writer. But if you’re curious about what a notebook-based productivity system can do for you, I recommend you try out any of these notebooks:
- A home and health planner to keep track of your overall wellbeing.
- A daily journal where you can jot down your private thoughts and feelings.
- A faux planner (or regular planner) to manage your monthly, weekly, or daily schedule.
- A productivity journal to get you pumped for your next writing session.
- A learning notebook to keep your notes of all the books and articles you read.
- A junk notebook to scribble anything and everything that comes to mind.
I’d love to know how any of these notebooks helped improve your writing productivity. Do you use any of these notebooks in your current productivity system? Is there a specific notebook that works well for you? Let me know in the comments!