At the turn of the new year, I wanted to experiment with a new notebook set-up for planning, journaling, and note-taking. The intended set-up had two major parts: At-Home Analog and Analog Carry. The first month of using these systems hasn't been perfect, but it has been pretty interesting. I intended to utilize four notebooks: The Slice Planner and Field Notes for my analog carry, and the Hobonichi and Moo Notebook for my At-Home Analog.
Here's an update on how each notebook is holding up and how it has been used:
Field Notes: One Lunacy Edition Completed and One Drink Local Started
State of the Notebook: Because I carry my Field Notes primarily in a cover, my Lunacy edition doesn't have quite as much damage to the cover as it might otherwise. But make no mistake, Field Notes look even better after they have been used than they do brand new.
Using the Notebook: I carry this Field Notes notebook everywhere I go. Running errands, going to dinner with friends, job interviews, weekend trips, etc. I've used it for shopping lists, jotting down random phone numbers, writing a quick note in the car. The notes in this little notebook are not pretty. The handwriting is messy and rarely stays within the lines. Some of the pages even got wet and washed some of the writing away. None of that really matters. Anything I need to write down that doesn't go in one of my other notebooks goes in here, and the beauty of that is that I always know where those random notes are. Early in the month I wasn't using the Field Notes much, but it's picked up as the month went on. Safe to say I'll continue carrying this.
The Slice Planner: Utilized 10/31 Days
State of the Notebook: The softcover planner insert is holding up well. I am enjoying the paper with a variety of tools from pencils to gel pens to Mildliner markers to fountain pens. It's no Tomoe River or Rhodia, but it is very nice paper and perfect for the intended use in my opinion. The leather cover looks like it took a beating and honestly, it doesn't really bother me one bit. It looks used, and that's because it is. If anything, I wish they would have made the two ribbon bookmarks a little more fray-resistant.
Using the Notebook: I utilized ten two-page spreads during the month of January. This might not seem like much, but this might have been the most effective analog tool I used all month.
Currently, I spend three days a week working in a clinic. On these days, where work plus commute consumes 9-10 hours of my day, the Slice Planner seems like overkill. Working in a clinical setting doesn't always afford itself to the luxury of forward planning. You show up ready to go, and the patients dictate the day. The predictable spontaneity of that type of day is what I love about working in a clinic, but also means I don't really need to plan those days hour-by-hour. This is why I need an undated planner. I don't feel pressured to use it when I don't need it, and when I come back to it- I can pick up right where I left off.
On the two days a week I am working on my PhD either on campus or from home, the Slice Planner is perfect. It allows me to sit down the night before (or sometimes the morning of) and make a visual summary of my upcoming day. This quickly shows me how much time I do or do not have to complete everything I need to tackle for that day- and that awareness helps me prioritize. The two-page spread gives me space to make to-do lists, and even take important meeting notes that are related to those to-dos.
The final thing I have been utilizing the planner for is tracking/ reflecting on how my day actually goes in comparison to how I planned it. I write little notes out to the side of the visual Chronodex- items I completed, distractions that kept me from my work, and unexpected things that came up. Maybe the greatest benefit of making these notes is showing how frequently and severely I overestimate how much I can get done in one day. Things almost always take longer than I planned on them taking.
Also of note, the app has not been released yet, so I haven't had a chance to try anything related to those set of features yet.
Hobinichi: Utilized 27/ 31 Days
State of the Notebook: Watercolors make for a few crinkly pages, and I went a little too crazy on one page and ripped it a little. It doesn't close flat the way it did when it was brand new but otherwise it's the same as it always was. My biggest #hobonichiproblem is that I'm too impatient to let the ink dry. There's at least one smear on almost every page.
Using the Notebook: Not every Hobonichi day was completed on the day of the actual dated page, but most were completed +/- 48 hours of the actual date. I haven't quite settled into a habit of when and how I use this little notebook, but so far I love it. Some days it's a quote, some days a sketchnote of my day, some days swatching new art supplies, and some days a few simple sentences about my day. I would classify most days as having a "things I want to remember about this day" theme. If I didn't have much time on a particular day, I simply sketching things out in pencil and went back later when I had more time to add ink, watercolors, or colored pencils.
Some days my sketches and short writing seemed a little trivial, and I haven't quite figured out what I most want to document. But, flipping back through the pages for the whole month- I'm really glad that I did them. Somehow in retrospect, they have additional meaning.
MOO Notebook: Writing completed on 6/31 Day
State of the Notebook: This notebook looks almost the same as the day I got it because 1) I keep mostly at home in the sleeve it came in, and 2) I have only written in it six times. I say almost the same because I did spill a drink ALL over the notebook the one time I took it in the car with me. Interestingly, even though it soaked the cover and left a bit of a stain, NONE of the insides are damaged in any way. I don't know if this is a particularly water-resistant notebook, or if that was extremely good luck, but I love this notebook way too much to try that experiment again.
Using the Notebook: Wah-Wah. This one didn't quite pan out, and that is mostly due to the fact that I really want to utilize this writing time first thing in the morning. This just in: I'm still not a morning person. But, I can say that the days I did take the time- there is no doubt in my mind the writing was good for me. It's still something I want to incorporate more. Even writing 20% of mornings is better than any month last year. Here's to baby steps.