I’ve written about the notebooks I use last year on this blog (and on Tumblr 4 years ago & 5 years ago ~wew~), so I figured I’d share my current arsenal of notebooks / paper-bounded products this year as well (and maybe, this will be a yearly thing!).
To be honest, being an adult has influenced my notebook usage (in a good way). I think I’ve become more specific with my priorities and work that I really have to keep things in order, hence only having a few notebooks on-hand for my ideas, planning & travel endeavours.
So, here’s a quick roundup of my current journals & paper-bound products I use on a routinal basis. :)
Notebooks have always been an essential part of my DNA. I never leave the house without at least 2 notebooks (fact). In all honesty, I’d choose my notebooks / journals over my iPhone any day. I told myself I was diagnosed with NAD (Notebook Addiction Disorder, lol) because I have over 50 notebooks here at home – from planners, tiny notebooks, hardbound journals, etc. They’re all kept in different boxes and are mostly dated per year.
I had to unearth some of them recently for a project (!) and well, the photo above consists of journals from 10 years ago. I feel old! I’ve been keeping records of my life since 2005/2006. :)
Also: For the record, Jokerman LET was very popular back then. And some trivia: I’m called “Gayle” here at home. “Abbey” sort of evolved from “Abi” in high school. Haha!
Anyway, now onto my current notebook lineup. Let’s start with IDEA GENERATION notebooks. These are what I use for daily idea dumps and whatnots on the go.
My ultimate favorite is my Midori TN in Passport Size. It’s a holder that can store notebooks, card slots, and other DIY things (but mine has notebooks only). This was an impulsive purchase (ehem, Maine!) but I don’t regret it (mind you, it’s really expensive, and way out of my budget).
Inside my Midori are 3 notebooks:
Grid notebook: adulthood stuff, and personal chronicles of my favorite events, music, other interests (top left)
Lined notebook (top left, the one with NOTEBOOK on it): social media content ideas and schedules for posts on Instagram (hehe, especially when random ideas come out of nowhere)
Plain notebook (not in photo): Idea dump for a major project. I write random things and observations in relation to said project (which is correlated to the next notebook)
By the way, I’m looking for more inexpensive refill options and so far I’ve found Moleskine and some notebook I got from Tokyu Hands in SG. I’ll check more when I get to Japan later this March.
Another notebook I’ve been lugging around for research sessions (once a week) is this random notebook I got from Jiufen in Taiwan (it’s only around PHP60!). It’s blank inside; and I list down a lot of notes from books & research materials from time to time. Pages are few too, so it’s easy to take around.
Quick tip: If you’re working on a long-term or a major project, it’s best to invest 1 full notebook for it. Keeps things organized (at least, for me)!
I have two project workbooks, both c/o Moleskine.
The first is an A5 Professional Notebook, which is for meetings, project plans & strategy drafts (top left). The page layouts are designed for optimal work performance (aka the lines are segregated / divided on some areas). I find it to be a more convenient way to outline my thoughts and filter ideas from there.
The second is an A4 Plain Workbook which I use for sketches, layout studies, and other design work (top right). I always try to fill up a page when I brainstorm / warm up, and it works every time. :)
All this time, I’ve always been on the hunt for the best work notebooks AND I think my search is over. Both these notebooks have page numbers and there’s a directory on the first page. I haven’t been on that OC level of organizing the topics yet but for the most part, I find my work to become more efficient with these two notebooks.
Note: The meeting/project notebook is different from my planner. I’ll explain later.
For my PERSONAL JOURNALING, I use an A6 blank notebook my friend from SG gave me.
No frills, it’s really just your plain ol’ notebook. I use any pen to draw, mostly fineliners, aka THE basic tool for drawing / writing. :)
Okay, let me explain why my meeting notebook is different from my planner.
For PLANNING, I use Sunday Paper’s Any Year Planner for my daily tasks & to-do lists. I used to allot a page a day for writing my schedule & checklist but I realized that I can actually fit it in smaller boxes. Saved my life.
Also, my planner has all my tasks – from personal things like “run at the gym today”, errands I have to run after, meetings and occasional lunches/dinners with friends/clients/mentors in between, little reminders I might forget, to major project work. It basically keeps things in order, so I try to allot my weekends to jot down some of my tasks for the coming week.
Also: I have a Google Calendar for projects, meetings, events, etc. which I sync with my phone.
Lastly, let’s move on to TRAVEL.
I use two notebooks for travel: one for organizing and another for painting / travel illustration. Only because I like to filter out my ideas on one and draw endlessly on the other. Also, paper quality is different.
For the former, there’s Sunday Paper’s Travel Journal (top left), designed for the OC traveler who’s always itching for the next adventure.
Quick tip: If you’re into journaling but you don’t like drawing, I suggest collecting travel ephemera (top right). I have my own collection of postcards, stickers & old tickets / receipts from trips around the world. I also have a lot of washi tape (around 10-15 rolls) that I use to decorate my journal. :)
For travel illustration, I use (2) Moleskine Watercolor Pads (in A5 & A6). I actually have all sizes (lol, but the A4 is for lettering).
The A5 / medium sized one is a recent favorite. I’ve used it to document my Scandinavia trip, and I’m allocating it for long trips that require lots of illustrating. The size is just right for me.
The A4 / small sized one is for quick road trips & random musings. I like to hand letter quotes in as well.
Okay, let’s be real. Moleskine paper is not super A+ BUT in terms of convenience, the watercolor paper quality does its job and the binding is pretty good. Also, do note that I’m not a water-heavy painter for watercolor, which is probably why paper doesn’t warp when I paint. The best part is that Moleskine’s paper is quick drying so I can easily paint on the go.
Disclaimer: I don’t do lettering on both of these pads. These are strictly for travel-related things. My lettering work requires a different type of paper.
Final things before I end this post:
I just realized I didn’t mention about writing tools. But, for the record, I use ballpens, Gtecs, My Gel pens, fineliners…basically ANYTHING that’s suitable for writing. No fancy things (except watercolor for travel illustrations). Please don’t think that you need to buy expensive materials for these things. I promise, it’s better to allot your funds for other things. :)
You can get most of these in the Philippines. Moleskine is available mostly at National Book Store, Powerbooks & Fully Booked (best to check here for the watercolor pads). Sunday Paper is available here. Midori is available at Scribe Writing Essentials (and elsewhere abroad).
I’ve chosen these notebooks/journals based on my personal preferences and its availability in my current box of “unused notebooks”. This may vary for everyone else, of course. All opinions here are solely from me. No biased comments and this is not a sponsored post. :)
Anyway, that’s it for my roundup this year. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
And, I’m curious – how do YOU keep your life organized? Your answers will be of great help for my big project. ;)