Curious Realizer - Notebook and Paper Palooza
Starting 2023 by talking about some changes to my ever morphing Wall of Notebooks (TM) and Palace of Paper (TM)
If you’ve been reading this newsletter for even a short time you’ve probably figured that I like notebooks a lot. I don’t cathect with notebooks (or vice versa as far as I know, most of them probably have a hate on me for the things I’ve done to some of their kin) but I do enjoy them. Probably more than most people.
During the past year I’ve done a lot of work with my set of notebooks. In The Curious Notebook Expo post I described the set of notebooks I had on the go at that time. I’ve refined and updated the system a bit and so I thought I’d start 2023 with an update on the following aspects:
My revised set of regular notebooks
An update on how I’m maintaining my commonplace book(s) going forward
A quick update on journaling, I have an exciting milestone coming up in a few months
As a bonus I’ll also give a short update on my Zettelkasten, which is another paper based system that I’ve used for tracking information
Updated Curious Notebook Expo
To summarize a previous post, I described the 10 notebooks that I was using on a regular (or semi-regular basis):
Commonplace Books 2 and 3
Scratching and Rough Drafts
Media Consumption Book
How About This Notebook Duo (one Planner, one Bullet Journal for noting activities after they’ve happened)
Here’s the new Wall of Notebooks (TM) for 2023:
A new Leuchtuurm1917 journal for 2023. I have recently finished the 2022 journal, a single L1917 for the entire year.
NEW - Master Life Index notebook
This is something new that I’m trying after discovering the Dingbats* Earth series. I’ve retired the old Collections notebook and the old Health/Fitness/Habits notebook and moved their contents into this Master Life Index. I also added a few new categories of information that I need to track regularly to help manage my personal life. I’ve consolidated some other notebooks into this spiffy new one.
The idea is that this notebook will contain evergreen information that I’ll use for years. I’m going to talk more about the Dingbats* Earth series in a future post because I really like how they are structured.
NEW - Commonplace Book 1
More about this below!
Scratching and Rough Drafts
There will always be at least one of these going forward. Sometimes several since I have some partially used notebooks to finish.
How About This Notebook Duo (one Planner/Material Development notebook, one Bullet Journal for noting activities after they’ve happened)
Still going! Although perhaps I should consolidate these into a single notebook in the future, maybe have one per year.
NEW - Habits Tracker
I’m working on building good habits and removing bad habits in 2023 so I’m going to track this in a separate notebook.
I started using this a bit again this year for my 30 day logo design challenge.
Media Consumption Book
I haven’t updated this one for a long time, I need to rethink this one. This one might be due for an overhaul, possibly even converting it to electronic format (not a small task that…)
So that’s down to nine regularly used notebooks… (actually, seven plus two that I rarely use).
Commonplace Book(s) Update
I’ve previously written about the commonplace book(s) that I use. I’ve decided to standardize on B5 sized hardcover notebooks (currently using the Leuchtuurm 1917 B5 notebook for this). I like the larger page size for pasting clippings, making notes, etc. After reviewing my two existing commonplace books I decided to reorganize the material and put it into a single B5 notebook (now called Commonplace Book 1). This is now largely complete and I like it much better!
I’ve written about my journaling practice before. On my next birthday in late May 2023 I’ll have made 2000 consecutive daily journal entries, which is pretty cool and motivates me to keep going! So I’ll be writing at least a half-page entry per day going forward, maintaining my current streak.
I used a Leuchtuurm 1917 A5 sized notebook as my journal and was able to put a full year’s worth on entries in it. This notebook has 251 pages so I had to squeeze 2 or 3 days of entries onto a single page in a number of cases. This frugality paid off later on as I was able to create a lot of 1 or 2 page entries towards the end of the year.
I’ll use another L1917 notebook of the same size as my 2023 Journal but I bought some additional small notebooks to supplement it if I’m more verbose in 2023.
I started a Zettelkasten project in mid 2022 - it was one of the things that helped provide a framework for How About This in the first couple of months. I believe I have at least 120 double-sized index cards to date with information about some of the books that I’ve read.
I haven’t created new cards in a couple of months. It feels like this was just a fad or phase that I was following. I’ll certainly keep the cards and may add to them from time to time but I’m not sure that atomicity (the idea of restricting each card to a single piece of information) is something that I want to keep working on. I like commonplace books better, at least for now.
On the other hand… I have a ton of index cards that are unused so I need to figure out some use for them…
So that’s the latest on my notebooks and related things. I’ll probably update this once per year.
Over to you: how are you using paper and/or notebooks in 2023?
If you love reading about notebooks, paper productivity, etc., this is probably a good newsletter to subscribe to!