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Organizing Within Your Moleskine

Yesterday I wrote about my sketches and thoughts I create in my Moleskine notebooks. Idea Sandbox reader John, asked how I organize what’s in my Moleskine notebooks.

I started to write and had more than a few comments… so I thought I’d make a post about it…

A few things I do with my Moleskine…

Tasks and Actions

  • Action Items – I put a square/checkbox next to action items… they could be tasks, things to look-up, or next to a book/movie I want to check out. When I later pan the book, I can see the boxes that are not checked-off an know I haven’t yet followed-up with that item.
  • Major Tasks – When there is something I need to do, and I have a large notebook and not the smaller (where I keep key tasks) I’ll write an action item in the back of the larger book. Once I get home, I can either transfer the task to the smaller book, or simply complete the task.
  • Icons – I use some key icons… a book, DVD (or movie reel), and musical notes to denote a book, movie or mp3 I want to check out. When I want to recall the books to research, I flip through and look for the book icons.

Pictured, I’ve scanned a page from one of my small notebooks. You can see how I use checkboxes, and a few of my icons.

These notes were from my last trip back to the U.S. I made a note to see “Little Miss Sunshine” and “31 Grams.” I made a note, but never bought, Ovaltine.

I called “Eric @ the bushes” (as you can see from the bush image with the x x eyes… the bushes were dead). I picked-up the book Perspective for Comic Artists and did not complete the task (at this time) of checking out Daylite Software for my laptop.

The outline around the task of “Daylite Organizer Software” is what I do before I retire a book to highlight unfinished tasks that I may want to revisit. (I actually have explored this software, so that task should be marked complete).

  • Websites/Interweb – I put [square brackets] around a URL or something I want to look-up on the internet. (I got the brackets idea from wiki interlinking).
  • Key Topics – When I make notes, they’re often inspired by something I’m reading. I will typically make reference to the book and the pages that inspired the thoughts. If I’m working on a project… “Better Brainstorming Tactics” for example, I’ll write that atop each page I write about that topic. That helps me remember and bucket ideas into sections.

General Use

  • Multiple Moleskines – I use two Moleskines at once… a small size that I always try to carry with me… and a larger one for project thoughts, client notes, and for problem solving. The smaller one contains more tasks and actions which need follow-up.
  • Page Numbering / Index – Like many Moleskine-nerds, the first thing I do when I start a new journal is to number the pages. When I finish a journal, I leave a few pages in the rear of the book for an index. I learned this trick from my Franklin planner days. When there is important information (phone number, important topic) I may need to find quickly… I’ll list the page number, and the topic on the last page.
  • Start/Stop Dates – I write the date the notebook was started and completed.
  • Book Numbering / Identification- I was using a white permanent gel pen to write the sequence of my books, but I found it isn’t permanent… I recently picked up a pack of little round numbered dots. I also threw a piece of clear tape over the number to keep it in place. It’s not very ‘clean’ looking, but works for now.I find that I’m often using two books at once. Closing out an old one, and beginning a new one. I put a sticker on the front of most of my books, but put them in different places… I know the current book has the yellow sticker on it, and the last has the round sticker on it.

Hmph… I think those are my key organizational devices. If I think of anymore, I’ll jot them in the comments section.

What works for you?

You can find more thoughts like this by searching for “Moleskine Hacks.” Check out Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders posts about Moleskine hacks and more hacks… and be sure to browse reader comments for more great ideas.

Keywords: Moleskine, organization,

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  1. Smarky
    SmarkyMarch 11,08

    Cool! I’m trying to find a system at the moment that works for me in organizing, notetaking and brainstorming. I’m yet to buy any Moleskine’s yet as i’m still figuring it out!

  2. Kelly
    KellyMarch 11,08

    Paul,

    I’m a Franklin planner person myself (actually back to Covey’s old 7 Habits planners). I could never get along without old fashioned paper and pen (with a Palm or some such) because like you, so many of my jottings are visuals, not just words. I’ve been enjoying the renaissance of low-tech taking place lately. What’s old is new again!

    Regards,

    Kelly

  3. Custom Blog Designs
    Custom Blog DesignsMarch 17,08

    I just picked up my first moleskin book the other day. It’s lined paper so I can write more neat then I usually do :) This post helped a lot for me since I need to figure out a way to be productive with it right from the start.

    *by the way, I found your blog from the LogoDesignLove website

  4. Paul (from Idea Sandbox)
    Paul (from Idea Sandbox)March 17,08

    Custom Blog Designs (is that your real name?) – Thanks so much for the post…

    Best wishes on using your Moleskine! There’s something cool about the history of them that makes them stand apart from the other journals of the same size and shape.

    They even make a style that is pre-printed with a storyboard… that may be helpful in sketching your WordPress designs!

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