Bringing a brand new notebook home is always very exciting. The smell of the new notebook, untouched pages, and covers…pure enjoyment! But then comes the scary part of actually using that beautiful new notebook. And that is where we all sometimes fail.
We are scared that we are going to ruin it and we keep it for some special occasions that never really come.
Last year, I realized that this quest for perfection is something that actually makes us miserable and often prevents us from reaching our goals. Does it really matter if you make a mistake in your own notebook and have to overwrite some text? After all, this notebook is just for you.
What really matters is to use this notebook in a way that will help you enrich and improve your life.
So if you have those new blank notebooks lying around collecting dust, then this is the post for you. I will share some fun and productive ways you can use a blank notebook and hopefully that will inspire you to pick up a pen and start writing!
How I use my notebooks?
I personally have several notebooks that I use almost every day. I have a recipe notebook where I collect my favorite recipes. Even though everything is online now, I still prefer to write them down. My grandmas used to do that and now my mom, so I might have picked that up from them. But I really enjoy browsing through my favorite recipes and picking what to make.
I also have one notebook dedicated to blogging. I write my monthly stats, post ideas, unresolved issues, expenses, goals and so on. This one is absolutely necessary for me or I would not be able to monitor my progress or lack of it or preserve any great post ideas I see online.
I have one notebook dedicated to my translation projects. In it I write down my deadlines and clients I work with. And I also use this notebook for my daily appointments or any errands I need to run.
I even have one notebook for my kids. I write down their doctor appointments, weight, height, anything that is important to keep.
When I was younger, I adored watching sports so I dedicated one notebook for sports events I wanted to remember and I collected newspaper articles. Then I also had my personal diary throughout my high school years.
I then graduated to using a sketch notebook, where I would draw and sketch all day long.
The options are really endless and I really like that one notebook gives you absolute freedom to use it any way you want it. It is really just an empty space waiting to be used and adjusted to your needs.
For this reason, I do not like to purchase planners, recipe notebooks or any type of specialized notebooks as I find that nothing works better than a blank ordinary notebook.
15 Fun and Productive Ways to Use a Blank Notebook
1. For your business/blogging
I have two notebooks dedicated to my business and this is a really great way to track your stats, preserve your ideas, track your goals and much more. I have one notebook where I write down my translation projects, deadlines, clients, and invoices. And one notebook for my blog.
I really would not be able to make any progress without these notebooks. They keep me focused, motivated and help me grow my business.
I often add affirmations or quotes, as a way to keep my inspiration and productivity up. If you are not already using a notebook for business, then I highly recommend you to try it. I think that planners are very overpriced and they do not give you the same type of freedom as ordinary notebooks do.
2. For recipes
My grandmother kept a recipe notebook that I inherited when she passed away, and my mom also keeps her own. They are full of favorite family recipes that I adored as a child.
Today I have my own recipe notebook where I keep recipes for my kids. I hope that one day they will do the same. In a way, it is a nice memory to have of your grandparents, not to mention it is very useful to browse it when you have no idea what to cook for dinner.
3. For meal planning
You can dedicate one notebook to meal planning. This notebook would also give you a very clear picture of your eating habits and if there is anything you need to work on.
But it is a great idea to have planned meals. You will actually waste no time and you will always know what to cook and what food to buy.
I actually do not have a separate notebook for this, as I include my meal plan in my bullet journal.
4. To track your fitness
I am sure that everyone is struggling with this. We are all trying to improve our health and fitness but the best way to do that is to actually see your own progress written down on a piece of paper.
So you can create a fitness tracker that will help you come up with your own fitness plan and monitor your progress. There are beautiful examples online that you can use or you can simply create your own table and add items you want to work on every day or week.
5. For goal setting
Goal setting is extremely important if you want to reach your goals and succeed. I write my goals in my notebook, along with the daily, weekly and monthly goals and tasks that I need in order to reach my final destination.
If you do not usually write down your goals, then start doing that this year. The process of writing helps you remember your goals, preserve them and actually come up with a plan to reach them.
6. For writing affirmations/quotes
All my notebooks contain quotes and affirmations. But you can also dedicate one notebook just specifically for that.
Either way, I noticed that quotes help me feel motivated and inspired and are I always turn to them when I feel down, unproductive and stuck.
So I really recommend writing or printing quotes if you are like me and need some additional boost of inspiration.
7. As a gratitude journal
Gratitude journals are now very popular and I like the idea of making yourself aware of the good things you have in your life. And learning how to appreciate what you have achieved.
We often focus on the negative things that happen instead of the positive ones. So keeping a gratitude journal where you can write every day what you are grateful for is a really great way to keep your positive attitude up.
You can write a gratitude journal every morning, or use it both first thing when you wake up and the last thing before bed.
It is really up to you to set the dynamics and see what works for you.
8. As an expense tracker
It is really difficult to stay on top of all the bills and monthly expenses and your notebook can really help you with that. If you consistently write down all your expenses, you will have a very clear view of your finances and you will be able to take action and change your spending habits.
If you are starting a personal finance notebook with a goal in mind, make sure to write it down. Do you just want to be more budget conscious or are you saving up for something huge? Write that goal down on the first pages of your notebook. Then come up with a plan that will help you reach that goal.
9. For your hobbies
If you like to draw, knit, practice calligraphy, then notebooks can really be useful for you. They can collect your achievements and your ideas, or they can be used for practicing.
10. As a party planner
If you are someone who likes to throw a lot of parties, it might be a good idea to keep one notebook that would contain your guest lists, shopping lists, decoration ideas as well as expense trackers.
If you take your time to write down all these things once, they will help you immensely next year when you start planning the same party again.
12. As a bullet journal
This is one of my favorite ways to use a blank notebook. I keep a bullet journal that helps me organize different aspects of my life and keeps me focused and motivated.
If you have not used this type of journal before, then check out the original webpage: bulletjournal.com and read about the system. There you will find how you can organize your index, lists, and notes. But you can also check out YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and find a lot of ideas on how you can set up your bullet journal.
Start with a minimal look and setup. You can always add more things as you go along.
Related: Common Myths About Bullet Journaling
13. For brain dumping
A brain dump is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s taking a pen and getting all your thoughts out of your brain. It’s a way for you to organize your thoughts but also face the facts.
You might be worried, stressed, tired or so full of ideas that you can’t focus. I find that when I am in that state, I begin to slack with my work and my eating and fitness habits. Brain dumping is a way to let all these thoughts, worries, fears leave your mind. By writing down whatever you are thinking about you can sometimes see a pattern, problem, and even a solution.
Either way, I feel so much better once I write down all my thoughts on a piece of paper at least once a day. I highly encourage you to try this as well, whenever you are feeling stressed.
14. As a travel journal
I am a huge fan of traveling and one of the best ways to use your blank notebook would be to write your travel diary. Pretty much everyone travels with tablets and smartphones these days, but there’s still something special about writing down your memories in a notebook.
What happened on your trip? What were your thoughts and feelings? Who did you meet? Were you sad to leave?
There are so many memories I keep in my mind from exciting travel trips I took when I was younger. I now wish I had taken a notebook with me and captured my feelings and thoughts.
It would be such a beautiful way to remember what happened and how I felt about it.
15. For your kids
I have one notebook dedicated to my kids. And in it, I write down everything from their weight and height to doctor’s tips and advice, along with their obligations and appointments.
I sometimes write down my ideas for their gifts, birthdays they attend and so on. Sometimes life with kids can get a bit overwhelming and it is a good thing to keep all this information organized in one notebook.
But if you use a bullet journal, you can also include that information there so you do not have to use multiple notebooks.
I hope that this post gave you some fun and productive ways you can use a blank notebook. In this digital world, we seem to write less and less. And I find that the process of writing is soothing, it helps reduce stress and anxiety and can also help you be more organized.
Feel free to share in the comments below your best tips on how you like to use your blank notebooks. I personally do not like to keep blank notebooks on my shelves.
If I purchase a notebook, I buy it with the intent and I know exactly how I am going to use it. Otherwise, it becomes a useless thing in my apartment that just takes up space.
So sit down and really think of the ways you can use your notebooks. You might be surprised how this little thing can enrich and improve your life in so many ways.