225 Stop Over Organizing with Multiple Notebooks
If you've ever found yourself drowning in a sea of notebooks, whether physical or digital, this episode is your guide to a game-changing solution. We'll explore the pitfalls of the multi-notebook approach, which often stems from ingrained habits from our school days, and discuss how it can lead to stress, overwhelm, and wasted time.
I'll introduce you to the revolutionary One Notebook system, a simple yet powerful method that will transform the way you organize your life. By tuning in, you'll discover the three essential components to staying completely organized. The magic lies not just in having these components but in implementing a proven processing system to keep your information clutter-free and prevent anything from slipping through the cracks.
In this episode, I'm covering:
- The pitfalls of over-organization
- Clutter and decision fatigue
- The power of processing
Join the FREE One Notebook Challenge and Kiss your Notebook Clutter Goodbye
February 6-8, 2024
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Hey there, welcome back to the Work + Life Harmony podcast. I have great news for you Now. If you are a long-time listener of the show, you may remember having attended one of my free One Notebook challenges. If you are new here on the podcast, then you are in for a treat. Once a year, and once a year only, I hold a live event called the One Notebook Challenge. It is completely free and in it I teach you how you can stay organized with only one notebook. Not post-it notes everywhere, not a notebook in your car, your desk, your office, et cetera. And the best thing about this, again, is that it's totally free and it is a ton of fun. So this episode I want to introduce you to the idea of what this One Notebook system is all about and why your current efforts of trying to be organized by having lots of different notebooks for different things is actually causing more overwhelm. Now make sure you listen into the end, because I'll give you all the information about the One Notebook Challenge and how you can come join me for free and learn how to stay completely organized with One Notebook.
Welcome to the Work Life Harmony podcast. I'm your host, Megan Sumrell. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner, teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife and, just like you, I'm juggling, hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time planning and organization to skyrocket your productivity so you can have work life harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you, and if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my work life harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram at Megan Sumrell with the word harmony and my team will send it right over. Hey there]. Welcome back to the Work Life Harmony podcast.
Today I want to talk about one of my favorite topics I know I say that probably about so many, but this one is super cool and it has actually been a listener favorite for many years and it is the idea of how to prevent over organizing when it comes to how we manage jotting down notes. Now I'm talking about anything from that thing that pops in your head that you don't want to forget, so you write it down on a post-it note to maybe listening to a training or a podcast and wanting to take down notes from that, right Anything and everything in between. You might even be enrolled in an online course or an in-person course that requires note taking, and one of the things that is a super slippery slope is that, in an effort to be really organized, a lot of people will tend to be over organized when it comes to having too many notebooks. All right, so today I want to be talking about what trap we can fall into when we have too many notebooks, and then I want to share with you a little bit of information about my one notebook system. That is absolutely awesome. Now make sure you stick around to the end, because I'm going to be sharing information about an upcoming live and free fun event where I'm going to be teaching you everything about this one notebook system. So let's think back.
To where does this idea that we need to have multiple notebooks stem from? I think for many of us, it stems back to being in school, where oftentimes we were told we needed a different notebook per class. Maybe it was a get one binder but then different dividers. But I know, when I think back to my school days, a lot of it was that I was expected to show up with some kind of a spiral notebook and have a different notebook for every single class. And so I think that a lot of us are kind of hardwired that every aspect of our life we think, oh, I'll get a separate notebook for that, so that way I can stay more organized.
But here's what tends to happen when we fast forward to many years later, and maybe you're at a stage of life where I am, where I've got lots of things that I'm juggling, whether it's for work, whether it's for personal, whether it's for home entertainment. All of that and what happens is in an effort to stay organized and not forget the onslaught of information that's coming at us all day long, we end up having notebooks and places to jot things down all over the place. We have a notebook by our bed, we have one in our car, we have one in our purse, we have a pack of sticky notes in the kitchen. If you have an office, you've got maybe a notebook there. Maybe you've even got a bookshelf with different notebooks for the different things that you're thinking about in your life as well, and so, over time, we end up stockpiling a ton of these.
Now, on top of this, with technology being what it is today, sometimes these notebooks actually take the form of something digital, so maybe we're taking notes in OneDrive or Google Drive or the Notes app on our phone or some kind of a list making to do this. There's a million places digitally that we might be going to store information. So I want you to take a minute right now and think about how many different places whether it's physical or digital do you use to jot down information, whether it's something you don't want to forget, something that turns into a to-do list, notes about something, ideas about something and usually when I ask this question, the response that I get back from people is a minimum of eight, and some people have shared upwards of 13 or 14. So how does this start to create overwhelm? The sheer fact of me saying I have to look in 14 places to find what I'm looking for creates overwhelm. Right, but here are some examples of what people typically run into. So all of a sudden, you're like, oh, I need to remember that thing. And then you're panicking. You don't know where did I put it. So now you're getting anxious because you can't remember which notebook or which app you stored that in. So that creates stress and not to mention wasted time in trying to run around and look in multiple places.
Now, another way that this can lead to stress and overwhelm is things often fall through the cracks, and where I see this happen the most is when somebody maybe downloads a new app or gets a new type of a notebook. They're like OK, this looks like the place that's going to totally work for me, but because it's new and you don't have any systems or reminders in place to be checking in on how to use that, what happens is things fall through the cracks. So you sit down, you're like I'm going to get organized. You put a ton of information in this new notebook or this new app and then a week later you're not using it anymore and the information that got stored in there suddenly gets lost, which can lead to things that were forgotten, missed opportunities, et cetera. Now, a third way that this can create stress and overwhelm is information tends to be duplicated in multiple places. So you've got it on that app. You've also got it written down in your maybe two different notebooks, and then you're also going and trying to write it in your planner. So we've got stuff duplicated everywhere. So then when we pull up one of those old notebooks and we see it there, we're like, oh my gosh, I have this somewhere else. Did I do it already? So then we're having to backtrack and try and figure out what's relevant and what's not.
Now, another way that this can cause a lot of problems is when the time comes for you to sit down and actually create a plan. So maybe you're doing your weekly plan or your monthly plan. If you're having to pull together eight or nine different places to go, look for information to see what actually goes into my plan for the week, holy cow, that just feels overwhelming the minute I say it, right? And then, finally, this leads to clutter, whether it's digital clutter or physical clutter. I had a student that recently joined the top program share a photo of a bookshelf that she has that had over 35 notebooks in it, because she said I'm scared to throw them away, because what if there's information in one of those that I need to keep? So again, that the underlying root of all of these problems is twofold One is we have too many places restoring information, and the second is we don't have the right systems in place to actually process and manage the information that's being stored. And all of this and this is what my one notebook system is all about.
Now I've got some great news for all of you listening here, because in February from February 6 to February 8, I am going to be hosting I only do this once a year my free one notebook challenge. It is a fun live three day event. We record everything, where I am going to teach you exactly how I stay organized with one and only one notebook. I jot everything down in there, things that pop up in my head, notes that I'm taking when I'm listening to a training, anything and everything in between. And the reason why this works is because the actual processing system that lives on the back end of this. So at the end of the day, I firmly believe because I have lived this for years and I see my students doing it as well that you only need two or maybe three, and I'll explain what those are places to store information, and it can be physical or it could be digital. So I talk about my one notebook. For me it is a physical notebook, but for other people it's digital. So if you really are in front of a computer all day long, you may choose to actually have your one repository for all your note taking to actually be, you know, an app, a piece of software, etc.
So here are the three things that you need to stay completely organized. One is your place where all those notes, reminders, all of that goes. And again, for me it's a little notebook. If you're watching the video here, I use a very small, I think it's like a five by seven. It's the style I like. I like coil bound for that, and that is where everything goes as I'm taking notes. The second thing that you need is a planner. Now, again, this can be physical, this can be digital.
But notice, these are two separate things. A notebook is the place to jot down all your ideas, brain dump stuff. Keep your brain clutter free. Your planner, whether digital or physical, is simply where you look. That tells you what you should be doing and when you should be doing it. For me, I use the physical top planner. This is the planner I designed and I use it every single day. So notice, I'm not using my notebook to tell me, okay, what am I doing today? My planner does that, all right, and inside of that one notebook challenge, I'm going to be teaching exactly how sometimes stuff that starts in my notebook does actually end up into my planner. All right, but I'm not merging them together because it would be huge, and when we just have distinct places to do certain things, it helps us stay so much more organized. So again, your place to take down all your notes, all of that which we learn how to process inside of the one notebook challenge, and then your planner, which is what tells you what you should be doing and when you should be doing it.
Now the third thing that is optional that you may have is some form of a notebook again physical or digital that serves as a journal, right. So if you are a journaler, you'll kind of think back to the third grade Dear Diary. There's so many flavors of journaling. You might have a prompting journal, you might just like. You might have a gratitude journal. You might be doing some sort of spiritual study and you want a journal for that. All right, that might be in a separate notebook. So I am a hit or miss with my journaling, but I have a separate notebook. That is where I go to sit when I am actually doing some contemplative journaling. That is not the same as a notebook or my planner.
Now, the only way that this works to keep you organized and to keep you clutter free and to prevent things from falling through the cracks is if you have the right system in place for how to what I call process your notebook. Meaning and this is again we're going to be covering all of this in the one notebook challenge, meaning that on a regular cadence for me it's once a week I am going back through my notebook and I'm reviewing everything that got jotted down in there and then I'm moving necessary information into its permanent home and it's moved there in a cleaned up, organized state. Now, again, you'll get to see all of this in action inside of the free one-notebook challenge that kicks off on February 6th. So if you want to join this, which I strongly encourage you to do, head on over to megansumrell.com forward slash one notebook. You'll actually spell out O-N-E notebook. You'll be able to sign up.
The event is actually going to be live in my open Facebook group. It'll be February 6th through 8th, it'll just be 30 minutes a day. If you can't join me live each day, you can come back later in the day and watch the recording and I am going to show you absolutely everything you need to know on how to stay organized with one and only one notebook. Now, there's one downside to this, and it means that when you're walking by that aisle in staples or office Macs or Target or wherever, and you see all those beautiful journals with maybe the color you love or the inspirational saying you love or whatever, it means that you may not be able to buy all of the journals, but I promise you this when you condense down to one notebook, I fill mine up pretty fast, which means I'm usually getting to use about three a year. So don't worry, I'm not telling you that you can never buy a beautiful new journal again, but maybe this is an opportunity for you to go through the stack of ones you've already purchased at home and put them in priority order and get a plan of attack of how you're actually going to use these. So I can't wait to see you in the one notebook challenge and help you get organized with one and only one notebook and actually prevent overwhelm Getting on top of all things time management, organization and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over.
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