227 Your Planner's Ultimate Partner: My One Notebook System

Your Planner's Ultimate Partner: My One Notebook System


In this episode, I delve into the practical aspects of my One Notebook System, a strategy I frequently advocate for helping women maintain organization in their lives. The central idea revolves around having a singular, dedicated notebook where tasks, notes, and information can be compiled throughout the week, providing a consolidated space for easy reference. I explore four primary options for implementing the one notebook system: traditional paper notebooks, digital tablets, the Rocketbook notebook, and the Remarkable tablet. Each option has its pros and cons, and I break down the characteristics of each to assist you in choosing the one that aligns best with your organizational preferences.

In this episode, I'm covering:

  • The concept of the One Notebook System
  • What options you have to use the One Notebook System
  • Overview of notetaking tools

Join the FREE One Notebook Challenge and Kiss your Notebook Clutter Goodbye

February 6-8, 2024

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Hey there. So you may have heard me talking about the One Notebook Challenge If you are listening to this podcast as it is released, and one of the things that I really lean in on in helping and helping women stay more organized is this idea of having one central place I call it my one notebook where we keep track of tasks, things, information coming at us all week long, so that it's all in one place, and then how we process it, meaning how do we then eventually go through those notes and get the information where it needs to belong? Well, when I talk about this concept of a one notebook, basically you have a kind of four options You've got a paper notebook, you've got a tablet and then two other ones that a lot of people like to use is what's called a rocket book notebook and a remarkable. So today I'm going to be breaking down those four options, some of the pros and cons, and giving you a little bit more information about each. So let's go ahead and get started.

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 an 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 there.

Welcome back to the work life harmony podcast. Now, if you've been a listener here for a while, you know that I am really passionate about simplifying how we manage all the things competing for our time and one of the ways that I really lean into this when it comes to gathering all the things, the ideas that we have notes that we might be taking when we're listening to a training. You know tasks that come at us, maybe through text messages, email, whatever. Is this idea of having one central place all day long, all week long, where you are jotting down notes? And those notes can be a variety of things Again. It could be things that ultimately turn into tasks or appointments on your calendar. It might be ideas that you have that you want to add to future plans. You may be listening to this podcast and taking notes on it, and then you want to store them for future use, and so this is why, once a year, I typically hold my one notebook challenge where I teach this idea of staying organized with one notebook. And then how do we take all the information that we put in this notebook and get it where it ultimately belongs, so that, when the time comes to reference that information, you know exactly where to go? Now, one of the questions I get a lot around this idea of staying organized with one notebook is what kind of notebook should I use?

So today I want to break down four of the most common options. I'm sure you can think of something else. There'll be something else out there that I'm not covering here today but the four options I want to walk through today and kind of give you some pros and cons of each. All four of them are great options. I'm not going to tell you one is better than the other. You're just going to need to decide that for yourself. But one is to go old school notebook, which is what I do still. Another one is to leverage your tablet. So maybe you already have an iPad or you know some kind of a tablet that you would need a pencil likely for this One of the Apple pencils or electronic pencils. And then the other two options are a remarkable notebook which is fully electronic, and then a rocket book, which is kind of a combination of paper and electronic. So I'm just going to talk briefly through each four of these, maybe share some pros and cons with it, and then, you know, let you decide which one may work best for you. So, again, paper is what I still use.

I love putting pencil on the pencil gal, pencil to paper, and so, if you're someone that really does better writing things down, a couple of things I want you to consider when it comes to deciding what type of notebook you may want to use. First of all, you know, first of all, size Is this something that you want to carry with you frequently, plopping a purse or a bag maybe keep open on your desk. Then you may not want to go full eight and a half by 11. I like to do the ones that are half size here. If you're watching the video you can see the one I'm holding up. I think it's like I don't know somewhere around like five and a half by eight or something like that. But definitely think about where this notebook, all the places you're going to have it, to make sure you're picking a size that's good for you. Also, the inside, make sure you're picking the style you like.

Some people prefer no lines where they just want blank paper. I personally like lines. So again, you may be choosing between wide rule or college rule on how big those lines are. Other notebook styles are the tiny little dots that can serve as a line or, if you like, to draw and doodle, right. So again, no wrong way. It's just deciding which one is right for you.

Now there is one recommendation I do make if you're going to do a paper notebook is I really encourage a spiral or coil bound notebook because of two reasons. One, if you like to have it open all the way, it will lay flat on any surface. If it's hard bound. Sometimes you go to open it, it won't really lay flat. And second, I really like the coil bound because I can open it and turn the cover all the way on itself to just have one piece of paper Instead of it open with both at the same time. So again, when it comes to notebooks paper notebooks really there is no wrong solution. Just find the one that works for you. I tend to get the same style over and over again. They're plain, and then I have a Cricut machine, so I like designing something fun on vinyl to put on my notebooks. Anytime I'm changing out a new one.

Now, another option people love is just leveraging your existing tablet. So I'll just say iPad. But again, if you're an Android user, there are so many tablet options out there, but I am assuming that you're going to have one of those pencils that comes with your tablet. Yeah, now, with a tablet as your one notebook, things can get a little tricky. Now I said again, I'm not going to steer you towards one or away from one. I will say I personally, and my own personal use, found out, of the four options we're covering today, the tablet to be the least friendly for me, simply because there are so many different apps available to take notes for in the tablet that it almost becomes information can get scattered all over the place. Now, there are lots of caveats for that. There is some incredible apps out there that you can download onto your tablets that serve as a notebook. Some of them if you even pay subscriptions for them will translate your handwriting into notes.

If you truly are just looking for something that's not paper but you can write with a pencil, and then you're going to what I call process it, meaning reviewing your notes and then putting the information where it ultimately is going to live at the end of each week that's typically when I recommend processing it and you're just going to pull open a blank kind of piece of paper in your tablet to take notes on. It could be a great replacement for you if you don't want to use paper. If you are already really comfortable with those written pencils, or maybe you have a Bluetooth keyboard and you like to type right onto your tablet, this could be a great solution for you. The only reason I don't do that is I'm not comfortable with an Apple pencil and I don't really keep a tablet on hand very well, and I really write a lot quicker pencil to paper Now. So we've talked about paper notebooks, we've talked about tablets. Now the next two are really gaining in popularity.

So the next one I want to talk about is the remarkable. Now, remarkable is a 100% digital solution. I remember seeing a friend writing in one once at a conference I was at, and at first glance I thought she was writing in an iPad. Then I looked closer and I was like that's not an iPad, what is that? So I was very intrigued. The remarkable really is designed to be an electronic note taking system for you, but it is so much more than that. When you write, I get, you will have a digital pencil that you write directly on with it. So it feels pretty close to writing on paper.

I find writing on the remarkable easier than writing on my tablet, and what it will allow you to do is it will convert your handwriting into type written notes. And then your remarkable integrates with a lot of different I'm going to call them storage solutions things like Google Drive or OneNote or Dropbox, so cloud based digital storage systems where you could take those notes and say, save it in the cloud so that way they are accessible on any of your other devices. I personally don't own one, so I guess not like I've used them extensively, I've just played around with them a little bit. They do come. They guarantee or they advertise that the battery life can last up to two weeks, which is fantastic.

Some other great features that come with a remarkable is if you are reading a PDF document on it, you can actually annotate on top of it. So I know one of the things for me sometimes, when I'm given a PDF, if I want to take notes on it, you know print it out right on it. Well, this gives you the ability to do that right there on your tablet and again, save all of that. And you can also read eBooks. So this could, if you're currently a Kindle user, this could actually absorb you know that's you wouldn't need to have two different devices. And then another really cool feature with the remarkable is it has its own built in organizational system so you can create folders inside of that remarkable notebook and store all these different documents there, so you can keep your notes really, really organized.

Now some cons to this. To just consider is number one it is not cheap. So I think the current cost at the time I'm recording. This is around $300. I think they have various levels of it. But again, this is an investment for sure. So just be aware of that. And, depending upon all the different places where you store information, you may still need to manually move some notes out of Remarkable into another app. So it may not integrate with all of the software systems that you use. One example is like a project management tool. So if you are using ClickUp, mondaycom, trello, it's not going to be easy for you to take notes in Remarkable and just say go create tasks for me in ClickUp, so that functionality does not seem to be there today. Again, that may be fine for you. Now, when I think about my lifestyle today, again, paper Notebook serves me well. However, if I were in a corporate setting again, I could see where a Remarkable notebook could have easily replaced my traditional Paper Notebook in a corporate setting. So if you are someone as I was again I was in corporate before Remarkables came out I kept a notebook with me that I brought into every meeting. It stayed open on my desk I probably would have, from my work-life perspective, really looked into Remarkable as a possible solution for me there.

Now the fourth one again, we've touched on Paper, we've touched on Tablets, we've touched on Remarkable. The fourth one that I see a lot of people getting excited about is a Rocketbook notebook. Now, a Rocketbook notebook is basically a blend of a Paper notebook and a Remarkable. So what do I mean by that? Well, it is an actual notebook with pages in it and you are using a physical pen. Now it has to be a specific pen. They are erasable pens and when you buy a Rocketbook notebook, it comes with one of those pens for you. The brand I use is called Friction F-R-I-X-I-O-N. So here's the cool thing with your Rocketbook notebook, you are actually a pen to Paper writing, which for me is just easier.

But now here's what's cool. I said it kind of marries a little bit of the technology with the paper. So Rocketbook notebooks do have the ability for integrating with your tech life. And when you upload, I'm just going to say upload your notes from paper, meaning you will download an app on your mobile device. I've taken pages of notes. I can open up my camera, the Rocketbook app essentially take a picture of that piece of paper and then it will do its best job to convert it into typewritten notes. Now you don't have to do that, but that is an option with the Rocketbook notebook, so it can actually try and transcribe your handwriting into typewritten notes. Now you don't have to do that, you can just keep it in a PDF style and then, similar to the Remarkable, you can choose storage destinations for your notes. So, for instance, maybe you are in a three day training class and you are taking all your notes in your Rocketbook notebook. Well, when you get home you can use the app, take the pictures and then say, hey, upload this to my Google Drive and put all my notes there. So it kind of gives you that combination of both. Now there are more features and functionality available in both the Remarkable and the Rocketbook. This is not meant to be an extensive overview of every single feature, functionality plus they're changing all the time, but I think it's interesting.

For folks that love writing on paper, rocketbook can be pretty cool. So some of the pros with this are again if you like, pen to paper, you get that feeling, but it's reusable. So here's what's the kind of finishing touch on the Rocketbook notebook. They're very thin because it doesn't come with hundreds of pages of paper, because once you have taken those pictures and uploaded everything, you take a cloth that comes with your Rocketbook notebook, put a little water on it and you can wipe all of the pages clean, which means you're not buying notebooks over and over and over again, which is really cool. Over the last year and a half in particular, they've come out with a number of different size options, which is great, and some new colors for the outside of it, which I like, because one of the cons for me when I was playing with it is I just thought they weren't very pretty and for me aesthetics matter, so I kept trying to put stickers and things like that on top of it when I was playing around with it to make it look nicer. But again, if that matters to you, just important to note that the other con, one of the challenges I have with the Rocketbook notebook is depending upon the how fast you write and where you are located in terms of humidity levels. Sometimes it takes a while for the ink to settle, and so if you're writing fast, especially if you're a lefty and it's really humid air, it could smear a little as you're writing, because the ink doesn't just set the instant that you write on it as it does with paper. So that's just something that's kind of interesting to play with. I have taken a Rocketbook notebook two conferences before where I've said, all right, I'm not even bringing my paper notebook, I'm gonna go all in on this. There were some things that I like about it, but again, for me, I just prefer the paper to pencil with my stage of life right now.

Now, at the time that you were hearing this, when this podcast episode drops, we are about to hold my free One Notebook challenge. I do this once a year, again, 100% free, and during this challenge, I actually teach you the entire One Notebook system that I use, including how to move from lots of different places into the One Notebook. And then the ultimate key on how this One Notebook system works is this what I call processing your notebook. So if you're putting all this stuff into one place, then what do we do with that? How do we get the information out and store it in all its appropriate places? Meaning, maybe I'm taking notes and some of these need to go into a task on my calendar. Maybe they need to go into the place where I store ideas for future work, maybe it's just notes on something I'm gonna wanna come back and remember like it's a how to, and so I have a certain place that I store that.

So during this One Notebook challenge, I'm gonna be teaching you all of that and then, as an added bonus, I'm gonna be doing a demo of this Rocket Notebook, so showing you how the Rocketbook notebook works. I'm not gonna be demoing a remarkable simply because I don't own one, but I think a lot of folks the last time I did this, went out and got a Rocketbook notebook and they have been loving it. So if you wanna see that in action, make sure you come over to megansumrell.com/one
notebook and you can get signed up for free. The event is going to be in February. It's just 30 minutes of training for three days and then a bonus day showing you the Rocket Notebook in action. So I hope that this is giving you some food for thought. I'd love for you to come find me over on Instagram at Megan Sumrell, shoot me a dam and let me know what type of one notebook are you either currently using or maybe thinking about switching to, based on today's episode. Have a great rest of your day.

Getting on top of all things time management, organization and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over. If you want one-tap access to all of my training and current top podcasts, go to the app store or Google Play and download The Pink Bee app. It's one word, ThePinkBee. It is jam-packed with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get you out of overwhelm and into harmony. And if you have a question you want me to cover on a future episode, go to iTunes and ask your question in the podcast review section. And while you're there, don't forget to leave a five-star review.


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