Several people have asked me about my analog notes (or #scrapnotes) and so I imagined if there were a few that were intrigued… I might share the info with the edusphere. I am a huge fan of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle and the idea of Starting with the Why. I didn’t just magically start sketch noting in analog. There were a few fortuitous things that sort of led me there: 1) I saw a HS student bullet journaling in class 2) a fellow colleague started analog sketch noting and 3) I saw Austin Kleon speak at Book People about journaling on his tour for his “Steal Like an Artist” journal.
Brace yourself… if you are really ready to journey down this rabbit hole… you have to find your why. Yes, several paths converged here… but I was also finding that the notes I typed from professional developments I never really returned to and that I did very little with the highlights from books I read. To be fair, previous to having my boys, I did journal daily and loved to scrapbook. Both of those practices were one of the first things to fall by the wayside when adulting and child-rearing became front and center. Sadly, I didn’t realize how beneficial those practices were to my comprehension, metacognition, and mental retention until I took up the practice again.
It started with one LEGO Moleskine journal and some basic bulleted or transcribed notes. As any practice goes, the more I took notes and transcribed notes in this fashion, the better I got and the more beneficial I found them to be. I also noticed that when I was taking notes in analog, I was less distracted. Because I can’t write as fast as I can type, this process also forced me to slow down and really focus on which pieces of the content matter most.
So before you unleash the power of the bottle marked #ScrapMe… ask yourself a few of these questions:
- Retention: Do I remember information better when I type it or handwrite it?
- Accessibility: Do I have info from professional developments or books I read that I would like to retain, use, and keep handy? (Research)
- Organization: Do I enjoy making lists and thrive on a planner? (Research)
- Creative Crafter: Do I like visuals and craft supplies?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this rabbit hole might just be for you. I started with a simple notebook and then evolved to 3 or 4. The idea of bullet journaling is essentially the convergence of a To-Do List, Planner, and Diary. For me #scrapnotes is the convergence of a Journal, To Do List, Notebook, and Scrapbook. I am fully aware that this idea and process takes time to develop and that one blog post will certainly not do it justice… so be expecting more topics in the series.
Normally, if I was following Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle to the letter of the law, I would move to the How. But, honestly, it is difficult to understand the process without choosing the platform. In this case, I wanted to share 3 different types of notebooks and present you with their features. If this is something you really plan on investing time into, then I would also invest the money… nothing crazy… I just wouldn’t use a $2.00 mimsy (flimsy and miserable) spiral notebook… I would consider purchasing a $15-$20 notebook for longevity purposes. All 3 of the ones I mention below include these feature must-haves:
- Durability: a hard cover
- Size: are about 8 inches by 5 inches
- Cinch: boast an elastic band to keep everything safe
- Enhancements: a bookmark ribbon, and an envelope in the back of the back cover for storing odds and ends
- Pages: I prefer blank or dotted pages… never lined. In my book (pun intended)… these are total essentials.
Now that I have perfected my process, I typically have 3 notebooks going at a time (e.g. one for ideas, one to summarize books I read, and one to take notes in professional developments). I wouldn’t have known that this is how I wanted to organize them until I just started with one. So know that your first one may look like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum had a hey day with it… and well that is okay. 😉
Now on to brand preferences… I have created an interactive version here.
- Moleskine: These are great because they come in so many fun themes from Retro Cassette Tape and Toy Story to Batman and Game of Thrones.
- Behance Action Journal: I have one of these in every color. They are fantastic for professional development as they include an Action Steps list on the right side which makes it easy to jot down action items or to do’s based on what you have learned. Did I also mention they come in like 5 different colors? The pages are thick enough that you can write on both sides which is also a perk! (Note: this item is one of the few that is more expensive on Amazon than on its site – I buy direct from Behance and just buy 3 at a time and pay the shipping. They sell for $17.50 each on Behance and shipping is typically $10. Amazon retails them for $27 each.)
- Luechtturm1917: I recently tried my hand with this one AND it is quickly becoming my favorite for book summaries. The pages are blank BUT they are all numbered and it includes a table of contents at the beginning. Yes, I realize that I could very well number my own pages… but honestly… if it is done for me… that is a great perk (and time-saver)! Did I also mention that it comes in 16 different colors?
- **Passion Planner**: As I am doing a blend of sketch noting, scrapbooking, and note-taking, I use blank notebooks. I should mention that I also use a Passion Planner for day to day scheduling and planning. This is in addition to the notebooks listed above. I divulge this… mainly because some people that bullet journal use their notebook as both a planner and a note-taking device and that just never worked for me (not to mention I don’t have time to draw out weekly calendar spreads… though I appreciate all of the amazing people that do this and share these on Instagram – they are truly a thing of beauty).
I should also mention that both the Moleskine and the Leuchtturn1917 have slightly thinner pages than the Behance Action Journal. I suppose you could write on both sides… but I prefer not to so I end up doing some sort of #scrapnotes (stay tuned on more ideas how to purposefully embellish your own pages) on one side of the page.
If you are like me, I lost you on the notebooks and you have already started adding these items to your Amazon cart. Oh my! I found a Leuchtturm in Lemon, Lime, and Emerald… and… I digress. Before you get any curiouser and curiouser… I hope you are able to get two things from this post… 1) decide if #bulletjournaling or #scrapnotes is for you and 2) select the best notebook to meet your needs.
MY PROCESS and PORTFOLIO
The next few blog posts will touch on ideas, organization, resources, process, planners, supplies, and more. If you are hungry to dive right in… I did leave you a wee snack… my new Instagram, account… Notechef4u (which houses my sample #scrapnotes and #bulletjournals).
I am nothing if not thorough… so I also curated a board of 180+ examples, resources, and bite-size morsels of research. Hoping these tide you over till the next installment. 😉
WHERE WILL TECHCHEF BE NEXT?
If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know more about her speaking history or professional development portfolio… visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email firstname.lastname@example.org.