The Power of a Notebook

One of my favorite notebooks – Laurel Burch designs always make me happy.

You may think I’m going to talk about the famous Nicolas Sparks movie that everyone loves and correlate it to everyday life. But, no.

I’m talking about the power of keeping a notebook by your side, everywhere you go, to record your thoughts, ideas, learning points, motivational quotes, dreams, goals and connections.

The power of a notebook is simple and yet so profound. If you carry around a small pad with you everywhere you go, nothing you ever think, hear or say is lost to you. You never have to worry about whether it will come back around again or what happens if you forget it completely. It’s there – in ink. Until you decide to deal with it.

And I am a big believer in carrying one with you to meetings, keeping one on your desk, in your car, in your purse, on your nightstand – everywhere you may need one in case something sparks.

And don’t forget the ‘dealing with it’ part. It’s not enough to keep writing things down. You have to do something with them or those ideas are no good to you.

So here’s an example of what’s in one of the notebooks that I carry around:

Notes from a Women Entrepreneurs’ meeting in May about the Imposter Syndrome, minutes from a board I serve as Secretary, notes from a conference call for a client, ideas for speakers for my podcast, Just 5 Minutes blog ideas, a couple of quotes and some personal goals. In another notebook, I keep notes on books I am reading and books I want to read during the month. (yeah, bookish girls make monthly book goals).  The notebook by my bed ensures I remember dreams or other thoughts and ideas I have while I am just waking up or about to go to sleep.

I also write Morning Pages every morning  and sometimes have ideas while I am journaling (I have done Morning Pages, inspired by Julia Cameron’s work for over 10 years – see here for more).  But I can’t keep them in that space because I’d have to remember what day I had the idea. I simply transfer the idea to the notebook that’s the best fit and I’m all set.

What happens to those notes? I pull out and file the Imposter Syndrome notes to use for clients or for a future workshop topic. I type out the board minutes and mark them as done. I act on the conference call notes, speakers, and blog ideas.  I make the quotes into Memes for social media and I transfer the personal goals to my planner if they are a monthly goal or to my year-long plan if they are long-term.

Notes can also be delegated to someone else – staff, friends, family members, colleagues – whoever might be able to execute a task or move an idea into production.

If you review the notes and decide you really don’t want to do anything with that idea, you have a couple of options: discard it forever or give it to someone else who might want to act on it. That’s easy for me because I often think of ideas that will help my clients and this is a great way for me to remember those ideas between sessions.

Personally, I collect notebooks so that I’m never without one when I need it most. The prettier they are, the more I love them. I have small ones, larger ones, spiral bound and staple bound. They don’t have to cost a lot. I’ve even found some cute little notebooks at the Dollar Store or in Target’s dollar bins.  Some of mine have gorgeous, textured or leather-bound covers. Others are plain and perfect in their simplicity.


Just a few of my current notebooks.

If this sounds like it will work for you, pull a notebook out of your supply cabinet or junk drawer. Or go pick one up at the store. And start recording those ideas that come to you while you are driving, eating or sleeping. You’ll be glad you did.

(And for those who don’t like the paper and pen kind of notetaking, use an app like Evernote or the Note pad on your phone. You can also record notes on your voice memo recorder as well. Just make sure you have it nearby when the inspiration strikes.)



Everyone Deserves a Chance to Fly

This blog was posted originally on another site August 20, 2007. On May 7th, 2011, we watched as our Megan crossed the stage to receive her Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens University of Charlotte.

I’ll tell you about her four year adventure in an upcoming post. For now, join me in remembering the day we parted, and celebrating the end of a journey that came to pass so much more swiftly than we could have imagined!

Everyone Deserves a Chance to Fly

We’ve anticipated the day we’d have to leave Megan at Queens and make the long walk back to the car without her. Sometime in May, Megan and I started the grieving dance and talked about how much we would miss each other.  I’ve been planning activities that will keep me busy through the end of the year.  “I’ll have more time to scrapbook after Megan leaves,” I’ve told myself for the past several months.  “I’m going to sign up to take some online classes as I’ll have much more time after Megan leaves.”  In an effort to give myself something to look forward to this week, I saved a few magazines to read when I returned home.  I started a very long and involved novel that doesn’t contain mothers or daughters, stories about rites of passage, college campuses or poignant moments when people realize the value of familial relationships.  And when Blockbuster offered me a free trial of their new mail-order DVD program, I jumped at the chance to lose myself in a couple of movies a week so as not to notice how quiet the house would become without the Princess in the castle.  So, how’s that workin’ for me?

Despite the fact that Megan has left us little post-it notes throughout the house that say “Megan misses you,” I have done remarkably well.  If I was so inclined, I suppose I could convince myself that she’s just gone off for a few weeks to visit her dad or that Barnes and Noble has increased her hours.  Denial is a place I tend to visit often, it’s true.  But today when I signed on to MySpace, I discovered a comment left by my baby girl. I excitedly clicked on her page to send a loving, sentimental tome right back only to find that her page now says she’s a “Female, 18 years old, Charlotte, North Carolina.”  I took a sharp intake of breath and a lump formed in my throat.  “NO!” I screamed.  “She’s still my baby!  I’m not ready!”

Too late.  She’s already made many friends, played poker till dawn, crazy-danced to 80s music, eaten smores by the fire pit, and spent $300 for books.  I wouldn’t take that away from her for anything in the world.  In the midst of one very brief but emotional phone call back before the fun-filled orientation activities began, she questioned whether she would fit in at this school.  Part of me wanted to say, “ Megan.  You won’t.  We’ve made a terrible mistake leaving you there and I have turned this truck around and we’re coming back to get ya!”  But in reality, she’s right where she belongs.

Megan gazed at the statue of the Goddess Diana in the courtyard of Queens University of Charlotte for the first time when she was nine years old.  Since then, her paths, dreams, interests, our conversations, her academic performance, test scores, applications and interviews – everything has come together into a perfect synergy. The Universe has spoken – our Megan is right where she needs to be.   And true to her reputation, Diana will protect our daughter for the next four years.  Megan is in the hands of the Great Mother now.

What exciting adventures await our little one?  I can hardly wait to find out.