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Brains! The 'Brain Book' Journal

My brain book is quirky. I’ve tried journaling to record life events, a prayer/devotional journal, even a love journal that my husband and I passed back and forth between us. But now, quirky is the word!

According to David Allen, author of Get Things Done, your brain works its creative and innovative best when you clear the clutter of remembering all the minutia that fills everyday life.

As a professional organizer with a variety of clients and organizational services it’s important to keep track of my client’s needs and the strategies to meet those needs. And as an entrepreneur it’s important to network like crazy and meet many new (and fascinating) people every week. I’m also old enough to be in the “sandwich” generation, which means my life is filled with the happenings of adult children and an aging mother.

I need a journal that can keep ME organized with enough flexibility to encompass ALL of my activity – I call mine my “Brain Book” with a nod to Allen’s quote, “Your brain makes a lousy office.”

I’m old school enough that I still take notes on paper (in my brain journal) when I talk with clients. I want to build relationships and really listen to their concerns and needs – and I can’t do that on my phone. My journal is a conglomerate of notes, ideas, contacts, passwords, events, etc. I typically use a 5x7 inch spiral bound lined notebook. It fits in my purse and the pages tear out if I need to pass notes or share paper. If you record your life on sticky notes, a brain book is a great transition -- just gather your notes each day and stick them on a page. Leave room for additional notes as you need them.

I date each new day, but only write on page fronts, leaving the left side for additional notes at the end of each day. During the daily review, I transfer information to my digital to-do list, calendar, and password manager. When a journal is full, I review all the pages one more time before I archive it in a file box with the others.

Since each 100-page notebook will serve for about 90 days, I like to list my 90-day goals up front. Each new journal starts with a date, quick reference information, and any actionable ideas that still need to be brainstormed or mind mapped. Instead of a divided notebook, I use the small, durable sticky notes to create tabs if I feel like I need to mark a section of the notebook for later. Otherwise, I start at the beginning and just add to it page-by-page.

My brain journal is a mess, but it works for me. I’m wrapping up a notebook this week, so here’s a list of the types of things I’ve posted in THIS journal:

· 90-Day Goals

· Notes from meetings

· Random things I remember when I’m supposed to be listening to a speaker

· Sticky name tags so I don’t wear them out of a meeting

· Grocery lists

· Gift ideas

· To-Do lists

· Errands in geographic order

· Brainstorming

· Mind Maps

· Sketches – usually frogs

· Doodles

· Penmanship Practice – a, b, c, d . . .

· Addresses and directions and maps

· Assessment results (Strengths Finder)

· Contact information

· Names and pronunciation clues

· Organizations and what they do/need

· Shopping sites to check out

· Marketing ideas and reminders

· Math

· Things to look up – are sidewinders poisonous snakes?

· Upcoming events

· People to call

· Stuff to deliver

· Documents to forward

· Random thoughts

· Funny quotes

· Inspirational quotes

· Event planning details

· Agendas with timing for future meetings

· Web page ideas

· Video ideas

· Creative writing based on client’s pet antics

· Measurements for furniture

· Measurements for hanging pictures

· Questions for doctor visits

· Email addresses

· Vision statements

· Ice breaker ideas

· Presentation notes

· Presentation outlines

· Call notes with utility and service providers

· Prayers

· Needs that I can meet

· Recipes

· Health hacks

· Insights – Aha!

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