What is the best method for organizing all of your ideas, notes, and schedules when you are running your own business? Well, today I’ll tell you my notebook process so that you can learn about what has helped me.
This is my process that I use to keep track of all the books and projects that I am working on.
I use Asana as my project management software to track the big and small project tasks and assign myself deadlines. But I still make use of good ole fashioned pen and paper notebooks for my day-to-day processes. I have been asked by people if all of this is redundant, and I’m sure I could put every single thing into Asana. But there are some micro and macro processes that I keep offline. I am going to go over each and tell you a bit about how these processes have evolved. For those of you who are creative entrepreneurs who are looking for a better way to keep track of everything that you are working on, I think this can help you.
Big picture/big projects/big notebook
-Back at the beginning of 2019 when I started really treating my business like a business and not a hobby, I started doing a weekly business review with my husband. This was a retrospective of the previous week and what I accomplished and what I missed on. And it was also a look ahead to the upcoming week for what I knew needed to happen as well as what I wanted to move forward. I started using my 8.5 x 11 lined notebook for this and then I ran out of pages and got a new one. In addition to continuing to use this for my weekly business reviews, I also use this for big picture planning. A few months ago when my computer died and I had more than a full work-day without a computer, I used that time to brainstorm and plan what I wanted for the year ahead. My notes on my revenue stream and structure for how I would accomplish those goals, go in the big notebook. As I talked to peers to learn from them or when I was taking a Masterclass I would put all of those notes in the big notebook.
Agendas and Project Call Notes
-My second notebook is for agendas and project calls. I am working on a lot of projects and I work with different clients so I put my call notes in this notebook. I always try to plan ahead for every call. If they set the agenda, I review it and make notes. If there is no distributed agenda, I am still writing down what I want to go over so that we can make the most of that time. I will have my agenda at the top of that given page with the date of the call and then below I will have my notes for the call. Back when I was in middle school we all had to do a learning assessment about “what kind of learner are you?” I found that I learn best when I hear something and then write it down. So even if the call is to update me on something that I will later capture in Asana, I still write it down here because I know I am more likely to remember it.
Process and Daily Checklists
-I live and die by my checklists. I have said before that you can tell how stressed I am by the level of detail in my checklists. When I feel like I have a lot going on I will write down a daily checklist that is separate from Asana. Asana has all the little tasks and sometimes I will put something in there for marketing or research that I know I should do and I need to put a date on it so it pops up. But when that day comes around I may have other priorities. So my daily checklist becomes a priority list for that day. I also use this as process checklists. When I need to be thoughtful in my reviews or edits I know I can put 30 minutes of dedicated focus in before I need a break so these checklists help me to stay focused and get the next chapter done.
My very tattered, very chunky book ideas notebook is always with me. If I get a bit of scenery or character dialog I will write it in here. That way I don’t lose that idea. I always always always have this with me so I’m not stuck trying to remember something. The few times I have forgotten it and had to email myself a reminder, those reminders get lost in my inbox. I always have a separate book ideas notebook.
What is your process for staying organized as an entrepreneur? Let me know, maybe it will help me pare down this stack.
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