Try a Sketchbook for a Notebook this Year

Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s something innovative that’s really easy to try for 2019 that might give you a little momentum to do some other things you want.

Get yourself a sketchbook that has only blank pages and substitute it for your notebook at work, school, or wherever you take notes.

Those lines in a ruled notebook are like prison bars for your mind! They prime you to set things in a certain way, limit you to do some things and not others, and may even force you to fit things in where they don’t or shouldn’t. How are you supposed to think openly, creatively, innovatively, starting out like that every time you pull out your notebook? When you are working small, you think small. What realistic expectations would you expect for yourself if you work within those confines all the time?

If those expectations were satisfactory, then, please, ignore my suggestion. But if not, you might want to consider it. Even if your organization wouldn’t support the idea to buy you a sketchbook instead of a notebook, take the $10-ish risk to get your own.

I’ve had a sketchbook for over half a year now as an experiment and were it not for work sensitive content, I’d love to show you the difference! In a job where I don’t use schematics much, there are some crazy diagrams! There are blackboard like pages of algebra derivation that you’d never see in my previous ruled notebooks where pages were essentially short sentences and paragraphs. There are boxed checklists everywhere, and the colours… man, the colours! I only ever carry one pen colour now when I forget to carry more than one pen colour! The possibilities a sketchbook opens up to your are amazing, not to mention drawing things help you remember things better like the article I tweeted below suggests. But it is ultimately the creative possibilities a sketchbook opens my mind to that is the appeal. The memory thing is just a nice bonus for me, but it may be key for you.

You should also make the switch digitally even though the surface of a word processing document is all white. Things are even more constrictive there because your default go to is either a keyboard, or spoken word, neither of which translates well to drawing, diagrams, brainstorming, reiterations, etc. A stylus and a digital blank page may or may not be better than a notebook because you can’t write really small with a stylus unlike a pen on a page. You’ll have to summarize some things to their essences. That could be great, but could be distracting in the moment. Maybe someone can try and let me know!

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