Tip Tuesday #3 – My Handy Dandy Notebook

Let’s start this off by saying, yes, I’m a Mom and so yes, I do know that this title references a popular children’s tv show from the early 2000’s that featured a blue dog. Even though my kids never watched the show the phrase has stuck with me from my high school babysitting days and when I started to write about this tip it’s exactly what came to my mind. And for your reference, in this post and all if something has an * after it that means it’s an affiliate link which you can read more about on my affiliate/links page. So, with that out of the way, let’s move on to today’s tip.

3 - Tales of a Peanut Tip Tuesday - Handy Dandy Notebook

This tip may seem obvious but I’ve found that if I don’t purchase a specific “car notebook” and pen that I’ll remember to take my notebook with me to carpool line one day but then take it inside for work the next morning and forget to put it back in the car. Then I’m stuck sitting and waiting on school to get out for 15-30 minutes with nothing to do but surf Instagram. And, lets face it, I need to do less of that during my day, not more!

So what I’ve done is purchased a specific car notebook and pen. Sometimes I like to have a sketch book because it is full of blank pages. Sometimes I go with more of a journal type book. But, regardless of what type of notebook I have, I keep it in the car. When I fill up a page or am ready to go in and need the paper for work inside the house, I just tear the paper out. It either gets converted into a design on the computer and then I toss the initial sketch or I punch holes in it and put it in my idea binder to reference at a later date.

And I don’t know about you, but if I don’t have a pen that I like in the car with me, I might as well not have a notebook because trying to sketch or write ideas down with a sub-par pen is just not worth it to me.

What Can I Do In That Time?

Some of you might be thinking that this time is too short to accomplish anything of importance. To you I first suggest that you immediately go purchase Jessica Turner’s book The Fringe Hours* and then come back to the post.

For those of you who want to take advantage of that time but don’t know what to use it on, here are some things that I do while waiting in the carpool line.

  • Brainstorm blog post ideas
  • Search online for applicable quotes to use in future posts and write them down so that I don’t lose them
  • Sketch out a new worksheet layout
  • Write an outline of an email for my email list [Psst… you should sign up!]
  • Mentally go through your product and supplies inventory and write down what you need to reorder soon
  • Think up new marketing strategies
  • Make a list of things to do for an upcoming project

The list is really endless and depends on what type of business you run, but taking advantage of that small window of time is important when you’re pressed for time. And you’ll be surprised at home much you can actually accomplish in those few minutes!

What Do I Use?

While I pointed out that you can use whatever you want, as a starting point I want to share some products that I love and rotate through as my car notebook and pen/pencils.

  • Strathmore 9×12″ Sketch pad* [or possibly a kids version that I picked up on sale at Target like this Melissa and Doug sketchpad*]
  • You can’t go wrong with a Moleskine notebook* but they do make tearing out pages harder
  • I have a May Designs notebook from when I took the InDesign Field Guide class and it’s really nice to write in because it’s not too small and not too big and the pages have a dotted grid already so it’s perfect for sketching and taking notes
  • If I’m in a pinch I go to my old stash of half-used Five Star notebooks* and take one in the car until I can get the store, or get on Amazon, and purchase a new notebook
  • My favorite colored pens for sketching designs and writing notes are Le Pens*
  • I also sometimes take a pencil bag full of colored pencils* and fine tip Sharpie’s* if I know I’m going to be doing mostly sketching
  • And I know this will sound weird but my favorite pens are the ones that come in sets of 3/$1 from the Target Dollar Spot!

If there’s something else you do while waiting in the carpool line I want to hear it! I don’t spend every carpool day working but a lot of them I do because it’s good time to make notes and sketch.

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