20 Ways To Use Notebooks To Boost Your Productivity, Creativity, and Performance

Who doesn’t love a brand new notebook? All those blank pages hold so much possibility, but how best to use them to get meaningful results for your life?

The truth is, your notebooks can become far more than a collection of random scribbles. Pick any of the 20 ideas on this powerful list and you’ll turn your habit for note-taking into a practice that unlocks your potential, unleashes creativity, and helps you become your best self.

Here’s how…

 1. Capture ideas

Jim Rohn said, “Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.”

The problem is ideas aren’t predictable. They may not flow when you want them to. Instead, they appear when you least expect them and if you don’t capture immediately, you risk losing the best ones forever.

A notebook solves this problem by keeping your ideas safe. Carry one wherever you go and you’ll always have somewhere to capture those insights. There are other benefits too. Carrying a notebook tells your subconscious you expect ideas to come, so more flow. Also, get those aha moments onto paper and not only will they be ready to pick up later, but you’ll take your ideas a step closer to reality.

2. Create an external brain

As a high-achiever, your head is full of ideas, to-dos, and project tasks all wrapped up in a million other thoughts. With so much going on, there’s not a lot of bandwidth to crack on with the ‘real’ work!

You can cut through this mental clutter by emptying your head onto paper.

Fill your notebook all the things you’ve got to remember, and all the filler thoughts that take over your head. With a notebook serving as an external brain, you’ll free up capacity to crack on and get more done in less time.

3. Journalling

Your inner thoughts are a vast source of inspiration, clarity, and ideas. Most of the time this gold remains untapped because it’s not turned into tangible thoughts on the page.

You’ll unlock a treasure trove when you start journaling about your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a notebook. You’ll discover things about yourself you didn’t know. You’ll process your way out of challenges, write your way through roadblocks, and think yourself the confidence needed to take big decisions.

With everything written down, you’ll also have a reference point to refer back to as your personal journey progresses. Dip into an old journal and you’ll turn back time. It’s a gift to see for yourself how far you’ve really come.

4. Write your master to-do list

With the amount on your plate, you can’t manage it all in your head. That simply leads to overwhelm and anxiety because you won’t be able to remember everything and function at your peak.

Instead, write your master to-do list in a notebook. That’s a complete list of EVERYTHING you have to take care of. From work tasks to appointments, to banking – even birthday cards. If it’s out of your head and on the page, you won’t waste bandwidth remembering.

This cuts the anxiety of worrying about what you’ve forgotten and boosts productivity by removing the faff of remembering what’s next. It’s a practice that boosts your motivation too. How amazing does it feel to put a big cross through something that’s done and dusted! Try it for yourself and see.

5. Practice gratitude

A goal-fuelled life will be a challenging life. When you set out to achieve things that are outside your comfort zone, fear and doubt will show up. It’s why a positive mindset is so powerful and important. If you can see the possibilities instead of the roadblocks ahead, you’re much more likely to win.

Gratitude is a practice that nurtures this positive mindset and it’s something you can practice daily in a notebook.

Bookend your day with things that you’re thankful for and you’ll unleash a wave of positivity. Even when you’re at rock bottom, there’s always something you can feel grateful about – even if that’s just the beautiful sunrise.

6. A little book of wins

When you’re struggling with your goals and things aren’t going the way you want, it’s easy to beat up on yourself.

It’s where your little book of wins can give you a much-needed boost.

Get into the habit of writing down all the things you’ve accomplished. Include the big stuff (such as a goal crushed or a fear overcome) – all the way down to the little things (like not reaching for chocolate when you felt stressed!)

Create a positive reference for how awesome you really are and you’ll give yourself the fuel you need to sail through those inevitable dips when self-doubt gets the better of you.

7. Make a bucket list

Life is short and it’s our job to make the most of the time we’ve got. This is where your Bucket List comes in. What are all the things you really want to do before you… well, kick the bucket!

Write them down in a notebook then you can tick them off when they’re done or keep adding items as the ideas flow. Keep your bucket list in your head and your dreams are less likely to happen. Make them tangible with pen and paper, and you’re that little bit closer to doing it all.

8. Log your affirmations

Have you noticed how your goals require you to grow into a new identity?

When you set a goal you have to do things you’ve never done before. It’s time for an inner belief system upgrade. Affirmations will help you do that and you can make a note of them in a dedicated notebook.

Simply write down what you need to be, have, and do and read them to yourself on a daily basis.

It’s a powerful positivity practice you can do with a notebook that is going to help you thrive.

9. Write notes to yourself

The way you feel about yourself has a HUGE impact on what you do (and what you think you can do). Love notes to yourself are a simple way to boost self-esteem, self-worth and self-love.

You can write about anything (this notebook can be for your eyes only!)

What do you love and appreciate about yourself, what you do well, and why you deserve a pat on the back.

Sure, it may feel a little uncomfortable to start with, but keep up the habit and you’ll soon feel different inside. Then get excited about how your shift in identity will empower you to think bigger and achieve even more.

10. Track your habits

What you do on a daily basis will transform the results you get out of life.

So get into the habit of tracking the routines and rituals that empower you to be your best self. Track your exercise, the amount of water you drink, the steps you take, the social media posts you write, the sales calls you make, the books you read, and the minutes you focus.

Pin down the habits that will close the gap to your goal, start a chain of action, and use your notebook to track it all. Bed those new habits in and you’ll be a new person in no time at all!

11. Keep a shopping list

With big fish to fry, it’s easy to forget and overlook the little, but important things in life.

How did you not remember to replace that empty milk bottle in your fridge!

A notebook dedicated to your shopping lists can be a lifesaver! You don’t have time to waste dashing to the grocery store before it closes. Instead, you want to ensure the essentials are always to hand.

A shopping list will also help you manage your budget and ensure you eat well. With all the ingredients you need to prepare the food you love, there’s no need to rely on takeouts. It’s a notebook practice your health will thank you for.

12. Sketch and doodle

Notebooks aren’t just for words! If you’re the visual, arty type, dedicate a notebook for those random drawings and ideas. With a creative outlet to help harness your mood and creative direction, you’ll constantly nurture the skill that lets you perform at your best.

13. Save your future your goals

Trying to achieve too many things at the same time just gets overwhelming. Water down your focus and you’ll get nowhere, fast!

That’s why a notebook to park your future goals can be so valuable. With your goals for a later date captured, you can stick to your current priorities while sowing the seeds for what comes next. This practice also serves as a goal incubator. With the idea written down, your subconscious can start figuring out how to make it a reality. This practice creates space too. You know how easy it is to get carried away on the initial excitement of a new goal idea. But will the idea really take you closer to where you want to go? Park your goal and you can take a more informed decision when the time is right to plot your next steps. It’s a powerful way to protect your valuable time and energy.

14. Quotes

Quotes are brilliant for two main reasons.

Firstly, they give you an insight into the mind of someone else (and you can learn a lot from that). Secondly, they spark motivation and inspiration. That’s why your own library of meaningful words can be so powerful. Create a notebook that inspires you to step up and you’ll have fuel that ignites your passion on the days when you’re struggling to be your best.

15. Brainstorm

The best ideas need stretching before you’re ready to take action.

So dedicate a notebook to brainstorming. Use it to see where an idea could lead, to explore other options, and to uncover solutions to pressing problems.

Once you’re committed your thoughts to paper, you’ll uncover a heap of valuable insights that will help you build momentum and deliver results faster. Plans are always more robust when you’ve figured them out on paper first.

16. Books you’ve read

Books are among the best mentors out there. There is no cheaper way to tap into the brain of a high-performer and extract insights to inspire your next steps.

But are you taking enough away from the books you read?

A notebook is an easy way to maximize what you get from the time you invest.

Simply dedicate a page to each book you read and write down the key takeaways, ideas, and actions. Over time, you’ll build up an incredible bank of nuggets that will make you smarter and empower bigger success with your goals.

17. Things you’ve learned

A mistake is never a mistake if you learn from it. In fact, your low points can quickly turn into big highs if you extract the lessons and use those insights to inform what you do next.

It’s why you should proactively capture your key learnings – whether that’s things you’ve learned about yourself or knowledge that you’ve picked up. If you don’t take the time to crystallize these insights, they’ll get lost in the flow of life. Instead, dedicate a notebook and turn life into a teacher that inspires you to get better every single day.

18. Remember conversations

When you step up and step into your potential, you find yourself around higher calibre people. The next level conversations you have can change everything for you. That’s because you’ll be surrounded by ideas, mindsets, and belief systems that will shape you, influence you, and inform how you think and what you do next.

There’s just so much to be learned from talking with others who are further ahead or who bring an entirely fresh take on life. So leverage these powerful insights by writing about them in your notebook.

19. Places you’ve been

Life is so busy and fast moving. You do and see so much, but how many of the highs do you actually remember?

Your notebook can safeguard those memories for good.

Get in the habit of writing down where you’ve been and what you’ve seen (even write down some of the highlights). You’ll create a beautiful record that will remind you just how much you’ve squeezed out of your life. Just imagine the memories and conversations you’ll have when you open this notebook in years to come.

20. Questions you want to answer

The questions you ask yourself (and answer) directly impact what you believe, what you think, and what you do.

Ask better questions and you’ll get better insights, make smarter decisions, and ultimately get closer to your best self. A dedicated notebook that keeps these questions (and your answers) safe will soon become an invaluable self-development tool that you’ll wish you started sooner.

Introducing the perfect notebook

Notebooks can change your life in so many ways. It’s why we created the Sidekick.

Compact enough to fit into your pocket and with the right amount of pages to get busy practicing any (even all) of these ideas, a set of Sidekicks is an easy way to boost your productivity, creativity, and performance.

So invest in a pack of three today and pick three notebook strategies to try.

Your life will be all the better for it.