Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What do you do with half-empty notebooks?

When I start a new notebook, I have the best intentions to fill it with awesome things.

But often either my enthusiasm for the topic wanes or my circumstances change so that topic is no longer relevant. As a result, the notebook sits unused but for a few pages.

For example, several years ago I started using a clothbound Clairefontaine notebook for notes on science articles I read. What a great idea!  I loved writing on the super-smooth paper. But after a few pages I decided the note-taking was tedious and unnecessary. So now I have an awesome notebook with just a few written-in pages sitting on the shelf.

Similarly, my sister sent me a magenta large Moleskine volant notebook. What a great notebook!  I wanted a very important purpose for it.  So when I was considering a graduate course, I wrote everything I needed to do to prepare in the volant. Lists, contacts, websites and other info. But later I changed my mind and decided not to do the course after all. So now my super-cool volant has no current purpose.

I don't throw notebooks away, so all my partly-used ones are just sitting there on the shelf. I guess my problem is, every time I have a great idea for a purpose for a notebook, I start a NEW one rather than continue in one that's already been partly used.  Also, I never know when I'll come back around to an idea I'd previously abandoned and continue in that notebook.

What do you do with partly-used notebooks?

22 comments:

  1. Good questios! I just carry on with the old one. I rather like the fact that I can look back on my whims, thougts and ideas for projects, even if the didn't come to anything.

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  2. I have given up on 'nice' notebooks (bit the bullet, ripped out "important info" and tossed them) and just use spiral pads (with good backing and adequate paper). I leave 2 pages blank at the front, number the pages, and then just roll with whatever comes up and needs noting. No fear of trivia, doodles, scribbles. Anything important gets added to the index pages at the front. When full it gets a sticker on the front with start and end dates and then put on a shelf. So far they are lots of fun to look at as time goes by and I don't lose anything.

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    1. this is how i track work projects, too! took me awhile to learn to live with the 'messiness' of it all.

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    2. I do this as well. The "messiness" of it all is character and my proprietary intellectual property.

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    3. I absolutely LOVE this idea Aliandra. Will put it in my bag of tricks when working with my clients. Thank you!

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  3. I tear them apart, use my Arc punch and put them into my Arc notebooks. So genius! I was able to save tons of graph moleskine paper which i love so much :)

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    1. Three-hole punch for me, but yes, I tear them out or use a razor blade to repurpose the paper. No way this old New England curmudgeon can just disregard.

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  4. In my experience this has been one of the arguments for digital instead of paper. There is wastage if used as described.
    What would I do?
    Maybe use such a notebook for all 'new' or 'potential' projects or ideas. That way if you change your mind about something, the notebook is not wasted. That could potentially mean several different ideas/plans going into a single notebook - but at least the notebook will get used, if only while some of your incubated ideas get the opportunity to flourish at which time they can then make their way into a dedicated notebook.
    I imagine your local stationary store cringing at my suggestion as they envisage a drop in notebook sales :)

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  5. What do I do with part used notebooks? Exactly what you do. Which Is why I have switched to collecting A5 filofaxes instead for their flexibility and inabilty to be classified as partused and therfore now wholly unusable!

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  6. It depends. If it is something I will enjoy looking back on, even if whatever it was doesn't come to fruition, I leave it in place. But if it is no longer relevant, I carefully remove the pages so I have a clean notebook again!

    Although I do have quite a few partially used notebooks lying around... maybe it's time to do some clean up!

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  7. I've done multiple things.

    1) In the case of journals, I leave the rest blank. I've finished most of my journals, but there is one in particular that I specifically stopped using. It was a hard time in my life and I felt the need to move on, even from that journal.
    2) If only a few pages at the front were used, I tear them out, digitize them or otherwise store them elsewhere, and repurpose the notebook.
    3) The notebook I used for notes on my thesis is now used for random notes that I know I won't need to keep.

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  8. I do as Romina, and put the unused pages in my Filofaxes as note pages!

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  9. Some great ideas here! I actually don't have a problem with a variety of topics in one notebook. I like seeing disparate thoughts together in the same place because I like the way they grow organically. I also always date my notes so I have a sense of how much time has passed between ideas. But I've also done my variation of Aliandra's idea, which is to use a Leuchtturm notebook's excellent indexing pages to make referencing easy.

    - Tina

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  10. I keep using them. When the themes change I add tabs to separate the sections either with a post it or with those actual stick on tabs (also by Post it). I have a bad habit of buying up notebooks and I don't use them. I have a stack of unused notebooks I've purchased over the years which I have never gotten to use, and instead of pulling from them I buy new ones. Also, since people know I love notebooks and journals I also get them as gifts, which just adds to my stockpile.

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  11. I am a teacher and I give them to my students to use for their course notes. It's usually only a page or two that has been used so I tear them out. I use bound books so I either remove the 'matching' page on the other side or leave a small bit of the page I remove, allowing the other side to stay in.

    My students love them because they tend to be unusual and high quality. I must have given away hundreds over the years and they are really well-used.

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  12. I do what Mami China does, adding tabs to separate the sections. I also buy too many notebooks (but I just can't help it! I'm compelled to buy them).

    Now I wish I was one of bluepuddy's students so I could inherit a cool notebook. :)

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  13. This is such a problem for me that I started making my own looseleaf notebooks with cheap paper, large postcard covers and those string and metal tie things, so that I could expand and contract as needed, and also chuck stuff at the end of a project that didn't need archived... The problem? They're just not as much fun to write in and I usually crack and buy myself a posh notebook and then have to copy all the stuff from my ersatz notebook in...Argh! Maybe a digital handwriting pen is the answer?!

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  14. This is a big problem for me, and one of the main reasons I began using an A5 filofax. However, I still love bound journals. I've forced myself to consider more closely my needs from a bound journal, and I only buy that which is appropriate. For instance, I'm going to organise all of my favourite quotes and book passages into a single journal, and I have a large Moleskine....but I KNOW I won't fill it up for years and I'll be dissatified with a mostly empty journal throughout the many months of the years...so I've decided to use a Pocket. Once that's filled, I'll get another, but the prospect of buying a large journal is no longer appealing to me because of the many failed attempts to fill them up in the past.

    Aliandra's method sounds really wonderful. I think I'll incorporate an index into my quotes journal.

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  15. Maybe I'm just a strange one, but I always write in journals from the back to the front, using the last page first. So when I open the cover, it always looks like a new notebook. LOL.

    This way, I never have blank-page phobia since the first "used" page is always cushioned by all the new ones. I also never worry about making a "mistake" because there's all that forgiving juiciness in the front. (And anyone who picks up my journal gets bored pretty fast because it looks blank.)

    If I ever happen to have a couple of blank pages, I usually take them out, punch them, and add them to my personal Filo. If I end up with a hunk of pages, which doesn't happen very often, I usually just trim them nicely, staple them into a little booklet and put them in the car, where I always seem to need something to write on.

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  16. It depends on why it's partly used. I have one that's not finished because I'm planning on adding more info for my studies. I've pulled apart some of the wire bound ones in the past to use the unused pages elsewhere & occasionally I've ripped out the used pages to start afresh.

    That's what I love about filofax, so flexible.

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  17. I just look up websites fr ideas as to wot do with my pads n sometimes I just doodle stuff n practice signatures sometimes I try to write my name in different fonts at times I just pick a topic n go through magazines to find pics related to the topic then I cut them out n make a collage I also draw comics n graffiti I also stick pics of random people from newspapers

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  18. I stick pics of random people from newspapers n doodle dumb moustaches accessories makeup n clothes on them

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