Rabbit Holes and Notebooks Spark Joy

I’ve always loved notebooks. I knew I might need help when following Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Her advice is to pile all similar objects in a room and then sort through the pile, keeping those items that spark joy. I didn’t follow the advice as intended. I simply gathered all of the notebooks I had scattered throughout my home and piled them into a basket. Confession: The basket wasn’t big enough ─ and it was quite a large basket. I determined that I likely had a lifetime supply of notebooks.

Worse, a month after this exercise, I attended a conference and proceeded to pick up another notebook. In my defense, the notebook was more of a journal with a hard cover and reference to the conference city. It was lovely, and I knew I would use it. In fact, I went back to see if I could claim a second one and they were all gone. Whew!

Field Notes image

Field Notes offers practical applications for using their products. (Photo from Field Notes website.)

My point is that I clearly need no more notebooks. And then I began a rabbit hole journey when I viewed an email for The Graduate Hotels, which was opening a new hotel in Cambridge, U.K. I noticed that the hotel offers a Field Notes edition to their guests, which I found charming. In fact, it may be the reason I book my next stay at one of their hotels.

These Field Notes are ruled and “perfect for lecture notes and assignments, or tailgate, playlist, or road trip planning,” according to the site. In its description, The Graduate Hotels writes, “Field Notes is inspired by the vanishing subgenre of memo books, ornate pocket ledgers, and the simple beauty of a well-crafted grocery list.”

The notebooks caught my eye, and I discovered I could order them online. And that is when the real trouble began.

As I searched online, I discovered the wide variety of notebooks, including National Parks and Three Missions, as well as Clandestine, a limited and cryptographic edition. As a mystery writer, I just had to have the Clandestine Field Notes pack, right? And I love visiting Yellowstone. You do see where this is going, don’t you?

It gets worse. They have a yearly subscription. Next year’s Field Notes have not been revealed, but it did not stop me from signing up for the subscription.

My basket overflows.

P.S. I suspect this post reads like an advertisement for Field Notes. I promise you I was not paid to write this post. If anything I lost money on this post, but I’ll have great notebooks all year!

Back To School Is the Perfect Time To Organize

20170307_084141Walking into an office supply store is always an expensive endeavor for me. I can’t help myself: the pens, colored notebooks, shiny folders. They all want me to take them home. And as they say, “Resistance is futile.”

August and September are especially challenging because of back-to-school sales. I can’t help but be tempted, especially when I can find items on sale or have a coupon.

This time of year is also the perfect time to organize for the coming year. It’s always been that way for me, and now that I work at a university, my need to organize in late summer is even stronger.

Here are a few suggestions to organize your work space of office:

Corral your pens and pencils. I have one container, and if they don’t all fit, I need to get rid of some. Obviously, toss the ones that don’t write. For those that work fine but you know you will never use consider donating to a senior center or after-school program.

Clean your desktop. Remove everything from the surface of your work space and wipe it down. Don’t forget to clean the keyboard, too. It’s an amazing feeling to then begin working with a clean desk.

I also make the time to clean off my computer desktop. I’m always amazed how files accumulate. For me, it’s often laziness. It’s easy to save a file to my desktop rather than thinking about where I should logically file it for archival purposes. Knowing I frequently save to my desktop, I force myself at least once a quarter to organize my files. Once I do, I find my productivity increases. And knowing that the files are saved to the cloud or a backup device lets me sleep at night.

Shred your files. When is the last time you pulled a piece of paper from a file? If it’s been months, maybe it’s time to purge some of your files. I’m working toward having zero files. If someone gives me a paper document that I will need, I ask for it electronically or I scan it and save it on my computer. At least once a quarter I work to eliminate one or two file folders. I’m down to one small file drawer.

Order the necessary supplies. Nothing is more frustrating than discovering you have run out of sticky notes or staples. I check my supplies and order what I need for the next six months. That way you don’t run out and you don’t waste time each month placing an order. And maybe you avoid going into the office supply store and buying another notebook! (But that’s a post for another day.)