U is for… University Notetaking Notebooks


A lot of students use the Cornell method for note-taking. To find out how to take notes using the Cornell method read the How To here.

If you use the Cornell method, but don’t want to print off templates or mark up a plain notebook you can use pre-printed Cornell note taking notebooks:

Or you can simply DIY the notebook using this instructable from Lifehacker.

Do you use the Cornell method? If not, what method do you use for note taking?

Revisiting Your Monthly Notebooks: Getting it all done.


Last Month I wrote about Revisiting your Monthly Notebook and making it an actionable to do list. I have been busy with the A to Z Challenge among other things but I have now finished reviewing this particular monthly notebook.

This monthly notebook had really been used as a disposable to-do list so once I finished highlighting the extra to-dos, I then checked them off and folded over the pages that I had completely finished, so I had a physical way of tracking my progress and didn’t miss out on any of the single items on a random page.

When I was approaching the end it also provided motivation to work on the to-dos as I wanted to get the notebook finished.


Now I can successfully say I completed yet another monthly notebook.


Revisiting your Monthly Notebooks – Make it Actionable


February felt like such a short month and with other commitments taking up all my time I have somehow filled my January Monthly Notebook, but not ACTIONED all of it. So this week I have started going back through my TuNeues Notebook and made it actionable.

So how am I making it actionable? I have tried many different methods this time I have chosen to do this using a Frixion Light by Pilot (an erasable highlighter).Starting at beginning of my old monthly notebook I have assumed that I have actioned and dealt with most of the notes that I have made. I use the highlighter to mark up those things that I wish to do in the future – e.g. writing ideas, things to research, things to do or things I have to read. If something is not actionable but I want to transfer the information to another place or notebook I also do this at the same time. Any extra notes that I want to add while reviewing the existing notes I usually write these in the highlighter pen as well so that I can tell they are new and relate to the freshly highlighted content.  I usually carry out this initial review on the go when I have a quiet or idle moment such as when travelling by bus or waiting at the train station.

Following the initial review I then set aside a block to time to work on the actionable to-dos highlighted in the notebook. This is usually when I have some free time and I am in front of my computer (but not always the case).

There are two approaches you can take: focussed or easy-going:

1). If there are a lot of items that can be carried out at different times it can be worth using a spare page and writing a to-do list (or incorporating the actionables into your to-do list with a page reference if necessary); or

2). Simply browsing the notebook and picking something you are inspired to (or feel like doing) within that time block.

Either method can be very effective. It is also a great method of reviewing used monthly notebooks before archiving them.

Desk Pad or Mouse Pad?


A few years ago I wrote about using a mousepad as my to do list using the Knock Knock 5 days a week mouse pad which has since my original post become readily available in the UK. (Yay!!)

However, I have now bought a Woodlands Desk Planner from Paperchase.  This one is not a mousepad but rather a desk planner pad and is about twice the size as the Knock Knock Mouse Pad which is the size of the standard mousepad.  I am still using it as a mouse pad which works very well (and saves precious desk space as it takes the place of both my mouse pad and acts as my to do list (with extra writing space)).

The weekly desk planner is great for work as it brightens up my desk and includes all the things I need from notes, to-do list, email and call back list, daily blocks, key info and cute sticky notes. Yes – it includes sticky notes. What is not to love.

Other Desk Planners available from paperchase at the moment include:

Why would you ever want to use a regular old mouse pad ever again? Use a mouse pad as your to do list instead.

To Do List: The 1-3-5 Method

Still struggling to find a way to manage your to-do list? Why not take a step back and use the 1-3-5 rule (from the daily muse). The concept is simple. Don’t overburden yourself with a long to-do list instead pick 9 things to do on a daily basis – I large thing, 3 medium things and 5 small things.

By only adding to your to-do list items that you can realistically check off in a single day – you will feel more productive and more in control of your to-do list.

Download the 1-3-5 To do List or use the electronic web version here.


Pinch, Punch, First of the Month

Welcome to August.

I have taken the opportunity this lunch break to review my July to do list. Surprisingly – it all got done.

The monthly to-do is for those slightly larger to do’s that are not allocated to any particular day. In July I decided to tidy up my finances. To dos included getting a credit card, organising my savings, and arranging my mortgage.

I am now pondering my to do list for August.

With a couple of getaways booked in I anticipate that the month of August will be less productive in my free time, so I’ve decided to tackle another area of my life where I have a few key goals. My Career.

Regular readers (and readers of my other blog) will know I am a trainee solicitor. As part of the training we are required to work in different departments for a 6 month period. This month I have to decide what department I want to go to next, and review my progress in my current department before preparing to move on.

So I have now drawn up another list to clip into my Filofax:


Have you drawn up you monthly to-do list yet? What area of your life have you picked “to do”?

Review, Refresh and Renew your Schedule

Gosh, how July has flown by. It has been a rather busy month (with August set to be even busier) and I am rather disappointed that my blogging appears to have taken a back seat.

That is changing now.

I am still playing around with habit tracking and scheduling my time. A couple of months ago I came up with this:


I stuck to the schedule for maybe a month but things changed. I changed the time I commute to work from 7am to 7.30am and I began to use my free time to look for a new flat to move to as my lease is up next month.

Time for a review, refresh and renew! Basically, time to sit down and change my schedule and work out what would work now.

My new schedule:


I have amended this to start the day earlier, fit in my morning routine (shower, breakfast and commute) and change the priorities which divide my time.

I have completed one online course, and the other is mainly audio and proving to be a drag to fit in at work. So online course has been removed in its entirety as has my reading time, which has been shifted to the evening (if and when I have time) rather than a daily goal. According to my habit streak app I only “read part of a book” on 6 days out of 70. Clearly that habit wasn’t working out for me.

Monitoring my habits has actually been a good way to see what is worth sticking to and what I need to take a different approach to. Just because it has not become a habit yet, doesn’t mean it won’t – it just means I am going about it the wrong way… And that it is time to review refresh and renew.