If you are looking for a notebook to help get you get things done, there is no shortage of great tools available. You don't even need to spend a lot of money as you'll see with the bullet journal system you can use any $1.50 notebook. Below are ten notebooks we have selected around the A5 size (5.8 x 8.3inches) and if you are looking for a larger or smaller option, most of the links have more sizes available.
Developed by Ryder Carroll, this is not just a journal or planner, but rather it is designed to get your thoughts onto paper as efficiently as possible to remember and keep them organized into categories. The system is flexible to your needs, and many individuals develop their own hybrid system. Twenty-four thousand Facebook fans even have a dedicated group page to talk about using this system. If you want to get started in your own notebook, you can use this system in any book but the one on Ryder's site is an amazing product.
This notebook is broken down into sections for meeting notes, one-on-one sessions, planning, and goal setting…all developed to help productive people stay organized. Designed by Kate Matsudaira, this notebook is a beautifully put together system with 200 pages, two page markers, and high quality paper. Anyone that has been reading this blog from the beginning knows I am a big fan of these notebooks.
This is an appointment calendar, goal setting guide, journal, sketchbook, personal log, and work to-do list, all in one notebook. Angelia Trinidad developed this notebook to help tens of thousands people find direction and time in their lives to pursue and achieve their goals. They currently have a line of dated, undated, academic and limited editions available.
Creaters of one of the most popular wallets on Kickstarter, these notebooks are an all in-one notebook with a 12 or 6 month planner, lined or dot grid paper, sketchbook, whiteboard paper, goal setting guide, and checklists. The two elastic bands are a unique feature to hold your place, as well as an extended top cover to hold a pen.
This notebook has received mixed reviews but overall this notebook has some handy features like an index page, page numbers, page markers, and perforated to-do lists. The page layout is geared for meeting notes and project planning. The issues with this notebook is that the paper is more geared for ballpoint pens only, and care is needed when using the to-do lists.
This notebook focuses on gaining personal success through a three-month goal setting layout. The left side of each page is the daily timeline/reflection page, and the right is broken down into goals, tasks, wins, and lessons learned. This book retails for $32, which puts it at the highest cost range for these types of notebooks.
Promoted by David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, this notebook is a spiral notebook developed specifically for taking meeting notes. The pages are broken into three sections for general title section, notes, and action items. Rhodia is well known for having some of the best quality paper, and with a good solid pen, you will actually want to take notes in a meeting.
Borrowing two historic organizational techniques and building on them, is the basis for this notebook’s concept. The notebook forces you into answering what items of the day are most important and then using focused time to complete these tasks. This is a nice combination of journal, and personal life coach.
This blank notebook made the cut due to the cloud syncing ability for an organization system. Plus, you get to microwave it to erase the ink when you are done filling it up! It is a simple dot grid layout with 7 categories The notebook is available on Kickstarter now after raising $1,082,335 on Indigogo.
Last in the lineup is one of the best blank notebooks due to it’s construction, and unobtrusive layout. If you don’t need help getting organized, but still want a notebook to capture your thoughts, this is the best option. Included is a simple table of contents in the first few pages, numbered pages with date section in the top corner, choice of dot grid, squared, lined and blank pages, 8 perforated pages, and spine stickers to label your notebook for storage.
Summary: Proof is in the Numbers
The main question about all these new organizational notebooks is whether or not they actually work. Looking at the figures may help illustrate this, Passion Planner for example, after raising $658,434 from 23,626 backers they launched another kickstarter campaign a year later, and raised another $706,287 from 16,335 backers,
A second example is on the Bullet Journal system, which can be used in any notebook of choice, people have created a Facebook group to show off images of their organized layouts, and talk about how great the system works. The main group currently has 142,000 members...
Finally, the Spark Notebook raised $138,573 from 4,253 backers on December 20, 2014, and after a large amount of positive feedback from the first campaign, Ms. Matsudaira launched a second campaign a year later called the Spark Planner, this time raising $460,602 from 13,263 backers. Over 200% increase in both backers and sales.
Reading the reviews of the ten notebooks listed in the organizational section, the word “love” appears in every single case. The owners of these analog tools take the extra time to comment and personally thank the creators that have created these books. Having used many of these notebooks personally, I can see why everyone loves them, the key is finding the right notebook for your own personal needs.
Let me know if I missed any good notebooks in the comments, and if you are looking for a great, blank notebook, we also have more to look at in the A5 size (5.8 x 8.3inches)
In case you are looking for a solid blank notebook, here are few more choices:
- Rhodia Webnotebook - Buy
- Doane Paper, Large - Buy
- Code & Quill - Buy
- WhiteLines - Buy
- BaronFig - Buy
- Wipe book pro - Buy on Kickstarter
- Evernote Notebooks - Buy
- Black & Red - Buy
- Sigel Conceptum - Buy
- Moleskines - Buy
If you need a folio to hold one of the above notebooks, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that holds any A5 size notebook (5.8 x 8.3 in), a tablet or sketchpad, as well as two writing tools. These are all on sale right now at our shop.
We have a new notebook project in the works and invite you to take a look here.