HOW TO: Organize a notebook

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Organization is one of the most challenging cognitive symptoms that we deal with on a daily basis as a brain injury survivor. I've been very lucky, as I am and always was an organized person, but still use a lot of strategies to help me deal. My SLP has also given me great tips that I wouldn't have thought of myself. Here are some of the most helpful tips I use:

1. Color Coding

Color coding has been and is my entire life. This is the easiest way to organize what you need to. Whether in a notebook or elsewhere, this system can't fail. I color code my notebooks by section and have a little index at the top of each page to remind me what the colors mean. For example: you're organizing a grocery list. You can do it this way:

Green = Produce, Yellow = Meats, Pink = Dairy & Red = Boxed Items

1. Produce: highlight in green.

2. Meats: highlight in yellow.

3. Dairy: highlight in pink.

4. Boxed items: highlight in red.

Color coding can be used for other situations like to-do lists for personal and work (priority = green, non priority = red, long term = yellow, like a stop light), organizing creative ideas on colored sticky notes, your clothes in your closet, your calendar (appointments, work, bill due dates) and more.

2. Using 2 Pages in notebook

At work I'm always making lists during meetings, but there are lots of notes attached to these lists that come after my lists are done. This helps me organize the main points and the details attached to them without looking my page look cluttered and overwhelming. It could look something like this:


1. Email clients to confirm dates

2. Organize expense receipts


3. Call catering company to confirm date and prices


Make sure they know to bring signed contracts with them

Only expenses for office supplies, the other expenses can be dealt with next week

Make sure the prices fall within the budget of $2,300

If any more questions, talk to John Doe.

The To-Do list section the left page can be clean and numbered, and the notes section of the right page are allowed to be cluttered and have notes added everywhere and look messy. 

How do you stay organized with a notebook?