The Power of Keeping a Notebook

by Michael Jaccarino

What if I told you that by investing as little as a few dollars and committing to a fairly small lifestyle hack, you could increase your productivity and creativity and form better habits? Would you jump on the opportunity?

Who wouldn't?

I'm talking about the power of keeping a notebook and taking notes.

Regardless of whether you're a college senior, grad student, entry-level consultant, mid-level professional or the CEO of a company, you should consider keeping a notebook and taking effective notes.

How often do you see or read something that inspires you? How many times do you get a great new business idea or a new insight in regard to your life?

It happens a lot more than you might think, but we quickly forget because we never take the time to actually write these things down.

Kick more ass and increase your productivity now by starting a notebook.

Keeping a notebook helps you accomplish several things:

1. Ideas are turned into action

Did you ever came across a product you recognized immediately and thought, “Hey, I came up with that idea!”

Well, I did (multiple times).

A noteworthy one was creating a platform for high school students who needed interactive video lessons for math and science.

Guess what? I didn't do jack sh*t with the idea, and now there are multiple sites doing the exact same thing. One of them is making millions each year.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying having a notebook would have automatically propelled me to success, but it would have been the first step into actually taking action.

Ideas can only be transformed into something tangible if we first write them down.

Once you write them down, you know what it is and what you have to do next to make it happen (or not). Making stuff happen is, what I believe, the only way to success.

2. Memory fades, but writing does not

A lot of the time, we simply forget things. We forget what happened. We forget important lessons that would have helped us for the rest of our lives.

We forget about our successes and what led us to failures.

Nowadays, I write down everything I feel could be of even remote importance. As a result, I feel more in control than ever.

3. Learning more about yourself

Let’s face it: Even men and women in their mid-40s don’t know who they truly are and what they like doing. We're ever-evolving, and it's good to keep notes.

Having a notebook will prevent you from getting into situations that will do you no good, and it will help you learn more about what makes you tick.

This is particularly true when it comes down to personal problems. Writing your thoughts down on paper really helps you get perspective, and it serves as a cathartic release valve.

Hurdles we come across in life are usually not as big as we think they are, but we cannot dissect them if we never write our problems down.

By analyzing what bothers us, we quickly gain perspective and realize our mountain of sh*t is nothing more than a series of uphill climbs we can easily overcome.

4. Feeling inspired on a consistent basis

By writing down things that inspire you, you're creating a log of inspirational sources tailored to you.

Whether it is a quote on a poster, a designer piece of furniture, a building or a person, writing it down fuels your engine to keep you going.

5. Accountability.

Whether you're writing about past accomplishments or future goals, keeping a notebook will hold you accountable.

No one wants to take a step backward, and writing about what you did to move you closer to achieving your goals will push you to keep going forward.

Examples of notes from famous notebooks

To give you some ideas on what to write about, I hope these pictures taken from a few famous notebooks will help you on your quest to greater creativity, productivity and self-awareness.

Kurt Cobain

At first glance, the notes from Cobain may appear to be the scribblings of a crazed and depressed drug addict, but after deeper review, you'll find that Cobain kept a journal for writing down lyrics and his plans for Nirvana.

Additionally, there are many introspective moments about his thoughts on fame, the state of the music industry and the people who bought his music.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain filled over 40 custom made notebooks during the more than four decades of his life.

Each page had a tab that Twain would tear off after the page had been used, allowing him to easily find the next blank page.

He would write about his thoughts on religion and politics, potential book ideas and the people he met along the way on his journeys.

Marilyn Monroe

Monroe was more than just a beautiful blonde. Her diaries, which contain poems, personal letters and written thoughts, show an intellectually ambitious, charming and witty individual.

Sylvia Plath

Plath kept a journal from the age of 11 until her death at 30. She would write about her observations relating to herself and others, her goals and obsessions and her emotions.

She discussed all the things that delighted her and those that infuriated her. She would also use the journals for writing poetry and doodling.

Your Turn

Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day, my friend. You are going to go online or to your nearest stationary store and buy a notebook and some nice pens.

Though it will only cost you about $15, the things you will be writing down will be of unlimited value down the line.

When you write down ideas and thoughts, you organize your mind. By organizing your mind, you can set clear goals. By setting clear goals, you can take direct action.

By taking direct action, you turn your ideas and dreams into reality.