What To Do With Your Empty Notebook
Ah, that empty notebook feeling. There’s nothing quite like it. Those fresh crisp clean pages waiting to be filled. Hinting at possibilities, opportunities and ideas about what could be.
Why do we love empty notebooks so much?
For freelance writer Sofia Farelli, it’s the sense of opportunity that an empty notebook represents.
“It's the feeling of starting a new chapter, or rather the opportunity it represents. It's one of the reasons I date all my entries as it tells a story of where you were and what you were prioritising in that moment in time.” Sofia explains. “I've tried virtual notebooks, apps etc. but it just can't compare to the satisfaction of crossing something on a to-do list or when you find a good pen that makes your handwriting look really pretty. It's the small wins, isn't it!”
Whilst study skills expert Chloe Burroughs loves the clarity that an empty notebook can bring. For Chloe, it’s a tool to bring her goals to life.
“An empty notebook is a blank slate for me. A ripe opportunity to move in a different direction or try a different approach,”she says. “Life and studying can get chaotic at times but an empty notebook is a way for me to move towards my goals with intention and clarity.”
How to pick your notebook
If you’re going to get that feeling of excitement and possibility, you need a notebook you love.
You need to be excited to pick it up and open that first blank page. Wondering what comes next and how you’re going to fill it.
Think about what you want to feel when you’re using your notebook. Are you looking for a place of creative inspiration, the confidence to be bold or a dose of daily calm? Try to find a design and aesthetic that matches that. So each time your notebook catches your eye, you remember that promise you made to yourself.
The fear of an empty notebook
Empty pages bring possibility. But they can bring a sense of fear too.
Yep, perfectionism comes out to play. It’s often a tricky time, as our need to get everything “right” makes us too scared to start, for fear that we make a mistake.
But mistakes are a natural part of the creative process. Jess Hellens, founder of Wild Coworking, shares her technique for just getting started:
“I actually love the look of an empty notebook, but I get stuck in the 'how do I start using this' step. Then once I make the first note, I remind myself I will always hate that page but love the rest of it.”
The next time you open up an empty notebook, give yourself the gift of an imperfect first page. And just begin.
21 ideas for your empty notebook
1. Write a to-do list ✅
Is there a more satisfying feeling than checking everything off your to-do list?
Use your empty notebook to log your daily or weekly to-dos. And then give yourself the gift of saying “To-do list? Completed it”.
2. Store ideas to act on later 💡
Sometimes, your ideas aren’t ready to come to life. Maybe it’s not the right time (or you haven’t got the time). That’s okay. But don’t let them disappear.
Add your ideas to your notebook and store them for later. Their time will come.
3. Collect future inspiration ✏️
What do you do when you hear something that inspires you? Perhaps it’s a quote, a song or a book. Something that connected with your core.
Life’s busy. And it’s all too easy to forget these moments. So keep your notebook with you, ready to collect that inspiration for the future.
4. Start a travel diary ✈️
When you’re travelling, you’re constantly having new experiences. They can feel so monumental that you’re sure you’ll remember them for the rest of your life.
The trouble is, memories fade. New experiences come along. And whilst you’ll likely remember glimmers, it’s never the full story.
That’s what a travel diary is all about. It’s how you bring that experience back to life, and experience it all over again.
5. Set your goals 🎯
There are so many different ways to set your goals. The only right way is the one that works for you. If that’s inside an empty notebook, then go for it!
Or, if you’re unsure where to start, take a look at our goal setting guide.
6. Track your spending and finances 💸
Okay, so this might not be the most fun way of filling your notebook but it sure is useful.
Plus, tracking your finances gives you more freedom in the future. And that is fun!
7. Write your morning pages ⏰
The beauty of morning pages is that all you need is a notebook and a pen. In return? You get a clear mind, ready to start your day. Here’s how to give it a go.
8. Clear your thoughts before sleep 💤
We’re pretty sure this is the opposite of morning pages, just without the snazzy name. Evening pages, perhaps?
Anyhow. When your thoughts are racing and you can’t clear them to sleep, write them down instead. Get all that mental clutter out of your head and onto paper, so you can finally rest.
9. Practise your handwriting ✒️
Some of us are given the gift of beautiful handwriting. Others need to practise. Whether you’re working on your bullet journaling fonts or simply trying to improve your cursive, you can easily fill an empty notebook.
10. Log your family’s stories 📚
What if there was a book that tracked the story of your family, ready to read for future generations?
Celebrities might get biographers but you can be your own (and get the whole family to join in!).
11. Create your own recipe book 😋
So many of us have handwritten recipe books sitting on our kitchen shelves, painstakingly written by our grandparents and filled with family favourites.
How about making your own for your future family? Ask your loved ones what their favourite dishes are and add them to your book, one by one.
12. Journal your thoughts 🧠
Of course we couldn’t write a list of empty notebook ideas without mentioning journaling! But which type will you choose?
13. Keep a memory a day 🥰
When journaling isn’t your thing, a memory a day might be. Each evening, challenge yourself to write one or two sentences about your day.
By the end of the year, you’ll have 365 sentences telling you the story of your year gone by.
14. Create your fitness plan 🏃
If you’re working on your fitness, creating a written plan can hold you accountable and keep it front of mind. Each time you see your fitness notebook, you’ll be reminded of the goal you set for yourself.
Plus, that “done” tick is extra satisfying!
15. Write your meal plans and shopping lists 🛒
Have you ever taken a shopping list on your phone around the grocery store? It’s a nightmare. Your phone keeps locking. And you spend half your time trying to unlock it before realising you’ve walked past the thing you were looking for.
When you write your list by hand? Well, your notebook doesn’t lock! Much easier.
16. Keep your study notes safe 🎓
Whether it’s class notes or fleshing out your essay plan, it can be really helpful to have a notebook for each of your subject areas.
Study expert Chloe likes to use her notebooks to “[...] get all my thoughts out of my head so I can then make an achievable study plan. I’ll break down essay questions and map out potential ideas and arguments.”
17. Flesh out plans for your business 💻
If you run your own business, your head is likely overflowing with ideas. Your notebook can act as a safe space to store and explore them.
18. Store your meeting notes 🤝
Having a notebook you love can bring a boost of personality and confidence to your working day. You can group your meeting notes into different categories for each project and client.
We love that solutions specialist Paulina Folaron keeps a separate notebook for each of her clients, meaning that her tasks and meeting notes are always easy to find.
“It's a whole new world! The potential of what I can fill that notebook with 💯”
19. Tracking your career progression 📈
Keep your notes from your employee review sessions, your big wins and your positive feedback all in one place. So you’re 100% ready for that promotion pitch.
20. Dive into creative writing ✍️
A long story. A short story. A poem. Whatever type of writing you like, put it in your notebook. And let your pen run free.
21. Create space for your sketches 🎨
It could be a doodle or a detailed sketch. All that matters is that it makes you feel good.How will you fill your empty notebook?
It’s time to let your pen fill those pages!
Slow down and create the life you’re craving
This is how you start bullet journaling (even as a total beginner).
Get your free guide to discover:
☁️ How to cultivate a calmer mind, with the principles of bullet journaling
✏️ The minimal tools you need to start bullet journaling for beginners
😍 The style of bullet journaling that feels most natural to you
✅ A step-by-step process to get started with bullet journaling today
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