Introducing the Paper-Roses notebook
I’m a list maker - so I have lots and lots of notebooks littered around the place! And every time I start a new one I get a rush - that wonderful giddiness that comes from sitting down with a new, crisp, blank page in front of me is one of the best feelings that there is. Sometimes I even make up excuses to start a new notebook - naughty I know, but absolutely necessary (honest!).
Some of my notebooks are of the bog-standard variety (they look very similar to the ones I used to write in at primary school), but I also have a love of a pretty cover and a quality page…which is why I decided to design my own.
It’s all in the detail
If you have (or have seen) any of my products, you know that I really care about the details - and that quality and practicality are very important to me. I put a lot of thought into what makes a good notebook (for me at least)…and think I’ve achieved something close to my dream - perhaps not quite perfect, but very close. So, what makes a good notebook?
It’s made (inside and out) from FSC certified 100% post-consumer recycled paper - you can happily leave any feelings of guilt you might have for being a paper lover at the door!
It has a beautifully illustrated semi-hard cover - it doesn’t add too much weight if you want to carry your notebook around with you, but it’s still sturdy enough to survive life in your handbag or work bag.
Its pages are covered with a pale grey mini dot-grid - perfect for all of your lists, notes, journal entries, sketches and scribbles. I love a good dot-grid. They’re far less intrusive than lines so it’s much easier to set the page out just as you want it…but they still offer enough of a guide that your words don’t wiggle all over the page!
The pages are slightly thicker than in your average notebook - you can use pencils, biros, ink pens and brush pens without having to worry about it bleeding through onto another page. I’ve even used watercolour pencils without any problems. But, you might ask, why is this necessary? I don’t have any problems with bleeding in my other notebooks. As well as giving each page a wonderful feel, it’s to allow for the fact that recycled paper tends to be more porous than its virgin or mixed counterparts.
Perfect for all dreamers, thinkers and doers!
How I’m using my Paper-Roses notebook
I don’t know about you, but my to-do lists tend to get a little bit unwieldy (with comments and add-ons here there and everywhere) and I’m constantly having to rewrite them. Not a particularly effective or efficient way of working in more ways than one!
So when I got my Paper-Roses notebook I decided to start developing a new way of setting out my to-dos and tasks - an approach that would not only let me keep track of what I had to do, but also give me a much more flexible way of working and planning my time. And after a fair bit of research and some trial and error, I think I might be almost there!
As well as having a series of high-level to-do lists (business and personal, split between project and recurring tasks), I’m playing with a weekly setup that’s aimed at helping me to use my time more effectively.
At the moment, I have the left-hand page set up as a fairly standard week-at-a-glance so I can easily see any meetings and appointments I have. But, I don’t think I’ll keep this going - I’m not sure that the time it takes to set it up is worth any value offed by having the information right there with my task list. Having said that, I’m really loving the “Next Week” box - it brings any meeting or event prep I might need to do right into focus.
And I definitely think I’m on the right track with my task list for the week (right-hand page in the pic). I love the way that the high-level to-dos can be easily broken down into smaller tasks. I like that I’m actually planning my time more effectively so the list seems less overwhelming. It’s great that tasks can be rescheduled so easily, whether to another day or the following week. And it’s nice to have the business and personal all in one place.
But there are still a few things I want to change about this setup. I don’t think I’ll use all that much colour going forwards - it takes up too much time and I can't see me carrying loads of different coloured pens around all of the time. I need to work out a way to indicate which tasks take priority. And I think a “Next Week” box for tasks (as well as the one for appointments) will be a really useful addition.
It’s a work in progress…but I’m definitely getting a lot out of it!
I’ve also been tinkering with using trackers. I came across this idea when I was researching to-do and task list setups - and in principle, it’s an idea that I really like.
I can see the benefits of keeping an eye on your habits - whether they’re good ones (oh so motivating to know that you’re doing brilliantly at something), or bad ones (seriously, I knew I loved chocolate, but I think I might have been going a bit overboard lately!). And knowing whether there are any correlations between what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been feeling - how useful would all of this be when you go to the doc and they ask you how you’ve been? But, I have to admit that I’m finding my current setup just too time consuming. Definitely more work to do here!
A quick note for the notebook lover
As you may have guessed, I’ve been a notebook lover for a very long time. But one thing I didn't know until recently is that you should “break in” a new hard-spined notebook before using it. To break it in…
Open the notebook about 10 pages from the front and flatten the pages down by running your hand along the inside of the book, before doing the same with the last 10 pages from the back of the book.
Repeat the process with the next 10 pages from the front and back of the notebook.
And keep repeating until you get to the middle.
Doing this will make your notebook’s spine nice and flexible so it won’t snap - your notebook’ll last longer and lie flatter faster! All I can say is …why didn’t I know this sooner?
I hope you love Paper-Roses’ notebooks as much as I do! You can check out all of the latest designs here. And do let me know how you use your notebooks and journals - comment below, or tag me at #paperrosesdesigns on Instagram.