One day while cruising through Target for this or that, my girls, Peeba and JoJo, were particularly ripe with requests. I was on a mission, very focused on getting what I came for and nothing more. So, when the girls would make a pitch for something they wanted, I would say, “Okay, I’ll put it in my mental notebook.” “What’s that?” they questioned. I explained that it’s the place where I store information that I want to remember, but don’t need or can’t use at that moment. They loved the idea of a notebook that lives in your head where all of that important stuff, like which book or toy they want during this shopping trip, gets put.
On the next trip to a store containing childhood delights, I was thoroughly confused when Peeba asked me to put something “in that mental place.” At first, I had no idea what she was talking about, but she helped me understand that she was talking about my mental notebook. Over the past several months, she’s begun to connect more dots and has asked, “what happens to the stuff that goes into the mental notebook and when does it come out?”
I share this story because we’ve all got our mental notebooks. They hold things like the reminder to get gas on the way to work, to pick up milk on the way home, return a phone call, schedule a meeting, request time off for vacation, etc. Sound familiar?
Although I don’t keep a mental notebook for all of the things the kids request from the stores, I do keep an actual mental notebook, a.k.a. back-up brain, for the those pressing, but easily forgotten things that come back to haunt over and over again (which may or may not include kiddie requests).
My favorite tool is a slim journal by PaperBlanks (pictured above). It’s 3.5 x 7 inches and easily fits into a small purse or jacket pocket without taking up much space. And, with 176 pages, there’s a lot of space to jot one’s thoughts. I also use my mental notebook to jot down notes from conversations had on the run, details about potential purchases while shopping, the phone number of the mom I just met and want to reconnect with, and other miscellaneous thoughts I want to later recall.
Whatever your tools it’s important that you really like it. You’re more likely to use it if it’s something that appeals to your taste, style and needs. For me, light weight, easily portable, magnetic closure and thick pages are part of what makes the slim journal work for me. Sounds trivial, but these small details really can make a difference. If you’ve got a notebook that’s hard to find, flops open in your bag so pages get crumbled or torn, or is too bulky, you’ll find reasons not to use it.
I prefer a mental notebook over a note pad, list or even a PDA because I can flip back through the pages to find notes I took weeks ago. And, I get an extreme sense of satisfaction from filling up a whole book and from going back and checking off things from months ago that I finally. Even those less than pressing tasks and projects have a home where I know they won’t be lost. As a working and entrepreneurial mom constantly taking in new information and generating new ideas, my mental notebook is always with me. I actually do refer to it as my backup brain!
How to you keep tracking of those random thoughts that take up space in your head?