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The Analog System for the New Normal: How My Notebooks Keep me Sane During the Pandemic

The Analog System for the New Normal: How My Notebooks Keep me Sane During the Pandemic

COVID-19 is the plot twist that no one expected and wanted. It brought fear, anxiety, and uncertainty to us – bringing darkness to our otherwise lovely, ordinary lives.

That is why we turned to creative hobbies for solace. Many cook. The others bake. And a lot start their garden. In my case, I turned to my notebooks for comfort.

Last year, I shared the way I journal – a system appropriate for the old times. Now my process evolved as circumstances changed.

This year, I am using the Belle de Jour Essentials Planner to outline my life. Things are going back to normal (sort of). I run errands, set up appointments, and do important tasks outside. I use the monthly calendar as an overview of my activities. Instead of the common weeklies, the Essentials Planner provides me blank, dotted pages. The space gives me the liberty to decide what layout I want to use.

I usually utilize my planner as a day schedule, goals tracker, work progress monitoring, contract-tracing diary, among others. It helps me keep track of my priorities. I hope to keep that together even though I am breaking inside.

I also resolved to write more stories. Thus, I am crafting the time to write. The Belle De Jour Essentials Notebook is home to hundreds of ideas, blog posts outlines, and loose drafts. So far the notebook has helped me immensely in recording the mess and plotting my articles.

I put a back pocket on my notebooks wherein I put loose stationery. Index cards. Sticky notes. Loose paper. Stencils. Stickers. Receipts. You name it.

I continue to document my days and I utilize the Stradmore dotted notebook for that purpose.

My previous journal is a hurricane of mess. Sometimes, the pages contain a never-ending stream of words. At times, it has collages. There is nothing cohesive about that notebook. It perfectly reflects my state of mind at that time.

I decided to get better with my creative pursuits last June, doing my best to pick up the pieces and start again. I want to put a little structure without losing the exhilarating spontaneity that comes with making. Now the pages are filled with experiments – collages, doodles, and journal spreads. I love the way it turned out that I go back to the pages once in a while.

The notebooks mirror my priorities – adult matters, writing, and self-care and I would not have it any other way around, for now. If there is something more volatile than the future, it is my analog system.

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