In today’s episode, you will learn how a 99 cent notebook saved my life – and I swear, I’m not being dramatic! You’ll meet my MAP Book and find out why I swear by it and how you can get your own organizational system rocking and rolling in no time.
After all this hype, I’m sure you’re wondering: what the heck is a MAP Book? And I am so glad you asked. At its core, the MAP Book is a “Make A Plan” book. It is a cheap, composition notebook that you trust with all the things in your life. Once you have converted to your MAP Book, you keep all your notes in there, all your lists and never again have to go searching high and low for that pink sticky note you put somewhere.
I first created the MAP Book in 2017 when I finally decided that I was never going to find the right planner for me. My husband and I have always used a Google calendar to keep track of actual family events, but I had nowhere to consistently plan my week, or my day, forget the month or year ahead. I needed a tool for capturing my personal growth journey and I was stuck.
My MAP Book was originally inspired by the Bullet Journal method, which was pretty popular at the time. I wanted to get into the Bullet Journal back in the day, so I went to Staples and spent $50 on gel ink pens and a Moleskine notebook, which I’m pretty sure I still have. Why didn’t it work for me? Do me a quick favor and search “Bullet Journal” on Pinterest. That’s why it didn’t work for me. I didn’t have time to write in calligraphy – I was a busy mom to a baby and a toddler!
And that’s where the MAP Book came in. One day, enough was enough and I grabbed the nearest empty composition notebook I could find in my 5th-grade classroom, a pen and made the system that I needed in the moment. A place to plan my week on Sunday, a place to plan my day every morning and anything else was just a bonus. Slowly, I began to add different aspects to my notebook and it became the tool it is today. I’m hoping today’s episode inspires you to do the same!
Now that you know what a MAP Book is, let me explain generally how I use it. Keep in mind, I have been doing this for about five years now and a lot of this has evolved overtime. So if you feel overwhelmed, simplify to what you need in this moment and allow yourself to grow into the space.
I have one notebook that I use for 3 months (one per quarter). They are from Target, whatever color I feel like and I’m a college-ruled girl. I buy all 4 at the same time in December each year, spend about $11 in total, and set them up at the same time so they’re all ready to go for the year. I’ll explain this more when we get closer to the end of the year, but for now, just have that background information.
When you open my notebook, the first thing you see is the table of contents. This is where I write down anything that I think I’m going to want to find again – notes about a book, notes from a meeting, brainstorming pages that I did, important lists. I create this as I go and honestly, only update it once every few weeks when I’m watching TV.
The next three pages are my monthly pages. I write at the top the name of the next 3 months, then list anything that I know needs to be done in those months – think birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, holidays, etc.
My next section is my future lists. I currently have 3 of these, but it usually changes every notebook. Right now, I have a list of things I want to do in 2022, I just don’t know exactly when; I have a “Someday, Maybe” list of ideas that I think are cool but not sure if I’m actually going to pursue and then I actually have a birthday/Christmas list. Remember how I told you this is a proactive tool? This is why! I write a quick list of all the people that I buy presents for for Christmas and then throughout the year, jot down ideas as they come to me. I’m super thankful for this list every Thanksgiving!
Every page after this is whatever I need it to be. On Sundays, I do a weekly review which I’ll get into more in a future episode. But basically, I write down my priorities and tasks for the week. Then each day, I write my affirmations, 5 things that I’m thankful for, my Big 3 for the day (tasks that need to get done) and finally, any other lingering to do list items. Everyday, my MAP Book is with me, wherever I am and I use it to check in on my progress and then move forward anything that I didn’t finish to the next day.
Some of these nuances came from a book called The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. That being said, when I read his book recently, I became overwhelmed with this coding system, etc. So definitely check it out if you nerd out like me over personal organization. Or go ahead and trust that I have pulled out the essentials into my system.
So why do I use a MAP Book? Why is it so awesome? Well first, I never have to worry about forgetting something. If I think of something while I am reading before bed, I grab my notebook off the table next to my bed and write it down. My brain is never trying to remember anything, so I feel less overwhelmed.
The second reason the MAP Book is awesome is because it helps me to be proactive, rather than reactive. I know in January that I need to get Valentines Day plates for my daughter’s class party and that is on my radar. No last minute Target runs for me!
My third reason for using the notebook is it keeps me focused and confident. I am able to identify what I need to do every day and what is a “want to do” versus a “have to do”. I love writing my daily affirmations and gratitude in there too, because it makes it so that I only ever have one notebook that I can always use for reference.
Finally, I love that this is 100% customizable. I use it for work, family, personal growth, coaching, goal-tracking, all of the things. I’m definitely going to get into more of this in future episodes, but you get the idea!
If you are eager now for all the details, I have created a free notebook system set-up guide that will walk you through setting up your first notebook. It is complete with pictures of my actual notebook, action steps and can be broken up into 5 days or in one session.
Finally, as promised on my YouTube channel, here are my top 4 best tips for starting a MAP Book.
To wrap up, here are a few next steps for you:
Thank you so much for being here, mama! Get back to doing your thing, rocking your world and remember – keep growing! Little eyes are watching.
If so, be sure to share it with a friend – this helps busy moms like you to find me!
And finally, you can also check out these related episodes that I think you’ll be obsessed with: