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How I Use Traveler’s Notebooks to Organize My Life – YWGtv Episode 9

on February 6, 2017 by Jami Balmet 10 comments

Last week I shared how to pick the best planner for your year. I showed you inside 9 different planner systems and how to pick the right one for YOU. 

I ended that video and post sharing what I have started using the last 6 months and what I’m totally hooked on now. I used to use a traditional planner but now I’ve transitioned into using several different traveler’s notebooks to organize everything in my life. 

It’s still a work in progress and I think it will probably change and evolve over this year but I’ve finally found a way to organize everything in my life better than ever before. Before I jump in and share how I use my traveler’s notebooks, let’s first cover the basics:

What is a Traveler’s Notebook?

Basically, it’s a leather portfolio notebook that you can slip individual notebooks and journals into. Each leather cover holds 4-6 notebooks inside it. This is why I love this system so much. Instead of having ONE planner, I can have 4-6 different notebooks inside each cover that all contain something different. 

Traveler’s notebooks are called a ton of different things: Traveler’s journals, Midori notebooks (technically a brand but people use Midori to indicate a Traveler’s notebook the same way people use Kleenex to indicate a tissue), fauxdoris, and more. They all essentially refer to the same thing. 

The thing to look out for however, is that Traveler’s notebooks and their inserts some in about a thousand different styles and sizes. So when ordering notebooks to go inside, it’s important to make sure you know what size fits. 

What I love about this concept, is that it’s fully customizable to what I need. It’s super easy to start it one way and change in the middle. And I always have it with me.

—> I can have 20 different things going on, check lists, to dos, project management, my calendar, and everything is all contained in one spot. <—

The Problem With Other Planning Systems

I am a pen and paper kind of gal. So when I get ideas for my blog, when I’m writing my menu for the week, or when I get a podcast idea and want to write down some bullet points for it, it all gets written down on paper. But the problem with regular planning systems for me, is I had stuff written in too many places and would constantly lose it all.

I had no way to contain all the different things I wanted to keep track of. AND most of it I wanted to be able to take with me on the go so I always had it with me (the plus side of keeping track of things digitally on your phone)!

Looking for a more traditional planning system? I reviewed 8 different planners and how to choose the best one for you this year!

The Notebooks I Use

Feel free to do your own research (I did a TON of research before pulling the trigger) but I finally landed on a terrific Traveler’s notebook for me. I spent a lot of time drooling over the real leather popular brands. But the problem is, many of them run $80-120 or more. I just can’t justify that expense, especially for a system I wasn’t sure would work for me.

I finally landed on the Walnut Color Crush Traveler’s Notebook as my first one (The cheapest place I’ve found them is through that link in Blitsy but Amazon carries them as well). They have pretty good prices all the time but I ordered all of mine when they were on sale. I got each notebook for between $17-22.

I started first with the Walnut notebook and once I got hooked, I eventually ordered two more: 

A Tour Inside My Three Notebooks:

I have three Traveler’s Notebooks that I use to organize the different areas of my life. Yes, three. I know that might sound excessive but it’s been awesome so far! Go ahead and skip t0 11:44 in the video if you just want to see inside the notebooks and don’t need all my reasons why I love them.

Watch the video below to see inside each planner or keep scrolling to read about each one (or do BOTH). Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss an episode!

Life & Home Planning Notebook

I use my Walnut colored notebook for this. This is my main notebook that keeps track of all my to-dos, schedules, meal planning, and everything I need in my homemaking. 

Gratitude Journal 

This will soon be moving over to my new Spiritual disciplines notebook. But for now, I keep my gratitude in here. It’s a simple format with one page per week. Every time I think of something I’m grateful for, I write it down. It’s amazing how this one simple act can have such an impact on my own heart and thankfulness before God. 

My Main Planner

The next notebook is my main planner where I keep track of everything. I started first with a blank notebook so I could really play with the layout and design and see what works well for me. Soon I will be making my own custom book to go inside that will be my planner (I will share that when I finally get it done). 

What I’m working on now is setting up individual notebooks for the year and for each month. Like I said, this is still a work in progress but I’m excited the direction it’s heading in 🙂

Sermon Notes 

This notebook might seem to fit better in my spiritual disciplines binder but I love having it with me all the time (otherwise I will forget to grab it on Sunday). I am a note taker, I pay attention better if I’m taking notes and this format works perfectly for me. 

Planning, Notes, & Ideas

This last notebook is just my misc planning notebook. I’ve been keeping to-do lists, tracking ideas, jotting down notes and more in it. It’s more chaotic than I like, but while I’m getting my layouts all figured out, it has worked well. 

Blogging & Work Notebook

Products & Promotions

This first notebook has been my idea and product notebook for our products and promotions for the year. I’ve been creating different check lists for different promotions and so on. It’s been terrific having it all in one spot that I can easily reference anytime. 

Blog & Work Planning 

I’ve been keeping track of my monthly calendar, podcast episodes, blog posts, and promotions all in this one notebook. I can quickly and easily keep track of when we are doing things throughout the year – and it’s all kept in one easy place. I love this because I can quickly glance through our year to double check what we have on the schedule, what things need to be fleshed out, etc. 

Reading Journal

This one is also being moved over to my Spiritual Disciplines binder soon 🙂 This is the very first insert that I created. (You can download it for free and start using it today)

I have some hefty reading goals this year and wanted to keep track of everything I read in my reading challenge. I didn’t want to just simply read the book and move on. I wanted to make sure I was getting the most out of it that I could. So I created this reading journal to help me go deeper and keep track of all my favorite things from the books I read. 

Blog & Work Ideas

This is my brain dump notebook. I have approximately 25 new ideas a day, so I need somewhere to keep track of them and flesh them out. This notebook serves that purpose. It’s messy and disorganized and totally perfect! 

Spiritual Disciplines Notebook

This is my newest notebook and is still largely in progress. Like I said, my gratitude journal and reading journal will be moving into this notebook soon. It will also include:

A Prayer Journal

I want to get better at keeping track of prayer requests from other people and being more diligent in my own prayer needs. I so often forget things to pray for and don’t follow up in actual prayer when I tell people I will pray for them. So keeping track of my daily and weekly prayers in a format like this will work really well! 

I’m planning on getting my prayer journal out in the morning after I do my daily Bible reading. We’ll see how it goes 😀

Bible Reading Tracker

I am really excited to create this insert. I want to create it so that each day I can keep track of some sort of main takeaway from my reading. And to keep track of what I’m currently reading. 

Scripture Memorization

I’m not sure if this will be a full notebook or simply a place to store my Scripture memory cards (most likely the latter). But one of the things I want to work on more this year is memorizing Scripture so I know this notebook will have an element of this in it. 

5 Keys to Planning a Successful Day

And if you are looking for even more planning resources, I would love to invite you to go through my FREE guide and video called 5 Keys to Planning a Successful Day. You can watch the video on the 5 keys or download the audio version of it and then work your way through the PDF guide. It’s a quick and simple guide for helping you jump start your year with success! It’s totally free and you can jump right into it at any time. 


And in next weeks video, I am going to be sharing all my favorite planners for getting on track in 2017! I can’t wait to dig into all the different planning options out there and give you some great suggestions for what might work the best for you.

Sign up for my FREE guide >>

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers
  1. Love this post!! Even though we’re getting well into February, I still haven’t picked out my planning system!! This was very informative and loved seeing how you set everything up! Also, just FYI, if you search on Etsy, you can find smaller companies and individuals who make genuine leather traveler’s notebooks for WAY cheaper than companies like Chic Sparrow or Foxy Fix! While I do love both of those, I’m with you on finding an alternative to those price points!

    • Thanks Jennifer! Now that I’m more familiar with all the sizes and the way the notebooks work, I would be totally happy to search through Etsy and find some. But at the beginning, I was SO overwhelmed with all the sizes, how the bands work, etc. lol I don’t know why but it was overwhelming! Since ordering mine, I’ve found some smaller companies with really cute notebooks. Now I have to remind myself that I don’t need 100 LOL!!

  2. I am not a young wife I have been married for 25 years but I came across your youtube video re: using websters pages travelers notebook for your daily planner and I love the idea of a spiritual notebook. I am very glad I came across your video.

  3. It never occurred to me that I can use those kinds of noteboks this way, but I really liked how multifunctional it can be. Thanks for the tips!

  4. Jami,
    What size did you settle on? Do you like how it fits in your purse, etc?
    I am trying to figure out if I should get the 8.7 x 4.7 size (large) or do the medium which is 7×4.
    There are so many choices it can be hard to navigate.

    BTW, are you still making inserts for these traveler’s notebooks? I’d love to find out more.

    Thanks again for your resources!
    Have a blessed day.

    • I have both the personal size (these ones) and the smaller pocket size. Overall I like the larger sizes better because they fit more notes, etc but the pocket size is soooo nice to fit in your purse! So either on!

      Yes, we got farther behind on the TN stuff than we wanted to. But we have some fun stuff coming SOON!! 😀

  5. I’m looking through you tube about journaling and I’ve read and seen a lot abt bullet journaling and then this travelers journal popped up on you tube and got curious. I haven’t started the bullet journal yet which I’m glad I didn’t cause I think I will like the travelers journal better. I like the idea that I can have different notebooks and just one to carry. I’m so happy I came across your you tube channel and will try to do the spiritual/gratitude journaling too.

  6. Love this idea! I’m like you – paper and pen gal with a need for multiple notebooks for so many different facets of life. Is there a name or size number that can help us narrow down the choices. I like the size you have but didn’t see a number referenced anywhere.