Posted on Tue 13 September 2016

How I use my two Midori Traveler's Notebooks

Two Midoris

I've had a couple of people ask on Instagram how I'm using my different Midori Traveler's Notebooks, and I promised I would write a post to explain my current setup.

I've been putting this post off because I wasn't quite set in my usage until now. I wanted to try using my passport TN as a wallet, and I wasn't sure if I would still keep notebooks in it or not. I've since tried the wallet setup, but found it was too big and too thick to use comfortably, since I carry my wallet in my back pocket, and was coming from a smaller, very slim wallet. So with that experiment over, I'm all set up again in both my TNs and can now explain my usage.

I also have an A5 Roterfaden that I'll explain here.

Passport MTN — camel

Midori passport

This is my newest TN. I bought it a few months ago, after struggling with daily task lists in my regular size Midori. My days were dramatically different, sometimes with only one or two tasks, sometimes with ten, and I wasn't enjoying the layout of adding each new day to the same page in my regular Midori. The passport size seemed to lend itself much better to a daily task list, and I quite like having one day per page in here.

So the passport is my planner. I keep three inserts in here, plus a kraft folder for any loose bits of paper I need to hang onto.

My first insert is an undated weekly by Midori, where I plan deadlines, events, and major tasks for the week.

In the middle I have a dot grid insert for daily task lists. I've been using a Tomoe River inserts here, which I love, but when I ordered it only the Field Notes size was available, which is a bit too tall for the passport. Right now I have a Muji notebook in here instead, which fits better, but in the future I'll order passport sized TR inserts, because I love that paper. And because Tomoe River is so thin, it helps to keep my Passport from getting too chunky.

Midori passport dailies

The last insert is an undated monthly by Midori. This is where I note down appointments and work deadlines. I use this to plan my weekly pages, but also to make sure I'm never under- or overbooked with freelance work.

Here's an example of how I break down my work between these three inserts: for an article I'm writing for a freelance clients I'll put the topic and client in my monthly insert on the day it's due. I always make freelance work due on Sundays so I can plan my week based on how many articles I have to write without worrying about them being due on different days. So on my weekly I don't need to write the article on any specific day, since it has to be done some time before the week is over. The passport weekly insert has a very small space for notes, which is where I make a list of the client articles due that week. Then on my daily pages I'll write smaller tasks for the article, like researching, making notes, drafting, and editing.

For my university work, here's how I break it down across these inserts: on the monthly I only have deadlines listed for uni. On each weekly page, squeezed into the notes section alongside my list of freelance work due, I list all the things I need to do for uni. If one of those deadlines is approaching there'll be an assignment listed, but there'll also be things like the weekly readings, the textbook chapter assigned for the week, and the weekly lecture I need to watch. On my daily pages I'll put those same tasks, like "watch this week's uni lecture" and I'll break down assignments the same way I do for freelance work.

Regular MTN — brown

Midori regular

My regular Midori is the first of these notebook systems I bought. It's probably my favourite, too.

I was initially using my regular Midori for all my daily planning before I switched to a Passport. Initially I planned on keeping my regular MTN as a spare, and switching between that and the Passport for daily planning, depending on my needs for space. But I had been planning my freelance writing work in the regular Midori alongside daily tasks and events, and I didn't want to move all that to the Passport.

So my regular TN has become my work notebook. I have three inserts in here (as well as a kraft folder and zip pocket).

The first insert is specifically for uni notes. It's a Tomoe River graph paper insert where I write notes on lectures, ideas and planning for assignments, and notes on any research I need to do. I started out by including these notes in my other notes insert, but decided I wanted to keep them separated so it's easier to find things when I need them again later.

Midori dot paper

My middle insert is Midori graph paper. I use this for creating sketchnotes when I'm researching freelance articles. I've tried a few different notebooks for this purpose, but decided I like having my sketchnotes in my TN.

Finally I have a Tomoe River dot grid insert for taking notes. This one is for notes on anything besides uni. It has brainstorming and lists of ideas and outlines for articles and all sorts of other nonsense. It's my workhorse insert, and is certainly showing it—one of the pages has come out of the bottom staple due to wear and tear.

That's it for my regular TN. I use it to get work done, rather than to plan my work. And so far the combination of the two sizes is working out well.

A5 Roterfaden — dark brown with grey felt

Roterfaden and regular Midori

Finally, my Roterfaden. I love this nearly as much as my regular Midori. It houses my journal/commonplace book, which is a Seven Seas Crossfield. You can see more about how I use my journal in this post, but basically I write in it quotes from books I read, personal entries about events, decisions, or emotions, and occasionally stick in momentos like tickets stubs.

The Roterfaden has pockets in the front and back covers, where I keep momentos I haven't stuck into my journal yet, and my Kindle. I really like this for travelling, so I can keep my journal, pen, and Kindle all together. I wouldn't mind using my Roterfaden more often, especially because the bigger size is comfy for longer writing sessions, but it's quite heavy with my Crossfield in there, so I'm not sure if I'd keep lugging it around with me or not.


So that's my current setup! I'm not a huge fan of having multiple notebooks, as I find it more convenient to carry around just one. Not that I go anywhere with them besides up and down the stairs at home, or back and forth between the couch, bed, and my desk. But still. Minimalism is good.

I've considered going back to my regular Midori as a planner, but I'd be sad to have my Passport sitting around unused. Plus, I really like the small format for daily planning.

For now, this setup works really well for me, apart from separating everything a bit much. I'm trying hard (in every aspect of life) to not mess with things that work, since that's a bad habit I have, so I'll stick with this as long as it works.


P.S. I make some stuff you might like: Exist, a personal analytics app to help you understand your life, and Larder, a bookmarking app for developers.

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