It's National Stationery Week and being writers and designers, we’re mad about pens, paper and anything that shrinks our to-do lists. Here are the organisational tools that help us to meet (almost) every deadline
The hashtag associated with National Stationery Week is #writingmatters, and we’re inclined to agree. There’s something about putting pen to posh paper that makes information, goals and feelings that bit clearer, and having your to-do list in front of you makes your objectives concrete. Plus, ticking them off feels so good. Here are the notepads, apps, journals and stationery that keeps us on the calm straight and narrow.
Victoria Woodhall, Editor
A very organised friend Ophelia Froud, who runs the brilliant online healthy cafe guide Glowcation, bought me a pack of three Studio Sarah Classic Stripe notebooks for Christmas (she knows me so well) and they’ve been a Godsend. I can confidently say they have helped me sleep. Why? Because every night I write down what I have outstanding so that it doesn’t swill around my head and as I’m trying to drop off.
I have two jobs - I’m both Editor at Get The Gloss and a freelance journalist - and so I always have a double page spread of my Studio Sarah book open with my action lists: ‘freelance’ on one page and ‘GTG’ on the facing page. If a feature idea comes to me, I’ll write it in the back.
Ideally, I need a second notebook for ‘personal’ and ‘family’. Every night I update the list in bed and then slip it into my bag so I have it the next day for reference (it's slim, lightweight and pretty). Often, I won’t refer to it until the following evening as the simple act of writing things down before bed helps me remember them.
There’s scientific evidence to show that journalling like this does actually work. A study published in Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that participants who took five minutes to write out a to-do list before bed fell asleep more quickly than participants who wrote about tasks they had already completed. It’s all about offloading responsibilities on to your piece of paper, thereby freeing the mind for sleep.
My next purchase will be this supercute and even smaller Studio Sarah ‘To Do’ Notebook, £4.95 , which looks inviting.
Judy Johnson, Digital Editor
To stay organised I have to have a list, or usually multiple lists - so long as it’s written down, it’ll get done, and I prefer doing this by hand if I can. For this I swear by Kikki.K ; their notepads and planners are stylish enough that they look good on your desk, but not so perfect that you don’t want to write in them. I use their Daily Notes Pad, £6 to keep on top of my day-to-day work tasks - I love that I can list absolutely everything on one side and then pull out the priorities and things that can wait for the following day; it keeps me sane. At time of writing it’s sadly out of stock temporarily but this is a good alternative.
However, when it comes to keeping life organised both in and out of work, I couldn’t live without the app Evernote - I pay for the premium version so that I can access it on my phone, iPad, home laptop and work computer, and as much as I’d rather have a shiny pen in my hand than a piece of tech it really is a game changer for giving you access to everything no matter where you are. Essentially an online notebook, you can create ‘notes’ and organise them into different ‘notebooks’ with tags to make it easier to navigate, as well as being able to save clippings from the web with just a couple of clicks. I’ve got everything stored in there, from a holiday packing list that I can tick off each time I go away to all my sensitive skin columns and feature ideas for GTG; I love that I can make a quick note at work and then pick it up on my phone as I commute and carry on editing, or jot down an idea when I’m on the go or write down what I need to know at a beauty launch and then come back to it once I’m comfortably at my desk. I’d be lost without it!
Anna Hunter, Senior Features Writer
Because apparently I have brain that won’t stay in its lane unless there’s a rainbow ‘traffic light system’. I’ve exhausted Ryman et al’s stock of Stabilo Boss ever since my A-level days, when my flash cards were super high vis in an overt attempt to obtain bitesize information. This highlighter hoarding continued at University, where I made all of my essay notes by hand (old skool) and then highlighted each point according to theme. One of my modules revolved around cross dressing and lesbian sexuality in 17th century France so that highlighting exercise got racy.
Now I am never without a highlighter or five for features meetings, to pick out the key message in a speedy news story or break down the more salient ideas within a meatier topic (and ignore the other waffle that I’ve added in during the research stage). The beauty cupboard can keep its shimmery unicorn highlighters: the stationery kind are my work-life bread and butter.
I’m also now going headlong into wedmin as I’m getting married next year, which calls for more colour coded highlighting in my spare time. It’s a Bletchley Park level exercise for my partner to crack, but it’s the only way I know what’s up.
Ayesha Muttucumaru, Senior Features Writer
I spend pretty much all day with my eyes glued on a screen - my computer for writing features and my phone for social media posts and frantic Whatsapping - and so having spaces where I can put pen to paper is key for keeping me sane in a digitally dependant world. My tech-free havens come in the form of magnetic notepads from Paperchase , and wrap cover diaries from Paperblanks , supplies of which are traditionally replenished by my family come birthday and Christmas.
It sounds simple, but that’s the very quality that appeals to me. I’ve always loved handwriting and often miss it and so relish the break they give me from my keyboard (as well as the chance to put my collection of fancy pens to use - feel free to mock, but stationery really does soothe my soul). Alternating between Macbook and notebook also helps me to remember things better too - I find that the variety prevents the day’s tasks from rolling into one stressful hazy blur, and I love that they’re magnetic or wrap-around (extremely useful for ensuring loose papers like receipts and business cards don’t wind up lost at the bottom of my bag). They’re also beautifully designed, which gives them a dose of character usually lacking from my Bookmarks Bar.
Alexandra Harrison, Admin Assistant
I like to pride myself on my organisation skills - feeling organised gives me a clear head. Whether it be at work or in my personal life, staying on top of things is good for my mind and makes me feel in control. I am both a perfectionist and also a huge control freak, so ensuring everything is in order is a huge part of my life.
At work I rely on writing everything down - if it doesn’t get written down I will forget, so sticky notes have become my best friends. I usually have multiple stacks sitting around my desk so I can easily jot anything down that needs to be added to a to-do list or actioned. Most recently I’ve been loving these ones from Kikki.K, £6 as there’s a selection of different sizes that can help with different tasks. The larger ones on the left are great for notes and small lists, whereas the longer slimmer ones are great for marking out pages in my notebook I need to go back to. I am also the person who loves to decorate their computer screen with sticky notes. This is the way I ensure SUPER important things are not forgotten as I am forced to look at the note multiple times a day when working on my screen. It really is fail safe and gives me great peace of mind that the particular task will be done.
Another hack of mine is to use your inbox as your to-do list. By this I mean if it’s not being worked on or if it doesn’t need to be actioned, file it away. My emails all have a home, and a very short life in my inbox. I am cut-throat when it comes to filing them away, and if they are not needed and I know they will have no purpose in the future, they will be deleted. If you haven’t started to become an ‘email deleter’ you need to. The number of emails that fly around every day means I find it hugely beneficial keep a really succinct inbox so I can use this as my to-do list and ensure everything that needs to be actioned gets done.