Creative Thinking Tools Management Tips

Sketchbook/Notebook methodology

Sketch­books and note­books are one and the same when you are an artist. Sketch­es are notes and notes illus­tra­tions of moments of inspi­ra­tion and enquiry.  The most impor­tant part of any sys­tem is to stay out of the way of cre­ativ­i­ty and spark that lights our fire. Pages of draw­ings can be free con­ven­tions unless deserv­ing of cat­e­go­riza­tion. 

Note­books will have pages num­bered before start­ing so as to allow for greater flex­i­bil­i­ty. This way, any page can be used day to day. 

Each page should be dat­ed, have a head­ing and list atten­dees where applic­a­ble.

Index may be a use­ful addi­tion if it does­n’t waste pages. Index could be a list of projects and rel­a­tive page num­bers list­ed in a row.

Daily list

Note­book is a per­fect place for dai­ly list man­age­ment and lists should be rewrit­ten at the end of each day.  TO-DO items can be gen­er­at­ed organ­i­cal­ly or come from anoth­er sys­tem. Dai­ly goals, tar­gets and to-dos should be achiev­able in the time avail­able, with new items being added organ­i­cal­ly through­out the day.  

Daily sweep

Lists and notes from the day should be reviewed and reor­ga­nized into a new dai­ly list for the next day. Items rolling over should be assessed and or trans­ferred into anoth­er sys­tem. 


Projects can be fleshed out and ideat­ed in a note­book but should ulti­mate­ly live in a more robust sys­tem where they can be man­aged and assigned effec­tive­ly.

Notes are blocks of text with­out actions and can be of any length and can end in a page num­ber at a lat­er time to expand on an idea. p 22

Lists start with a bul­let “•”. List items are assumed tasks that can be assigned or esca­lat­ed to a project on anoth­er page. Events are denot­ed with an “o” URGENT items “[]” should be han­dled imme­di­ate­ly or placed in a system/page bet­ter equipped to get it done. 

•     item one
•     item two
>    assigned — Fred
<    esca­lat­ed to project p3
O   Meet­ing with Bob­by
[]   URGENT to pri­or­i­ty page or oth­er sys­tem
✓  com­plet­ed tasks get a tick
X   can­celled tasks get an x
-    wait­ing for oth­ers tasks to com­plete

List cap­ture should be organ­ic and free flow­ing with items being reprocessed, recon­struct­ed or can­celled on the fly. As with a sketch it is vital that thoughts be able to flow rather than seek­ing per­fec­tion in either tone, struc­ture or clar­i­ty.  


Post-its, nap­kins and oth­er scraps of paper are an inevitable and valu­able part of any func­tion­ing sys­tem and should be includ­ed in the dai­ly sweep where the can become more per­ma­nent in nature and part of the broad­er sys­tem.