I have to say, from the moment I first received the Field Notes Ambition edition, I loved it. Enough, in fact to become a colours subscriber there and then, which I’d been putting off doing for over a year already. I did have some concerns though. After all, this wasn’t the standard approach of all the interiors being the same. Alongside the regular notebook (graph paper, my favourite) there was also a ledger and a datebook. These are, obviously, notebooks with very specific uses.
The memo book was used up really quickly. That was a no brainer for me, especially with the slightly thicker paper that made it quite fountain pen friendly. The ledger? Well, I feel like I’m still working on getting the most out of that one, so I’m certainly not in a position to give it an objective review. However, the thing that has surprised me most is how consistently I’ve used the datebook. It’s actually worked out quite well for me. So, how do you use it and make the most of it? I think it’s by focus.
Calendars for both my personal and business life are shared digital entities. We live in a fluid and ever challenging world; my schedule never goes how I envisage it at the beginning of the week. So instead, I use the Field Notes datebook as a way of planning and tracking my writing schedule only. By having only one, very specific purpose for it, I am able to go back to using a paper planner despite living in a very digital world.
Ignore the terrible handwriting, please. The only ‘calendar’ style item that goes into the Field Note datebook is when I’m travelling. This has an impact on my 6am morning routine sometimes, so I need to make sure I do extra planning to negate that as much as possible. The rest is just a simple scheduling approach to writing projects that I need to get done, whether they are media (such as blogposts), creative endeavours (the actual writing itself and a goal word count) and then any other writing related activities that are more of a business nature.
I plan these every Sunday as part of my weekly review. This gives me a chance to not only schedule my writing, but see what is and isn’t working. So far this year, I have found this approach to be immensely useful. Even though there have been more exciting highs and sluggish lows this year than normal, without this book I don’t think I’d really have a handle on what’s going on. This gives me a degree of security that I guess this blog is all about when it comes to blending creativity with productivity.
I’m also hugely grateful that a friend bought me another pack of the Field Notes Ambition Edition back from her recent trip to the States, which means I have another date book I can use next year!
I’m sure most people have one area of their life they wish they could focus on more, whether it is health and fitness, reading, or study. If you’ve been looking at the Ambition edition and wondering how you could possibly use it, then I’d say this way is a definite contender. As you date it yourself, there’s not even any dependency on waiting for the start of a new year. Commitment and focus can start at any time you choose.