Create your own digital notebook

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Since I started doing research, I have been keeping track of my activity: algorithms, diagrams, notes, meetings, diary… It is good practice in research, since one wants to keep a backup of ideas and progress.

In the last years, I have changed my logging strategy several times: in the beginning, I used to have a unique notebook for everything; then, I moved to a ring binder where I categorised my notes by topic; and more recently, I started a bullet journal which I used as a supplement to my notes.

A couple of months ago, when I started working from home due to the Covid-19 lockdown, I decided to go paperless with my notes for two main reasons: because I wanted to stop wasting paper and to optimise my reduced working space.

As a Notepad++ lover, I decided to create a week log (following an approach based on bullet journal), together with a monthly file to keep track of ongoing tasks. When notes about certain tasks require more level of detail, a specific file is created for that particular task.

If drawings are needed for a particular concept, idea or pipeline, these are created in a power point file, being these useful for future publications.

For the notes in Notepad++, one can create a “user defined language”, where a series of keywords/expressions have been reserved and stored in an xml template file, so these can be highlighted in the log files as it is done for programming languages. The figure below shows an example of my diary log.

Screenshot of my digital BuJo

Download template here