The Brain Book

Is your brain on overload? Do you have trouble remembering things?  Do you get so many ideas but don’t know how to keep track of them all and soon forget them?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need a BRAIN BOOK! 

The concept is simple, really. A brain book is a book to take ideas out of your brain and put them into the book, so you can clear your mind.  When things are off your mind, you can be your most creative and clear-headed.  I was finding I had so may random ideas all the time.  These ideas come to me about various life things I was passionate about.  Recipes to try, lessons I want to do, a quote I saw in a magazine. Whatever it may be, I knew I would not remember everything.  For those thoughtful right brain types, our brains are always going.  This helps.

My Brain Book is separated into categories by color. Each category is for a different area of my life.  Art Education, Inspirations and Motivations, Cooking and Health, Book Notes (I get a lot of books from the library and want to remember things from them) and Project Plans for around my house.

Any book will do. I happened to make mine.  I punched 2 holes in note cards (the large kind) and then cut divider tabs down to match the size of the note card.  Then, I put 2 rings in the holes and I am ready to go!  Cheap and Easy.  When you have utilized an idea or no longer need that page, you can take it out and throw it away.  Add lots of blank new paper when the sections fill up so you brain has even more space to breathe!   I prefer unlined note cards, but as you can see from the photo above, will use anything I have on hand.  My book goes everywhere with me: Car trips, in my purse/car, by my bedside, on my deck. You never know when inspiration might strike.  I’ve utilized this method for several years and it’s still working great for me.  Now, to organize blog posts, I have a totally different method to the madness that I will share another time. :)

How do you keep all of your ideas at bay and your brain at ease? 

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Anonymous

    I like the fact that it is not computerized:) I love all my apps for certain things but when it comes to remember things, I still prefer to jot it down the old fashioned way:) I remember it better when I write then just typing it into my phone:) Thanks for post!

  • I like the fact that it is not computerized:) I love all my apps for certain things but when it comes to remember things, I still prefer to jot it down the old fashioned way:) I remember it better when I write then just typing it into my phone:) Thanks for post!

  • Great idea…exactly what I’ve been needing. I’m hoping to eventually get an ipad and maybe I can come up with a digital version

  • I, too, have a “Brain Book” and use it more than once each day. I honestly never thought through it enough to think of adding tabs, but it makes sense- right now, I just spread my thoughts out into random space in a small sized notebook. Just for kicks, I’ll share my “categories,” – art ed product ideas, license renewal info (exp. dates) and opportunities for renewal points, ideas for the upcoming school year, list of cool tech tools and ways to use them, new active learning strategies, and a list of things I want in a new house. It is still new and pretty empty. Wouldn’t it be fun to peruse others’ Brain Books!?

  • Ooooh you always inspire me to become more organized! I am definitely NOT one to keep track of things digitally (or otherwise! ha!) but I think I would use a brain book – probably similarly to how I used to use a sketchbook for my ideas (oh where did those days go?) . Now…if only you could come up with some cool device to keep it attached to me at all times….
    Great idea! Thank you for sharing!

  • Brooks

    I started using Evernote for all the random art ed email, websites, links to blogs, recipes, shopping and decorating sources, gifted sources, college search for my daughter, etc. It is THE fastest way to copy and paste ANYTHING to my Evernote folder wherever I am. I love that I can take a photo on my Blackberry and save it to Evernote through my Blackberry – where it is sorted by category immediately.

    My other addiction for organization is Circa from Levengers…all my school stuff is sorted in a separate Circa colored notebooks. I carry a small Circa notebook with their calendar in my purse for all the pencil and paper jotting. Love the great colors.


    • Thanks for the tips. I have tried Evernote but I couldn’t get into it. Maybe it’s worth another try! I hear so many good things about it. You always have the best suggestions! :)

  • I just discovered your blog.
    Interesting material.

    • Thanks Marilena! I hopped on over to your classroom page and saw some of the great things you are doing, too! Glad we could connect

  • I took a large sheet of watercolor and cut it down into business-card size pieces, then rubberbanded it. It isn’t very organized, but I can sort through it is and don’t have to worry about remembering an idea, I know it is safe for later!

  • Joanne Chong

    I’m an apple fan who likes to get organized & taking notes digitally thru my iPad on the go or at meetings & sync thru cloud so into retrieval is also a breeze . When it comes to info-unloading & creative planning I still prefer doodle on A5 brain book and plan thru a mind map on A4 blank paper :-) sharing the photos to illustrate what I meant by doodling & mind mapping