Debra – My new passion

If you don’t like office supplies…leave now.  Why?  Because you’ll think I’m crazy.  I’m in love with an office organizational supply. (And I have videos later in the post to prove why!)

While at a recent retreat for a close group of writers, a friend of mine, Katie Cooper, whipped out her Arc leather notebook.  It was a lovely green.  I noticed it looked a lot like the Levenger Circa notebooks that I had marked in a catalog on my bedside table but hadn’t quite decided were worth the oh-so-exclusive price they charged.  I quietly eyed her dividers with envy (who doesn’t like organized book and plotting files?).  And then when she took some notes from a planning session and moved them quickly to another divider (zip/plop/done), I said, “Gimme that!”

I wasn’t the only one.  Several of us prowled her “manuscript in process” system and then went on a shopping spree to Staples.  You customize the set-up on this system to *truly* work exactly the way your brain needs to work, whether that is loosely organized or organized to within an inch of your life.

I ordered more when I got home.  I have them in all sizes, all covers and the folks in the office use them now to control their worlds.  You should know that every employee is given a lovely spiral bound notebook of good quality when they arrive.  It’s the first thing that happens here.  I believe in day books and meeting notes and training notes.  I’ve always had a need for a place to get my thoughts down and to remind me of what’s “on deck.”  The ARC makes that easy because moving things around is easy.  I was never a fan of three ring binders, but I used them for static storage.  Just not for my day book.  The day book contains my life and the notes from the last three Amazon calls, editorial meetings or anything else I took a note for.  Yep.  I can flip back and find that critically important piece of information or refresh my memory for follow-ups.  I had that Day Book but I felt fragmented with my to do list on the computer and my notes in my day book and no ability to really organize my notes and materials the way *I* wanted for easy reference.

Not so anymore!  I have ARC now.  I’m more organized than Izzy, but I’m kind of this giddy about my ARC.

(more videos below)

The papers are lovely.  Plain, ruled, Action sheets, To Do lists, these great small task pads.  There’s a sticky tab holder you can slip right in the front.  Graph paper, pocket accessories, a hole punch so ANYTHING can go into your ARC book.  That’s why we have the desktop punch.  I’ll be dragging one to RWA National soon that have my schedule, the schedule of the other BB/BBB folks going, my talks, task sheets, easy way to keep up with all of the opportunities and ideas that come from the conference.

I have one for my quilting that holds working notes and sketches for current quilts, inspiration pages, graph paper, my queues for quilts I’m thinking about doing, color palettes, you name it.  When I want to do some “think” work, I just pick up my book and go through it.  Everything is there.  From fabric scraps to magazine pages.

Chances are if one of us in the office isn’t at our desk you’ll find our ARC in our hands.  We love the action pages which have both a ruled area and a blank column.  This allows you to take notes and then pull out your “action items” into the column for easy tracking.

I personally have 4 ARC books.  I love adding things to our office manual for instance.  Buy new downloadable software?  Just print the key/activation page and put it in the right spot in the manual.  Everyone in the office is contributing to getting our manual up-to-date as we train new employees, because it’s just so darned easy to take your training notes, make copies and put it in the manual.  We’ll worry about prettying up the steps later.  We figure out the sections we need as we go.  And once the “Monster Manual of Manuals” is considered brimming with everything we need, then we’ll rework one section at a time and easily add new items.  Add a platform?  Log the user/password and notes about the platform, uploading requirements, etc.

Here are a couple of videos about how the system works.  Another creative type and an accountant who uses the system in such an organized way.  Don’t you want an ARC too?  (I am NOT a paid spokesperson.  I just love them.)

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20 Responses to Debra – My new passion

  1. Scarlet wilson says:

    I want one!!!!! But there are no Staples on the UK!

    • debradixon says:

      Scarlet! That sucks. I’m sooo sorry. I bet the international shipping would be high but if you bought a whole bunch of ARC supplies at one time… We love the system so much that I would do that. And really all you need is the cutter and the right sized discs. You could punch your own cover and papers. Hmm… More ideas about using ARC comes to mind.

  2. Laney4 says:

    I’m glad you found something you like. I think that’s the trick to making a system work.
    We have Staples nearby, but I’m way too cheap. I buy ruled binder paper when it comes on sale in the summertime to put in my 1″ and 3″ binders. I have separate binders for: banking (including credit card statements and investments); receipts/instruction manuals for big items we’ve bought since getting married in 1981 (where I systematically remove paperwork for items as they break or are replaced); fabric swatches, paint colours, etc. for every room in our house; lists of books and magazines (those I’ve read and those I’d like to read); tv show details (I’m anal in that I keep track of what shows I’ve seen – because I’m so forgetful – so that I don’t waste time recording/watching them again); recipes (anything rated 9/10 or higher is printed onto its own sheet of paper, and a colour picture would be included if available, with both placed into sheet protectors so that I don’t wreck the recipes when my hands are dirty; and untried recipes are in their own sheet protectors by category until they are either thrown out or make the printed list); and the most important is my day book (where I devote one page per day, using a desk calendar/appointment book for highlights, and which are kept year to year so that I can go back and read comments).

    • debradixon says:

      Laney– Brilliant ! I can do one for the house and one for the office. The “Recipe organizer” is brilliant too. That’d be great for “after I fix them they can go into the permanent recipe holder. The ARC system isn’t terribly expensive to “build out.” We just went crazy all at once. but the specialty desk puncher is invaluable for adding all the the things like recipes or magazine photos.

      I’m high fiving you on the day book. Have to have it. Have to.

  3. leannebanks says:

    Okay, I’m in. I think. How much are they? The next time I go out, I’m stopping by Staples. Does Office Max have them? Can you bring your ARC to the riders breakfast? I would love to see it! Don’t you love all my questions?!

    • debradixon says:

      See note below about costs. Max doesn’t have them, but Staples online is easy ordering. I’ll bring an ARC to breakfast. I might steal Brittany’s. Hers is a work of art but I don’t know if she has a breakfast that morning too.

  4. michelehauf says:

    Deb, I adore your adoration for office supplies. 🙂 I can spend a long time in OfficeMax gliding my fingers over the pretty pens and notebooks and papers, stickies, etc. I tend to buy organizational things, and then never use them. Because that means I’d have to get organized. I prefer my office supplies stacked about the office, rarely used. But now I crave an ARC! I know I don’t have a Staples nearby. That’s probably a good thing.

    • debradixon says:

      Michele– The neat thing about organizing with an ARC is that if you just do it casually, adding as you go, figuring out what your needs are, before you know it, you’re organized! I still haven’t labeled most of my tabs. It’s a work in progress. Whereas our production manager Brittany no only has hers labeled, she has flags for subdivisions and alerts and easy indexing. I feel like a real piker next to her.

  5. debradixon says:

    The vinyl covers are very inexpensive even at the 9×12 size. The leather 6×9 book is like a $ 14.99 starter book with 1/2″ discs and plain ruled paper. You have to buy the various bits to go in it once you decide which bits you need. And I always change out the discs for bigger ones. It’s possible that an author could use the smaller discs for one manuscript of “stuff.” If you want to keep more manuscript planning going for future books, etc. then you’d probably been the bigger discs.

    None of this is expensive to pick up a bit at a time. $ 6;99. $ 2.99, etc. I recommend studying the items they offer and then slowly build your book as you decide, “geez, I really need multiple pocket sheets to stuff my idea notes and index cards until I decide to integrate them in my scene list.

    For a “home” book, I’d definitely want the zippered pouches to have swatches. I could punch the color chips and put right in the correct room.

    I love ARC!

  6. Hellion says:

    I see what I’ll be doing after Girls’ Night tonight–and here I was momentarily depressed that my JoAnn’s was “disabled”–I can find an ARC! I can organize and brainstorm and plan and create! I love you! Thank you!

    • debradixon says:

      Thank you. Glad to be of service. (g) Planning and creating are a big part of these books. You need more dividers than the average bear? Fine! Buy more dividers and stick them in. You need less but also need a pocket? Fine! BAM! You’re customized. I just love it.

    • Hellion says:

      Seriously, I’m psyched. *LOL* I even emailed this blog to my CP to show her and she’s psyched…then depressed that there is not a STAPLES where she lives. So then I bragged I just found a $5 coupon for mine–I mean, the Universe is making it up to me about the JoAnn’s thing. Awesome, awesome, awesome!

      • debradixon says:

        Okay, if the Universe is giving you a $5 coupon then this was “meant to be.” Of course, you suck as a friend at the moment. (g) But what’s a girl do do? Keep good news to herself?

      • debradixon says:

        Oh, and just get the big discs. You’ll need the space. Just start there and fill the book up with spare paper until you’ve got it all organized. We use the 1.5″ rings around here for most things.

      • Hellion says:

        Oh, I totally know I was sucking as a friend. *LOL* But I’ll make it up to her. Got the big discs–I always want the ROOM. *LOL* I got a little of everything in there now, now to fill it up with ideas and plans to implement! 🙂

  7. bn100 says:

    Fun organization.

  8. Kylie Brant says:

    I think the fact that the pictures terrify me says something is horribly wrong in my (disorganized) mind 🙂

  9. This sounds so cool. I LOVE office supply stores. I LOVE notebooks and organizers and lovely, high quality paper and pens…..oh, the constant search for the perfect pen never ends! 🙂

    I’ve used my Franklin planner for decades, and its so wonderful to be able to make extensive to-do notes for weeks and months ahead, or to be able to look back and check on any specific thing I need to know, going years back. If I can’t find my planner, its as if I have lost my brain. 🙂 But this system of yours looks like a wonderful adjunct to what the Franklin planner does, and I will sure be checking it out on my next stop at Staples. Thanks so much for sharing, Debra!

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