Sketchnote Tip #6: Habits to help you Sketchnote More

Do you…

  • Feel like you don’t have enough time to sketchnote?
  • Have a notebook with empty pages… that’s months or even years old?
  • Look at others’ sketchnotes more than you create your own?
  • Wish you had notebooks full of sketchnotes but don’t have much finished work to show?

If this sounds like you, I’m guessing you’d like to sketchnote more, but aren’t sure how. If this is you, read on!

There’s always a reason we don’t sketchnote as much as we’d like. Life is busy after all! It’s possible to sketchnote regularly, and it starts with making small changes. Below are some categories and ideas to help you identify why you aren’t sketchnoting as much as you’d like, and learn what you can do about it:

“I don’t have time. I’m busy.”

The cold, hard, truth is that you DO have time, you’re just spending it doing other things. So, what can you do? 

First, you need to understand how you’re spending your time each day. Are you doing important and necessary tasks like working or parenting, or do you have pockets where you’re wasting time out of boredom? Taking an honest look at how you spend your time might reveal some opportunities! 

  • The average American spends between 4 and 6 hours on their phone each day. Maybe you can repurpose some of your mindless scrolling time into sketchnoting time instead? Or make a rule like “I have to create a Post-it sized sketchnote before I get on TikTok.”
  • The average American spends 1-4 hours per day watching television. Maybe you could cut your shows by 1 episode and switch it to creating time? Or, even better, incorporate sketchnoting into it and sketchnote the TV show you’re watching!

Next, you need to MAKE time. Use your phone or computer’s calendar to schedule your sketchnoting time with reminders. Start small, like once a week for 10 minutes.

Next, you might want to find accountability to help you maintain your new habits. You can check out the Community to find an accountability buddy to sketchnote with you, or you can ask around on social media.

“I don’t think to do it.”

This is one of the easiest things to fix! Here are some ways to remember sketchnoting exists and remind yourself to sketch more often: 

  • Follow sketchnoters on social media. It might remind you to stop scrolling and start creating!
  • Set a reminder to sketch when you are at home and not obligated. Early mornings, evenings, and weekends might be best. 
  • Keep a notebook and pen with you at all times. If you don’t carry a bag or purse, try a pocket-sized notebook to keep in your clothes or keep a small notebook in your car. If you carry a bag or purse, get a small notebook to always have with you. I started carrying a small journal in my fanny pack in 2022 and my sketchnoting skyrocketed! I sketchnoted while waiting for friends to arrive at the coffee shop, at the DMV waiting for my number to be called, at the shop waiting for my car to be fixed, in my car waiting for an order, etc.
  • Find an accountability partner in the Community.
  • Create a sketchnote incentive “punchcard” with a reward for completion. For example, maybe you don’t eat out often… After you complete 10 sketchnotes, you get to go to your favorite lunch spot. Use sketchnoting as your collateral for doing something you already want to do! 
  • Put a reminder where you’ll see it. This could be a simple post-it note on your desk that says “Did you sketchnote this week?” You’ll want to move that post-it around so it doesn’t get stagnant! 
  • Hang a sketchnote you love in plain sight in your home or office. As you look at it, perhaps you’ll be inspired to create one yourself! 

“I don’t feel good enough and get discouraged. Sketchnoting makes me feel embarrassed so I don’t do it.”

The only way to improve and gain confidence is to practice! Instead of doing full sketchnotes, perhaps you can start small and build your skills one at a time:

  • Pick a skill to work on each week, like handwriting, lettering, drawing people, drawing hands, drawing objects, coloring, etc. You don’t need to do a full sketchnote, but you could dedicate a sticky note or a page in your sketchbook to these practice sessions. Over time, you’ll see improvement!
  • Find sketchnoters you admire. You can follow their work passively and try to emulate their style as a practice skill, or you can reach out to them and ask for advice or feedback. 
  • Share your work regularly. I know it can be scary to post your “bad” work online for all to see, but the truth is that people don’t care as much as you think they do. The more you bravely share your work, the easier it becomes for you, and the more resilience you’ll feel. 

Hopefully one of these actions can help you build  habits as your build your sketchnoting practice! For reading about building sustainable habits, check out Atomic Habits by James Clear.