Organize Your To Do List with Arc Notebooks

organize-your-to-do-list-with-staples arc notebooks

M by Staples Arc Notebook Customizable System

Ever since I joined the ever evolving planner world, the Arc Notebooks always fascinated me. If you are unfamiliar with a disc-bound notebook or planner, they have small discs that allow paper to easily be removed or added without opening rings or decoiling your planner! I definitely suggest checking out their demo video which shows how this notebook works!

Questions like:

  • “What do you mean the paper has openings?”
  • “Discs? What are discs?”
  • “What do you mean the discs come out?”
  • “How does the paper stay in there?!”

No worries, your questions will be answered, as I’m sure you had the same thoughts as I did! 

I was very curious, but as I do not have a Staples near me, I was never able to go check it out in person. Thankfully, Staples contacted me about reviewing one of their Arc Notebooks, and I decided on the Black Patent Leather Notebook. They have several other options that include both leather and poly notebooks in a variety of sizes.

organize-your-to-do-list-with-staples arc notebooks

How to Organize Your To Do List with Arc Notebooks

While many people use the Arc Notebooks as a planner, I’ve been using mine as more an extension of my planner. My Arc Notebook is where I write down my “master” to do list, and then break that down into a small to do list with detailed steps of what I need to complete. 

For example, I recently changed my blog’s theme, so in my planner I wrote: Install blog theme. In my Arc Notebook I wrote:

  • Install blog theme
    • Ensure all necessary plugins are installed
    • Configure new front page
    • Add social media links to Pipdig plugin
    • Change blog colors to match logo
    • Upload new header
    • Change font sizes
    • Upload new signature
    • Delete old signature from previous posts
    • Add feature image to posts that are missing one

The above list was much longer than this, but you get the idea. I do this with all my major projects (& smaller ones as well) because it ensures that I do not miss a step in the process. When I have a project that I want to complete, I will sit down for 5-10 minutes and write down all the steps that are needed to accomplish the task. This helps me prioritize what needs to be done. As I go through my project completing and scratching off the smaller tasks this makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something! Also, at this point I will probably add to my to do list either tasks I overlooked or tasks I didn’t realize needed to be done. 

Y’all I’m serious, this notebook that I was completely unsure about has changed my to do list for the better. 

organize-your-to-do-list-with-staples arc notebooks

Isn’t this cover just gorgeous?!

organize-your-to-do-list-with-staples arc notebooks

The Arc Notebooks have many accessories available such as page flags (shown here), dividers, folder dividers, hole punches, etc. 

organize-your-to-do-list-with-staples arc notebooks

How I Use My Arc Notebook

I currently use just page flags as my dividers because I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like this notebook. Believe me, dividers and a hole punch are on my wish list now! (Fiancé take note!) 

  • First Section: Important Notes
    • Right now this includes social media tips such as image sizes, and just random bits of information I’ve read that I wanted to jot down.
  • Second Section: Weekly To Do List
    • My most recent to do list for the week where I write down what I need to get done, and how to get it done. 
  • Third Section: Old Notes
    • I do not like throwing away old notes right away in case I need to reference back, so I like to at least keep these for about a month.
  • Fourth Section: Ideas
    • My last section is a bit of a mess. While I may be an organized person, sometimes I need to start with a mess and make sense of it. This is just a space for random ideas I come up throughout the day that I don’t want to forget or where I will brain dump my master to do list before dividing it up into sections. 

organize-your-to-do-list-with-staples arc notebooks

The Low Down

Let’s answer those questions!

  • “What do you mean the paper has openings?”
    • The paper has holes just like any other ring bound planner, but they have little slits so you can easily remove or add them back. No opening of rings! Its pretty neat!
  • “Discs? What are discs?”
    • They’re like CDs but much smaller and thicker, but they’re not really like CDs because they don’t play music. The have a “lip” that holds the paper in and the middle part is thinner. 
  • “What do you mean the discs come out?”
    • You can take the discs out and replace them with larger or smaller discs so you can have more or less paper to suit your needs. 
  • “How does the paper stay in there?!”
    • Y’all it does. I mean of course if you’re throwing your notebook around it may not stay, but normal turning of pages doesn’t make them come out. Since I chose the larger size, my notebook usually stays on my desk so it hasn’t traveled much. 

Disclosure: Staples sent me a Arc Notebook in exchange for writing a review on my blog. Opinions expressed here are my own.

Do you have an Arc Planner or Notebook? Why did you choose it?



  1. January 10, 2016 / 12:42 AM

    Love this notebook! the cover is so cool!

    Also love how you organise it with a very simple and clean way


  2. January 11, 2016 / 11:06 AM

    I’ve been using The Happy Planner which is ARC system. I enjoy the disc system for the most part, being able to pop things in and out.

  3. January 20, 2016 / 8:54 PM

    I do have an arc notebook and the day designer planner and love both, however, the arc notebook I need to get better at using. I love the way you use yours!

  4. January 21, 2016 / 9:04 AM

    Really interesting points here! Having a notebook that works for you is always a good thing to find. Glad to see you got so much out of this one.

  5. January 23, 2016 / 6:29 PM

    I love using the arc system. I really love your cover but we can’t get it in the UK…I don’t like any we have access to.

  6. night bloom
    February 4, 2016 / 10:26 PM

    I love this system! I have been using it for years and make my own pages for it. Also, I got this cover recently when it went on sale and I love it!


  7. Pearl
    February 25, 2016 / 6:43 PM

    I got an arc notebook also and use it for my to-do list and it has improved by productivity a ton. The large size of the notebook gives me endless space to write exactly what needs to be done. I also got a to-do list set of pages that really is nice for, well to-do lists, and the regular sheets for when I write essays and such for work. Love the system.

  8. Tamara
    February 26, 2016 / 1:40 PM

    I also love the arc system, and am obsessed with my planner! I LOVE the cover on this one. I have a classic blue cover 🙂

  9. May 10, 2016 / 7:02 AM

    I love the way you have used the arc system, its very clear and simple. –

  10. alexa markoff
    August 25, 2016 / 4:03 PM

    I’ve used lots of planners and this one is definitely the easiest and it actually works!!! Love that you can refill and switch out tabs and keep all information from meetings as well as to do lists in one place.

  11. November 7, 2016 / 6:12 AM

    I just discovered the Arc recently and love it so far! I love the way you’ve organized yours.

  12. Jen
    November 20, 2016 / 10:05 PM

    I love the Arc system and have been using it for years. The system was originally created by Levenger and the Arc is a knockoff. The one thing I will say is that if you are going to use this system, get a Levenger paper punch. I have both the Levenger punch and the Staples punch and the pages punched with Levenger turn SO much easier. It is to the point that I buy a Staples Arc book for the pretty cover and nice price point and re-punch the pages with my Levenger punch. The difference is huge. That said, Levenger has nice stuff, but it is pricey and in my opinion, not worth it.

  13. January 10, 2017 / 1:29 PM

    Love love love your planner! I just started using a TUL notebook for bullet journaling. One question, can you use the Cricut to make the punches? I don’t have the ARC punch.

    • January 30, 2017 / 8:48 AM

      I don’t have a cricut so I’m not sure! I actually ended up buying the Tul punch because it was on sale at Office Depot.

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