Notebook Strategy   Leave a comment

Over on the Pen, Paper, Ink, Letter blog, they spent some time considering “notebook strategies,” what notebooks the writer was using, and for what purpose. He observed, correctly in my opinion, that office supply fans tend to have multiple notebooks–something I think is very true! The author asks what the readers’ system is. I thought I’d share a view into my primary notebooks here.

Much of what I do at work is all-digital. However, we still have to take notes in meetings, or at the data center. I also find I focus better with pen and paper, so I capture information that way as well. My work notebook is a disc-bound notebook. In addition to blank Rhodia paper, I have a variety of reference materials, such as process guides and inventories. This is all punched with an Arc punch. This notebook goes to work with me every day, but is taken out of my bag for other occasions.

I have a similar sized disc bound notebook, which I carry with me when I want to have a notebook that looks professional, but does not have work things in it. Mostly, it has blank paper in it, though I’ve clipped in all sorts of other documents into it, as the situation dictates. I got it for free at Staples.
Non-Work Professional Notebook

I keep a small notebook with me, stuffed into a jacket or pant pocket. this is around A6 size. This carries a few notes I like to have with me, along with a place to capture running thoughts. For instance, when preparing for a trip, I keep a running list of things I want to make sure I bring. It also keeps a list of blog posts I want to make. I add to that as I think about it. Some of the reference things find their way onto Evernote, as it becomes a pain to transcribe from notebook to notebook. Right now, I’m actually carrying two, as one is nearing the end.
Pocket Notebook(s)

I have a journal. Sometimes, it’s just thoughts I want to get out of my head. Doing so helps me refine them, and decide if it is worth sharing further. More than a few blog posts started this way. I’ve also written down notes about events I want to remember, even to the point of documenting something so I could have a timeline later. I honestly don’t expect the contents to be read, straight from the notebook, by anyone but me. But it is comforting to have written them down. I prefer A5 size for this purpose. Right now, it’s a Leuchtturm 1917, which is adequately fountain pen friendly for the cost, and has some handy features.

Inside my camerabag lives a notebook I call the “Zoo Notebook.” It used to primarily log the animals I saw at the zoo, especially species I wasn’t as familiar with, or names of the animals I learned. It expanded to be my photography notebook, with a different section flagged (I’m addicted to Post-It tape flags) for recording film camera activity.

That’s the primary set. I used to keep my bike log in a notebook, but, once I got a cyclecomputer I could download the stats to my computer, that’s gone all-digital. I think having several notebooks allows me to take what I need with me into the world, and keep some level of separation to task.


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