Thursday, May 26, 2011

Moleskine Notebooks

One hipster fad I embraced a few years ago was using a Moleskine notebook.  I don't remember exactly what turned me on to them, but ever since first trying one, it just felt right.  Probably something about famous artists and writers using them back in the day.

Solid construction,  smooth writing paper, easy to carry around, and it lays flat from the get-go.  It has the feel of something that will outlast you.

After trying several variants, I keep coming back to the large one with graph paper pages.  (The graph paper reminds me of playing Dungeons and Dragons as a kid.)

I go through three of four a year.  I am currently on number 14. A shelf in my basement holds the previous volumes.   I usually keep the last-filled one in my gear bag.

I have evolved a few good habits though using the notebooks (or adopted them from Moleskine Hack webpages - 1, 2, 3...)

The first few pages are dedicated to lists:
  - home repair to-dos
  - stuff I want to learn (e.g. golf, wine, cooking, ballroom dancing, etc)
  - personal finance goals
  - guitar songs and techniques to learn
  - inventions to patent
  - music / books / movies to check out
When I finish one notebook and start the next, it allows review the lists as I rewrite them.

  - Phone rosters
  - Voicemail  and conference line instructions
  - Account and registration numbers (nothing vulnerable)
Having this info quickly available has made me a office hero on several occasions.

Daily Pages
Notes, schematics, doodles, and bubble to-do lists (more on this later).  Always put the date in the corner.

Label the Page Edges
Put the volume number and the start/end dates on the spine in black sharpie.

On the endpage, I keep a half-dozen or so blank stickies for leaving notes, different color tabs, and a few paperclips.

"Secret Compartment"
In the back pocket, I keep 
  - my business cards
  - "keeper" business cards
  - stamps
  - pictures of my kids
  - a few 3 x 5 cards
  - a few dollars
  - guitar pick

Snapping open the elastic band, opening to the bookmark ribbon, and writing the date in the corner of a blank page  sends a statement: it's time to get down to business.  And if you carry it with you for a casual stroll or a stress break at work, it looks like you are on the way to a meeting ;)

Bonus: you can hollow out the pages of the small ones and make a "secret agent" hard drive enclosure.