Note-taking

notebook_small.jpgI have now found a system for taking notes that I am exceedingly happy with, thanks to a combination of both Jacob Bøtter, Mark Hurst, and Harry Max.



First, at EuroGEL, which by the way was amazing, you should definitely go next year, Mark handed out these tiny 3×5 inch notebooks from Staples. I looked at it and winced. Way too small to be of use to me. I normally use an A4 size notebook, with plenty of space.



A few days later, I was with Jacob, who was fervently taking notes on Post-Its, mentioning how good it was that they were so small that he could always have it in his pocket. Having myself been caught without my notebook, I could see the point. I tried the Post-It note for a day, but it was too clumsy. That’s when I recalled Mark’s notebook.



The final touch was the pen. At first, I was using my standard Space Pen, but as I was walking around New York City day after day, often without my bag, I’d carry the notebook in my back pocket, and the Space Pen didn’t appreciate that. Enter Harry, who a few weeks before had shown me The Bullet. It’s tiny and opens up into a full-sized pen. You can sit on it, and it won’t complain. And if you’re not familiar with the space pen, the key feature is that it’s pressurized, so the ink will always flow, whether or not you hold it upwards or downwards. (In Europe, buy it here, you’ll get it in just a few days.)



This simple kit has served me really great for almost two months. When I’m at meetings or read stuff, I’ll take notes. If there’s an action item, I’ll put in on a the left page with a box next to it that I can check when it’s done. I’ll keep several running lists of things I need to talk to so and so about, or ideas for food to cook for dinner, and on and on. And the more I use it, the more ideas I get. It’s pure magick.



A big shout-out to all three of you.



UPDATE: Mark tells me that Cat Fitzgerald was the one who picked out the note books. Thanks to you, too, Cat!

9 comments

When you're done with your Staples notebook, be sure to check out the Moleskines (<a href="http://www.moleskine.com/">www.moleskine.com</a>). They are a bit more pricy, but I love them and couldn't live without one.
By Dan August on Thu, Oct 26, 06 at 05:03
Thanks for the tip. Pollas has been trying to sell me on the moleskine, too, but I kinda like this, and I really like cheap. It's a tool, not a statement. Besides, I got a supply of 15 on my last visit to NYC, and I'm only on nuber 2 so far, so I'll be good for a while :)
By Lars Pind on Thu, Oct 26, 06 at 05:03 · Reply
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I used to be a moleskine fan - the mid-sized type with elastic strap - but they are too un-disposable (ie. expensive and heavy) for my liking these days. So I moved to the cardboard backed slim moleskines, but that's a lot of money just to buy a notebook. For a similar quality simple notebooks, but with a better range of sizes, bindings (spiral, fold flat top or left)and less expensive, try stationary from <a href="http://www.mujionline.co.uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?V=1&Sec=1&Sub=4">Muji</a> (UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Japan). I personally don't much like spiral bindings - they get tatty and start to poke you and your clothes. The fold flat Muji ones suit me nicely (but I need to wait for a trip to Europe to stock up :)
By Mark Aufflick on Thu, Oct 26, 06 at 05:03 · Reply
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What about backup? What if you lose it?
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Hold on to it tightly :) Any ideas?
By Lars Pind on Thu, Oct 26, 06 at 05:03 · Reply
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Well, on the first page of a Moleskine you can write your name, address of choice and offer a reward for the finder if it ever gets lost. I guess you can use that same feature in other notebooks as well. "and I really like cheap. It's a tool not a statement". I guess you don't apply that same principle to your choice of laptop ;o)
By Dan August on Thu, Oct 26, 06 at 05:03 · Reply
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What about RFID-tags? I just bought a Moleskine today, I haven't been analogue for years, but I like the texture of a book. I bought the plain one - no lines etc. Nothing to distract you - just white paper. I'm thinking about the right pen now. Maybe just a pencil. I kinda like pencils though I havn't used one since school back in the 70s.
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http://www.picopad.com Tiny, always with you. Elegant.
By Christina on Thu, Oct 26, 06 at 05:03 · Reply
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I should get something similar, too. I recently read "Weinberg on Writing":http://www.amazon.com/Weinberg-on-Writing-Fieldstone-Method/dp/093263365X and noticed how many "fieldstones" I'm missing by not always writing interesting stuff down. The problem would still persist, though. I doubt I would take the pad and the pen with me when I'm excercising, and that's when a lot of neat ideas surface.
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