29 November 2010

What's in My Moleskine?

I use my Moleskine almost exclusively for organizational purposes, and I use the "Getting Things Done" system to keep myself organized.  I am not a creative user who journals or sketches.  I have many different lists in my notebook at any given time, but GTD has first dibs on any notebook I use.

The first twenty pages of my Moleskine are always reserved for GTD.  I break them out as follows:  1 - 2 are "Maybe" pages for ideas that might become projects, 3 - 4 are "Professional Project" pages to list projects at my job, 5 - 6 are "Personal Project" pages to list projects at home, 7 - 8 are "Delegated" pages to remind me of what I'm waiting on, and 9 - 20 are "Next Action" pages to list tasks I need to complete.

I will fill up twelve Next Action pages just as I am completing the rest of my notebook, so its just right for me.  I use the ribbon marker to mark the next blank page in my notebook and a Post-it flag to mark the current next actions page.  That is a page I like to jump to quickly.  There is nothing more satisfying than lots of crossed out Next Actions! :)

In addition to reserving GTD pages, the first things I do to a new notebook are to number the odd pages (easier than numbering all of them), reserve ten pages in the back of the notebook for an index, and then add several lists I know I will use.

I always have lists for:
  • A travel checklist to make sure I have packed everything.
  • Books I want to read.
  • Gift ideas for my wife.
  • Food I want to cook.
  • Restaurants I want to try.
  • Agenda items for my next board meeting.
How do you use your Moleskine?  I love to hear what other people do with their notebooks!

20 November 2010

What's So Great About Moleskines?

I love having a small notebook handy to make lists and plans, and record my thoughts.  Getting these things down on paper, rearranging them, and reworking them helps me maintain some order in everything I care about-- or at least it makes me feel like I'm keeping things in order.

But of course, I could use an inexpensive notebook from the grocery store for that.  I love using a Moleskine because it strikes an excellent balance between being a luxury item and a completely affordable one.  As notebooks go, they are expensive.  Probably exorbitantly so.  But while I can't afford the finest car on the market, bespoke clothes, or a private jet, I can certainly indulge in a very nice notebook.

The superior quality of Moleskine notebooks is obvious when handling one.  The paper is smoother and more supple, it has a creamy color without the glare common in other notebooks, and the construction is more thoughtful, with solid binding, a durable cover, and of course the well-known page marker and back pocket.

You can find a number of opinions online about the best high-end notebook on the market, and I certainly don't dismiss the possibility of others besting the Moleskine.  I even have my own complaints about Moleskine-- they certainly aren't perfect.  But I continue to prefer it to other notebooks I have tried, for a variety of reasons.  I plan to review other notebooks in the future and will compare notebooks in detail at that time.  In the meantime, please send me your thoughts on your favorite notebooks and suggestions for ones I should review.  High on my list are Guildhall and the Rhodia Webbie.

I have become very attached to my Moleskine over the years and have tried a number of alternatives, including fully digital alternatives like iPhone aps.  I have found some notebooks that come close, but none that make me happy enough to switch.  Please visit again and lets explore new notebooks and uses together.