Tag Archives: Notebooks

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

When it comes to pocket-sized notebooks, two companies stand above the rest: Moleskine and Field Notes. Both are incredibly popular and work great for what they are, but choosing between the two is difficult. We’re here to help you make that choice.

The Contenders

While you have thousands of options for paper notebooks, Moleskine and Field Notes are two of our favorites. Both companies make fantastic notebooks, but they’re made differently, have different paper selections, and have drastically different covers. For the sake of consistency, we’re going to stick to pocket-sized notebooks for this comparison, since that’s the only size Field Notes makes. Moleskine has a much broader selection of sizes though, so if you’re looking for something larger, that’s the brand you’ll want to go with. With that out of the way, let’s take a close look at the two contenders.

  • Moleskine: Love them or hate them, Moleskine notebooks are ubiquitous. There’s a cult following around the company that’s at least partially due to the their trademark hard covers, the variety of notebook sizes the company offers, and a small selection of different types of paper. Moleskine notebooks are available everywhere and their pocket-sized options come in a variety of types specific to individual needs. Their pocket-sized notebooks (3 1/2" x 5 1/2") come packed with 192 pages and retail starting at $12. Moleskines are designed in Italy and manufactured in China.
  • Field Notes: If Moleskine are the Evernote of notebook brands, Field Notes are the plain text equivalent. With only one exception, they stick to a single size (3 1/2" x 5 1/2"), though they offer a variety of different colors and types of paper. Picking the right notebook for you is as simple as finding the paper style you prefer. Field Notes are sold in a three-pack of 48-page notebooks as opposed to one single, larger notebook. Pretty much all editions of the Field Notes three-packs are $10. Field Notes are designed and made in the U.S.

You can walk into just about any department store or bookshop and walk out with a notebook, but these two are so popular they have each have their own followings, and for good reason. Let’s take this comparison a little deeper.

http://lifehacker.com/five-best-pape…

Moleskine Has More Covers but Both Are Durable

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

Comparing the covers of Moleskine and Field Notes notebooks is a little disingenuous because of the number of options Moleskine offers compared to the one basic Field Notes cover, but it’s necessary nonetheless.

Moleskine notebooks come with three basic cover options, soft, hard, and cardboard. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Hard cover: Moleskine’s hard cover notebooks are their bread and butter. The hard cover notebook is what most people think of when they think of Moleskine. The cover is cardboard bound, features a cloth bookmark, an elastic closure, and an expandable inner pocket in the back.
  • Soft cover: Moleskine’s soft cover notebooks are basically the same as their hardcover, but feature a much more flexible cover. Like the hard cover, they come with a bookmark, elastic closure, and an expandable inner pocket.
  • Cardboard: If there’s a direct analog between Moleskine and Field Notes notebooks, it’s Moleskine’s Cahier line. The stitching in these notebooks goes across the spine in a way that looks like it’s done by hand. The covers are a lighter cardboard than the hard covers. This notebook does not have the trademark elastic enclosure of other Moleskine notebooks. This line of notebooks comes in three different sizes, but the 64-page pocket version is the closest to Field Notes. Like Field Notes, these come in three packs that retail for $10.

In my experience, all three of Moleskine’s notebook styles are durable and can take a pretty good beating. The hard covers are the most durable, but the material the soft cover is bound in is pretty strong too. You can rip those soft covers apart if you try, but if it’s just sitting inside a bag it tends to be fine. The Cahier line that mimics the Field Notes style is a pretty stiff bit of cardboard and the stitch style means it doesn’t fold and bend as much as Field Notes book.

Speaking of the Field Notes books, their covers are way different than Moleskine’s. The standard Field Notes books come in a brown light cardboard cover that’s the same color as a paper grocery store bag. They’re pretty floppy too, closer to something like the cover you’d find on standard spiral notebook. That doesn’t mean they’re not durable though. The floppiness means the Field Notes notebooks fit more comfortably in your pocket. They roll up in your pocket easily, which is a nice perk if that’s more your style. The binding is three staples, which feels tough and makes it so you can flip the book around or bend it to suit your needs.

While Field Notes’ covers are pretty standard, they do have some special edition books worth pointing out. Their cherry wood cover is a bit more durable than their cardboard covers, their Pitch Black notebook features a stocky 100 lb “blacktop cover,” and their Expedition notebooks (my personal favorite, if you’re curious) are tear proof and pretty hard to destroy. The Expedition notebooks also waterproof, which is handy if you have your notebook in a garage or take it out into any kind of weather.

Both Companies Have Similar Paper Quality and Variety

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes
Moleskine on the left, Field Notes on the right

Besides the cover, paper quality and variety are the most important things about a notebook. Both companies give you a lot of options.

Moleskine offers all of their notebooks with ruled, squared or plain paper. On their popular models, including all the pocket-sized notebooks, they also offer dot-grid paper. Field Notes only offers ruled, squared, and plain, but also offers a mixed pack (remember Field Notes are always sold in threes) where you get one plain notebook, one ruled notebook, and one graph notebook. Some of the Field Notes special editions do come with dot-grid paper too, including the Pitch Black and Expedition notebook.

I’m no paper expert, but the quality of paper in both the standard editions of Field Notes and Moleskine notebooks seem similar. Ballpoint pens don’t leak through, but markers will. Writing with a pencil also works fine. Neither has thick, heavy stock paper that’ll work well with markers or paints. Put bluntly, neither paper is particularly great. If there is a noticeable difference, it’s that Moleskine’s paper tends to be a bit more yellow, while Field Notes tends to be a much more vibrant white. So if that matters to you, then it’s something to consider. Moleskine’s paper is acid-free, 70 gsm, 47 lb text stock. Field Notes changes their paper around depending edition, but they seem to use 50 lb text stock the most. That’s about the same quality as cheap printer paper. If you’re curious to read more about the paper in each, here’s a deep dive into the paper used in Moleskines. If you want to see the various papers used in Field Notes notebooks, Three Staples has a pretty comprehensive guide.

Both companies also offer some specialty paper options. For example, Moleskine has a sketch album that includes sketch-grade paper. As for Field Notes, the previously mentioned Expedition notebook features waterproof, tearproof paper. Likewise, the Pitch Black edition has a 50lb stock paper on the inside, which makes it a bit tougher than the standard paper.

Field Notes Keeps It Simple but Moleskine Has More “Special Editions”

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

On top of their standard notebooks, Moleskine also offer a bunch of themed notebooks made for specific writing themes like keeping a film journal and even city-specific notebooks for travel. They have notebooks just for music notation, storyboarding, and even one influenced by Japanese scrolls. Beyond those, Moleskine also routinely releases special notebooks with branded covers from the likes of Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Batman, and more. They even offer “smart notebooks” that work with Adobe Creative Cloud and Evernote.

Field Notes takes a much simpler approach. Aside from their regular line of notebooks and the Pitch Black and Expedition editions we’ve already mentioned (which may also be limited runs, but have been in print for a while now), they also release a variety of colored special editions throughout the year. For example, right now they have the Shenandoah pack, the Chicago 3-pack, and the Sweet Tooth Edition. They also have specialty notebooks for logging flights or your trip to the county fair. Right now, they have a fun little workshop companion pack for different DIY projects. These special editions are so popular that Field Notes even has as subscription service if you don’t want to miss any of them.

The Verdict: “Best” Depends On Whether It’ll Actually Live In Your Pocket

When we started this comparison, we noted that it was a bit unfair because Moleskine offered such a massive variety of notebook options. Still, even with those options, which notebooks is best for you depends on what you’ll use it for.

Personally, none of the Moleskine models fit in my pocket comfortably, so if I’m planning on lugging a notebook around with me full-time, it’s a Field Notes notebook. Likewise, if I’m working on anything out in the world, whether it’s in a garage or taking measurements during some weird DIY science project, I like the Field Notes notebooks because they can bend around a lot easier.

But if I’m doing more than that, especially if I’m planning on doing any sketching or longer writing, then Moleskine notebooks are better suited for my needs. The elastic wrap and bookmark is also a killer feature for some people, though I never make use of either. The pocket in the back of Moleskines, while a fun idea, has always always been a useless little addition to me, though I’m sure others have found some use for it.

Of course, beyond that, it’s about aesthetics. Which one looks better to you? Are you a fan of fun colors or do you prefer designs based on pop culture? Is a hard cover necessary? Do you want a simple notebook, or do you want bookmarks and closure straps? Pick the one you’ll actually use. Notebooks are worthless if they’re not written in.

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

When it comes to pocket-sized notebooks, two companies stand above the rest: Moleskine and Field Notes. Both are incredibly popular and work great for what they are, but choosing between the two is difficult. We’re here to help you make that choice.

The Contenders

While you have thousands of options for paper notebooks, Moleskine and Field Notes are two of our favorites. Both companies make fantastic notebooks, but they’re made differently, have different paper selections, and have drastically different covers. For the sake of consistency, we’re going to stick to pocket-sized notebooks for this comparison, since that’s the only size Field Notes makes. Moleskine has a much broader selection of sizes though, so if you’re looking for something larger, that’s the brand you’ll want to go with. With that out of the way, let’s take a close look at the two contenders.

  • Moleskine: Love them or hate them, Moleskine notebooks are ubiquitous. There’s a cult following around the company that’s at least partially due to the their trademark hard covers, the variety of notebook sizes the company offers, and a small selection of different types of paper. Moleskine notebooks are available everywhere and their pocket-sized options come in a variety of types specific to individual needs. Their pocket-sized notebooks (3 1/2" x 5 1/2") come packed with 192 pages and retail starting at $12. Moleskines are designed in Italy and manufactured in China.
  • Field Notes: If Moleskine are the Evernote of notebook brands, Field Notes are the plain text equivalent. With only one exception, they stick to a single size (3 1/2" x 5 1/2"), though they offer a variety of different colors and types of paper. Picking the right notebook for you is as simple as finding the paper style you prefer. Field Notes are sold in a three-pack of 48-page notebooks as opposed to one single, larger notebook. Pretty much all editions of the Field Notes three-packs are $10. Field Notes are designed and made in the U.S.

You can walk into just about any department store or bookshop and walk out with a notebook, but these two are so popular they have each have their own followings, and for good reason. Let’s take this comparison a little deeper.

http://lifehacker.com/five-best-pape…

Moleskine Has More Covers but Both Are Durable

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

Comparing the covers of Moleskine and Field Notes notebooks is a little disingenuous because of the number of options Moleskine offers compared to the one basic Field Notes cover, but it’s necessary nonetheless.

Moleskine notebooks come with three basic cover options, soft, hard, and cardboard. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Hard cover: Moleskine’s hard cover notebooks are their bread and butter. The hard cover notebook is what most people think of when they think of Moleskine. The cover is cardboard bound, features a cloth bookmark, an elastic closure, and an expandable inner pocket in the back.
  • Soft cover: Moleskine’s soft cover notebooks are basically the same as their hardcover, but feature a much more flexible cover. Like the hard cover, they come with a bookmark, elastic closure, and an expandable inner pocket.
  • Cardboard: If there’s a direct analog between Moleskine and Field Notes notebooks, it’s Moleskine’s Cahier line. The stitching in these notebooks goes across the spine in a way that looks like it’s done by hand. The covers are a lighter cardboard than the hard covers. This notebook does not have the trademark elastic enclosure of other Moleskine notebooks. This line of notebooks comes in three different sizes, but the 64-page pocket version is the closest to Field Notes. Like Field Notes, these come in three packs that retail for $10.

In my experience, all three of Moleskine’s notebook styles are durable and can take a pretty good beating. The hard covers are the most durable, but the material the soft cover is bound in is pretty strong too. You can rip those soft covers apart if you try, but if it’s just sitting inside a bag it tends to be fine. The Cahier line that mimics the Field Notes style is a pretty stiff bit of cardboard and the stitch style means it doesn’t fold and bend as much as Field Notes book.

Speaking of the Field Notes books, their covers are way different than Moleskine’s. The standard Field Notes books come in a brown light cardboard cover that’s the same color as a paper grocery store bag. They’re pretty floppy too, closer to something like the cover you’d find on standard spiral notebook. That doesn’t mean they’re not durable though. The floppiness means the Field Notes notebooks fit more comfortably in your pocket. They roll up in your pocket easily, which is a nice perk if that’s more your style. The binding is three staples, which feels tough and makes it so you can flip the book around or bend it to suit your needs.

While Field Notes’ covers are pretty standard, they do have some special edition books worth pointing out. Their cherry wood cover is a bit more durable than their cardboard covers, their Pitch Black notebook features a stocky 100 lb “blacktop cover,” and their Expedition notebooks (my personal favorite, if you’re curious) are tear proof and pretty hard to destroy. The Expedition notebooks also waterproof, which is handy if you have your notebook in a garage or take it out into any kind of weather.

Both Companies Have Similar Paper Quality and Variety

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes
Moleskine on the left, Field Notes on the right

Besides the cover, paper quality and variety are the most important things about a notebook. Both companies give you a lot of options.

Moleskine offers all of their notebooks with ruled, squared or plain paper. On their popular models, including all the pocket-sized notebooks, they also offer dot-grid paper. Field Notes only offers ruled, squared, and plain, but also offers a mixed pack (remember Field Notes are always sold in threes) where you get one plain notebook, one ruled notebook, and one graph notebook. Some of the Field Notes special editions do come with dot-grid paper too, including the Pitch Black and Expedition notebook.

I’m no paper expert, but the quality of paper in both the standard editions of Field Notes and Moleskine notebooks seem similar. Ballpoint pens don’t leak through, but markers will. Writing with a pencil also works fine. Neither has thick, heavy stock paper that’ll work well with markers or paints. Put bluntly, neither paper is particularly great. If there is a noticeable difference, it’s that Moleskine’s paper tends to be a bit more yellow, while Field Notes tends to be a much more vibrant white. So if that matters to you, then it’s something to consider. Moleskine’s paper is acid-free, 70 gsm, 47 lb text stock. Field Notes changes their paper around depending edition, but they seem to use 50 lb text stock the most. That’s about the same quality as cheap printer paper. If you’re curious to read more about the paper in each, here’s a deep dive into the paper used in Moleskines. If you want to see the various papers used in Field Notes notebooks, Three Staples has a pretty comprehensive guide.

Both companies also offer some specialty paper options. For example, Moleskine has a sketch album that includes sketch-grade paper. As for Field Notes, the previously mentioned Expedition notebook features waterproof, tearproof paper. Likewise, the Pitch Black edition has a 50lb stock paper on the inside, which makes it a bit tougher than the standard paper.

Field Notes Keeps It Simple but Moleskine Has More “Special Editions”

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

On top of their standard notebooks, Moleskine also offer a bunch of themed notebooks made for specific writing themes like keeping a film journal and even city-specific notebooks for travel. They have notebooks just for music notation, storyboarding, and even one influenced by Japanese scrolls. Beyond those, Moleskine also routinely releases special notebooks with branded covers from the likes of Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Batman, and more. They even offer “smart notebooks” that work with Adobe Creative Cloud and Evernote.

Field Notes takes a much simpler approach. Aside from their regular line of notebooks and the Pitch Black and Expedition editions we’ve already mentioned (which may also be limited runs, but have been in print for a while now), they also release a variety of colored special editions throughout the year. For example, right now they have the Shenandoah pack, the Chicago 3-pack, and the Sweet Tooth Edition. They also have specialty notebooks for logging flights or your trip to the county fair. Right now, they have a fun little workshop companion pack for different DIY projects. These special editions are so popular that Field Notes even has as subscription service if you don’t want to miss any of them.

The Verdict: “Best” Depends On Whether It’ll Actually Live In Your Pocket

When we started this comparison, we noted that it was a bit unfair because Moleskine offered such a massive variety of notebook options. Still, even with those options, which notebooks is best for you depends on what you’ll use it for.

Personally, none of the Moleskine models fit in my pocket comfortably, so if I’m planning on lugging a notebook around with me full-time, it’s a Field Notes notebook. Likewise, if I’m working on anything out in the world, whether it’s in a garage or taking measurements during some weird DIY science project, I like the Field Notes notebooks because they can bend around a lot easier.

But if I’m doing more than that, especially if I’m planning on doing any sketching or longer writing, then Moleskine notebooks are better suited for my needs. The elastic wrap and bookmark is also a killer feature for some people, though I never make use of either. The pocket in the back of Moleskines, while a fun idea, has always always been a useless little addition to me, though I’m sure others have found some use for it.

Of course, beyond that, it’s about aesthetics. Which one looks better to you? Are you a fan of fun colors or do you prefer designs based on pop culture? Is a hard cover necessary? Do you want a simple notebook, or do you want bookmarks and closure straps? Pick the one you’ll actually use. Notebooks are worthless if they’re not written in.

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

When it comes to pocket-sized notebooks, two companies stand above the rest: Moleskine and Field Notes. Both are incredibly popular and work great for what they are, but choosing between the two is difficult. We’re here to help you make that choice.

The Contenders

While you have thousands of options for paper notebooks, Moleskine and Field Notes are two of our favorites. Both companies make fantastic notebooks, but they’re made differently, have different paper selections, and have drastically different covers. For the sake of consistency, we’re going to stick to pocket-sized notebooks for this comparison, since that’s the only size Field Notes makes. Moleskine has a much broader selection of sizes though, so if you’re looking for something larger, that’s the brand you’ll want to go with. With that out of the way, let’s take a close look at the two contenders.

  • Moleskine: Love them or hate them, Moleskine notebooks are ubiquitous. There’s a cult following around the company that’s at least partially due to the their trademark hard covers, the variety of notebook sizes the company offers, and a small selection of different types of paper. Moleskine notebooks are available everywhere and their pocket-sized options come in a variety of types specific to individual needs. Their pocket-sized notebooks (3 1/2" x 5 1/2") come packed with 192 pages and retail starting at $12. Moleskines are designed in Italy and manufactured in China.
  • Field Notes: If Moleskine are the Evernote of notebook brands, Field Notes are the plain text equivalent. With only one exception, they stick to a single size (3 1/2" x 5 1/2"), though they offer a variety of different colors and types of paper. Picking the right notebook for you is as simple as finding the paper style you prefer. Field Notes are sold in a three-pack of 48-page notebooks as opposed to one single, larger notebook. Pretty much all editions of the Field Notes three-packs are $10. Field Notes are designed and made in the U.S.

You can walk into just about any department store or bookshop and walk out with a notebook, but these two are so popular they have each have their own followings, and for good reason. Let’s take this comparison a little deeper.

http://lifehacker.com/five-best-pape…

Moleskine Has More Covers but Both Are Durable

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

Comparing the covers of Moleskine and Field Notes notebooks is a little disingenuous because of the number of options Moleskine offers compared to the one basic Field Notes cover, but it’s necessary nonetheless.

Moleskine notebooks come with three basic cover options, soft, hard, and cardboard. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Hard cover: Moleskine’s hard cover notebooks are their bread and butter. The hard cover notebook is what most people think of when they think of Moleskine. The cover is cardboard bound, features a cloth bookmark, an elastic closure, and an expandable inner pocket in the back.
  • Soft cover: Moleskine’s soft cover notebooks are basically the same as their hardcover, but feature a much more flexible cover. Like the hard cover, they come with a bookmark, elastic closure, and an expandable inner pocket.
  • Cardboard: If there’s a direct analog between Moleskine and Field Notes notebooks, it’s Moleskine’s Cahier line. The stitching in these notebooks goes across the spine in a way that looks like it’s done by hand. The covers are a lighter cardboard than the hard covers. This notebook does not have the trademark elastic enclosure of other Moleskine notebooks. This line of notebooks comes in three different sizes, but the 64-page pocket version is the closest to Field Notes. Like Field Notes, these come in three packs that retail for $10.

In my experience, all three of Moleskine’s notebook styles are durable and can take a pretty good beating. The hard covers are the most durable, but the material the soft cover is bound in is pretty strong too. You can rip those soft covers apart if you try, but if it’s just sitting inside a bag it tends to be fine. The Cahier line that mimics the Field Notes style is a pretty stiff bit of cardboard and the stitch style means it doesn’t fold and bend as much as Field Notes book.

Speaking of the Field Notes books, their covers are way different than Moleskine’s. The standard Field Notes books come in a brown light cardboard cover that’s the same color as a paper grocery store bag. They’re pretty floppy too, closer to something like the cover you’d find on standard spiral notebook. That doesn’t mean they’re not durable though. The floppiness means the Field Notes notebooks fit more comfortably in your pocket. They roll up in your pocket easily, which is a nice perk if that’s more your style. The binding is three staples, which feels tough and makes it so you can flip the book around or bend it to suit your needs.

While Field Notes’ covers are pretty standard, they do have some special edition books worth pointing out. Their cherry wood cover is a bit more durable than their cardboard covers, their Pitch Black notebook features a stocky 100 lb “blacktop cover,” and their Expedition notebooks (my personal favorite, if you’re curious) are tear proof and pretty hard to destroy. The Expedition notebooks also waterproof, which is handy if you have your notebook in a garage or take it out into any kind of weather.

Both Companies Have Similar Paper Quality and Variety

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes
Moleskine on the left, Field Notes on the right

Besides the cover, paper quality and variety are the most important things about a notebook. Both companies give you a lot of options.

Moleskine offers all of their notebooks with ruled, squared or plain paper. On their popular models, including all the pocket-sized notebooks, they also offer dot-grid paper. Field Notes only offers ruled, squared, and plain, but also offers a mixed pack (remember Field Notes are always sold in threes) where you get one plain notebook, one ruled notebook, and one graph notebook. Some of the Field Notes special editions do come with dot-grid paper too, including the Pitch Black and Expedition notebook.

I’m no paper expert, but the quality of paper in both the standard editions of Field Notes and Moleskine notebooks seem similar. Ballpoint pens don’t leak through, but markers will. Writing with a pencil also works fine. Neither has thick, heavy stock paper that’ll work well with markers or paints. Put bluntly, neither paper is particularly great. If there is a noticeable difference, it’s that Moleskine’s paper tends to be a bit more yellow, while Field Notes tends to be a much more vibrant white. So if that matters to you, then it’s something to consider. Moleskine’s paper is acid-free, 70 gsm, 47 lb text stock. Field Notes changes their paper around depending edition, but they seem to use 50 lb text stock the most. That’s about the same quality as cheap printer paper. If you’re curious to read more about the paper in each, here’s a deep dive into the paper used in Moleskines. If you want to see the various papers used in Field Notes notebooks, Three Staples has a pretty comprehensive guide.

Both companies also offer some specialty paper options. For example, Moleskine has a sketch album that includes sketch-grade paper. As for Field Notes, the previously mentioned Expedition notebook features waterproof, tearproof paper. Likewise, the Pitch Black edition has a 50lb stock paper on the inside, which makes it a bit tougher than the standard paper.

Field Notes Keeps It Simple but Moleskine Has More “Special Editions”

Pocket Paper Notebook Showdown: Moleskine vs. Field Notes

On top of their standard notebooks, Moleskine also offer a bunch of themed notebooks made for specific writing themes like keeping a film journal and even city-specific notebooks for travel. They have notebooks just for music notation, storyboarding, and even one influenced by Japanese scrolls. Beyond those, Moleskine also routinely releases special notebooks with branded covers from the likes of Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Batman, and more. They even offer “smart notebooks” that work with Adobe Creative Cloud and Evernote.

Field Notes takes a much simpler approach. Aside from their regular line of notebooks and the Pitch Black and Expedition editions we’ve already mentioned (which may also be limited runs, but have been in print for a while now), they also release a variety of colored special editions throughout the year. For example, right now they have the Shenandoah pack, the Chicago 3-pack, and the Sweet Tooth Edition. They also have specialty notebooks for logging flights or your trip to the county fair. Right now, they have a fun little workshop companion pack for different DIY projects. These special editions are so popular that Field Notes even has as subscription service if you don’t want to miss any of them.

The Verdict: “Best” Depends On Whether It’ll Actually Live In Your Pocket

When we started this comparison, we noted that it was a bit unfair because Moleskine offered such a massive variety of notebook options. Still, even with those options, which notebooks is best for you depends on what you’ll use it for.

Personally, none of the Moleskine models fit in my pocket comfortably, so if I’m planning on lugging a notebook around with me full-time, it’s a Field Notes notebook. Likewise, if I’m working on anything out in the world, whether it’s in a garage or taking measurements during some weird DIY science project, I like the Field Notes notebooks because they can bend around a lot easier.

But if I’m doing more than that, especially if I’m planning on doing any sketching or longer writing, then Moleskine notebooks are better suited for my needs. The elastic wrap and bookmark is also a killer feature for some people, though I never make use of either. The pocket in the back of Moleskines, while a fun idea, has always always been a useless little addition to me, though I’m sure others have found some use for it.

Of course, beyond that, it’s about aesthetics. Which one looks better to you? Are you a fan of fun colors or do you prefer designs based on pop culture? Is a hard cover necessary? Do you want a simple notebook, or do you want bookmarks and closure straps? Pick the one you’ll actually use. Notebooks are worthless if they’re not written in.

Strikethru Makes Paper Productive by Combining GTD and Bullet Journal

Strikethru Makes Paper Productive by Combining GTD and Bullet Journal

If you prefer a pen and a notebook to digital to-do lists, then there’s a new productivity system on the block. Strikethru combines elements of the GTD method and the Bullet Journal for a new handwritten productivity technique.

As the system’s maker Chris explains on Reddit, all you need is a book and a pen. There are three basic parts to Strikethru:

  • The Live List: Your active to-do list for the day, which you fill the previous night with a 5-minute review. Limit yourself to only nine tasks in a day. Each task also has a priority circle to decide the order to tackle them.
  • The Dump: A place to jot down all your tasks and ideas in the book.
  • The Vault: Specific lists go into the vault, with a two-letter tag in a square for each. Like “Pr” for Project, “Wk” for Weekly, and so on.
  • Calendars: If you schedule tasks, add calendars to the start of your book and place the tasks in the appropriate daily, weekly, or monthly column.

The Lite system of Strikethru uses just the first two parts, the Standard system adds the Vault, and the Pro system adds calendars. Chris adds that you can combine Strikethru with other popular productivity systems like the Kanban method or the Pomodoro technique.

Head to the site and you can download an instructional guide on detailed steps to make your own Strikethru book. And yeah, the new productivity-focused Moleskine books might be a good companion!

Strikethru | via Reddit

Use a Paper Notebook to Look More Attentive in Meetings

Use a Paper Notebook to Look More Attentive in Meetings

We know you’re always paying 100% attention to every meeting you go to, but how does everyone else know when you’ve got your laptop open or are looking at your phone? Scribble in a paper notebook, however, and you might look like the only one who’s paying attention.

Technology has a way of distracting people—not just you, meeting attendee typing on your laptop, but the presenters and everyone else at the table. With a simple paper notebook, however, you look like you’re taking notes and are quite serious about the meeting compared to those not taking notes or possibly updating their Facebook statuses regarding boring meetings. You can (and probably should) take actual notes, of course, but if you need to fake interest or attention, scribbling in a notebook might do.

We’re not saying Evernote founder Phil Libin ever pretends to pay attention during meetings, but this tip comes from him:

“If you use a notebook, if you like write in a notebook while you’re talking to someone, they’ll feel like, ‘Man, this person really cares about me.’ It totally flips the odometer the other way. You are signaling deep caring and interest.” [...] “Even if you’re just drawing houses and clouds and unicorns,” Libin said.

Evernote founder shares his secret to looking interested during meetings | Business Insider

Photo by indi.ca.

Moleskine Unveils New Notebooks Designed for Productivity and Organization

Moleskine Unveils New Notebooks Designed for Productivity and Organization

Moleskine’s notebooks are some of your favorites, and today the company is taking the wraps off of “Moleskine Pro,” a reboot of the original with some added features designed for productivity. The new notebooks feature detachable to-do lists, adhesive tabs for organization, numbered pages and a table of contents, and more.http://lifehacker.com/five-best-pape…

The new notebooks are part notebook and part planner, and have pages and sections designed to be used for things like meeting notes, brainstorming suggestions, meeting minutes and people in attendance, next actions, and so on. The new notebooks also have numbered pages, and a table of contents that can be filled out as the notebook is filled out, which makes it easy to flip through to find something you need without having to remember by feel how thick the notebook was when you wrote something down you want to find again.

Additionally, the Pro line included adhesive stick notes you can use as section tabs, just to keep everything neatly organized, extra large workbooks for larger projects, drawings and sketches, or anything that needs more space, and even a portfolio notebook with an accordion file, if that’s how you like to roll—with space to carry handouts or other documents. There’s even a notebook “tool belt” that you can attach to the cover of a notebook that—after much demand—can hold small accessories, pens, and other things.

Of course, if you prefer the empty freedom of the original Moleskine notebooks, they’re available too—but the new line is geared right for office workers and creative pros who need to take tons of notes, but also want to stay organized. The new notebooks, for what it’s worth, also fit nicely with the Bullet Journal productivity method. Hit the link below to check them out.http://lifehacker.com/the-bullet-jou…

Moleskine

How to Use a Simple Pocket Notebook to Improve Your Life

How to Use a Simple Pocket Notebook to Improve Your Life

It’s really hard to believe, but I have to say that one of the most—and possibly the most—profound changes I’ve made in my life over the last several years was the simple decision to start carrying a pocket notebook and a pen with me wherever I go. Unless I’ve made a mental miscue when swapping out a finished notebook or something, I do not leave the house without my pocket notebook resting in my hip pocket or my shirt pocket, with a trusty pen right there beside it for jotting notes.

This post originally appeared on The Simple Dollar.

The Benefits of a Pocket Notebook

Why has this been such a profound switch for me? Simply put, it’s helped me in every single aspect of my life.

I don’t forget names or phone numbers or other contact information. Sure, I can put that information into my smartphone, but this ensures that I’ll always be able to do it, even if my smartphone is out of battery life. This also lets me add specific notes about the person right after their contact information so that I know why I jotted it down rather than just tossing a number into my phone without any context.

If I discover a task that I need to do, it’s immediately saved so I don’t forget about it. I don’t have to try to hold it in my head and hope that I remember it later. I just pull out my notebook anywhere and jot it down.

When I have a fleeting idea, I don’t lose it or have to work extra hard to remember it. Sometimes, I’ll have a great idea for an article for The Simple Dollar or hear a great idea on a podcast or on the radio. A note in my pocket notebook enables me to remember it so that I can investigate it further when the time is more convenient.

I don’t get distracted nearly as much by those fleeting ideas, either. When these ideas pop into my head, I either have to try to hold them in my head for a while until I have an opportunity to do something with them, which distracts me from whatever I’m doing, or I have to let them go. A pocket notebook solves this dilemma, as I can just write down that idea immediately and move back to the task at hand without that thought distracting me or without having to lose it.

I’m much better at learning things, both when I plan to or when an opportunity for learning pops up unexpectedly. Through using my pocket notebook for taking notes during classes, lectures, and so forth, I’ve landed upon a very good strategy that really works well for absorbing and processing the new things that I learn. I’ll explain that in detail in a bit, but the pocket notebook was key.

My “brainstorming” is much more effective than ever before. Not only can I brainstorm almost anywhere that I’m at, the results of that brainstorm are already part of a trusted system, so I can pick up the results of that brainstorm at a later date and actually do something with it.

These things—and many others—have contributed greatly to the quality of my personal, professional, and spiritual life.

The Gear

Before I get into the details of how I actually use my pocket notebook, let’s talk about what I use.

What Kind of Pocket Notebook?

Most of the time, I’m carrying a Field Notes pocket notebook. I’ve tried a bunch of different kinds of pocket notebooks and this seems to hit a sweet spot for me for several reasons.

First, it’s bound with staples rather than a metal spiral. I used to use generic pocket notebooks, which were bound either at the top or sides with a metal spiral. It didn’t take me long to see the problems with that binding, as the metal spiral felt uncomfortable in my pocket and, with much wear, the notebooks kind of fell apart. The metal spiral would often poke me in the leg, the pages would start to fall out, and if I got even a drop of moisture in there, it turned into a disaster. They just didn’t work. The staple binding is essential, as it keeps sharp metal away from my leg and makes the notebook far less bulky.

Second, the paper quality is good. I can write on it clearly and legibly with almost any kind of pen or pencil I can throw at it. There are some differences between editions of Field Notes, but all of them work well with the pens (and sometimes pencils) that I use.

Third, it stands up really well to living in my pocket for a few weeks, no matter what I might be doing. For the most part, Field Notes stand up really well in my pocket. After a day or two, the notebook slightly curves to the contour of my body and you can start to see some cover scuffing shortly thereafter, but the notebooks hold up incredibly well. Even through lots of hiking and all kinds of activity, they don’t fall apart.

Finally, they’re available in a graph paper format. I just prefer jotting down thoughts on graph paper. It’s easier for me to do things like create checkboxes, write horizontally or vertically as needed, and create simple diagrams and pictures as needed.

It doesn’t hurt that I find them very aesthetically pleasing, too.

My only complaint with them is the relative price. Usually, you’ll find a three pack of them—48 pages each—for $9.99 at MSRP. I can sometimes find them a bit cheaper than that. The problem is that I blow through one of these in about a week. I personally find it worth it, but if I could find a less expensive alternative that had the same features, I’d use it. (Most other notebooks that are similar are either the same price or have some sort of significant flaw.)

What about page size? When I first tried pocket notebooks, I was really apprehensive about page size. How would it handle large blocks of notes? I’ve found that this hasnever been an issue. I’ve never ran out of space for anything other than one or two very large drawings, and those were mostly due to starting a drawing without any organization in mind. The additional size of a larger notebook is far more of a drawback than the relative small page size of a pocket notebook.

What Kind of Pen?

I really have three requirements for my pocket pen.

One, it must write with a very high level of reliability on the pocket notebooks that I use. “Dud” pens aren’t acceptable, nor are pens that sometimes choose to write only at a certain angle. These pens need to be faithful and reliable, always writing when I pull one out to jot down a note.

Two, it must not leave excessive ink on the paper. If the pen leaves behind big blots of ink during normal writing, then that ink is going to smudge all over the place and make the things I’ve written become completely illegible. That’s not acceptable.

Three, it must never leak in my pocket. If a pen leaks in my pocket, I’m done with it immediately. If the same type of pen leaks twice, I’m done with that type of pen. This should never happen.

I prefer pens that write with a finer tip, but that’s a personal preference.

In the end, after trying a lot of pens, my preferred pen is the Uniball Signo 207 Ultra Micro. These pens are a home run for each of the above criteria and can be bought in bulk for a reasonable price per pen.

How I Use the Pocket Notebook

My process for actually using my pocket notebook is loosely based on the ideas presented in the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. In that book, Allen describes a very robust strategy for keeping track of tasks and pieces of information that one might accumulate. While I do not use Allen’s full system, I do use big parts of it, and my pocket notebook is a key part of that.

Gathering

“Gathering” simply refers to how I actually use my pocket notebook for taking notes and collecting things.

Everything I might possibly want to think about later is written down in my pocket notebook. If there’s even a chance I might want to reflect on it later, it goes in my pocket notebook. I don’t try to filter in advance—I just put everything in there.

I have no qualms about taking it out almost anywhere; if anyone asks, I tell them that they just told me something important that I want to remember or think about later. I’ve found that, over the years, people actually find this to be a pretty positive thing. People are subtly flattered if you tell them that they just said something important enough to you that you want to write it down to think about it later.

Think about it—what if you were telling someone something and they said, “That’s really interesting! Thanks for telling me! I’m going to jot that down so I can look into it more later!” and then wrote down what you said.

Most things are stored as simple notes, prefaced by a dash. I use a small dash or a dot at the start of each separate note. Most of my collection is just a long series of these notes.

I don’t worry about order or organization within my pocket notebook, as I’ll process all of it later. For the most part, I don’t worry about organizing those ideas at all as I write them down. Most of the material in that book is just a sequence of unrelated notes.

I’ll stick paper scraps right into my notebook with a paper clip—things like receipts and business cards so on. I usually have two paper clips attached to the back cover of the notebook. If I find a piece of paper I want to keep and deal with later, I’ll just stick it into that paper clip.

If I’m going to take longer notes on something, I draw a single line through one of the blank lines as a separator before and after the notes, and I title what the notes are about and where I took them. Let’s say, for example, that I watch a lecture for an online class or that I actually attend an event where there is a speaker. I’ll just make a single line in my notebook, write a title of the class or lecture or book chapter or whatever on the next line, and then start taking notes. When it’s finished, I draw another single line below it. (If I have any stray thoughts during this, I skip a page or two and jot it down, then go back to the notes.)

I keep my pocket notebook in front of me on the desk while I’m working (with a pen beside it). I find that I have a lot of stray ideas while I am working, so having that notebook in the most convenient place possible makes it easy to jot down notes as they come to mind. (Sometimes, I’ll just enter them directly into programs if I already know what to do with them.)

Processing

Processing means that I go through my pocket notebook and figure out what to do with all of the little notes I’ve taken.

I process my pocket notebook a couple times a day (unless I’m on vacation or something). I just sit down at my computer, pull out my notebook, and start dealing with the stuff I’ve written down there.

I start at the previous double line. I use a double line as a separator to indicate where I stopped processing my notebook last time. Thus, when I’m ready to process, I go backwards from my most recent note to the previous double line and start there.

I move names and addresses to my address book and social media contacts to appropriate social media accounts. Usually, I have a note there that explains why I should follow up with this person, and if that’s the case, I either follow up immediately or add an entry to my to-do list explaining that I should follow up (which is what I do if the follow-up requires any significant thought).

I recopy notes from classes or from things I’ve learned. This is key, and it’s helped me to process and absorb information far better than I’ve ever done before. Whenever I’m reading a book where I’m trying to learn something, attending a talk, or listening to a course lecture (I take a lot of online classes for personal enrichment), I take notes in my pocket notebook.

Those notes are great for helping me process the information as I’m hearing it, but they don’t do much for helping me to absorb it. I find that the best absorption—meaning that I integrate the ideas into my thinking and interpretation of the world—happens when I recopy those notes.

So, what I usually do is copy them into Evernote. I make a new note in Evernote with the name of the talk and then transfer my notes from my pocket notebook onto the computer within that Evernote note. As I go along, I’ll look up things that I’m unsure of and add those details to my notes.

This process is incredibly helpful for actually learning material. I had no idea how useful this really was, and I truly wish I had known about it when I was in college. It has helped me to really understand lots of different subjects.

I add to-dos to my to-do program. If an item constitutes a task I need to take care of, I either do it immediately or I add it to my to-do program of choice, Todoist. (During the day, I usually just follow my to-do list and try to crank through as many things as I can find on it.)

I figure out what to do with the other miscellaneous things I’ve written down. There are usually several other miscellaneous things that I need to deal with—things to look up, expenses to record in You Need a Budget, and so on. There’s usually an obvious thing to do with each one of these things and I try to just do it right then and there; if it’s not feasible, I turn it into another to-do.

I make a double line when I’m finished. When I reach the bottom of the last page of notes, I just make a double line, as before, so that I know where to start processing the next time.

Swapping Out Old Notebooks

Eventually a notebook fills up. When that happens, I have to do something!

When an old notebook is full, I put it in a storage box, not for posterity but in case I need to see it again in the next week or two. I do have a box full of old notebooks, but I don’t have any need to keep them, per se. I do sometimes need to refer back to the past couple of notebooks because I have this sense that I’ve forgotten something (but it’s very rare that I have, because my system just takes care of everything).

My grandmother kept a notebook much like this one and I truly have enjoyed reading through that notebook and seeing her random thoughts and gift ideas. She liked writing down the weather each day and making notes on things she was cooking or gift ideas for people. I suppose my children and grandchildren might enjoy this, too, when they have my old notebooks.

I start a new notebook by putting my name and contact info on the inside of the front cover, along with offering a reward if it’s found. The Field Notes notebooks that I normally use have a blank space on the inside cover for just this information. If such a space isn’t present, I either use the inside front cover or the front page of the notebook for this kind of note. I’ve actually had lost pocket notebooks returned to me twice because of this.

If I’m getting close to the end of a book, I start carrying around its replacement. I don’t like to run out of pages, so I usually start carrying a new notebook when the previous notebook is down to the last several pages. That way, I can just switch to the new one immediately when the old one runs out.

Final Thoughts

These days, I rarely leave home without my pocket notebook. It’s become such an essential part of my daily routine that I don’t even think about grabbing it when an idea pops into my head. I just pull out the notebook, jot down that idea or that fact, and put it back, almost without any effort at all.

It saves me time. It saves me money. It helps me build social connections. It helps me to learn. It helps me to avoid forgetting important things.

It’s simply an essential part of my life.

How to Use a Simple Pocket Notebook to Change Your Life | The Simple Dollar


Trent Hamm is a personal finance writer at TheSimpleDollar.com. After pulling himself out of his own financial crisis, he founded the site in late 2006 to help others through financially difficult situations; today the site has become a finance, insurance, and retirement resource. Contact Trent at trent AT the simple dollar DOT com; please send site inquiries to inquiries AT the simple dollar DOT com. Photo by tvnewsbadge (Flickr).

Find the Right Laptop for You with This Interactive Comparison Chart

Find the Right Laptop for You with This Interactive Comparison Chart

Whether you’re in the market for an ultrabook or a true-to-form laptop, finding the perfect one can be tough. This expansive chart lets you filter memory, screen resolution, screen size, weight, and other specs for easy comparisons.

The chart, from the global network of discovery (or just "Gnod"), also lets you narrow search by brand, cpu, and whether the model you want has an SSD or touchscreen. It’s all organized with an x and y-axis, the x-axis being price and the y-axis being screen size. Obviously, the further you go to the right and up, the more expensive things will be. Each model’s prices are current—many updated as recently as today—and almost every popular model you can think of is covered. The Gnod also has similar charts for smartphones, mp3 players, solid state drives, and flash drives if you’re hankerin’ for some more comparisons. Check out the laptop comparison chart at the link below.

Laptop Comparison Chart | Gnod via AddictiveTips

Investigating NVIDIA’s BatteryBoost with MSI GT72

BatteryBoost initially launched with the GTX 800M series earlier this year, and our first look at the technology came with the MSI GT70 with GTX 880M. That may not have been the best starting point, and unfortunately most of the gaming notebooks we've looked at since then haven't been much better. Armed with the latest MSI GT72 sporting a Maxwell 2.0 GTX 980M, NVIDIA claims that BatteryBoost is finally going to hit the 2+ hours mark for gaming. Read on for our in-depth testing of BatteryBoost.

Investigating NVIDIA’s BatteryBoost with MSI GT72

BatteryBoost initially launched with the GTX 800M series earlier this year, and our first look at the technology came with the MSI GT70 with GTX 880M. That may not have been the best starting point, and unfortunately most of the gaming notebooks we've looked at since then haven't been much better. Armed with the latest MSI GT72 sporting a Maxwell 2.0 GTX 980M, NVIDIA claims that BatteryBoost is finally going to hit the 2+ hours mark for gaming. Read on for our in-depth testing of BatteryBoost.