Friday 16 July 2010

Tear Up Your Moleskine

I've been conducting an experiment that may seem like heresy to those who swear by the Moleskine brand of pocket notebooks.

I rip the pages out.

Now before you organize an angry mob of townspeople with torches and pitchforks, let me explain why I'm doing such a thing, and how I use my Mokeskine 3.5" x 5.5" ruled pocket notebook with my GTD system.

As I wrote in my previous post on Capture and Focus, it's important to have a notePAD not a noteBOOK as a capture tool, so you can toss loose sheets, 1 per idea, into your In Box for later processing. I don't use the Moleskine as a journal; I have another solution for that, so permanence is not an issue as it would be if I were using the sketchbook like my son does.  (Yes, he keeps them.) 

The durability of the Mokeskine stitched binding actually put me off from buying it for a while. I looked in all the office supply stores for a nice cover with a refillable notepad and a pocket for loose papers, without success.  Finally, I decided to try the Moleskine -- and I'm glad I did.  It's just the right size, and the unfolding pocket in the back is perfect for collecting ATM and debit card receipts.

I was mesmerized by the beautiful binding at first, so I just wrote my notes and checked them off as I processed them into my GTD system. Except that it was too easy to forget.

Then one day I figured what the heck, and the next time I got back home I grabbed hold of the three sheets I had used that day, and slowly ripped them asunder from that oh-so-perfect binding. I was surprised to find that the skies did not open and smite me with lightning, the earth didn't shake, and most important, the book seemed unfazed by it all.

If a couple of sheets come loose by my doing this, well, the elastic strap will certainly keep them in place until I need them. (The book supposedly has 16 perforated pages designed to be torn out, but I didn't see them.)  And at $12 at Barnes and Noble, it's a heck of a deal compared to the $80 leather Notetaker Wallet kit sold in the David Allen Co online store.

By the way, since the Moleskine doesn't have a pen like the Notetaker Wallet, I've found a marvelous companion to my Moleskine in the Zebra F-301 Compact Pen, which folded in half is less than 4" long and protected from leaks because the cap snaps into place. You get two in the package for under $10 at Staples and refills are available in fine point in various colors.

UPDATE 7/20/2010:  My latest experiment is the Mini Booksling with Pen from The Container Store. I replaced its plastic pen with my Zebra, and I'm good to go.  I taped the elastic that comes with the Molestine inside the back cover so it's out of the way, and use the Booksling across the width of the Moleskine instead. This places the pen along the long edge of the notebook. It still fits in my pocket.

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