Thursday, April 10, 2008

Taking notes

I broke down today.

No, I did not go out and buy an iPhone, or something like that. Triggered by Steve's positive comments, I got in the car and drove to the nearest Barnes & Noble book store to buy a Moleskine notebook.

Two, as a matter of fact.

I have never had a good system of taking notes. In college, I started out on loose-leaf blank pages that I would clip into a binder, arranged by subject. When I started working, I turned to regular notepads. Usually the ones where the paper fold on top and can be easily removed from the pad itself by ripping them out along a perforated line. Next, I went to a hard-cover notebook, which I liked a lot.
For some reason, that fell into disuse. Most likely, the hard-cover notebooks were hard to find, or too expensive for me at that time in my life, and I reverted back to college-ruled notebook with the spiral spine on the side. Lately, I have been using a full letter-sized spiral-bound notebook with perforated edges.
Oh, I should also point out that I am not one to take a laptop into meetings for note-taking. It has never worked for me, since most of the notes I take are in some kind of informal symbology that usually looks like UML activity diagrams or some form of architecture drawing.
Anyhow; I'm kind-of done with spiral bound notebooks, regardless of their size. On the plus side, they're cheap, but I hate writing near the spiral. The paper is also usually too thin for the type of pen I use.
So, time for something new.
The Moleskine notebooks come in two sizes, and I got one of each. I intend to carry one with me at all times and I will attempt to use it for "capturing transient thoughts". If you ever get those, you know what I mean. If you don't know what I mean, don't worry about it :-)
The larger size notebook (which is still smaller than a regular college notepad) will be used for note-taking before (!) and during meetings (yes, I usually prepare). As I said, I usually do not write much down during a meeting, other than action points that are assigned to me, things that I want to follow up on, or drawings that help me visualize a certain problem.
The smallest notebook that I bought is a regular lined-one, for the larger I have opted to go bank to blank pages. Time will tell how it is going to work out.
Yes, I write with a fountain pen (Parker brand using blank ink cartridges).

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