Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Moleskine tips & tricks

I just retired a Moleskine and got a new one that I have to set up - I figured I'd take you guys along for the ride.

This is the first thing I do is number the pages in my notebook. This allows you to reference previous entries (eg Jane seems to be saying similar things to what John said when I talked to him [p.34]). You should do this as soon as you get it; it
takes like 5 minutes. I know it's tedious, but just do it. NB - you only need to number the odd pages or the even pages. I do the odd ones and then just flip through pages on the right side to find what I'm looking for.

Leave some pages open for a table of contents and metadata information. The table of contents can be used in a variety of ways. One can put every entry into it, just the entries that are particularly meritorious or even no entries until the notebook is retired. How much space you should leave at the beginning depends on what you want it to do; if you're not sure, leave 10ish pages and there should be no problem at all. I like putting in only things that I might look up again and doing it as I go. My TOC has the page, tag, title and date of entries.

This is a great tip I found somewhere I can't remember right now. The idea is to tag every entry with both a date and a topic in an easily visible place (B is for blog). I like to have a key for my tags at the beginning. I also use tags in my TOC. See TOC pic.

These are awesome for me. My notebook has three threads going most of the time. One is just whatever I've been writing and the other two are time and expense tracking. In order to do all these simultaneously, I use three markers. The strin
gy bookmark thing is used for whatever I've been up to in there recently and the other two get tabs. These are little Post-it plastic sticky things that are awesome. As I use up pages, I move the tabs so that they're always where they should be for me to open my notebook to the right page.

The tabs are also useful for bunches of other things from being bookmarks in other things to leaving small notes to holding sheets of paper up on a wall. That's why I always have some extra handy :D

So. That's my set-up. If you want a pen that can go along for the ride, I suggest a Fisher bullet. These are space pens that are used as normal size pens, but store small enough to fit on the top side of a Moleskine (you can hold it there with the elastic). Since I always carry a normal pen with me at all times, I don't carry my Fisher anymore. I'm a fan of the thin (.05) G2 gel pens - sooo smooth.

If you have any cool tips, leave a comment. Experiment and enjoy!


Andrew said...

Great tips. Never thought to keep a TOC, but I'm about to start a new notebook and plan on creating one in that one. Love the page numbering and upper corner dating.

Do you use the pocket size moleskines? I've got the regular size Square right now, but it's a little too big to keep in a pocket.

Boris Dieseldorff said...

Yeah. Back in my most notebooky days I used to keep 2 pocket, lined notebooks and one soft, thin cahier (I think that's what it was called). The cahier was really nice and I kinda miss it. It just served as my constant repository of to-do lists. I used one of the notebooks for class notes and the other for everything else (thoughts, journal, funny quotes, doodles...)

At this point I still have one that I use occasionally for journal-y tasks and still refer back to a couple of priceless pages in my school notebook. Reading through non-school ones is entertaining sometimes too. Have fun!

LiewCF said...

thanks for the tip. I just got my 1st moleskine notebook and these are useful tips to get start :)

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