You don’t have to be a writer or reporter – or, for that matter, a traffic cop or a soccer referee – to see why paper notebooks are so useful.

 

All you have to do is try to keep your life in order when you’re jotting important telephone numbers down on a scrap piece of paper (which, of course, you’ll lose), or trying to take a quick snapshot on your phone (which, of course, will be out of focus).

Paper notebooks are great because they help you keep your thoughts and important information together, in one place. Keep one by your bedside, so that you can scribble down those middle-of-the-night aha! ideas; or keep one in your handbag or manbag, so that you can take notes or make drawings during the course of the day.


Some people use diaries to double up as notebooks. That’s OK… but there’s only so much space on a day’s diary page, and there might be several pages of creative ideas flying around in your head!


So what makes a good notebook? That depends on where and how you want to use it. If you want something that’ll sit on your desk, then a full-sized A4 journal will do the trick. You may want to get a hardcover one (like your old high school workbook) if you’re going to carry it with you to meetings.


If you want something that’s more mobile, then a pocket-sized (A6) or bag-sized (A4) notebook is more practical. Here you have two choices: either a reporter-style notepad that flips up, or a book-style notebook that opens from side to side. Neither one is necessarily better than the other: it’s really down to the one you like best. Whichever you choose, make sure it opens flat.

 

If it curves harshly in the middle, you’ll lose parts of the page – and you’ll spend your days trying to flatten it out with your forearm.


Look for handy extra features, like an elasticated band (to keep it closed), a ribbon bookmark (to keep your place), and gusseted pockets in the cover (to keep your loose scraps of paper together).


Finally, open it up, and check the paper. Some notebooks have blank pages, while others have ruled lines or dotted grids. If you’re a sketcher, go for the blank option; if you’re a note-taker, you’ll want the lines; and if you like to create diagrams, then it’s got to be the grid.


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