Batist Leman

June 02, 2011

Tool of productivity

First of all, I’m a huge fan of Getting Things Done. I think it’s a great way to structure the process of channeling new ideas, and trying to create them.

Over the years I tried many tools to help me with the process. Software tools, web tools, Moleskines, etc… but none of them completely satisfied me. And I think this is completely normal. The quest for the perfect GTD tool is an unsatisfiable one because we are human and our thoughts are not linear. We tend to forget that sometimes.

So a while back I decided to cut back on all task managing programs and keep it simple:

  • Gmail to organize my tasks, every email is a pending task, when it’s done, I archive it. (I also use the Multiple Inboxes labs feature to keep track of mails awaiting reply.)
  • Dropbox for file sharing
  • Evernote to sync pictures taken with my phone to my pc. (where is Android Cloud?)
  • And finally my “Simple Notebook”…

Simple Notebook

My requirements for a good notebook are quite simple:

  • No lines: I get distracted by all those lines in most notebooks. I literally can’t read words on them. Or rather: there is no instant focus on the important stuff
  • Pages should be fixed: For a while I used map full of regular printing paper, I liked it, but after a while it gets messy, the pages get scrambled up, etc.
  • Every page must be the front page for a certain time. When I take the notebook out of my bag I don’t want to search for the page I’m focused on, it needs to be just there.
  • Often I put my notebook in front of my laptop, the notebook needs to fit between the laptop and my belly. A horizontal A4 fits.
  • A notebook should not be tiny. I need to make sketches, note miniature drawings. An A4 fits.

I searched a long time for a notebook like this, strangely I did not find any. So here is my secret:

  1. Buy a pack of paper, and take 50-60 pages from it (Max €/$ 1)
  2. Go to the local copy center
  3. Ask for 2 transparent covers. (Always use protection!) (Max €/$ 1)
  4. Ask to ring the bundle (Max €/$ 1)

There you have it your perfect DIY notebook for €/$ 3!

Front of the notebook, just make some cover up! 

2 Ring detail, nice in metal.

3 Start with a blank sheet!

4 Some of my sketches

5 Landscape drawing using a fine stylus.

6 GUI sketches using a large marker

Feel free to leave a comment, or to send me pictures of your own notebook!