My Favorite Piece of Technology

Moleskin - My favorite piece of technology.Technology that I use…

  • Twitter for meeting new people.
  • Facebook for keeping up with friends.
  • iCal for managing my schedule.
  • Apple Mail for handling my email.
  • Chrome for browsing the web.
  • Google Reader for blog subscriptions.
  • My iPhone for all of the above.

Yes I love these tools, but my favorite of all is this…

A plain black moleskine notebook.

Yes. I just dissed my iPhone for a 200 year old piece of paper technology. To my credit, great creatives such as Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, André Breton, and Ernest Hemingway all made heavy use of the moleskine. (Thank you, Moleskine website.)

Contrary to popular opinion, Hemingway did not write For Whom the Bell Tolls on an iPad while plucking away on a tiny bluetooth keyboard.

We have so many different tricks and tools today. We often forget the most basic items can be the most useful. I put my moleskine to work in lots of ways. I’ll give you ten of them:

  • Meeting Notes – I used to carry around a clipboard. It worked, but was unwieldy. I was also tired of being the ‘clipboard guy.’
  • Book Journaling – It’s so easy to just pop the moleskine open, while reading, and jot a few notes. It helps me get smarter.
  • Sermon Notes – I always lose the pre-printed notes. I also don’t like filling in the blanks, so I just take notes in my book on Sunday mornings.
  • Observations – The world is racing by at the speed of life. When something remarkable happens, I need to write it down. If I don’t, I forget. If I forget, then it never happened.
  • To Do Lists – The more you keep in your head, the less new information you’re able to retain. If I find out that I have to do something, I’m writing it down in the book. It gives me permission to forget about it for now.
  • Lesson OutlinesTeaching from an elegant little notebook is a lot classier than reading from an outline, no?
  • Conference Notes – I don’t want to be the clipboard guy and my laptop distracts me when I’m listening to solid speakers. The simple moleskine to the rescue again!
  • Business Plans – There’s something exciting about putting the pen to paper and writing a plan to create something. I could do this on the computer, but the joy is lost somewhere between my fingertips and the keys.
  • Blog Outlines – Even this one. Most posts are born out of disjointed ideas, chicken scratch, and lists.
  • Ideation – This is where I get to wax intellectual, sit in the corner of a coffee house, stare off into the sky, and write down whatever crazy idea pops into my head. Why not?

Don’t get bogged down with your technology today. Embrace something simple and make it work for you. Yes, I love my Twitter and I’ll check email at least 10 times today. Still, nothing carries me further than my little black moleskine.

What’s your favorite piece of technology?

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  • http://theperkinsblog.net MichaelDPerkins

    My favorite would have to be my notepad. I don’t have a mokeskin, though I’d like one. I carry a backpack that holds a bible and a notepad everywhere. I know I don’t look the coolest, but I’m always prepared when I need to jot down a note or I get inspired.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Who cares about looking cool? I carry around a messenger bag with that stuff in it at all times. Its heavy and not always the coolest, but it keeps the important stuff close by.

  • http://thejeffbrown.me Jeff Brown

    I totally get that. I first started using my first moleskine about a year ago. Around that time I came across this post. It really helped me set mine up in the most-organized way I could think of.

    http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/getting-ready-for-2010-my-moleskine-setup.html

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      That’s a great article, Jeff. Thank you for sharing it.

  • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

    I love the moleskine, too, but I’m afraid to “mess up” mine sometimes, since it’s so nice. I just read the article that Jeff shared and saved it. I may be applying some of that advice.

    Mine is probably those yellow legal pads. I feel like I can be creative, messy, and intentional with those without being paying the price of wasting space. They help me formulate ideas.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Yea I was afraid of messing mine up too. Then I realized how sturdy they are. Also, it takes a lot longer to fill one up than I had previously anticipated. I’ve seen your yellow legal pads and think that’s a great system. It’s a lot like what I used to do with clipboards.

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  • Tanna

    Ok since I’ve actually seen you use your moleskine, I was wondering do you keep separate journals for certain things like bible study, business, ideation… Or do you just keep it all ongoing in one? After trying many notebooks I am back to the moleskine but I over think how I will use it. And like one of your commenters mentioned, I too am afraid to mess it up…nasty perfectionism chiming in. :)

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      I actually don’t right now. I pretty much go page by page. Later, when I review the information, I file it elsewhere if needed. My current book is about full, so I’m going to purchase a new one and experiment with the method Jeff Brown linked to below.

      When this one goes, I’ll write a table of contents for it or install some tabs and then tuck it on my bookshelf. I look forward to having shelves full of worn-out moleskins in the future. :)

  • http://www.bensayin.com Ben Nunes

    Since I hate physically writing, I do all of the above w/ Evernote. Otherwise I’d probably carry a moleskin around, but would freak out if I lost it.

  • http://twitter.com/adamherod adam herod

    I’m enjoying using Penultimate on the iPad to “write” down quick ideas and inspirations. But creatively nothing has beaten a notebook and an inspiring location. Last time I was in Nashville I visited Arrington Vineyards outside of Franklin with a Bible and a spiral notebook. Beautiful.

  • http://FasterLockUp.com Chris Mapson

    Moleskin all the way, man! How can you even STAND IT when you’re THAT cool? !! C.

  • jbussell

    Timely. I just recommitted to my moleskin last night. I’m interested to read the article Jeff linked to below. Great post, Kenny.

  • http://www.thedailywalk.net Adam

    My new Mac book Pro equipped with Evernote. My handwriting is terrible….

  • http://twitter.com/LivToPraise Jennifer Rathbun 2

    Funny! My husband wrote about his moleskine too.

    My favorite is post-it notes. Every color every shape. Super sticky is best! I know it’s silly, but I can put them on files to quickly remind me of something. I can put them on the front door. I can put them on the mirror as a reminder to the kids. Things like that…

    I have evernote on my iPad, but I have not taken the time to learn how to use it yet.

    I have 3 notebooks. One for Church/Prayer. One for Church leadership meetings. One for Homeschool Conventions.

  • http://twitter.com/BradBlackman Brad Blackman

    Does this all go in the same Moleskine? I have a Moleskine just for sermon notes.

    The current one is un-lined, reporter style (bound at the top). It’s the smaller size so it is a little smaller than my small Bible. They pretty much live in my car, though. (Have a gazillion other Bibles and notebooks at home.)

    I’ve used other brands and other sizes… I’m starting to see a pattern of which format(s) work best and in which situations…

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Brad,

      I like to put it all in the same moleskine. I keep it with me at all times and file it away when it fills up. It lives in my messenger bag, which is with me pretty much all the time. I keep a little one in my car in case I need to take some quick notes.

      I really like Michael Hyatt’s most recent post about his system for note-taking: http://michaelhyatt.com/using-a-traditional-paper-notebook-with-evernote.html , but I’m not quite ready to abandon my beloved moleskine. ;)

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Brad,

      I like to put it all in the same moleskine. I keep it with me at all times and file it away when it fills up. It lives in my messenger bag, which is with me pretty much all the time. I keep a little one in my car in case I need to take some quick notes.

      I really like Michael Hyatt’s most recent post about his system for note-taking: http://michaelhyatt.com/using-a-traditional-paper-notebook-with-evernote.html , but I’m not quite ready to abandon my beloved moleskine. ;)

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Brad,

      I like to put it all in the same moleskine. I keep it with me at all times and file it away when it fills up. It lives in my messenger bag, which is with me pretty much all the time. I keep a little one in my car in case I need to take some quick notes.

      I really like Michael Hyatt’s most recent post about his system for note-taking: http://michaelhyatt.com/using-a-traditional-paper-notebook-with-evernote.html , but I’m not quite ready to abandon my beloved moleskine. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/bill4th Bill Tibbetts

    I’ve used the small cardboard moleskine for years as my back pocket notebook for ideas, thoughts, notes, and to pretty much scribble down anything I wanted to remember but knew I’d forget. I also use a simple notebook for my day to day notes, plans, and recaps of conversations. I learned it from a mentor of mine and it helped me to remember what I felt was important and not be mentally weighed down. Good stuff.