Carry a notebook. (And a pen.)

Carry a notebook. (And a pen.)

I’ve been carrying a Moleskine notebook with me everywhere I go since 2007. I started with the small 5 x 7-ish” size, and moved up to the 8.5 x 11-ish” size in 2010. I prefer the black hardcover, but I bought a 4-pack with an artistic paper cover on a whim several years ago, and now I am forcing myself to fill those before I buy another black hardcover.

I write everything in these notebooks. Random thoughts. “To-do” items (before I transfer them to my teux-deux list.) Phone numbers I do not want to forget. Dumb things my kids say. Immediate thoughts after finishing a book. First drafts of reviews. Things I cannot say aloud in meetings, but can scream on the page. Everything.

I pulled a few out this morning to photograph to prove their existence. But not to you. To me.

It seems that over the last 2 weeks, I’ve forgotten that I actually use these notebooks. Several times I’ve had brilliant (brilliant!) insights that would work beautifully as 300 Second solutions. But I didn’t write them down. And then when a few would be kind enough return to me, I still didn’t write them down. Why? Because I’m an idiot.

Well, I was an idiot. I’ve started using my notebook system again and already there’s a hemorrhage of blue ink under today’s date.

Today, take 300 Seconds and find a notebook to keep with you throughout the day. As the day goes by, use it to record items as they occur: the name of the customer you’ve been trying to recall; a list of Matthew Pearl readers who would appreciate a phone call about The Last Bookaneer; or perhaps it’s just a list of tasks you’ve accomplished throughout the day… proof that your day was not wasted.

The notebook does not have to be fancy. It could be unused pages from your son’s 6th grade history notebook or a small palm-sized notebook that fits into your back pocket. And if you find yourself writing on post-its, just stick them directly into your notebook. The idea is to get your lists, thoughts, phone numbers, dates, and such out of your head where they can be burdensome.

Once you have your notebook ready, don’t forget to grab a pen.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay