There are only a few things that you take with you everywhere. Of course, everyone needs their phone, wallet, and keys. Beyond the crucial access-granting tools of contemporary life, what you carry is a choice based on the person you are and how you want to live. Carrying a notebook isn’t an obvious choice since there isn’t a need to write down your to-do list, sketch a profile of the guy sitting across from you on the subway, or brainstorm holiday gift ideas for your boyfriend’s sister. Some of us, however, have needs that only a real paper notebook can fill.
1. Notes to Self / To Do Lists
The most creative people we know write notes to themselves all the time — short notes and long notes, full of personal abbreviations, and indecipherably scribbled. Just the act of writing these, “notes to self” help you remember them. Thumb-typing a line into the notes app that came pre-loaded on your phone doesn’t do that.
Even those of us who aren’t professionally creative make to do lists, and everybody does them in their own way. Your teenage cousin probably writes stuff on the back of her hand. The web design consultant at your company probably uses TeuxDeux. When you’re standing in the grocery store, however, you don’t need social sharing — you need to rip out page and give half of it to child #1 and half to child #2.
2. Meeting & Class Notes
The first time we brought a computer to a class in college was a magical feeling. Typing up lecture notes as the professor was talking so we could email them around immediately after class really seemed efficient. The fatal flaw in the midst of the endlessly re-printable fun was that 18th century romantic poetry tends to resist being bulleted. We went back to writing notes in a notebook, and were not shocked to find our test scores improving.
3. Sketching & Doodling
Some good drawing services are available from your app marketplace of choice, and they work and you can make art with them. But the essence of sketching is about figuring our what it is that you are actually trying to draw and there is no better method for doing that than taking a nice pencil and a few pages of your favorite recycled post-consumer waste notebook and working it an old school, analog way. If it works for every famous artists you’ve ever heard of, it’ll work for you. Give it a try.