Organised habit #2: carry a notebook and pen

Organised habit: carry a notebook and pen

This mini notebook and pen fit inside my wallet, so I’m never stuck without something to write with.

I carry a notebook and pen wherever I go. I know, I know— my smartphone has a lovely Notes app, and I have tried Evernote and Google Calendars and lots of other things. But I’m an old-fashioned girl: I like paper.

For me, it’s just quicker to jot something down on paper than get out my phone. I don’t have to wait for anything to upload, update or refresh. I can just record the thought before I forget it.

Plus, I think having pen and paper on you makes you look like you mean business. Let me explain: when we were searching for our home, we went to a lot of open inspections. At each house I visited, I would always take notes about the pros and cons of each property. When the real estate agents saw me doing this, I’m pretty sure they realised that we were a couple who were serious about buying a home. (This also taught me that going to open inspections is really about getting to know the agents in your area, not the houses—but that’s a story for another post).

I also used to look at a lot of vintage furniture (but not since moving into a small house— I’ve run out of room!). As soon as I got out my notebook, I could see the dealers mentally re-checking their prices. No agreements are concrete until they are on paper, even in the digital age.

These little notebooks are small enough to fit in your pocket or purse. Add a mini pen, and you’re in business. And they come in other colours too, so you can find one to suit all tastes. I use mine to keep a record of important information I find hard to recall when I’m out and about: a record of my university timetable, my husband’s clothing sizes, and a rough inventory of my children’s clothes. If I see some clothes on special, I can quickly check what size I need and not worry about buying the wrong thing.

Back when we were on a strict budget, I used to use my notebook as a price book, and I would record the prices of frequently-used baby items in different stores so I could buy extra when I saw a good deal.

When my children were born, I had one of these books for each of them. I would record their feeding and sleeping schedules as I was too exhausted to remember. Now, the books are a wonderful keepsake from those times.

Organised habit: carry a notebook and pen

You see?! Even in the smallest of handbags there’s room for a notebook and pen.

More from the Organised Habits series:

More about capturing ideas before you forget them:

For more inspiration to get organised, see my Organisation pinboard.

Organized habits


8 thoughts on “Organised habit #2: carry a notebook and pen

  1. If it wasn’t because you seem to like paper so much, I would have suggested you got yourself a dictaphone for when you were out and about. And then put it down on paper when you got home. But I’m definitely taking notes. Your blog is quite helpful for someone a bit disorganized, like me.

    • Actually my phone has a dictaphone, but when I tell her something she always says, “I’m sorry, Zoe, I didn’t understand what you said,” so I just gave up on it in frustration! And I grew up in the time before computers, so they don’t come naturally to me. A pen and paper is so simple!
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad to be of help! I’m not the most organised person myself, but sometimes simple things can help 🙂

  2. You’re so right, smartphone apps are not always the best. I only use my phone for calling and listening to music. But with a real dictaphone it’s just one click to start recording and one to stop again. And they come in all sizes. They are perfect if you want to record a thought or idea while driving. You grew up in the time before Computers? Now that I wouldn’t have thought, looking at your picture.

    • Well, not quite. But I remember at school having to learn to use the Commodore 64 (that’s 64 kilobytes of RAM!). It was so boring- we couldn’t see what the point of it all was. How wrong we were! That was before Facebook, Twitter, blogs, mobile phones and email- all the things that take up so much time these days. We must have had so much more free time back then?!

  3. The Commodore 64 was my first computer. I didn’t know they taught how to use them in schools though. I mostly used mine for playing games. Ha I do remember when 1 Megabyte of ram were an insane amount. Speaking of Facebook. Have you considered opening a page with “Zoe at home” on there? It is a great way of distributing your findings and ideas. We did have more free time back then and the world didn’t move quite as fast back then.

    • Actually, I never joined Facebook. That’s how old-fashioned I am. But I might in the future. I’m sure it would be good for the blog and to keep up with friends and family.

  4. I love your small handbag – very much like my own system 🙂 And I agree, an actual pen and notebook are a necessity and take up hardly any room.
    Wouldn’t it be a bit embarrassing, even in this day and age, to speak your notes aloud into your dictaphone with everyone listening?! Nope, definitely written notes for me!

  5. i am a paper and pen girl too and while i do use my notes app i cannot manage to use evernote etc at all. i started using a voice app though a week or so ago and love it. not like dictation in terms of turning into text, but just voice recording as note taking. I love it and most of my notes on there are blog post ideas so i can just babble for 2 minutes and listen to it later – great for at stop lights – it is called italk. deb xx

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