Its not a lot of money. $12. It’s 2 cups of coffee or a few rides on the subway. It’s less than a pizza. But $12 can really change your life. It can buy you a notebook and a pencil. While those two items may not seem like the most exciting thing in the world it can in fact make quite the difference.

One day while cruising through Barns and Nobel the display for Moleskin notebooks caught my eye. I stood in front of it for a very long time admiring the very simple design and colorful labels. And really found it interesting on how many different kinds of notebooks there even were. So I picked up the pocket square version and a pack of pencils and went about my day.

The walk home I even started thinking about how I was going to use my new notebook. Even thinking I probably won’t. It will sit in my bag unused, neglected, until the day when I can’t find my iPhone cable, I’ll stumble into the pocket I left it in and throw it out. But I talked myself into actually using it, and I am very happy I did.

We all at some point or another have to take notes. Be at school or in the board room we all have to jot things down. Now most of us bring out the laptop or smart phone to take down the name of that restaurant, or jot down your weekly tasks. There are countless apps upon apps that allow you to catalog organize and file away all your notes. I myself am a HUGE fan of Evernote apps. They are the staple of everything in my life and I love them for it. I have files and folders for everything from ideas, to work notes, to interesting web sites and news stories. I am a firm believer in the digital world and spend 90% of my day looking at one screen or another. However there is still something to be said for the written word.


When you write things down it registers differently than when you type. I have really awful handwriting being a long time nerd I’ve always typed out everything. So when I do write I am much slower so to make it more legible. This slower pace make more of an imprint in my memory. Looking back at any of these pages I can tell you where I was when I wrote it and what I was doing. I can’t say the same for my digital notebook. Sort of a mini time capsule that preserves moments.


Like I said before I have folders upon folders in my Evernote. When I’m looking for a specific thing I can pull it up at a moments notice on one of 5 devices. And thats great for specific things. But when I open my notebook there’s a sort of mystery to it. You stumble upon information as you flip though the pages and rediscover things you wrote. It’s as if your past self is trying to tell the present you something.


When you sit in front of a computer there are dozens of things going on at the same time in the background. Your music is playing, your email is beeping, some software is telling you it needs updating, and there’s this one icon on the bottom of the screen thats just bouncing up and down and you can’t figure out why. Your computer is your virtual portal to the world and there’s a lot of information constantly trying to get in which makes focusing on any one thing difficult. Not so much with a notebook. But if they ever did come out with a paper notebook that could tweet I’d probably buy one.


All of my notes are in the cloud tied to an account that can in a very few clicks be erased forever. Most of our lives are just a few hard drive failures from leaving nothing behind. We don’t write in caves anymore and people hundred of years from now aren’t going to pull up our email accounts to see what we were like. Its nice to have a physical object in our digital lives.

So the next time your at a office supply store, or book store. Pick up a notebook and write in it from time to time. Even if its just your doodles and a list of things to do and I assure you it will be money well spent.