I have an obsession with notebooks that’s bordering on unhealthy; I have a shelf dedicated to my (unused) notebooks in the office. I also love backing cool new ideas on Kickstarter and Indiegogo (you should see my computer keyboard that feels like a typewriter!).
So you can imagine my excitement when I saw The Perfect Notebook: the notebook to end all notebooks, one that will make me more productive, happier and healthier, and a better friend, employee, wife and mother.
It’s pretty plain looking, but it has a “modular disc binding system” – you can move pages around in it. I like that; it made me click on the promo video. That’s when it all went wrong.
The video shows a young professional woman struggling to juggle everything in her life: she should be getting more done at work, she should be getting her startup off the ground in her spare time, she should be eating right and going to the gym. She should be better at life.
But don’t worry, help is at hand! All she needs to do is switch all her clumsy files and lazy ways for The Perfect Notebook and she’ll be running a marathon and a multi-million dollar business in a matter of weeks. The pages are already printed with the stuff she should be doing, and some space to write her own goals. She just has to get stuff done and tick away.
I’m a productivity tool junkie, so why did this notebook – which technically combines lots of my favourite things – turn me off so quickly? This made me think about all the reasons I love notebooks.
Get a load of pages and bind them together. It doesn’t matter if it’s lined, squared or plain paper, fixed with staples, glue or thread, bound in leather, fabric or card, the notebook’s core structure is simple. And it works.
Granted, the first page of my used notebooks almost inevitably spells out all the ways I’m planning to use that notebook to change the world, but by page four it’s usually home to shopping lists, reminders and scribbled down phone numbers.
Some of them are beautiful and all of them make me want to pick up a pencil. They inspire me to write down my ideas and worries, my daydreams and doodles. My notebooks are where my thoughts come together somehow, a meeting place for words and scribbles. They give me the space to be creative and pragmatic all at once.
My notebooks don’t tell me I should be working harder, or make me hang my head in shame if I miss a gym session. They just listen to my incessant rambling, which is rather lovely.
Even though The Perfect Notebook claims it can make me a better person, I’m sticking firmly with my imperfect notebooks instead. Would you make the switch?