Mario Villalobos

How I Use My Pocket Notebook

Enough with the moody shit. Lets talk about something fun. How I’m using my pocket notebook!

Every man should carry a notebook and a pen with him at all times. That’s something I read somewhere and started believing immediately, because I’m a man and I wanted others to see me that way. Not that they wouldn’t think that once they saw me, but whatever. So I carry a Moleskine Cahier Notebook that’s covered up by this beautiful Hellbrand Leatherworks Field Notes Cover. My pen is a standard Pilot G2 pen, which I like because it writes well. Simple as that, really. I have been thinking about dipping my toes into the whole fountain pen craze that’s going on out there on the internet, but that’s a hobby I’m not yet ready for financially. So these are my tools. What do I actually do with them?

Simply, every morning, after planning out my day in OmniFocus, I grab my pen, I open up my notebook, and I write the date. Beneath that, I choose at least three tasks I want to have accomplished by the end of the day. If nothing else gets done but these three tasks, then I consider my day successful. That’s pretty much it. Sometimes I refer back to this list throughout the days; sometimes I don’t. The simple act of writing them down reinforces those tasks in my mind, so when I refer to my list in OmniFocus, I know to focus my attention on those tasks more so than the others. Has it actually helped me be more productive?

Writing tasks down has helped me develop and keep habits I thought would help my life in some way. For the past week or so, these three tasks has included the habit of working on my novel every day in the afternoon. It’s on my todo list, and it’s in my notebook, and it’s in my calendar. This is something I wanted to implement and incorporate into my daily routine, and I think I’m on my way toward fully integrating it into my life. I’m still learning how best to do this task in a way that satisfies me, but at least I’m actually trying it out and feeling it out and seeing what works for me. That’s a big deal because that’s the only way I know how to refine my habits and make them the best I possibly can.

Other than that, I don’t really use my notebook for anything else. Sometimes I would write down tasks or notes to my tasks as my day goes on, but it’s not a regular thing I do. When I complete one of those tasks, I grab my pen and cross that task off my list. It’s very satisfying. Sometimes, though, I don’t complete a task, and when that happens, I put a circle around the dash before the task. A circle means I didn’t do it. Over the course of a month or so, I can look back and see how many circles and how many crossed out tasks I have, and I could quickly see when I was most productive and when I wasn’t. That’s something a digital todo list app like OmniFocus doesn’t really provide.

My notebook complements OmniFocus. Before I started using my notebook this way, I would carry it around with me and never write in it. I think I liked the idea of carrying a pen and notebook with me everywhere, but I hated the fact that I never used it. Now I do, and I think this system works for me for now. There’s a lot more I want to do, like maybe writing more notes about each task or maybe even writing weekly and monthly goals in there to help me focus my tasks a bit better, but that’s something for a later day. Like Tomorrow. I’m thinking of doing this tomorrow. I wrote a note about that in my notebook.

That’s how I use my pocket notebook.