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5 Reasons to Pay Good Money for a Moleskine

5 Reasons to Pay Good Money for a Moleskine

After posting twice last week about Moleskine notebooks, I got several comments complaining about the high price of the notebooks and their perceived pretentiousness, with one person even asking somewhat accusingly if we’d made some sort of business partnership with the notebook company (we did — we’re promoting their contest and exhibition, which is why I thought it would be neat to write some posts about Moleskines).

They’re fair questions: a pocket-sized Moleskine notebook runs about $12 US and the larger ones approach $20 US. Why would you pay that kind of money for a pad of paper, when a spiral-bound pocket notebook can be had for less than a buck at most stores?

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Before I give my reasons, I should say that there are plenty of worthwhile alternatives to Moleskines (but a spiral-bound notebook isn’t one of them — sorry, Charlie!), some accurate-enough knock-offs and others taking a different approach to notebook design. I’m not as much wed to the brand as I am to the design — but the Moleskine brand is the one consistent supplier of that design. Most of what I say about Moleskies, though, can be applied to any other “luxury” notebook of similar style.

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So, here are 5 good reasons to shell out your hard-earned dough on a double-digit priced notebooks:

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  1. Moleskines are durable. With their semi-hard, vinyl covers, Moleskine notebooks stand up to the rigors of back pockets and overstuffed bags better than most other notebooks — and far better than anything spiral-bound. Though there is a limit to how many times you can sit on your Moleskine before it permanently assumes the curve of your backside, it is generally quite easy to keep a Moleskine functioning for six months or longer. Spiral-bound notebooks unravel (and the wire gets caught on everything); paper-bound notebooks fall apart from moisture, friction, and general wear.
  2. Moleskines are book-bound. Because Moleskines are bound like books, they are easy to store on a bookshelf for easy reference, or to stack for storage. Plus the rigid covers give a strong supoprt against which to write, no matter where you are.
  3. Moleskines are expensive. That might not seem like a plus to you, but hear me out. Because Moleskines have a large-ish pricetag, compared with cheap spiral notebooks or staples notepads, they tend to be taken care of more — which means that when you need it, it’s not under the sofa, out in the car, or lost who-knows-where. Instead, it’s right there in your bag or pocket, where it belongs. The perceived value of Moleskines makes it easy to integrate them into a daily routine that keeps them handy. Plus, some of that perceived value spills over onto whatever you’re capturing in your notebook — it must be important if you’re willing to spend so much on it!
  4. Moleskines feel good. Moleskines just feel good to use. The paper takes ink nicely, and is a pleasant cream-color that’s easy on the eyes and lends a richness to yourwriting. The covers are smooth and just soft enough. All these things are important, if not purely essential — just like the heft of a good hammer is worth good money to a master carpenter who could build a bench just as easily with a cheaper one.
  5. Moleskines are actually kind of affordable. Don’t forget that Moleskines come in all different styles, including specialized notebooks for sketchinig, watercolor painting, and otehr specialties. A small pad of watercolor paper can easily exceed the price of a decent-sized Moleskine Watercolor book! Moleskine’s storyboard pads and pocket accordions are virtually unique — I don’t even know where you’d find them if Moleskine didn’t make them!

Like any product, Moleskine or similar notebooks are not necessarily for everyone. But for many, they fill a pressing need with style and functionality, and that’s no little thing, no little thing at all!

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Last Updated on April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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