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13 Things to Do with a Moleskine Notebook

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13 Things to Do with a Moleskine Notebook
We here at Lifehack have been huge advocates of the Moleskine as a tool for ubiquitous capture — for jotting down ideas whenever and wherever they occur to you. They’re also great for keeping your task list and other information you might need over the course of the day. But those are hardly the only things a Moleskine is useful for!These days, Moleskines come in all sizes and colors, in a variety of specialized formats, and in both hard-covered and soft-covered versions. From the just-bigger-than-a-business-card extra-small Volants to the nearly letter-sized extra-large Cahiers, there are notebooks that can be adapted to just about every purpose.

Here are 15 ideas to help get you started. Feel free to share your own Moleskine ideas in the comments!

1. Blog log

I run several blogs aside from the work I do at Lifehack. Each of them has it’s own medium-sized Moleskine notebook (a soft-cover one — I don’tneed all the pages of the hard-cover notebooks for this) in which I record passwords, configuration information, and notes for future changes. When I’m brainstorming post ideas, they go into their relevant notebooks, along with any other miscellanea related to each site.

2. Expense log

Use a lined or grid-paper notebook to track expenses throughout the day. You can easily store receipts in the back pocket, and reconcile your notebook with your accounting software at the end of each week or month (epending on how extensive your expenses are).

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3. Computer log

The last log, I promise. Setting up a new computer is a pain in the rear-panel, so I like to keep everything together — passwords, registration codes, and especially the ever-elusive WEP/WPA keys for my wireless networks. I have one book, with tabbed sections at the back with the infromation about my family member’s computers and networks that I know, sooner or later, I’ll be called on to fix.

4. Replace your wallet

The Cahier pocket-sized notebooks have vinyl covers that are strong enough to take the abuse of your pocket — so why not eliminate your wallet and replace it with a wallet you can take notes in instead of stuffing with them? Stick your cards in the back-cover pocket, fold your cash into the front, and voila! Want something more secure? How about gluing powerful magnets onto the front and back covers for an instant money clip? (Note: magnets or credit cards, not magnets and credit cards — pick one or the other).

5. To-done list

Use a Moleskine as a daily list of tasks you’ve finished. As you finish something, add it to the book, along with how much time you spent and when you finished. This can be useful in a weekly review, if you’ve got so many tasks that you don’t always remember where you are in any given project, but it’s more useful as a kind of journal of accomplishments.

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6. Outboard brain

Use the Moleskine MSK Wizard to create reference pages full of useful information and paste them into your Moleskine. The site can produce formatted contact lists and schedules, or you can make free-form pages mixing-and-matching your own text and images.

7. Photo log

OK, this one really is the last log (I’m lying, it’s not). Use a small Cahier or Volant to record information about your shots — where you’re at, who’s in the shot, and so on. If you still use film, this is the place to record exposure information, as well as anything special about the gear or settings. Stick an 18% gray card in the back pocket, and glue in exposure tables and other information if you’re still learning.

8. Baby book/family album

The watercolor Moleskines have thick pages that are perfect for attaching photos and paper souveniirs like birth announcments (use photo corners to attach photos —  you may have to remove pages if you add too many).

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9. Family reference

Create a single volume with all your family’s important information in it, including: birthdays; medical information; addresses of doctors, dentists, and other service providers; favorite colors, foods, and otehr faves — especially for family you see infrequently; numbers of local take-out restaurants; school information; bank account, insurance, and auto VIN numbers; and so on. Leave out the passwords and social security numbers — if it ever got misplaced or stolen, you don’t want any information that could leave you vulenrable.

10. Reading journal

My high school English teacher suggested I write down at least a few lines about every book I read. I did not take his advice, and I regret it. So last year I started doing just that — I even whipped up a little template that I can put behind my current Moleskine page to guide what goes where. Although I don’t record everything in my Moleskine — I review books professionally, so a lot of my thoughts are recorded in my manuscript file instead — I am trying to make an effort to record a few thoughts and impressions about everything I read “non-professionally”. I wish I’d done this in grad school — I’d love to have a more organized version of my reading impressions than has survivied in my scattered grad school notes…

11. Conversation log.

OK, this time I mean it — no more log. (For real!) Use a Moleskine to take ntoes about all your professional conversations. I am just starting one for my source interviews for magazine articles — it occurred to me that I might better organize my interview notes in a single notebook with an index than they way I work now, filing looseleaf pages with each project’s files.

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12. Make a “mind atlas”

An atlas is a book of maps, so a “mind atlas” is a book of mindmaps. Moleskines are fun to write in and look good — two characteristics that make them especially suitable to creative work. If you like to write and draw — and chances are, if you find mindmapping useful, you do — using a dedicated Moleskine will make it that much more enjoyable, and that means you’ll do it that much more.

13. Job-hunting guide

Use a Moleskine — whatever size is comfortable — to record all the important information from your job hunt: info about each position you apply for (1 per page or two should be enough space), the date you applied, the date and a description of any phone calls, who you spoke with, what you wore to each interview (helpful if you get called in for a second or third meeting!), and notes from your interviews. A Moleskine looks nice and professional when you take it out in an interview, and you’ll look nice and professional when you can easily remember every detail of each prior meeting.

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

20 Essential Apps And Websites For Digital Nomads

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20 Essential Apps And Websites For Digital Nomads

Living a life of perpetual travel is pretty exciting – new destinations, new cultures and new incredible people to meet and hang out with! However, working on the road can get pretty hectic at times. As a digital nomad I have found myself in rather awkward situations a lot – from missed deadlines due to incorrect time zone conversion to a nearly missed plane when I forgot to print out my booking and confused the time (I did catch that plane though!).

Being your own boss is equally awesome and hellish. Juggling numerous tasks at once and getting things done super-fast with a terrible wi-fi connection requirea killer organizational skills and zen-like concentration. Try using the next 20 websites and apps to make your life as a digital nomad easier, less stressful and even more exciting!

1. Trello

Trello is your go-to website to stay organized and work super-efficiently on the road. It’s a free service that allows you to create numerous boards for your ongoing projects and plans. Tired of having numerous notes scattered around different apps and lengthy email threads with your clients or team? Just drag and drop them all to Trello, where you can easily collaborate, quickly exchange ideas and notes in the form of cards, leave comments and track the overall progress of the project. You can create numerous boards and organize them the way you like, upload files to each, set deadlines and notifications, plus easily share everything with one click.

My Trello contains two sets of boards – personal and business. I use the first to keep all my travel plans neat and make sure I won’t confuse the flight time or overstay my visa; the second to keep a visual account of my personal goals and various arrangements. The business board is where I have a list of ongoing projects composed into simple to-dos with their current statuses –  along with all the comments from my clients and a separate column for follow-ups.

Trello is an incredible free alternative to similar project management softwares I used before and it can be used for tackling any job – from house renovation to multi-stage marketing campaign! Also available as an app for iOS and Android devices to get updates on the go.

2. f.lux

As a digital nomad you often find yourself working late at night or early morning to keep up with your clients’ time zones. Love checking your email or reading a few articles from your iPad before going to bed? (I do!). Even if you don’t feel it yet, your eyes are seriously suffering from those habits and you can end up having troubles with sleeping as the blue light from your devices negatively impacts your sleeping patterns. Use f.lux – a handy software that will automatically adjust the color of your computer’s display to the time of day – warm at night and like sunlight during the day. F.lux allowed me to be more productive in the mornings and made it easier to slow down my activity in the evenings. As a digital nomad it is essential to stay refreshed as your income depends solely on your productivity. Besides, haven’t we escaped the cubicle to have a better work/life balance and more rest in the first place?

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3. Focus@Will

As we often find ourselves working at various places around the globe – from a crowded bus station to a jam-packed bar (the only place that has decent wi-fi in the area) – concentrating on your work gets extremely difficult. That’s where Focus@Will comes to rescue. The service offers a wide selection of white noise and simple tunes selected according to a neuroscience-based approach. It seems to work pretty great as I stayed way more concentrated on my work compared to the times when I just blasted my favorite tunes and murmured along. A 30-day free trial has a limited selection of tracks and will stop playing them in an hour (although it could be restarted immediately). The paid service will cost you around $10 for three months. Also available as a free app for iOS and Android devices.

4. Shopify

Let’s admit it, being a digital nomad and working solo gets challenging at times. There are days when you feel like a Renaissance man trying to tackle all things at once and getting expertise in numerous areas. That’s especially true when you are just about to launch your business website, blog or an online store. If you are a creative, you have only basic knowledge (if any) in CSS, HTML or integrated payment systems, so you spend endless hours figuring out how things work instead of doing what you are really good at and earning money.

Try Shopify – a service providing custom no-hassle ecommerce solutions. They offer everything from secure hosting and mobile-optimized websites to secure check-outs with some 70 payment getaways to choose from and assistance with running your online marketing campaign. The rates are incredibly affordable and start from just $29 per month for unlimited access to all their services and features or opt for a 14 day free trial to test them out first!

5. Rescue Time

Proper time management is another great struggle all digital workers face. How many times you have found yourself spending over 12 hours a day in front of your screen and not having all things done? Yeah, it happens to me quite in a while, so I’ve started using Rescue Time – to stay on top of my productivity while still having a normal work/life balance. Install it on your computer and all devices to have an accurate picture of how much time you spend doing certain activities or browsing certain sites (khm..cat videos on YouTube). At the end of each week you’ll receive an email with a fair statement on your (un)productivity.

Rescue Time enables you to give more accurate deadlines to your clients; create accurate hourly invoices as you know exactly how much time you’ve spent doing a certain task and adjusting your rates accordingly and eliminate random activity during your working hours. You can use Light Rescue Time version for free or opt for the premium plan at $6 per month.

6. Every Time Zone

As you probably work with people based anywhere from New Zealand to the West Coast keeping an eye on the deadline or updating them on your progress at 9 am each day may get tricky. Just as sending follow-ups, project proposals and invoices at the right time of the day. Every Time Zone is another great solution for keeping proper track of the time – your client’s time. Add all time zones you need, add your time in the marker at the top and see where this lands in everyone else’s day. No more crazy maths with figuring out when do you need to ring up Joe on Skype if he asked to do that at 11 am EST.

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7. XE Currency

How many currencies do you have in your wallet? My guess is more than two. As a digital nomad and perpetual traveler you have to keep track on the conversion rates and different currencies all the time. To make sure you are charging an equally fair price in USD/EU/GBP or any other currency out there use XE Currency. Get live conversion rates instantly or add up a list of your preferred and sync ahead of time to have instant offline access from any device. XE Currency is available as a web service, iOS, Android, Windows Phone apps and more.

8. Trail Wallet

My second essential money app for digital nomads is Trail Wallet (currently iOS only). It’s a beautifully crafted and easy-to-use app for tracking your expenses across multiple countries and currencies. You can organize your spendings by country or my month, set max daily budgets and add each dollar you’ve spent on the go. At the end of the month the app will tell you if you gone over your budget or where exactly did the cash flow. It’s perfect for analyzing the cost of living and working at different cities and countries, thus finding the optimal home-base for you when you get tired of being on the road and need to settle down for a while.

9. Xero

And to keep better track of your business-related expenses try Xero. Arguably, the best online bookkeeping and accounting service out there for all the non-accountants. It’s perfect for sending invoices, keeping track of the cash-flow and setting payment notifications on credit cards and recruiting payments. It neatly categorizes all your bank transactions and reconciles them with the transactions you have made in Xero to keep things even more simple. Available for numerous iOS and Android devices, so you can always have access to your data at no time.

10. Tripit

Tripit is one of the best travel planners out there! It’s free, fast and most importantly – works off-line. Just say no more to papers and lost emails. Forward all your booking confirmations – hotels, flights, car rental etc and let the app do all the magic for you by turning it into an easy-to-follow itinerary. You can set up notifications and get access to your data from any device without internet connection. Tripit reduced my frustration of arriving to the wrong terminal or roaming around the new city with my baggage as I haven’t written down the hotel address correctly. It’s a great app I seriously recommend using it to basically anyone who travels.

11. 1Password

Sharing sensitive data, especially passwords with your clients or team and keeping track of them can get challenging. That’s why I’ve started using 1Password – a super secure password-sharing service that allows you to create special vaults with a set of passwords to tools and services only accessible to the people you’ve shared it with. Available for numerous devices, the service gives you peace of mind when sharing anything sensitive via unprotected networks. Speaking of which…

12. Private Internet Access

Keep all your data and computer protected by opting for Private Internet Access. Often we need to make those last minute payments or credit card purchases and the only internet available is a suspicious unprotected network your device somehow found. By using an anonymous encrypted VPN and a private IP you can be 100% sure none of your payment data will be fished or passwords stolen.

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13. Workfrom

Find the best coffee shops and cafes in your area with this service. Workfrom has a great pool of venues in major US cities – New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle – and more destinations worldwide to be added soon! The service is free to join and you’ll get access to numerous cool spots with unbiased opinions of wi-fi connection and cappuccino quality from digital nomads just like you. Reviews also include price range, meals available, general atmosphere and noise range, along with some pro-tips on where to find sockets and which table is the most secluded. I have discovered some of my all time favorites this way like Mr Bean in Amsterdam.

14. Spotted by Locals

Another awesome service to discover good meals and thrilling events at your current base. Spotted by Locals is not that typical city guide with boring touristy routes, but an amazing resources with awesome recommendations from the locals on things to do and places to check out. After all, you’ve chosen a location independent lifestyle to explore the world more, not just spend hours tapping on the keywords in a different environment.

Currently, the website has numerous recommendations for all major European cities – Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Warsaw and many more, plus it gradually expands into North America with Boston, LA, Toronto and Montreal guides recently added. You can browse around the free categorized selection of activities at the website or pay$ 2.99 for a PDF guide with all tips and places neatly listed on the map. Or opt for iOS or Android app ($3.99 each) to gain offline access to one of the city guides along with a detailed map.

15. Jawbone UP

Now when you know where to go and what to see, here’s a handy app that will help you get unstuck from your laptop. Jawbone UP will gently nag you when it’s time to get up and unwind a bit. Install the app and connect it to all your hardware, than let the Up Activity Tracker (a lovely bracelet) analyze your sleeping and activity patterns to help you creating a better lifestyle. The app will monitor and analyze all your actions and suggest you a healthier schedule, help you sleep better and keep up with the exercise routine (which gets erratic when you are on the move). Why do we need more time if we don’t spend it wise, right? The app is free for iOS and Android, however you’ll have to pay 129$ for the bracelet tracker or 49.99$ for the clip.

16. SugarSync

Some like DropBox, others opt for Google Drive, yet my go-to cloud storage service is SugarSync. It’s simpler, more powerful and has a really slick design. After you install it, you just need to right-click the file/folder to instantly back them up at the cloud. Besides, any further change you make to that data will be automatically synchronized. Large files get uploaded extra fast and you can get 250 GB storage space for just $99.99 per year. Also you can access, share and edit all your files via free iOS or Android app supported on numerous devices. Now, I’ve finally stopped worrying what should I do if my laptop gets broken/stolen.

17. Contactually

If you don’t like to get broke and return home, you have to invest a fair share of your time in building ongoing relationships with your clients, vendors or customers depending on what do you do for a living. To avoid this whole thing becoming a huge pain try using Contactually – a simple, yet powerful service that will tell you when and whom you should keep in touch with and how you could maximize your ROI by connecting with the right people at the right time. It will send you notifications when you’ve fallen out of touch with certain contacts (which can mean missed opportunities in the perspective) and prompt when you should reconnect with the most important contacts from your network by providing helpful context clues like social updates and recent conversations to make the whole thing look more genuine. The service boasts that their users get up to 40% more referrals after using their service (backed by case studies) which is kind of essential for you if you’d like to live the nomadic life and work for yourself!

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18. Schedule Once

If you are working on multiple projects with multiple clients at a time – Schedule Once is your kick-ass service to schedule online meetings and conferences. Create a sleek pre-set calendar when you are available and send people a unique link that allows them to select a suitable time for both of you to connect. The service is fantastic for anyone offering consulting services or coaching sessions and costs just 5$ per month!

19. Spaxtel

Sometimes the internet gets so crappy that calling by Skype is impossible. Or you have a very-very important conversation scheduled and you don’t want any possible glitches to interrupt you. That’s when it’s worth using Spaxtel – a cool service that enables you to make land-line quality phone calls via callback. You don’t need to install any software or have internet access. The rates depends on the quality of call you choose (the lowest discount is pretty great) and the countries from/to you are calling. So far, the price proved to be nearly Skype-affordable for a better overall quality of connection.

20. Earth Class Mail

Snail mail isn’t that popular these days, but you still get some important stuff via it. Say bills and some paychecks. If you don’t want to bug your parents or friends’ to deal with your mail while you are out, try using Earth Mail Class – an affordable mail forwarding service that scans and forwards your mail to the e-mail address of your choice, deposits your checks (for a fee), saves PDFs of your postal mail online and offers in-person pickup and package signing.

Featured photo credit: Avi Richards via unsplash.com

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