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Productivity Pr0n: 5 Unusually Useful Notepads

Productivity Pr0n: 5 Unusually Useful Notepads

5 Unusually Useful Notepads

    Hi. My name is Dustin, and I’m addicted to notepads.

    I first realized I was addicted when I found myself prowling office supply stores in the wee hours of the afternoon, trying to score a college-ruled composition book. Pretty soon, I couldn’t go anywhere without my works – a battered red Moleskine and a black Sharpie click-pen.

    And it got worse. I started thinking, “maybe there’s a perfect notebook out there for this particular project.” My Moleskine’s 192 leaves bound in pocket-sized covers wasn’t enough to satisfy my growing need for specialty papers.

    The worst part is, I liked it. And I stand here before you, still liking it. Loving it. Yes, my name is Dustin, but I”m not a mere addict. I’m a paper enthusiast, a connoisseur of the carnet, a gourmand of the grid line, a foodie of foolscap.

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    Let me show you a few of my more exotic finds.

    1. Rollabind

    20100202-Rollabind

      Also marketed as the Levenger Circa system, the Rollabind (or just “Rolla”) is an infinitely customizable, assemble-it-yourself notebook made using a Rollabind punch and Rollabind discs. Basically, you take the pages you want to assemble, punch the binding edge with the special punch, and insert the discs into the punches to hold it all together. The holes are open on one side, so you can remove and insert pages at will, and the unique design allows the whole thing to be opened flat, making them easy to write on.

      The system can be used to compile planners, address books, journals, or just about anything else you can imagine, using pages of your own design, pre-printed pages akin to those sold for Dayplanners and the like, or templates from the DIY Planner site. Both Rollabind and Levenger sell a range of kits with punches, discs, and covers (from simple pressboard to luxurious leather). Circa/Rolla notebooks are a bit pricey compared to off-the-shelf notebooks (though some of the expenses, like the punch and reusable discs, can be amortized over years of notebook-making) but are pretty comparable in price to organizer sets from DayRunner or FranklinCovey.

      2. Whitelines

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      WHitelines vs. REgular Lines

        Whitelines paper has white lines. Seriously.

        If you’ve ever, say, tried to photocopy something you wrote or drew, you already know one use case for paper with white lines. If you’re a creative sort who maybe needs some lines to keep everything at the same scale but would rather not have to compete with those lines when displaying your ideas, you know another. And Whitelines has you pegged, because they make paper with white lines.

        So here’s the deal: Whitelines notebooks are made with a lightly toned paper lined or gridded with white ink, so you can definitely see the lines while you’re working (meaning you avoid the “over-the-cliff” curve you get when you write on unlined paper) but step away just a bit and the lines fade away. And there are bindings for everyone, from hard-bound Moleskine-like notebooks to perfect-bound paperbacks to glue-bound notepads (so you can tear sheets off),

        Available in the US only through specialty retailers (mostly book stores), Canadians and Western Europeans can find them at your national Amazon stores as well as in several chains. Prices are comparable to Moleskines of the same size and format. Use the store finder to find out how to get yours.

        3. Behance Dot Grid Book

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        20100202-behance

          Behance notebooks are beloved of creative professionals, and the Dot Grid Book and Dot Grid Journal are a pretty good indication of why. Designers want the precision of a grid, but they also want the grid to “disappear”, to get out of their way so they can work. In other words, they appreciate good design in notebook grids as in everything else.

          And these notebooks from Behance are nothing if not good design. The “Book” model has a semi-hard “suede touch” cover that is spiral-bound to lay flat on a table or other surface; the “Journal” model is hard-bound like a Moleskine for portable knee-top use. Both have a super-light but functional grid of dots to guide without constraining so you can do layouts, tight design work, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

          4. Aquanotes

          Aquanotes

            The age-old problem of how to capture notes in the shower may have found a solution. No more messy bath crayons or grease pencils – here comes Aquanotes! Aquanotes are suction-cup-mounted notepads made of 100% waterproof paper that can be written on however wet they may be. So you always have a notepad handy at what experts say is our most creative time, shower time.

            The only problem is, where do you keep your pencil?

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            5. Notepod

            NOtepod

              Got an idea for an iPhone app? There’s a pad for that.

              Notepod is an iPhone-shaped notepad, with an unlined  writing area where the iPhone’s screen would be and gridlines on the back, packed in 100-page board-backed notepads. The implementation is new, but like the iPhone itself, the idea goes back a long ways, to the original battery-less paper Palm Pilot. Of course, you don’t have to be an iPhone developer to use a Notepod – it works just as well for on-the-fly note-taking and jotting down phone messages or, for the real low-tech, replacing your iPhone entirely (though you need a really good arm for the text messaging function…).

              Know any other cool, super-functional (or just super-neat) notepads out there? Let me and the other addicts- er, afficionados know all about them in the the comments!

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              Last Updated on July 27, 2020

              20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

              20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

              Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

              If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

              1. Create a Daily Plan

              Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

              Here’s How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity.

              2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

              Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

              3. Use a Calendar

              Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

              I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

              Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

              4. Use an Organizer

              An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

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              These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

              5. Know Your Deadlines

              When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

              But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

              6. Learn to Say “No”

              Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

              Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

              7. Target to Be Early

              When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

              For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

              Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

              8. Time Box Your Activities

              This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

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              You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

              9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

              Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

              10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

              Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

              You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

              11. Focus

              Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

              Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

              Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

              12. Block out Distractions

              What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

              I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

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              When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

              Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

              13. Track Your Time Spent

              When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

              You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

              14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

              You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

              Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

              15. Prioritize

              Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

              Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

              16. Delegate

              If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

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              When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

              17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

              For related work, batch them together.

              For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

              1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
              2. coaching
              3. workshop development
              4. business development
              5. administrative

              I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

              18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

              What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

              One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

              While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

              19. Cut off When You Need To

              The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

              Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

              20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

              Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

              More Time Management Tips

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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