I got hooked a few years ago. A friend mentioned she was listening to something call the Self-Sufficient Homestead. I did some googling and got hooked on Johnny Max and the Queen’s adventures, their spatting, their strong mutual support and love, and Johnny Max’s tales. Oh, the stories – my favorite has to be the time Johnny Max (just maybe) had a wee bit too much to drink, went on eBay… and ordered an emu egg. And it hatched. From SS Homestead, I found TSP, which has absolutely supreme information on gardening and emergency preparedness (With all our moving, we’ve lived in hurricane territory, in earthquake territory, in tornado territory, in areas prone to grass fires… After a while, getting ready itself gets interesting. Really.)
Lately, I’ve been listening to (and loving) Promoting Direct Sales (so inspirational). I’m also a big fan of the Quick and Dirty Tips Podcasts. The truth is, I used to listen to those 30 to 60 minutes shows while working in the kitchen, and I just don’t spend that much time in there any more. A 10 to 15 minutes show is much more likely to be heard in entirety by me. I subscribe to a few of them, but my favorite is the Get-It-Done Guy, Stever Robbins. A guy who can actually help me get more stuff done – and done well – in, like, seven minutes while I’m putting on make-up? There’s no downside in that.
A few weeks ago (well, a few weeks on my phone, no clue when he recorded), Stever was waxing poetic about Moleskine notebooks. Well, he was really waxing poetic about how he uses notebooks for, well, making notes, and Moleskine (pronounced moh-lay-SKEE-nay) is his brand of choice. I’d never heard of Moleskine before, and I thought maybe he was joking around with the pronunciation. But, I get the whole note-taking thing, and I really like little notebooks for it — one for each specific task or goal or project. So, the next time I was in a big box store, I was tickled to come across some Moleskine notebooks… but I wasn’t sold. I just felt, for the price, they were on the small side, and I figure if I’m spending a little more, I not only want size (for copious note-taking options), but I want to know the binding will hold.
Enter Northbooks. Northbooks notebooks came floating across my screen/desktop (don’t you love the internet), and I checked them out.
Northbooks has some real options to offer. Check it out:
- Designed and manufactured in the U.S. Most of the notebooks I look at in the store are manufactured overseas.
- Spacious! Northbooks notebooks are 5″x8″. That will barely fit into a back pocket, but it will fit in there. Slim, but plenty of lined pages (96 per notebook) for notes.
- Well-bound. This is a big deal for me. I generally use these types of notebooks pretty hard for a short time. For example, for one month, I may carry this notebook everywhere, and make notes 10-12 times per day, or 3-4 times per day (depends on what I’m working on). When the pages start falling out, it’s very frustating. Northbooks notebooks have a ton of glue in their binding. And (gonna be honest here), I pulled on it. Pulled the pages apart, tugged. Not enough to know it would rip, but to see if the pages would hold. Definitely more stress than my daily use. The binding held.
- I kind of love that the cover isn’t slick and water proof. Yes, I’ll have to be a bit careful, but I can write on it easily. Titles, doodles, illustrations, sketches (even more notes). They can all be easily written on the outside with pencil. <squee!>
Northbooks was kind enough to send me one notebook for review purposes, but I’ve ordered more. We’re heading out on a big (even for us) trip next month. We (the boys and I) will be using them as journals for the trip for sure, and I’m keeping spares on hand as well.
What else do I use notebooks for? Lots of things — but (for me, I can’t speak for Stever), it’s more a process issue. Let’s say I want a study on some aspect – I pick a time frame, and actually write down everything relevant in that time frame. One example: if it seems like our budget isn’t working, but we don’t feel like we’re spending outside it, it’s time for a notebook check. I get a notebook and (seriously) for a month, I write down every penny that is spent. Every single one. If it sounds extreme, then you get it. We’re pretty thoughtful people, but it’s still enlightening to see how often we spend when we aren’t thinking it’s significant (or when it’s unexpected – like when someone overnight outgrows shoes). Small (and unexpected) expenditures add up. We’ve done this a few times, and we either learn where we’re spending and aren’t noticing, or we learn that we aren’t overspending and we need to rework our budget. (For the record – this is a great exercise for your business, not just your household.) I’ve done similar exercises for posting ideas, for craft project ideas… basically, if it runs through my mind, it’s in the subject are of the current notebook-study – then it gets captured in the notebook for later (hopefully thoughtful) review.
Let’s face it — bound notepads like these in the stores aren’t cheap – even when they’re cheaply made. It is this writer’s opinion that, if you’re going to spend the money, you’re best bet is to spend it on quality that will last. I recommend checking out Northbooks.