Commonplace Book 2

August 15, 2007

Commonplace Book 2

Originally uploaded by @Stephen.
I asked Stephen Smith write about his Commonplace book. I have a running question on my Facebook profile: ‘What is your favorite paper notebook?’ Stephen mention this notebook. I look and looked at Barns and Noble to track it down.

I have recently added a new notebook to my ever-growing collection:

  • I have a Circa organizer that I use for my calendar and other GTD collecting “buckets”,
  • a second Circa notebook that I use as a capture device for ideas and project tracking,
  • a journal that I write in a few times a week,
  • a Kraft-bound No. 3 journal from Barnes & Noble that holds my Reading List.

My Reading list is the oldest of these, I started it in August of 2003 with The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien, four years and 21 pages (403 books!!) later, the most recent entry is Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card.

I felt, however, that I needed another notebook for other information that did not quite fit into any of the other categories. Enter the Commonplace Book. There is a detailed history at the link (at DIYPlanner):

The Commonplace Books (or just commonplaces) of old were series of books, stuffed with scraps, inspirations, snippets of information, sketches, clippings, photographs, poems, jokes, references, and anything else pertaining to the interest of the person (or group) who kept it. A common fixture in the homes of writers, professionals, artists and academics for many centuries, the notion has all but faded in this digital age of commodity data and instant searches. But there’s no reason that we can’t resurrect such a invaluable resource in this day and age. In fact, it could ultimately prove worthy not only for our daily work and pleasure, but also as a legacy to leave our children and grandchildren, a gathering of those pieces reflecting both the personality of its keeper and the happenings of a bygone day.

So it was back to Barnes & Noble for the “perfect” notebook. Leather wrap-around cover, leather ties, and pockets inside for a pen and pencil. The notebook itself is a No. 3 refill with lined pages, smythe-bound signatures so it can lie flat when opened in the middle. Perfect!

I have reserved the first three pages for the Index/ Table of Contents, and the rest will be where I can keep personal reference information, websites to keep an eye on, books to read, and quotations that I come across. I figure this is also a good place for some analog backups of some of the digital information that I currently rely on Firefox to keep for me, or that I keep in the wiki on my USB flash drive.

This notebook has 192 pages, so there is plenty of room and it should last me a long time. I am looking forward to working at filling up those pages!

Stephen Smith writes about Productivity and Web 2.0 at HD BizBlog 1.2.
Recent interests and articles are focusing on creativity, innovation, and
the design of the next generation of productivity system. He is currently
working on a productivity e-book based on The Art of War. In the real
world he works with a retail sales team to manage internet customers and
ponders the future of work.


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