Pocket Notebooks vs Smartphone for Note-taking

For a week or two before I started my digital de-clutter phase, I was trying to figure out which pocket notebooks to get. The idea being that they will take the place of my smartphone if I needed to take notes. The idea on top of that was to reduce my smartphone usage even more; by not using it to take notes. And by not using my smartphone to take notes, I won't even need to pull it out of my pocket or drawer or wherever it is at, thereby lessening the chance it will distract me during the day. When I finally tried it out in the real world, the results surprised me.

The pocket notebooks I decided to get were the Field Notes Pitch Black Memo Books. These are small notebooks (3.5 x 5.5 inches) that can literally fit in either my front or rear pockets. The covers are flexible, so they don't really bother me that much when I'm walking or sitting. The paper is of good quality, a lot better than the paper in the Moleskine notebooks that I have. Overall a pretty good pocket notebook. And based on the research I made, people love these notebooks and they use it for note taking everywhere, even in place of their smartphones. Sounds exactly like what I was trying to achieve, right? So, what could go wrong?

The problem is/was, if you don't have a table to put the pocket notebook on, it can be challenging to write stuff on it.

I am right-handed so writing on the left side of the notebook is manageable while holding the notebook on my left palm, however writing on the right side can be downright frustrating. It doesn't help that I have big hands.

Imagine writing on the right side of a small flexible pocket notebook, using your left palm as support, your writing hand gets closer and closer to the edge, and at some point your wrist will end up floating in the air while you are trying to write stuff down. Yeah, that can be hard, and in my opinion, is a totally inferior note-taking experience compared to simply jotting down notes with a smartphone. Having a pocket notebook with a hardcover would have helped, but then it would be uncomfortable in my pockets, not to mention having to sit on one.

I tried writing down notes on my pocket notebook while I was taking a walk; nope I ended up just using my smartphone instead. Even when I was not taking a walk, just standing outside the office parking lot taking in the view, an idea came to mind and I tried to write it down on my pocket notebook; it was challenging. Honestly, the only time I enjoyed writing down notes on my pocket notebook was when I had access to a desk or table, like when I was at home, or at the office, or at a restaurant. Anywhere else without a table, jotting down notes on a smartphone was way better in my opinion.

Now some arguments can be made about the benefits of pocket notebooks over smartphones.

Anyway, to wrap this up, I was so convinced I would end up loving the use of pocket notebooks and that it would totally replace my smartphone when it comes to note-taking. The reality of it was, unless there was a table to put the notebook on, I preferred to use my smartphone if I needed to quickly jot down notes. This is not to say I won't use pocket notebooks anymore, just that there is a time and place to use them.

Digital minimalism is not about stopping the use of all things digital, it is about picking the appropriate tool for the task at hand. In this case, when there is no table nearby, writing down notes on a smartphone is perfectly fine.

Tags: #DigitalMinimalism #Notebooks #NoteTaking #Smartphone

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