I’ve almost always had a sharp disparity between my preferred notebooks for personal use and my preferred work notebooks. My personal notebooks are always pocket sized, with plain, dotted, or grid pages, usually hardcover. But my work notebooks are usually none of those things.
I’ve written about some of my work notebooks before. In my previous position, I attended tons of meetings and often had letter-size handouts to refer to, so I liked notebooks that would fit those sheets. But I still sometimes used slightly smaller notebooks, such as a Doane Paper notebook, or one from Appointed. Now that I have a different job where I work from home, my notebook preferences have shifted a bit… but sometimes I surprise myself in terms of whether I like or dislike what I have chosen to use.
The first notebook I used for this job was a Printfresh notebook that I reviewed in this post. I used it because it seemed like a good size for my desk, where I have somewhat limited space due to a convertible stand-up desk with a keyboard and two monitors. I liked the notebook well enough when I reviewed it, though it didn’t speak to me as something that was “my kind of notebook.” The cover is fun but quite bright, and the paper is lined. But I liked that it had a folder inside, and a wire-o binding. And the paper quality was pretty good– very satisfying with my usual gel ink pens. I ended up using every page of this notebook, quite happily.
When I was starting to think about what notebook I’d use next, I couldn’t find anything suitable in my stash. I wanted something with a wire-o binding so I could flip the cover around to the back, and I didn’t have a single one that was larger than pocket size. I wanted something a little larger than A5 size. I wanted smooth dot grid paper. I ended up deciding to treat myself to a Mnemosyne notebook from Jet Pens.
I’ve been seeing these notebooks around for a while at Kinokuniya and other retailers, so much so that I feel as if I must have owned or reviewed one before. But I haven’t, so I was excited to try this one. It really did seem like a treat to pick out and actually buy a work notebook that I wanted to use– all my work notebooks for the past 20 years have been standard office supply closet items or leftover samples I reviewed for this blog, mostly things I probably wouldn’t have bought for myself. I never felt as strongly about my work notebooks as I do about my personal journals and sketchbooks, so this didn’t bother me much.
But now that I’m using this notebook I actually chose, I’m not sure I’m going to love it as much as I thought! Although I always talk about how I dislike lined notebooks, I’m starting to think they are actually better for my work note-taking. For a notebook that is sitting on my desk, the wider spacing of lines makes things easier to read, and it accommodates the somewhat messier handwriting I use when I am scribbling notes during meetings and calls. The Mnemosyne notebook has a typical 5mm dot spacing and it just feels a little cramped.
I liked the design of the Mnemosyne pages, which have a wide header with a box for the date, but it’s actually more space than I need. I tend to just date my to-do list pages, and then just add dates to other notes throughout the text, so that huge header is just wasted space. And the larger overall page size (7.25 x 10″) is nice in a way, but because of my desk layout, it feels a little more crowded. The smaller Printfresh notebook (7 x 8.75″) fit better.
So I have to admit I’m a little disappointed with the Mnemosyne notebook. It is well-made, with a plastic cover that should be quite durable. The paper quality is great. The design is very cool. But it isn’t making me as happy as I thought it would. I’ll continue to use it til the end, I’m sure, but I’ll have to come up with something else for my next work notebook. I could maybe try a different Mnemosyne notebook, as they have some other formats. Anyone have any other suggestions?