You can find applications and productivity tools for every conceivable productivity system and meet all your needs, but it's hard to beat the simple notebook in terms of pure power, conducive to productivity.
Over the years, between my career (testing applications, my life, and improving my productivity) and my personal life (obsessed with applications, my life, and my productivity), I have experimented with many tools and techniques. However, the simple pocket book is the biggest productivity booster and the most useful tool I have ever used. Here's why.
You can capture everything
Most people are struggling to be productive, but for many people (including myself), the biggest problem is remembering the task at hand.
A pocket diary allows you to capture anything that is relevant to your personal or professional goals and projects at the moment you think, avoiding you forgetting until one moment or another more later.
I just reminded you that you ran out of milk? Write it. Have you heard of a book about NPR that you would like to read? Write it. Your boss just mentioned something important about a project? Write it. Grandma's noticeable chopping board looks pretty brutal and a nice piece of news would make a good Christmas present? Write it.
Anything you want to remember later for any reason can be inserted into the notebook. Some people simply write things on the page, then process the notebook at the end of the day or week, others work directly in the notebook with pages or sections for to-do lists, projects, gift ideas, etc.
However, no matter how you do it, you capture everything that is important before it slips into the ether of oblivion. Developing a notebook habit means never forgetting anything. Never forgetting anything means never ending an important task because you have not remembered it long enough.
It's without distraction
Phone applications are pretty amazing, and between features such as document scanning, location-based reminders, etc., it's tempting to use an app for everything.
The beauty of scribbling things in a simple pocket notebook is its freedom of distraction. You can not open a notebook and finish "accidentally" to scroll through your Instagram feed. You also can not open it and see that you have 17 unread emails. The notebook exists so that you can write elements, and that's it.
As a bonus, you seem conscientious towards others. When you take out your phone (even if you are recording something important), you feel like you are interrupting the conversation (and you may be distracted by notifications). A notebook is a different story. If tugging your phone is the conversational equivalent of bending over, going out of a notebook is the conversational equivalent of leaning in: it seems that whatever the topic is, it is important enough for you to write it.
It works anywhere
No battery, no sync, no connectivity requirement, or anything particularly complicated with a laptop. In short, the notebook is found at the bottom of a river (hopefully without towing) or on fire, it works.
In addition, there is no risk of software errors or missing pieces. While the good apps are pretty reliable nowadays (and the best ones even have a cloud sync), there's no crash in the "Go My List" app when working with paper.
It's always with you
As you read, you may have said, "Well, what about a big notebook?" If you carry a bag with you all the time and want space. Sure. Use a large notebook with spacious pages.
The beauty of the pocket notebook is due to its size. You can put it in your pocket or purse. You do not need a bag (with available space). Throw in a mini pen or even a pen keychain with notepad and you are ready to capture your thoughts anywhere, without the need for a day.
If you are sold on the idea of the pocket book, check out our favorite pocketbooks on our sister site Geek Review for elegant and durable options.