I keep a daily journal. And journaling daily make pocket planners usable as journal notebooks.
I tend to be particular about certain things. So when searching for a new notebook — one that I will carry around for a year — I decided the following things are important.
- A5 format. Everything else is too big or too small.
- Hardcover. No flappy stuff.
- Lined paper Not too wide or too thick, but I do need to see where I’m writing. No dots or blank paper.
- Rounded corners. I pull the notebook out of my bag a lot. I don’t like dented corners.
- Elastic band. When I throw the notebook in my bag, it shouldn’t open and wrinkle the paper.
- Bound bookmark. So I can start where I stopped last time.
- Pen loop. So I don’t have to look for a pen. And this makes sure I always use the same pen.
- Bound. No rings.
- Soft paper. There is probably a technical term for this that I don’t know, but I know good paper when I see or feel it. So no hard print paper (paper that is made for printers and not for writing).
Nice to haves
These things are pluses:
- Printed dates. So I don’t have to write them down every time.
- Max. 100 pages. One week or multiple days per two pages is fine (7D/2P they seem to call that). One page per day would of course give more room: but this makes the journal at least 365/2 pages which is too big.
- The above only works if there is also room for notes. I tend to take a few notes specific to a day (usually short) and the really important stuff I write down in one place (i.e. the blank left page, or in the notes section). Things I want to return to often.
- Cover color/look/style. I don’t think I actually care too much about this.
- Tear-off corners. Just don’t.
Did I find it?
Not really. It is surprisingly difficult selecting a notebook that checks all the boxes. And, trust me, I spend way too much time looking for one — online and in bookshops. Moleskine has one and Baron Fig also, that come close (though both have no pen loop) . But there are many more — like this one (too big) — that come close. And I think this one probably checks most boxes.
But I had already settled on one: the new year was starting! It doesn’t check all the boxes (I ordered a pen loop from eBay). And I do think I will miss the elastic band. And to be honest (it’s day 2 of the year) I am not too thrilled about the paper as of yet. It’s a bit too hard, the pen doesn’t glide. But we’ll see and maybe I’ll switch pens.
Now, about the perfect pen….