Several years ago, I adopted a digital workflow for writing, task management and note taking. The iPhone made this easier to do than ever before since I could carry a satellite to my digital information and work with me wherever I went. Then the iPad came along and made it even better. I was hooked - my work flow was completely digital. For my work I have to attend a number of meetings where taking notes is essential. I also have to manage projects and day to day tasks and there I try and follow a GTD system. Keeping lists of tasks and projects is important to that process as is ubiquitous capture of tasks as they come along. My work also requires me to do a great deal of creative writing where I have to generate and then distill ideas and thoughts into a coherent document. Up until recently I have done all of those things with my Macs, iPhone and iPad because they allowed me to do my work more efficiently. The system has worked well and has not let me down, but for some time now it has felt like it is missing something. The closest I can come to naming this missing element is "personality" or "soul."
Since my main goal in ordering Field Notes was to help me capture inspiration wherever it might strike, the size of the notebooks was appealing. Carrying one of these notebooks with you wherever you go is pretty easy as they are the perfect size to fit in a pocket of your pants. They are also neither too thin or too thick to sit comfortably in a back pocket. The unpretentious covers are thick enough to be durable but pliable enough to mold to your pocket and develop some character as they wear. The paper is thick enough to hold up in daily use but not so thick as to feel harsh. Field Notes just feel good to carry around and touch.
The fact that they feel so good to the touch has something to do with the quality of their construction. They are a pleasure to use. There is obvious attention to their crafting. First, they are printed and made in America. I like that - especially in today's economy. It maintains skills that our country shouldn't lose in the mad rush to make things as cheaply as possible through outsourcing. The back cover of each notebook tells you what paper, ink and staples were used and where they were printed and put together. This led me to look for more information on their website and there I found numerous well-produced videos detailing the printing processes of several of their special edition notebooks as well as the work that goes into their standard edition. I like that each notebook has a back story. For some people a notebook may be just a notebook but for me quality thoughts deserve quality paper to give them shape and expression and these little notebooks deliver it.