Thanks to a short post (and a long thread of comments), I decided to re-think how I capture daily notes. I’m hardly a heavy note-taker, but I do have times when they’re needed.

  • Weekly Executive Staff Meeting
  • Monthly All-Hands Staff Meeting
  • Desktop Scratchpad
  • Everyday Notes
  • Digital Notes
  • Bonus: Writing (Pens)

Let’s take each one of those individually. But first a heads-up…you’ll notice one product line keeps popping up.

Weekly Executive Staff Meeting

This is an informal touching base type of meeting. There’s almost always something for me to write down, but rarely more than a few lines. In the past, I’ve used a variety of Rhodia notebooks, but I was looking for something nicer and more consistent.

Result: Studio Neat Standard Totebook

Happiness: 8/10

Monthly All-Hands Staff Meeting

This meeting is much more involved and frequently requires more notes. Fortunately, it’s something that the same notebook can easily handle.

Result: Studio Neat Standard Totebook

Happiness: 8/10

Desktop Scratchpad

While I’m working, I jot down things throughout the day. It could be reminders, a checklist, an idea, a quick sketch, etc. No limits. I’m not making any changes here, as I’ve been using the same thing for a couple years. It’s the product that first turned me on to Studio Neat. A relationship was born!

Result: Studio Neat Panobook

Happiness: 10/10

Everyday Notes

This will be the biggest change for me going forward. Over the years, I’ve tried out a lot of products. While I do like Field Notes, they just wear down quickly for me. Maybe I’m rougher than others? Maybe it’s the hot/humid climate where I live?

In any case, I’ve decided to test a few products going forward:

I’m confident one of those will work.

Digital Notes

There’s no avoiding digital notes for me. I have a large quantity of shared notes with family and co-workers. Beyond that, there are times when having a digital note just makes the most sense (for ease of access or longterm storage).

I’ve tried almost every note taking app ever imagined. Obsidian? Not for me. Same for Notion and Workflowy and Minimal and Bear, etc. The list is endless. So where have I landed?

Result: Apple Notes

Happiness: 6/10


There’s one other critical element to note taking. You have to have a writing tool! While I enjoy a nice fountain pen, I’m not the type to care and clean for them well enough to stick with the high end ones. These are the pens I use the most.

Happiness: 9/10

Wrap Up

I’m pretty happy with where I’ve landed so far. I’m sure there are improvements that can be made. It may surprise you to know I’m interested in trying out the Studio Neat Mark Three Pencil.

One product I would love to have that I’ve been unable to find is a proper note taking index-style card. My desires would be 3”x5” (or 4”x6”), subtle dot grid, medium weight paper, double sided. Maybe I can get Studio Neat to make it?