Why I Ditched My Moleskine Journal

I have used a paper journal for years to take meeting notes and jot down random thoughts. (I detailed my system here.) Yes, I tried the first generation iPad for this, but I ended up passing it on to a colleague. I just couldn’t quite fit it into my workflow—especially after I got a MacBook Air.

For years, my journal of choice has been the Moleskine. In fact, I have an entire shelf in my office set aside for storing my old copies. I have loved the simplicity, usability, and low profile of this notebook.

However, as I became more and more addicted to Evernote, I tried to figure out a way to get these notes into Evernote. Yes, you can take a photo, using the Evernote app for iPhone. But this is not as simple as it sounds. It is difficult to get the pages in focus and in the right orientation (landscape vs. portrait). If it works for you, great. It didn’t work for me.

What I really wanted to do was tear the pages out, scan them in my ScanSnap scanner, and then throw them away. The problem is that the Moleskine notebook only has 16 perforated pages at the end of the journal. That sent me on a search. What I really wanted was a journal where every page was perforated.

Google didn’t let me down. I almost instantly found the Ecosystem line of personal journals. I also discovered that they were available at my local Barnes & Noble store. Gail and I made a quick trip to the store near our home, found the Ecosystem spinner rack, and began exploring our options.

Ecosystem Author Journal

We discovered that the Ecosystem journals look almost identical to the Moleskine ones. It has a ribbon bookmark, elastic closure, and expandable inner pocket. However,

  • Every page is perforated
  • The paper is 100% post-consumer recycled and acid-free
  • Each journal has a unique ID number. If you register it, and it is found, whoever found it can return it to you.
  • It is made entirely in the U.S.A.
  • It comes in four styles:
    1. Advisor (calendar formats)
    2. Architect (grid paper)
    3. Author (ruled paper)
    4. Artist (blank paper)
  • It comes in six vibrant colors (see photo above)
  • It comes in three bindings:
    1. Hardcover
    2. Flexicover
    3. Paper
  • It also comes in three sizes:
    1. Large (7-3/8″ x 9-7/8″ inches)
    2. Medium (5-1/4″ x 8-1/4″ inches)
    3. Small (3-5/8″ x 5-5/8″ inches)

Currently, I am using the medium, hardcover Author style in Oynx black. If you didn’t know better, you would think it was a standard issue Moleskine notebook. The retail price is $16.95, a dollar cheaper than the Moleskine. However, via Amazon, they are about the same price ($11.53 vs. the Moleskine at $11.67).

If you are a Moleskine user, I would encourage you to try the Ecosystem’s Journal—especially if you are using Evernote. It is worth the added features.

Also, you can follow Ecosystem on their Tumblr blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

Thanks to the generosity of Ecosystems, I gave away 50 free copies of the Author style journal. You can find the list of winners here.
Question: What is your current system for taking notes? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/john.bogdanski John Bogdanski

    Mornin Mike- I use a moleskin for note taking. I love it. Thought about doin’ straight evernote but its not best for capturing and expanding on creative thoughts. Plus a moleskin comes in handy and I dont have to worry about it around the barn. My wife just started a site on organic horse supplements and I’m in the barn and in stalls all the time so that lil’ note pad comes in very handy. I’d be interested in having a look at yours. It sounds promising.

  • Qwrules

     I just use a simple reporter’s notebook. Cheap, lightweight and easy to tear out the pages when I’m done.

    • http://www.paulawhidden.wordpress.com Paula

      Me too, I don’t understand why you encourage us to spend the extra dough on a moleskin or ecosystem when a spiral binder accomplishes the same goal at half the price.   

      • http://twitter.com/SheReads Becky Rech

         For me I always keep notebooks with me in bags and purses and the wire spiral always seems to bend and make it much more challenging to turn pages and write in.  So, I try to avoid notebooks with spiral binders.

        • Carl Rasmussen

          If the spiral binder is made out of plastic, they will not bend.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            True, but they still catch and snag on pockets.

      • Aurora

        I think the reason people use something like a Moleskine, is for the experience–not the utility. If you’re the type of person who won’t read newspapers, because the paper “feels bad” against your fingers…if you’re the type of person who won’t buy a book, if the paper is too rough and heavy…if you’re the type of person who goes into a bookstore and starts at one end of the blank notebooks, and fingers the pages of each one, until you find one with just the right amount of creaminess–something that raises your pulse, and will make writing with just the right pen an intense joy…then you’re the type that would use a Moleskine.

        If that’s NOT an experience that you yearn for–then a spiral binder will do just fine. :)

        Me–I’ve been a pen and paper afficionado since I first discovered office supply stores, when I was about 8…and I’ll gladly give up something else I want, and pay extra for a Moleskine, knowing that everytime I write anything in it, it will be a rich, sensual experience. :)

        • http://talkkindnesstome.com/ Jane

          Thank you for explaining something I have never understood. I am so picky about notebooks. I buy journals because I love the cover and then discover something just isn’t right about it. My dad was a minister and a carpenter. From the time I was 6 or 7 years old I remember loving to sit in his small study just dreaming of writing and journalling. I have loved office supplies, paper, pen, pencils, gadgets, clips, folders, unique organizers – finally, I get it. It’s the experience, not the utility of the thing.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I choose not to use a spiral notebook because I usually carry mine in my back pocket.  The spiral gets pretty messed up pretty quickly!  Pluse the look of the Moleskine is just cool!

      • Chris Brooks

        While I get that, I found that spiral-bounds can’t survive a ride in my pack that well, especially since I commute on a bike. I actually don’t want perforated pages either. I get why people want them, but I want my pages to stay put; I even number the pages and keep a list of where everything is in the front. That’s pretty much it. I agree the price is more, but I guess I’m too reckless, because cheap taped or spiral notebooks begin to fall apart before I’m half-way through them. That’s why notebooks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    I typed up the song lyrics from the Ecosystem journal page shown at time 0:38 in the clip. I wonder if these are meant to be real lyrics for a real song, or if the creators of the clip just whipped up a few lines that were supposed to look like real song lyrics for that one second they’re actually visible: 


    Verse 1:

    Dear Love I haven’t felt you in a while,
    Feel my mind in single file,
    wonder who put out the fire

    Dear Love
    I see an inch is not a mile
    And the sun is not your smile anymore


    But I don’t wanna run the other way
    if you wanna come in and you wanna stay
    the love,
    dear Love, take me away

    Verse 2:

    Dear Love,
    I know our paths have crossed before,
    And you kicked me in the core,
    it felt like war,

    And dear Love,
    I fear the day that you return,
    my heaart will not have le…

  • Mike St Pierre

    Great post Michael, will check these out. I also get by on some Moleskine knockoffs from a local store here in NJ. The key to notebooks: just use them and enjoy!

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    I guess I’m a legal pad kind of girl–I keep a supply of them, so I can pick them up on the go. I have a question for you, though. I’m sure you receive a lot of handouts and other papers as you walk through your business world. How did you handle those before Evernote and how do you handle them now? (By the way, I admire your organizational skills–that’s one of my weaknesses.) 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Before Evernote, I gave the ones I wanted to keep to my assistant to file. Now, I just scan them into Evernote. It is very quick. Thanks.

      • http://ramonbnuezjr.com/about-2 Ramon B. Nuez Jr.

        I am not sure if you know this but Evernote is coming out on October 1 with their own Moleskin notebook. It’s expensive — $30 I believe. Plus you have to pay for the premium Evernote service.

        I think that’s $5 per month. Now while the marriage of old tech and new tech sounds very attractive. A $30 price point is to rich for my blood.Here is the link — http://evernote-storefront.mybigcommerce.com/evernote-smart-notebook-by-moleskine/

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Yes, I ordered one the day it was announced. I am a premium subscriber already. Thanks.

          • Vince Cavin

            What are your thoughts about the Moleskin Evernote book vs. the Ecosystem notebook? Would you mind posting a review?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

            I have one, but I haven’t used it yet. Sorry.

          • Joe

            Have you dove into the Evernote Moleskine yet? I just bought one last night, but I have not opened it yet. I am debating if I should take it back and get something cheaper. I already have a pretty good scanner app on my phone that skew adjusts and contrasts.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

            Yes, I did, but I haven’t used it. Maybe I need to take another look. Tell me what you think if you try it.

          • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

            Yes, please let me know what you think of it. I have come close to buying it a few times! Please let us know! Thanks, Joe!

  • http://www.kristinaustin.com Kristin

    I use to be a dedicated filofax girl – but since purchasing an iPhone 4 at the start of the year, I’m in love with evernote and my gratitude journal app that lets me attach photos to my day – perfect.

    • http://www.DavidReber.com David Reber

      Kristin, which gratitude app are you using?

  • http://www.solobizcoach.com SoloBizCoach

    Hey Michael,

    I went out and bought an Ecosystem notebook after your first post about them.  I am really enjoying it.  I have not started the paperless office routine, but if you keep hammering me with these posts, I just might break.

  • http://twitter.com/jsm0326 JohnM

     I’m also a Moleskin user, and use it for most of my journals, first drafts, and note taking. I’m interested in having a look at the Ecosysytems line, and will duck into B&N today to see if I can find one. I’m also very interested in Evernote, which I’ve not come across before. Thanks

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You gotta try Evernote. It is awesome.

  • Folger3

     Right now, I’m currently in between systems.  I’ve taken to heart much of your enthusiasm for Evernote, but I still value paper note-taking.  I have some notebooks for school and a notebook for church work, but its a lot to keep together.  I’m looking to simplify the system down to a notebook and Evernote together.  Thanks for your thoughts about this – you’ve helped me a lot to develop a system and be serious about simplifying!

  • Jenni

    At home I have been using Moleskine, but my next journal will be an Ecosystem.  I think I am in love!  At work I have been using Levenger’s Circa system, but with perforated pages, I may be using Ecosystem at works as well.  Thanks for opening this new world up to me!

  • http://twitter.com/lisarosendahl Lisa Rosendahl

    I am a die hard Moleskine fan and have been toying with the idea of Evernote – from a distance. I’ve starred all of your Evernote posts for future reference and just Saturday afternoon, I downloaded the Evernote app on my Blackberry. I have not dug into it yet but know I will because of you willingness to share what works – and doesn’t work – for you.
    Ditching the Moleskine? I am not sure I am ready to do that but I am due for a Barnes and Noble afternoon so will stop by the Ecosystem rack and check them out. I’ll tell them Michael Hyatt sent me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Ha! I don’t think you’ll notice much difference, other than the perfed pages and better quality materials. In other words, it still has everything you love about the Moleskine notebooks—it’s just better.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Lisa, try Evernote on your computer as well, before you make any judgments.  I’m not too impressed with their BlackBerry app.  It’s a little “clunky” and needs to be streamlined.  But on my PC or my Mac… Evernote is awesome!

      • Greg Chamberlin

        Jeff, I agree with you on the Evernote Blackberry app – it is slow to load and “clunky” to use your description.  If I need to access my notes on the Blackberry (I use a Torch) I access them using the mobile web version of Evernote.  It seems to load much faster and I can find my stuff just as easily.  If I need to make a note to go into Evernote, I just use the e-mail app and send it to my Evernote e-mail address. 

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          I also use a Torch.  And I’ve found the same thing.  The mobile web is much easier to navigate than the app.  Glad to know I’m not the only one that thinks this…

  • http://twitter.com/knosmo Kelly

    I’m just learning about the capabilities of Evernote, but so far am loving what I see. Up to now, I’ve just used a small spiral notebook for daily note capture, although one of the issues I have is the bulkiness of the spiral, and the lack of closure capability, so things fall in and out of the notebook. 

  • Dougrowles

    Looking for a system that will work. I see the benefit of computer storage, just not sure which way to go! Help me make my mind up.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I would read my posts on Evernote (you can search on the blog). This system is working great for me.

      • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

        With the exception of the Scanning part,  I have switch to the Michael Hyatt Paperless System, and I am loving it.  I feel more free everyday.   Instead of scanning I have started paking pictures of documents and emailing them in.  (hopefully I can find a cheap scanner soon to try that option.  This system will work after if you take the time to set it up.

        • http://www.bradfarris.com/ Brad Farris

          If you have an iPhone you can use the Evernote app to take a picture right in the app, no need to email it. It’s really nice, very frictionless.

  • http://twitter.com/meghanfife Meghan Fife

     I have also been using moleskin’s but these definitely seem like the way to go for a little bitter cheaper price, more environmentally friendly and that same sleek “look.” Thanks Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I really like the environmentally-friendly part. The folks at Ecosystem really take this seriously.

  • Danny

    Like you, Mike, I’ve tried to use my MacBook or iPhone to care for my note taking with the attempt to go as paperless as possible, but I just couldn’t make it work in a way that was efficient. I’ve been at a standstill for a while now and your blog caught my attention. The Ecosystem Journal looks like it would be something that could be super helpful to get me back on track. Thank you for the post. Blessings.

  • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

     My current system for note taking is a moleskin notebook. I haven’t been importing these into Evernote but would like to start. I typically just place the items in my task list after meetings. Would love to test out these journals!

  • http://lancemorgan.me Lance Morgan

    I am all over the place when it comes to taking notes. I take notes, lots of notes, and pretty good ones, but I take them on different multiple platforms. 

    Like on my iPad, my Mac, my moleskine, a napkin.

    I read your post the other day about how you used Evernote with your Ecosystem journal, and thought I’d like to give those journals a try. I love the fact that you can tear out all of the pages and scan them into your computer.

    Looking forward to possibly trying out an Ecosystem journal. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

    I’m still using the stockpile of Moleskines I bought a while ago, but will definitely check these out when I run out! A lot of how I take notes is digital—Kindle, Evernote type-ins for grad school,  and quick notes tapped into my Blackberry, so I haven’t used up the paper note system. That, and I have a decent stack of specialized pages from an attempt to use the Franklin Covey calendar/organizer system, so I have a meeting notes on those note pages. I need to start scanning those into Evernote and throw them away!

  • http://twitter.com/JasonGrubbs Jason T. Grubbs

    I’ve long used a journal-sized notebook (most recently a Moleskine) to take meeting notes, etc.  I use a a set of symbols similar to yours  to denote things I need to take action on, etc.  I’m something of an inveterate note-taker.  I was very interested to know how you’d incorporate your note-taking system into your new paperless workflow system since I struggle with the same thing.  In fact, this is a big reason I haven’t instituted a paperless system fully. It also solves an issue I’d never been able to figure out in terms my workflow in my professional life.  As a lawyer, I need to be able to take notes in client meetings and put those notes into client files (preferably digital ones!) rather than keeping them in my notebook.  This led to an unwieldy situation where I often carried my Moleskine and a legal pad.  I would seem these great Ecosystem notebooks may solve that problem.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think it is worth trying for your situation. Thanks.

      • http://www.facebook.com/JenniferBertotti Jennifer Bertotti

        I bought the one you recommended but I just received it and it is not perforated?

        • http://www.facebook.com/JenniferBertotti Jennifer Bertotti

          Never mind, it’s so hard to see but I see it!

  • http://profiles.google.com/cdanielthompson Daniel Thompson

    I use Moleskine for taking notes. For some meetings I will also use a legal pad so I can scan those pages in later and file them in my Dropbox files or my Evernote files. I have used the Ecosystem journal once. The marginal price difference from Moleskine kept me with the Moleskine. However, rethinking those perforated pages may get me looking at them once again. 

  • Jamie

     I love my moleskin with grid lines.  I have a hard time not buying a new 1 every time I see them.  But I think the perforated pages and the post-consumer paper.  I would love to give this Ecosystem journal a try.  

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Moleskine junkie….  I like that!  I am too!

      My name is Jeff.  I’m a Moleskine-aholic…

      • http://twitter.com/timage Tim Milburn

        Hi Jeff…

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    I currently use a regular spiral notebook to take notes. I’m just beginning to explore Evernote – I’m not quite ready for the plunge (maybe this summer). The problem is definitely organization and finding information at a moment’s notice. I “get” the idea of scanning the notes into Evernote and being able to search.

    The Ecosystem Journal looks interesting and I would love to give it a try. Thanks, as always, for the great posts!

  • Tammy

     I’ve been using a Netbook for taking notes in meetings. Also, when I’m working on the computer, I love to open Evernote and write some quick notes or clip articles from the internet. 

  • Saranades

     Your blog title really captured my attention. I LOVE Moleskine journals. But needing to tear out a bunch of pages without tearing up my journal is becoming a necessity right now. I would love to try out an Ecosystem journal. 
    Thank you for chronicling your organizational systems. I’m organizationally challenged, and look forward to gleaning more from your posts. Thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I thought that headline might work. ;-)

  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    Great find!  Some people might have a hard time breaking away from the Moleskin just because it has that Apple-like coolness factor.  

    I use a Moleskin knock-off I found in a Spanish “papeleria” … notetaker, dayplanner, and nice elastic band to hold it all together.  (No inner pocket though)

    I say, if you can find something better, go for it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think of the Moleskine as Windows 7 and Ecosystem as a new Mac. ;-) Moleskine used to be cool, but there’s a new kid on the block.

      • http://renaissancerules.wordpress.com/ Randy Bosch

        Somehow, this reminds me of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit! 

      • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

        I like it.  Too bad I live in Spain and there aren’t any Barnes and Nobles around… if only… ;^) 

  • Jviola79

    I am currently using an old fashioned “Composition” notebook just like what I used when I 1st started to learn how to write. Not sure why but that is what I returned to. Probably for lack of knowing what else to use :)) I would love to have a peek at yours & the next time I am near a B & N store, I surely will. Thank you so much for passing on your suggestions & good finds!

  • Mkellner

     I’m a digital notetaker (Macbook Pro or iPad) and use the old-fashioned “reporter’s notebook” for notes on the go. But, I need a better system, and this might be it — using paper plus a scanner!

  • Cathy Baker

    Hi Michael – I’m a newbie to your site and always enjoy receiving your posts via my inbox. I’m a writer and keep Moleskin’s mini-journal in my purse at all times.  At home, there’s a variety of notebooks for lists, notes, and random thoughts. If given the choice to go to the mall or an office supply store, I’ll choose the latter every time. I enjoy trying new systems and would love to try out an Ecosystem journal! (I also enjoy my Macbook Air as much as you do) Thanks for all the insights you send our way on a regular basis.

  • darrell brown

    I currently use a laptop computer and, of course, loose leaf paper. I eventually lose the papers. I think it would be great to use a journal. Hopefully, I will get a free opportunity try it. It will definitely lighten my load (I won’t have to carry my computer with me). Thanks for the chance to win!!!

  • Patrick Breck

    Great post Michael. As I’ve moved away from paper myself, I have struggled how to develop a system for taking notes durning random times. Opening an app like Evernote and typing it in or recording a voice note works fine but is sometimes just clunky. This is a great idea to get your ideas down quickly and then store them into Evernote.

    Thanks for the great idea. 

  • Kris Nelson

    Thanks for the post on this part of your workflow.   I am currently an iPad note taker, although I would not put note-taking on my list of “strengths.”   I am definitely interested in the idea of tearing out and scanning into my digital workflow.   I do this with everything else – why not notes?   This might help kickstart a new habit.

  • Anonymous

     My system, for most of my life, was a lack of a system.  I am now in a 12 step program.   For many years, I have had any number of notebooks going in several different places (work desk, home desk, car, nightstand, top of refrigerator, etc)  My wife has often joked about the number of “ubiquitous capture devices” I have scattered throughout the house.   About two years ago I discovered an index card “desk” at Staples.  It is little leather, pocket sized, index card holder that gives you enough support to right on.  It goes with me nearly everywhere for righting quick notes.   I now use legal pads in place of my notebooks for the quick notes that always seem to need taking, however, I don’t like writing on the back of them, but I can tear off a sheet, neatly, instead of leaving it in the notebook to “disappear”.  I have a plastic folder marked “inbox” in my briefcase where I can drop all the sheets and cards into and a scanner linked to Evernote so that I can capture everything then dispose of the paper.  I have a college ruled notebook for meetings at work and for my extra curricular activities that is microperfed, however, it isn’t the most professional looking but it does get the job done.

  • Mspencerr

     wow!  If it trumps moleskins it is GOOD!  Thanks for the tip.  

  • http://twitter.com/journeypastor Eric Taylor

    I’ve tried Evernote in the past and gave up a few times.  But because of your recent posts, I’m using it again, and you’re making it easier to maximize it’s effectiveness.  I would love to use the Ecosystem journal to scan my current Moleskine journal(s)  into Evernote.   

  • Treasurewithin

    I have a set of colorful postits by my computer and then I put them in my journal – then I can’t find them when I need to put it on my computer, especially when I move on to another journal. Needless to say this isn’t working for me, I am looking to find a new system to be organized. Thank you Sylvia  

  • http://twitter.com/journeypastor Eric Taylor

    I’ve tried Evernote in the past and gave up a few times.  But because of your recent posts, I’m using it again, and you’re making it easier to maximize it’s effectiveness.  I would love to use the Ecosystem journal to scan my current Moleskine journal(s)  into Evernote.   

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1413644079 Sylvia Villalpando

    great information 

  • Dick Savidge

     Michael,  I love the challenge of moving everything from paper to paerless.  This note taking system & the ability to extract pages & copy them is quite helpful.  Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Jim Meldrim

    I am kinda old school using a small black moleskine for note thought and ideas and I use Evernote for digital notes ( email, photos). I really love the combination of the two!! These last few posts on how you’re using Evernote have been extremely practical and helpful! Thank you.

  • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

     I currently use a simple spiral-bound notebook.  I journal prayers, song ideas, and verses that impact me in it.

    I wouldn’t mind trying out an Ecosystem journal.

    Thanks for the post!

  • http://twitter.com/JenniLathrop Jennifer Lathrop

    I have started using Evernote and have found a lof of your tips and tricks lifesavers. I also realized that I was using a small spiral-bound notebook to take notes at meetings, rip pages out and import them into Evernote. But those little “chads” that hang off after I rip the page out were driving me crazy and I wanted something more professional looking. Thanks for the tip (well, tipS)!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Michael, I’ve really appreciated these practical helps with Evernote! I recently completely revamped my Notebook file structure based on your post. It’s so much more organized now.

    I would love to try paper note taking in meetings as my laptop seems to be distracting. I love the idea of simplicity and focus it could bring. Scanning into Evernote is the icing on the cake!

  • Sandy Reynolds

    I’ve been using Levenger Circa for the past year.  I do love paper products and will look for the Ecosystem.  I like Circa because the pages can rearranged and I can use different size books depending on the purpose (small for lists, large for meetings, etc.)  I am using Evernote more and more and like the idea of paperless – just haven’t got there yet!

  • http://aweber9.tumblr.com Andrew Weber

     My current system is very much in flux. I’ve historically used a Moleskine but ultimately prefer to have all my notes digitized. I currently use three different approaches and will ultimately settle on one. 
    1. Write notes in Google docs on my laptop. 
    2. Write notes in Simplenote, a multiplatform text editor that automatically syncs new and updated entries to every local device where the program is installed and configured (and online too).
    3. Write notes in DevonThink Pro.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I tried DevonThink Pro for a while, but ultimately settled on Evernote.

      • http://twitter.com/rwhitson Robin Whitson

        What did you like or not like about DevonThink Pro. I have a copy but could never get started with it. Lots of potential but too complex. Was I missing something?

  • http://twitter.com/robedwardslive robedwardslive

    Depending on the setting, I either use my LiveScribe smartpen and journal, or else use a Moleskine journal for my notes. I’ve looked at the Ecosystem journals before, but just haven’t made the leap. Would love to try one!

  • http://twitter.com/DanieAtDomestic Daniele

     Okay wow, I love Moleskines.  But this post has challenged me to take a look at these — every page perforated?   Oh, yeah…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It’s a simple but revolutionary (okay, maybe that is too strong of a word) innovation.

      • Torry Burdick

        I want to love Evernote, but can’t quite figure out how it interacts with Outlook. I keep my live in Outlook…can Evernote set-up tasks?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Yes, it can, but I don’t recommend it for that. Evernote is like a digital brain for filing cabinet for all the stuff you want to remember.

  • Jenny Arnez

     I use the moleskine for meetings and brainstorming. I use evernote for online notes and research. I like your idea of combining them – thanks for the tip!

  • http://www.culturesmithconsulting.com cherylsmith

     Sweet! I’d love to try this new journal. I’m a huge fan of moleskins but this looks like a really great solution combined with Evernote. Thanks for the tip!

  • http://www.culturesmithconsulting.com cherylsmith

     Oh, and this: My current system, pen and paper journal (Moleskin and/or journals I receive as gifts). Typically lined paper, though not always. For years I’ve used Strathmore acid free sketch books and ruled journals. 

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      All my journals are unlined.  I can fit so much more on them without the lines…

  • Chuck Ragland

    Thanks for the post. I am currently using a Moleskin notebook for my notes, thoughts, etc. I have tried a smaller Field Notes notebook but have found I like the size of the Moleskin best. My wife and children have used Moleskin notebooks as well. I am looking forward to a trip to Barnes & Noble to check out the Ecostystem.

  • Rocky

    Good morning, Michael. For a couple decades, I have been an avid Franklin Planner user and have sporadically journaled in it. It, however, does not provide the room to expand on creative thoughts & ideas. Last year, I began journaling in a “Life Journal” that also includes a daily Bible reading plan. It’s a terrific resource but I don’t feel it provides me a “substantive”, enduring feel. The Ecosystem you suggest looks like it can provide all I may be looking for.

  • Coolspec


    Sometime ago I decided to become paperless. I put together a team comprised of a Moleskine, a MacBookPro, Evernote and a Scan Snap Scanner. After a while, I found the system heavy. I ditched the Moleskine and found a small very lightweight application called “Notational Velocity” I then put Evernote to rest. Now I am left with 3″ by 5″ index cards in my shirt pocket and my MacBookPro. I have put in practice  teachings of Philosophy school of text contraction. I now work on general ideas rather than details; directions rather than specificities. My best way of working is by bullets and point form. Now that you are not working as a CEO and have more time in your life you should try this system. Be general rather than specific. Give yourself direction rather that painting yourself in a proverbial corner of definitive!

    God Bless

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Hmmm. Interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

    Thanks again for the great Product review.  I am in the process of going paperless as well, but have not found the iPad 2 to be great for on the go note taking.  I did get the Zagg Keyboard/cover, and that works for meetings like a aptop, but still not get.  I think the ecosystem looks great.   Made in USA, 100% post consumer material,  and it looks great.   AMAZING find.

  • Lydia

    A lot of times I’ll do a quick voicenote into my phone or my ipod – or type a quick email to myself.  

  • http://twitter.com/promobrain Mike Freestone

    I use a hodge-podge of Moleskin style notes.  My other business is a promotional products business and I get samples sent to me on a regular basis.  My problem is sticking with 1 book.  Last week I used three different versions, which is not a good way to keep track of the info I need.  I am trying to transfer over to a scan based filing system like evernote to alleviate the mounds of paperwork I have.  The style of journal book you reference seems very nice.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think a key to efficiency is forcing yourself to use one system.

  • Nora Zarate Hodges

     I have been using a spiral notebook because it has those perforated pages.  It’s bulky though and I like your recommendation.

  • http://www.dailyreflectionsforsingleparents.blogspot.com/ Scoti Springfield Domeij

     Journals, napkins, envelopes, spiral notebooks, church bulletins, $1 teacher’s journals from the Dollar Store, anything to capture my thoughts and ideas. I’ve started carrying my Mac everywhere I go. When someone says something I want to record or I think about something I want to add to my writing, I open my trusty Mac, type it in a document, and save it to the appropriate folder. 

  • Alle

     Oh, I am a notebook addict!  I’ve tried everything and I LOVE moleskines, but alas, they just aren’t in the budget for this thrifty new mama.  I’ve recently discovered a passion for grid paper – and for now I am simply using some of that in a notebook…not exactly as portable as I’d like, but it’ll do.  Would love to try the Ecosystem’s journal!

  • Carla

    OK this is very convincing. I am going to buy this journal today! Have forwarded the blog to friends and posted on FB. I LOVE to write my notes and am too slow w/ scanning into the MacBook (tho I have been a Mac owner for 30 years). Plus I like to reread on paper bc I can “see” them on the page but find it harder to “see” them on the screen. The lost and found feature is very appealing as well.  Sure do appreciate your keeping us informed of these neat opportunities! And of course, by doing so you remind us to keep writing!

  • Pam Stephens

     I am using the Levenger compact circa with removable pages

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’ll have to check that one out as well. You are the second person to mention it.

  • Mark

     Hello. I’m presently using a spiral notebook for taking notes but am on the search for using another system. I went to OfficeDepot the other day looking for something. 

    I am a pastor and would love to start off on a clean slate. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Steve

      As a pastor I can relate. I’m in the process of move to Evernote, and the drawback has been getting hand written content into Evermote, that is why Michael’s system is interesting.

  • Gabstor

     Old fashioned spiral notebooks:(

  • Anonymous

     Michael,  I am currently using a moleskine for written notes.  My other notes are taken on two iPad apps.  One of them is Penultimate, where I can write using my finger or stylus to write notes.  This works good and will export to Evernote as a pdf file.  The other app that I use on my iPad is actually Evernote.  I use an external keyboard to make it easier for me to type.

    I have been reading your recent posts and trying to make better use of Evernote at home and work.  It is helping my productivity.

  • Jeff Abramovitz

    Well, the system I use is in progress. I’m trying to put a system together for being more productive that includes having one notebook instead of writing on whatever I have available at the time and then never being able to find it when I need it. I have a journal that my kids bought me for Christmas but it’s smaller than I had been hoping for. I’ve also begun to use Evernote at your recommendation along with Nozbe to tie it together. The journal you mentioned today is exactly what I have been looking for and will include that in my new burgeoning system. Thanks for all of your help, Michael, in my attempt to get better organized- especially helpful since I just started my own social media consulting business!!

  • http://www.Hart4God.com Tim Hart

    My comment system is almost identical, except that I use an iPad.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I used an iPad for a while, too. The note-taking ability was its best feature for me.

      • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

        What note taking app did you use 

  • Dhmclaughlin2010

    My current system is my iPad. I have tried several note taking programs though, without great success, so now I use Bento for iPad with the virtual keyboard, not an external one. Sometimes I use a small spiral bound notebook that fits in my purse when I don’t have my iPad with me. It has perforated pages that I scan, but the pages are small.

  • http://twitter.com/JoshCousineau Josh Cousineau

     I use a ‘cheap’ version of Moleskin and also use Evernote, so this is every interesting. Hope I win so I can check out this new system.
    Thanks again for pointing out great stuff!

  • http://twitter.com/rwanjema Richard Wanjema

     Just got an iPad 2 and I want to do everything in it, or find a way to do so. I feel the ultimate green way to go would be to drastically reduce the use of paper as much as possible. I haven’t used it, it looks like a good product and I am willing to be convinced otherwise.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Have you tried Evernote for iPad? I also recommend that.

      • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

        I am unable to see my stacks in EN for iPad.  Did you notice that as well?

  • Ben Goode

    I just read your previous post and started trying the medium sized Moleskine.  The biggest problem I’ve had with the Moleskine so far is that it doesn’t absorb the ink from my favorite pen.  I either have to find a new pen or a new notebook.  I really like the pen, so I’m very interested in trying the new notebook.  Thanks for the tip!

  • Seamus Kennedy

     Moleskine page a day pocket diary to “see” the feel of the day!  iphone “notes “synced via MobileMe to Mac  and Iphone for less public info. Simplenote synced with Notational Veolicity if not concerned about . Evernote for web stuff. “Things” for strictly business. Does that sound a bit complex?? Any ideas re simpler and seamless? Regards from Ireland – your President is with us today.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, that does sound complex. ;-) I think you could streamline and do almost everything in Evernote. I have written several articles about it. You can search my blog. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/Juanbg Juan

    Hi Mike,

    I always wanted to go paperless, I learned several years ago when you have a lot of papers (notes) on your desk, if you do not do anything with them, then they just become garbage. I have been using my Ipad’s Penultimate App. The only thing I do not like is that you cannot send it via email as plain text.

    I also use Evernote to save interesting articles I would want to read in the future or use them as a reference.

  • Brook_Jenkins

    I use a Moleskin and was smiling the entire time I read this point.  I too have been frustrated with solving the issue of tearing pages out to scan and send to team members, items to do, etc.  I am excited about this product and look forward to using it sometime soon! 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I know, the perforation is a little innovation that makes a big difference!

  • Carriekris

    I use a planner pad (personal size which is roughly 5″x8″ and a soft cover lined note pad (also about 5×8) which I picked up in Europe – both fit in a planner pad “cover”.  I would like to replace the note pad with the Ecosystem – soft sided medium – because like you, perforated pages would be so much easier.  When I am done with a page (e.g, completed the actions or moved the information copied down into permanent storage), I would like to rip it out and be done with it.  Now, I put a special symbol on the top of the page to tell myself that I don’t need to look at that page anymore.  But, I still have to flip through multiple pages to find ones that are still active or the next blank page.  If I could rip out the inactive pages, I will save myself a lot of time.  Thanks for the tip on ecosystem journals.

  • Eoghan Murphy

     As ever Michael an interesting, informative and practical post. I haven’t seen these here in Australia so am wondering how confident you are that the perforation won’t come apart prematurely? 

    I currently have a standard notebook and am using Evernote but haven’t got to the stage of scanning my notes yet, although I do take photos and upload to Evernote from time to time for important project related notes.

    Also worth mentioning that if any of your readers have Android phones I can recommend the Android Evernote app very highly, it has certainly helped me to be more productive.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    • Marquez Abel

      I can´t imagine my life with no Moleskine. May be I can with ecosystem journal. Será necesario probar.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have been using mine for about a month. The pages seem firmly affixed. I haven’t had any problems at all.


  • Diane Fetters

    Has been haphazard – Franklin Planner – yellow pads all sizes – spiral bound notebooks from local office supply stores. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I used to use the Franklin planner, too. The computer replaced so much of it, but I have find memories of taking it every where!

  • Chris Foster

     I currently use a no-brand generic notepad (the small spiral bound type), if the note is worth keeping I take a picture on my phone and use a scanning app to make the image appear more like a scanned image or faxed note. The only negative about my little system is not using a decent notebook to file the hard copy somewhere.

  • http://twitter.com/jimlbest jimlbest

     steno pad

  • http://twitter.com/alalamb Alan Lamb

     My current system of taking note is to use whatever note
    book is handy, some are small 6X4 and some are 8X11, then I stack them in a
    corner of my “desk” for review are checking later.


    I just signed up for Evernote, and I am trying to adopt the
    habit of using it as a central place for note that I can retrieve later. It is
    still a work in progress. 

  • http://www.mhmcintyre.us Mark McIntyre

    I’m currently using a Moleskine knock-off for mobile note taking. I do my personal journal using the computer (or just write a blog post).

    Thanks for writing these posts, I often tweak my work flow to improve efficiency and like the ideas you provide.

    One quick thought. Using an RSS reader in my iPhone, if I find an article that I want to follow up on, I send that article to my Evernote email address and then I will always be able to find it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I do the same with RSS feeds.

  • Jason Cross

    I currently use the moleskine iPad case. I’ve enjoyed the all-in-one convenience of it. It’s definitely the best thing I have found so far for me. As you said, however, the drawbacks for me are unperfodated pages and that the “lefty” orientation doesn’t work quite as advertised (I’m left-handed). If they would add perforated pages to their refills and adapt the “lefty” orientation to work as advertised, it would be the perfect solution for me. I’m interested to know if anyone knows of campatible refills for this that are perforated. Thanks for the practical posts. I find these extremely helpful.

  • Rbodenstab

    I have only just begun the journey of journaling.  I use a Lifejournal for capturing meditation and scripture and to record the things God speaks to me through His Word.  I would like to expand my journaling endeavors and would love to try the Ecosystem notebook to begin!

  • http://twitter.com/brettberchtold Brett Berchtold

     Mike – I use a small white legal pad (the Office Depot store brand) to capture notes. Each page is perforated, so, they can easily be ripped out and scanned using my Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 right into Evernote. The small pad has a 1/2 in. margin on the left side – perfect for creating SmartNotes (“http://michaelhyatt.com/recovering-the-lost-art-of-note-taking.html”). I usually stack up my notes until the end of the week and scan them in all at once during my weekly review.

    The biggest downside I have for using the legal pad is that it is annoying (and not clean or professional looking) to have pages flipped over to the back side of the pad when I’m finished with a page. I take many notes throughout the work week and my pad ends up looking like a bundled mess by the end of the week. Also, it makes scanning a little less desirable.

    I have been on the fence for a few months on switching to a different notebook. I have the process down, but the laggard in my process is definitely the pad.

    Thanks for putting this promotion together. I hope I can test out the Ecosystem soon!


  • Anonymous

    I use a Hilroy notebook which has pages that can be torn out. Also the other day I heard there was a hand scanner that scans beautifully. It looks like a ruler and you run it over the page.

  • Ruth Hubbard

    I’m blending my note-taking as I try to convert to my iPad and a great app I found: Notability. In that transition I was looking for the “better” Moleskin and this might just be it.

  • Rachel Landers

    As a homeschooling mom, I am forever searching for a better way to be organized and have looked at countless journals, planners, and record-keepers, only to continue using a plain paper notebook to record all my homeschooling activities and schoolwork  for my three children, along with a separate daily calendar booklet to record our schedule.  I have been searching for something that will allow me to combine our schedule and schoolwork notes in one place, but hadn’t yet found anything I liked.  When you mentioned the Ecosystem Advisor notebook, I took a look at it online and it looks like just the thing I’ve been searching for!  I love that it has a sheet of lined notebook paper opposite of each calendar sheet throughout the notebook!  I could actually view our schedule and see the notes corresponding to each day at the same time in one place!  And, I love the hardcover, as it would hold up to much use and many hands! 

    And, with the different styles of notebooks Ecosystem has available, there is a notebook that fits the needs of everyone in the family!  My oldest, who is 16, would probably enjoy the author style notebook, as he is constantly journaling his ideas on computer system design.  My 13-year-old is taking a lot of sciences and maths that require the grid type of journal.  My youngest, at age 9, loves to draw and would find the artist journal appealing.  And, who knows, maybe even my husband will want one for his office!

    I think I will also take a look at the Evernote app you have mentioned.  I hadn’t heard of it before and, from the sounds of it, think it may be something I could find useful as well.  Thanks for the suggestions!  I’m really enjoying your blog (I’m new to it this last week)!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome. I’m glad you found my blog. I hope I can continue to add value to you. (We home-schooled our five children, too.)

  • http://twitter.com/eseberg Eric Seberg

    I have several systems.  I actually have an Ecosystem journal I track some things in but it doesn’t have the perforated pages.  I didn’t know about that but it’s a great idea.  I also keep miscellaneous computer files and a little pocket notebook that I tear pages out of and throw in a file.  So, I’m excited to have a chance to win this and give your system a try.  Sounds great!

  • Abel Márquez

     I can´t imagine my life with no Moleskine. May be I can with ecosystem journal. Será necesario probar.

  • http://twitter.com/louistag Louis Tagliaboschi

     I carry my moleskin with me everywhere I go.  I draw, write and doodle in it to keep me sane.

  • Anonymous

     I have been using Moleskine myself to take notes but I have complained about the difficulty in tearing out pages when I needed to so I’d give the Ecosystem notebooks a try.

  • Randy

     I, too, began using the Ecosystem after Michael suggested it in his blog.  As a lover of the Moleskines, I was reluctant to change but the thought of perforated pages that could be torn out for scanning convinced me to take the plunge.  I’m not looking back.  

  • CarlaM

     I have always preferred pen and paper for taking notes.  I have never tried the Ecosystem line, although it looks very promising.  I will certainly have to get one and see how it compares to the cheaper model I currently use.  Thank you so much for your insightful and always helpful posts.

  • Chris Trent

    I use just a plain old flip(on top) notebook. This has me thinking of changing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=31404675 Jeremy Evans

    I use an architect-style journal for taking notes. Right now, I’m using the “Move” journal that came free with registration at the Orange conference in Atlanta. It really got me back into the swing of daily journaling, and there’s something satisfying about writing in a journal that has grid lines on it already – haven’t pinned that down yet! I use it to journal daily quiet time, leadership lessons I learn and to brainstorm.

  • Terry D

    I use the slim sized Moleskin notebooks, and truly never leave home without it.   It arguably is one of my addictions, to have a notebook with me.  You never know when inspiration will strike!  All of the perforated pages are long gone before I fill out a book, so I’m fascinated with the ecosystem notebooks.  And, since notetaking is a hobby, or perhaps a lifestyle, I’m curious to try something that might work better.

    Terry D

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I never leave home without my Ecosystem Journal either. You never know when you might need to capture an idea or a meeting note.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamieclarkechavez Jamie Clarke Chavez

     You’ve just made me feel a whole lot better — yes, I have my iPhone calendar, yes, I’m using Evernote. I’ve been using you, Mike, as my paperless model! But I can’t help printing off my weekly list (and feeling guilty). Which then ends up catching a lot of scribbles and notes. So HALLELUJAH this is good news. :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good, Jamie. I hope it helps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dee.sutton Dee Sutton

     Wow, this has really got me thinking. I just use a journal. Whatever takes my fancy at the time. I have bought a moleskin for each of the kids, and I have one that I havent started yet.

  • Claudia Volkman

     I have used Moleskines too, as well as Levenger Circa, Filofax, index cards… the key thing is to be able to process the notes! I love this idea of perforated pages. I’m an Evernote fan too.

  • Duke Dillard

     Dear Michael,
    I remember you mentioned this previously and am glad to see you following it up. I currently use those black/white composition books as well as a couple of other random journals for ideas and such. I would love to centralize it and have been considering options. This sounds like a good one. 
    Also, I would love to see more posts on the specifics of your website. Which things are part of standard and which are customized. You mentioned once that you spend a few hundred dollars per month on the website. I am interested in more details about that. And lastly you mentioned that the “latest…” box on the right was customized but you were considering making it available. Any further progress on that?
    Duke Dillard

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I probably won’t get into too much technical detail about my blog here. I don’t think it would have a broad enough interest. With regard to the Comment Bubbles, I am still considering it, but no progress yet. We’re not quite sure how to monetize it, so it’s difficult to justify the additional investment to bring it to market.

  • Maggievt

     Good morning!  I have been paper journaling for – well, forever. Sick of how bad the little goobers I have been using hold up.  I am ready to try anything else!  Maggie

  • http://twitter.com/makmknown Phil Bradley

     Thanks for sharing this tool. I, too, am trying to convert to “paperless,” and this looks like a useful way to help in that transition.

  • http://andrew-meyers.com Andrew

    Currently I use an XL Moleskine Ruled Journal for taking notes, and although I like the idea of keeping them for posterity, I’d much rather scan my notes into Evernote for future reference.

    After your original post on scanning notes into Evernote, I started looking around for other quality notebooks that have all perforated pages. This Rhodia Meeting Book from Idea Cafe looks like another great option.

    That said, I know this post is all about Ecosystem, and the orange one is sweet! Thanks for this new contest, and I hope you continue to enjoy your sabbatical.

  • Caroline O’Sullivan

     Good Morning! I carry TWO notebooks around with me. One lined, one unlined.  When I have a flash of inspiration that stops at one word or an image I used the unlined – I will sketch out the idea or use Calligraphy (yes, capitol C) to get it down.  If I have a real gusher I use the lined. I really like notebooks that have a sturdy cover. If they don’t have a closure I usually add one.  And I LOVE IT when they lay flat.  

    Have a great day! 

  • http://twitter.com/loadsofjoy Jennifer Payne Mille

    I currently use MS word to jot down any notes as my laptop is almost always with me! ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/musbkc musbkc

     I’m using a moleskin I got from @elevation_wrshp:twitter as a partner during their CD release.  I love it, it’s great for working on ideas (songs, blog entries, etc . . .)  But ever since I’ve gone Evernote, I find myself having two focuses and processes.  I want to go entirely Evernote soon . . . i’d love to try the easy tear-out version of this notebook.  I’m an artist as well as a songwriter, so blank pages are  great territory for new ideas . . .

  • http://nealhopps.com Neal Hopps

    Mike –

    I have had great luck using a standard mead top binding notebook than using my iPhone with JotKnot scanner app to scan a PDF copy of my note into my Evernote account.

    Thanks for all the great productvity insight here lately. I’ve really enjoyed the posts!

    Neal Hopps

  • Pamela Knopf

    Being an avid note taker – I have always reached for my college ruled, spiral bound notebooks.  Every year when the school supplies go on sale, I manage to purchase a bazillion of these, however, I tend to grab a new one each time I am heading out to a meeting.  This leaves me searching all over my house asking, “Which color notebook did I write that information in?”  I hate that and usually beat myself up when I look like the Tasmania Devil swirling though the house. I do love the idea of Evernote and the new brightly colored notebooks you introduced. Now if I can just keep myself from hoarding the new notebooks, I’ll be doing GREAT!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Sticking to one notebook is key, I think, to productivity.

  • Anonymous

     I use a Moleskine  most of the time but when I am out in the field I use a Rite in the Rain journal.  I am going to look into the Ecosystem journal.  Thanks for the post.

  • http://twitter.com/churchpunk Chris Walker

     I use Moleskine notebooks and Evernote, but have yet to take it as far as scanning the Moleskine pages in. This notebook sounds like it is worth checking out. 

  • http://chrismarsden.com Chris Marsden

    I am currently making a valiant effort to use strictly my iPad for notes and meetings. While I’ve flirted with evernote on and off, almost since the beginning, I’ve never managed to make it stick in my workflow. Notify is my current note app of choice, partly because it handles evernote integration. And yet… I still find myself carrying a notebook or steno pad into meetings and have a large collection of Staedtler lead holders. There is just something about paper.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      “There is just something about paper.” I find it less intrusive in meetings. When I used to whip out my laptop or even my iPad, I always felt awkward about it. It seemed to communicate that I was distracted. However, when I pull out a notebook, it seems to communicate, “what you are saying is so important that I want to take notes on it.” It’s a subtle difference, but important.

      • http://chrismarsden.com Chris Marsden

        One of the reasons I got an iPad was for meetings. Laptops are way too intrusive to a conversation. I hadn’t thought about paper in this context, but since a lot of my meetings tend to be with “geeks,” I think most of the time they still see that they’ve got my attention.

        The biggest thing I love about pen and paper is the tool never gets in the way. On a laptop or on the iPad, I am constantly thinking through, “what’s the best workflow?” On paper, a todo list is just a todo list. Notes are just notes. Who cares which app.

      • http://lifeallin.net Jacob Musselman

        I agree about paper. I always find phones/laptops/electronic devices distracting to others
        and to myself. I like what you said about what a notebook communicates. I’m currently transitioning from Nevada to Missouri and preparing to go finish my Master’s degree. Needless to say, I’ve found a lot of paper that is getting thrown out. However, paper still “feels” better in the moment.

        So in light of all the paper that is going to come my way from life and school, I am really looking forward to trying these Ecosystem notebooks, and I’m quickly moving toward scanning everything. These are much better solutions since it’s quite apparent that my current system is haphazard, cluttered, and generally unhelpful.

  • http://twitter.com/RickWomack Rick Womack

    I’ve tried Moleskin, legal pads, composition notebooks and conference handouts (usually notebooks, etc provided at a conference) – the problem is that my notes are strewn from place to place with no consistency in being able to locate them. I typically “stumble” upon them, review them, file them and wonder where they went. I’d love to try the Ecosystem combined with Evernote – I’m in the process of seeing how I can establish our office copier as a “send” device to my Evernote account – this could be the answer!

  • Diane H

    I use the Circa journals from Levenger for taking notes from meetings and Bible studies. I have different ones due each. I use an echosystem journal for my daily quiet time. I discovered them last December on another blog and fell in love with them!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The Circa journals look impressive, though a little pricey for me.

  • Dbutcher23

    Currently I am in experimenting with how to take notes.  I am using a journal for occasional notes, on a spiral with the plan it will go on the shelve.  But I am also trying a simple notebook that I tear the pages out of and scan into Evernote  if I want to keep it.  Finally, I am also experimenting with using my phone to capture quick notes that I want to keep and file into Evernote.

  • Julie

     I take notes in my Franklin Covey Planner. The downside is the small amount of space.

  • Nichole Grimwood

     My current system is whatever journals are on sale at Borders or Barnes and Noble, or a blank note page in my planner. I’m open to suggestions. 

  • http://twitter.com/DKJThompson Dianne Thompson

    I’m looking for a notebook that has the flexibility described, so think I’ll give this a try.  I’m beginning to journal again in  hopes of it leading to a published book. 

  • Gretchen

     I use a random journal for note-taking….I love picking out a new journal every time I fill one up, but I often think how nice it would be to have a bookshelf with a uniform stack of journals through the the years rather than my hodge-podge selection.   I’m loving these posts about how to use Evernote more effectively, too….my husband suffers from memory loss, so we’re trying to find good systems for him to organize his thoughts and ministry….Evernote has been super-helpful!

  • Glennen Greer

    I am still looking for my system… I want a hybrid of paper and computer, so your system has me thinking… right now I take notes on legal pads and post-it notes.  Might need to expand on my evernote use. Thanks!

  • Pmiklautsch

    Michael – How does Evernote search through a scan document?  What is your trick for tagging or finding scanned information quickly in Evernote?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      When a scanned document hits the Evernote servers, it uses OCR to read it. This works great with photos and printed documents (PDFs). It doesn’t work quite as well with hand-written notes. However, I title and tag my notes, so that I can back to what is important.

  • http://www.outsideisbetter.net chadbrooks

    I have used Moleskines and a few other notebooks for about 8 years for note taking. I just finished seminary with my M.Div and I found using paper alongside my computer to be the preferred manner for almost all my notes.

    Beside my daily notebook, that I keep with my everywhere, I would dedicate specific notebooks to classes. If I had a professor that preferred a non-linear style of teaching, the notebook really allowed me to follow them well. I paged each notebook, and kept a running index at the back. Every Sunday evening I would go back through the weeks notes and get the index up to speed. At the end of the semester I would enter the notebook index into my master notes document (which is up to about 345 pages). Since I have been doing this for years, I index in a manner that matches how I think. I can use the search function in Apple Pages to find things really quickly.

    I also take notes on books like this. I write my notes with my document in mind, and I also give the book tags. I can go back and access information really quickly in this way. Everything always goes into the master document.

    I have been using this system for around 5-6 years, and it works well for me. I am a notebook fiend, and I have also wished for a book that lets me tear out each individual page.

  • Mike L.

    Mike — The first thought I had when I saw the headline of your post was, What!!!  Here’s a guy willing to ditch something that he has been a proponent of for years?  It was refreshing, because it is clear that in the world we live in we have to be continually evaluating our productivity tools.  You are a good example of this mindset.  I would gladly give this notebook a try since I converted over to the Evernote system a week ago. Thanks.  Mike L.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. Honestly, I am constantly evaluating my tools. If I can find something that promises a better return on my investment, I use it. Someone once told me, “never get married to your tools.”

  • http://bladeronner.com Ron Dawson

     Oh my goodness! This could NOT have come at a better time. I was JUST having this same issue last week. I love my Moleskin. I use it whenever I’m on a gig (e.g. taking shot notes, audio notes, etc.) I also use it for client meetings. A few weeks ago I thought I lost it and I was getting freaked. In addition to all the great ideas, I had a lot of important meeting notes and notes from important jobs. I too contemplated tearing pages and scanning into Evernote.

    This ecosystem notebook is ideal. Thanks again Michael.

  • jonathan manafo

    I currently use a Moleskine journal.  This current copy got wet (my lead pastor dropped water on it), so it’s pre-maturely coming undone.
    I like the book and have some extra copies waiting to be used. That beings said, finding a eco-friendly version would be wonderful.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great update, Michael, to a system that I’ve used for years. Moleskine note books have always been cool, but somewhat expensive. I think the expense made them something to value. I really like the idea of removable pages for scanning with the Ecosystem journals.

    Currently, I use my iPad 2 with Evernote for meetings where electronics are permissible. For meetings that allow paper only or have a lot of notation, I use a printed 8.5 x 11 sheet that is setup specifically for taking notes. It has a notation column, and action column, along with a generous note taking area. At the bottom it has a summary area to consolidate the notes and make sure action is taken. 

    It is designed around a subset of your note taking markup called HMN (Hyatt Markup Notation) and is designed for quick action. It’s easily scanned into Evernote with a paper feed scanner.

    Your readers can download the template here. http://goals4u.us/9p0Ypi

    I’ll have to pick up a few of the smaller ecosystem books for journaling and keeping in the car. Thanks for the heads up!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for the link, John!

  • http://twitter.com/PHSchwager Paul H. Schwager

    Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts. I’ve been trying for years to do things digitally and just can’t seem to make it work. I’ve had similar experiences to yours. Started using a simple composition notebook ($2) and it is promising. I’ve been considering a Moleskine and was just about to give it a shot….looks like I need to stop by B&N later today :-) Thanks!

  • Karl Mealor

    As I’ve said before, I’ve bought the scanner.  Now, I’m just waiting until June when some time will free up for me to establish an Evernote account.  Like you, I still prefer writing some things by hand, but at the same time have a desire to go paperless.  For most of my life, I’ve been a legal pad kind of guy, but I would love to try the Ecosystem product.

    I’m also about to remove the word “bivocational” as an adjective for “pastor”.  One thing I’m trying to establish is my new weekly routine and schedule, as well as organizing my notes from reading and sermon preparation.  Looking forward to using Evernote in establishing new systems.

  • Clair Fabrizio

    I currently use a Black & Red notebook. It’s huge! Need something smaller now that I have a new internship. Most of my coworkers use the smaller notebooks.

  • http://www.mortgagechiliblog.com Chris Brown

     For Years, I have been trying to find the best way to take notes for RECALL.  Having great notes does well at helping burn it into your brain – but I try to use my brain to process info not store it, so the burning phase was my weak link.  I have been using a Live Scribe Pen and special paper and has helped, but it doesn’t help in sorting to well.  [Enter Evernote].

    Now I think I may be able to incorporate LiveScribe WITH Evernote with this well thought out strategy you shared.

    Thanks and keep being great, Michael.


    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Evernote introduced direct LiveScribe integration last fall. You can read about it here.

  • http://www.henrymclaughlin.org Henry Mclaughlin

    Good morning,
     My current system isn’t a system. It’s a random collection of scraps of Post-Its, notebooks, portfolio pads, etc. I’m looking for something more organized and easily accessible. The Ecosystem journals sound very interesting and worth checking out. Thanks for the information.

  • TVClips

     Moleskin! Now I have to check out the Ecosystem.

  • Jason Kehrer

    G’morning. Great post, as I’ve struggled with the same issue with my Moleskines and Evernote. Most of my note-taking is done in a combination of:
    – Evernote (mostly on iPad or iPhone)
    – Moleskine journals of all shapes and sizes
    – and more recently, legal pads (because they’re easier to scan into Evernote)

    I’d love to try out Ecosystem!

  • Kim Goad

    System? Ha! As someone who used to be known for her organization (indeed, my ex-husband rated this as number one when asked, “What do you love about me?”), it has become exceedingly difficult lately to manage any “system.” I’m a student, a therapist working at three different locations, an employee, an author and a retreat organizer. I like Moleskines for certain projects, but I’ve also used a palm pilot (that goes way back!), may laptop, a legal pad, and various 3-ring binders. My primary “system” currently consists of different tote bags (mostly the kind that come with a cosmetics gift with purchase) that each contain a different project. At least, on my way off to a meeting, my brain quickly knows which color to grab! 

  • http://www.chrisrainey.net Chris Rainey

    I have used Moleskin and the traditional yellow legal pad. Have loved the Moleskin but had the same frustration as you Michael, and that is only have 16 perforated pages. Recently I downloaded the Evernote app and am trying to get into the habit of using it. For personal projects I think I’ll be able to incorporate Evernote but it’s going to be challenge with corporate projects.

  • David Manning

    I use the standard composition books.  I have a few of them going at the same time, one for each major role I’m playing: Jesus Follower, Mentor, Project Portfolio Manager & Lean Practitioner.   I  – date & title each entry (separated by horizontal squigly line) – asterik in the left margin action items – write “NOTE” on significant statements or quotes – bracket ancillary thoughts or statements.  That’s it.

    I’ve noodled going to Moleskin or another brand, but composition books are $2.00.  Hard to beat that.  I’ve been reading your comments on Evernote.  Currently saving to migrate over to MacBook.

    I hope you’re enjoying your sabbatical.  You came into my prayers the other day.

    Peace – djm

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your prayers, David. I appreciate that!

  • StephanieinLexington

    I currently use red (bright orange?) author-style Moleskine journals. When I was promoted to editor-in-chief last year and I suddenly had many projects to track, my Moleskine was my key to organizational sanity, and it still is (well, I’m a book or two later at this point). In addition, I use the tiny ones to track prayer requests and to take sermon notes, because I can stash those in my purse and Bible and reference them quickly. I was just thinking yesterday–as I clumsily tore out a page of my Moleskine, nearly accidentally destroying the binding–just how much I’d really like a better system. I do recognize I have a clutter problem, and I’m beyond the point where I can turn back however many pages to get to the notes on a particular meeting that I need to recall quickly. I’d really would like to try your method.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    To be frank, I am not a tech geek. I use normal paper notepads to take notes and make minutes of all my meetings. ans subequently assemble them in my filing system. Now,  I am inspired to go paperless after I read about Evernote from your blog.

  • Nickie Diamond

    I generally use whatever is on hand.  I have a few cutesy journals that I’ve started and not kept up with.  Being in ministry and seminary, I’d love to have something nice to keep notes, ideas and whatever God gives me in one place.  

  • http://thewabisabi.me Jen C

     I currently use a good old spiral notebook for my notes.  I prefer college ruled, but am currently sporting a wide rule.  I like only having one page in front of me while I’m writing, but the ability to unfold it to a 2 page spread when I’m reviewing past notes.

    That said, I’ve never tried a moleskine notebook, mostly for budget reasons.  If I can get a box of spirals for 10 cents each, and it works for me, its hard to justify spending the $12 and up for a moleskine notebook when we’re on a tight budget.

  • Debbieyoungbar

     I normally use my iPad notes app.  The yellow one that looks like a notepad.

  • Bill Catlette

    Hello Michael.

    This is a perfectly timed post for me. I, too have used Moleskines for a few years, and have struggled with the migration to Evernote for the reason you mentioned. I don’t want to ditch the paper journal, but am tired of using an exacto knife to disembowel my notebook.

    Thanks fir the tip. I look forward to trying the Ecosystem journal.

    Bill Catlette

  • http://frankdickinson.me/ Frank Dickinson

    Another great post on workflow and productivity – thanks Michael!

    I have been using the Reporter Large Squared Moleskine for several years now. The size has been perfect because I can tuck it in my back pocket when out and about. I mainly use it for reminder notes about tasks and for recording blog post ideas as they come to me.

    I must have missed the Ecosystem spinner at our Barnes and Noble.

    I had a friend who recently left her Moleskine at a local coffeehouse and it was never found or returned. It could have been a different outcome if she had an Ecosystem Journal with the unique ID number.

    I love the idea of the Ecosystem! Very cool and mindful product.

    Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I would definitely put one to good use!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You aren’t the only one who missed the Ecosystem at B&N. I went there looking for them and finally had to ask a clerk.

      • http://frankdickinson.me/ Frank Dickinson

         Ha! I might have been hopped up on too many double shot espressos and couldn’t focus!

  • Mark Mathia

    Great timing on your question Mike. I am in the process of figuring this one out. As a writer, I love to hand journal but it’s a pain to go back and enter my thoughts into a pc to prep for blogging. So I purchased an Apple Wireless keyboard and have been journaling using Evernote or what I like better at this point My Writing Spot. However, I miss the connection between my brain, the motion and a pen. Looking to find a solution that doesn’t stunt my creativity. Thanks for the insight.

  • Josh H

    I have used Moleskine on & off for years, since I entered ministry. Since getting my iPhone, I’ve tried to use various note-taking software but couldn’t make anything stick–so I’m back to paper, especially for sermon-creation, blog brainstorming, & program planning. I’m looking forward to seeing how an ecosystem notebook could harness evernote’s power to paper creativity!

  • Bonnie Kirk

    Unfortunately, I have several ways of taking notes, a prayer journal (non perforated pages), and for other notes, a couple of Circa-type journals with pages I can move around. One is for research I’m compiling for a writing project. A second is related to consulting I do for a church.

    I am definitely interested in trying the Ecosystem journal, though. For some journaling, I want pages in chronological order before I will scan them into Evernote. Sounds like a great system. Thanks for sharing it with us, Michael!

  • http://www.allisondevelopmentgroup.com Erica Allison

     Awesome recommendation! I will definitely check it out.  

    My current system for note-taking is similar to yours.  In a client meeting, I put everything in my Moleskin (I’m a die-hard Moleskin user).  If I’m at a conference or on a teleconference or webinar, it’s Evernote all the way.  I just recently got into Evernote and love it.  

    Not really figuring out a way to make the two work together, I’ve struggled with getting my written notes into Evernote.  I often take photos of my white board; I should try that with my smartphone for Moleskin notes.  There’s just something so satisfying about writing in my Moleskin; I’m hopeful the Ecosystem will give me that same feeling.  Sounds like it might!

    Thanks again for the recommendation and for the opportunity to possibly win an Ecosystem journal.

  • Anonymous

    I currently use a moleskin for all my interview notes for my podcast (theconversationhub.com).  I would be interested in trying out the Ecosystem brand since my current notebook is almost full.  Plus, if it’s made in the US – that’s even better.

    Thanks for sharing as always.

  • http://www.northernskyart.wordpress.com Beth West

    I have a system, I really do!  The only problem is finding anything again after a few months have passed is a daunting prospect.  I use 5 x 7 notebooks as my “brain dumps” or I sometimes refer to them as my second brain.  I keep my daily goal lists in them as well as most important notes.  This is great for the first month, but when I change notebooks then I have to try to remember which previous notebook a certain bit of information was written down in and it can take quite awhile to locate.  I have downloaded Evernote, but not yet found the time to explore its usage.  I’ll risk showing my age – I also worry that if I have my notes exclusively on the computer that if something happened, I’d no longer have access to them.  I love journals!  I have a shelf full and would be so happy to try one of the Ecosystem journals.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Notes in Evernote are safer than your paper journals. They are stored locally, on your backup drive (you are backing up, right?) and the Evernote servers.

  • Amy

     I have been a journal addict for note-taking since college (1990’s) and an avid Moleskin user for a decade. I’m lured by the user-friendly features of Ecosystem – and since I’m relatively new to Evernote, the tear-out feature seems ideal. I’m both intrigued and skeptical about ditching my Moleskin!

  • http://polkaspotfarm.com Christi

    Moleskine is my primary along with the todo app for iPhone. I love OneNote but am looking at better ways to use Evernote. I’ve just not gotten the hang of things for some reason. Now running to check out your scanner link and how you take notes.

  • Anonymous

    Up until recently I was using my iPad for all my note taking. It worked well, but so much of my life is digital these days that I decided to buy a Moleskine as a way to practice a little bit of simplicity. So far I’ve loved it, but I’d be quite interested to check out Ecosystem!

  • Ginny Ritenour

    I use a small spiral-bound generic journal and a legal pad, but am ABSOLUTELY trying to find a new system and this sounds promising. I checked out Evernote a few months ago but am going to revisit it today.
    I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” and one thing that makes her happy is prolific note-taking. I’ve always been this way too, but sometimes felt guilty about taking more notes than action. She’s made me realize that note-taking can be enjoyable in and of itself.
    Thanks for sharing your system! 

  • Wayne Smith

    I have been using moleskine for taking notes, but just bought my first bundle of ecosystem notebooks because of your posts. Found them at our local Barnes & Noble store. I use the thin paper bound 5×8 notebooks because they take less room and they fit (carefully) in the pocket of most jackets. Just this past week I have started transfering paper notes and some email notes that I want to have easily accessible to Evernote. I like the simplicity of Evernote. Thanks for your posts and tips. They are incredibly helpful!

  • http://joshrhone.tumblr.com Josh Rhone


    Currently, I use a wide variety of note-taking tools. Sometimes I use the Evernote App on my iPad. When I am on my Mac or iMac I like to use the clutter free OmmWriter. When using pen and paper, I often opt for a $.10 Mead spiral bound notebook.

  • Joanne H

    I have to try this. I love Moleskines, but damn it if you want to take a page out. You can tear it out, but then it looks messy. Thanks for the tip, I’m definitely going to hit up Barnes and Noble!

  • http://adameparker.wordpress.com Adam Parker

    Wow, sounds like a great system!  

    I am a recent Evernote convert and I am loving having all that material nearby.  I have used Moleskins, scraps of paper, white boards, all kinds of stuff to breakdown my thoughts, but this new idea seems like something I really want to try!  Keeping all that information handy is so helpful!

    I’m probably going to check out your scanner option as well, I normally photograph things but  as you said it’s a little cumbersome.

    Hope I can get a chance to check out the notebook, I’ll probably end up buying one if I don’t win one, lol.

    Thanks again Michael!

  • Megan

     I use a word documents on my mac book pro, since it is never far from me.  I need to check into Evernote soon.

  • Anonymous

     On the back of my hand, cause if I lose my hand, then well, I think the note wasn’t so important…I jest partly. I love my Moleskine, but I tend to lost it since it is black so for years the bright Post-it notes all ready my work area have filled in. Not the best system, and I’m aware I could use a better system…just need to find my Post-it note to do list first :)

  • http://purposeandnow.com/ pdncoach

    I will likely try an Ecosystem notebook because they are so similar to Moleskine and mainly because of the unique and traceable ID number.  I find it interesting, though, that your primary reason for switching to Ecosystem is one that until now might make me avoid them – that is, perforated pages to tear out.  I very rarely want to remove a page from my journal. One of the reasons I like the Moleskine is because the pages are not perforated. I find that perforated pages often tear when you don’t want them to, so Moleskine is more durable.

    However, you have me intrigued and thinking about why I might want to remove or transfer my notes to an electronic storage, for example.  So I’ll be buying (and winning one, too!) an Ecosystem and experimenting, right after I go back and read some of your previous blogs about how and why you store your ideas, Mike.  Scanning into Evernote seems like more tasks I would prefer not to add to my day, but we’ll see.  Thanks for the recommendation and the opportunity to possibly use one for free.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I really don’t think the pages in the Ecosystem will tear out by accident. In fact, if anything, I wish they would tear out a little easier. Thanks.

      • http://purposeandnow.com/ pdncoach

        I appreciate that follow-up comment, Michael.  I am ordering my first Ecosystem journal today via Amazon, for when my latest Moleskine is full.

  • http://twitter.com/Terri_McG_Brown Terri McGauley Brown

    Great thoughts!  Finding the “right” journaling option is like finding a great pen– once you have it, you never want to change!   I pretty live and die by my Iphone, so taking notes in the notes app works pretty well for me.  It’s good for sermon notes, blog ideas that pop up, notes to my kids, and pretty much anything else I would write down.  But I am still a big fan of the journal and often use one to page my emotions and how I feel about things that stress me.  Thanks and have a super great day! 

  • Pete

    I use whatever random notebook I can find laying around. Hopefully there are blank pages somewhere within it.

  • Heather

    I’ve always used Moleskin too, but recently purchased Ecosystem because of fun color choices. Take notes on iPad too but sometimes a simple notebook is best option. Thanks for opportunity to win one!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000044467607 Brandon Morrell

    Mike – Based upon your advice, I use Evernote on iPad for taking notes currently. I also have found the challenge, and the desire at times to go back to paper note taking. It simply takes longer to type on iPad than to write, so your post about the Ecosystem notebook has me intrigued.

    I’m sitting at my desk looking at my scanner directly to the right of my monitor, and I’m thinking how easy it would be to implement this method you are describing. I would love to give the Ecosystem notebook a shot. 

    Thanks for your leadership in productivity. It has, no doubt, saved me many hours. 

    Brandon Morrell 

  • http://www.onenewbranch.com/ enygren

    Right now just good old fashioned spiral notebooks. It’s about time to upgrade.

  • Robert Storey

     I have just downloaded Evernote and am learning to use it for notes.  I have in the past taken notes and either left them in my iCal Event notes or placed them in a file in the appropriate area of My Documents.  I am liking Evernote.

  • http://twitter.com/SharleneSones Sharlene Sones

    Cool product! I use a journal that I purchased at MOMA about 15 yrs ago and replace the simple, lined book inside about 2-3 times a year.  Each journal page has the date/location at the top and I use it for my little notes during the day. Then, any important task, contact or thought is transferred into Entourage…. I, too, have a little library of old books.  I find I rarely go back to any of them (but I can, so it’s probably just kind of a safety net).  I’m not sure I need Evernote as a result, but love the concept!  

    I love that you can tear out a page — I can’t tell you how many times someone wanted to take along something I created in my little book and I had to say, “uh, sorry” for fear it would fall apart on me later!  So that’s a great feature.  

    For what it’s worth, your story is what makes me want to give it a try. The video was nice, but didn’t connect with me to make me want to switch… By the way, I think moleskin has done a great job establishing their product as a cultural symbol and unspoken “membership badge” for creative people (ever see a designer carry a franklin planner? ).  The Ecosystem story, while visually beautiful, didn’t set that kind of stage — one that gives me an emotional reason to switch from something that has long been part of my personal identity and daily routine.  But, your story does have me considering it.  

    No wonder big issue changes in the world are hard to impact  — consider my resistance to changing something as simple as my notebook!   To get me to even consider switching up something that’s worked well for over a decade just because of eco-benefits and tear-out sheets is pretty remarkable!  For the most part, you’d have to pry my little book out of my hands with a struggle!  Ha.

    Thanks for trying new things and sharing it with us!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lady.legacy Lady Legacy

     I currently use a composition type notebook with sewn in pages. As a small business brand manager, web developer and graphic artist I keep it on my night stand so when an idea pops up, I jot it down or sketch it so I won’t forget.  I then carry this notebook into my office to complete my client’s work. Well, at almost 36 weeks pregnant, I find myself forgetting my notebook on my desk. Only if it had perforated pages then I could just tear them out & place in my client’s file!

    I was using legal pads but the bottom corners of the papers dog-ear which I found unattractive when I would pull the pages out at face-to-face meetings with clients after phone consultations.

    These Ecosystem journals are super interesting with individual ID numbers. Early in my pregnancy I accidently left my “notebook” at a coffee shop. Thank goodness I wrote my email address inside it as it was returned to me but, I started receiving unsolicited emails soon thereafter as well. Lol.  

    Love how the pages are kept neat with the band closure, such a nice touch. This is a good find, Mr. Hyatt!

  • http://www.facebook.com/seth.pye Seth Pye

     Pretty low-tech: At present, I’m simply jotting down notes in a Top Flight 200 page composition book. You know, the kind you’d get at the drugstore for classes. So that’s it: Just the date and preacher’s name at the top of the page, and as much of the outline and key passages and insights as I can get down while they’re talking.

  • Jmhardy97

    I have started using this process since you first told us about it. What a life saver. I have always kept a journal for meeting notes and conference notes. Being able to tear out these pages and send them to evernote is great! It helps so much with organization and follow up!

  • http://vvdenman.com/ V.V. Denman

     My current system for taking notes consists of scraps of paper found in my purse, envelopes, and the occasional receipt.

  • Warner Phelps

     This looks like a recipe for success to me. I have been using a mix of spiral notebooks and index cards because I like to have something in my pocket at all times. I think I could implement something like this and further advance my never ending quest for more simplicity.

  • http://robrash.us Rob Rash

     I’m a journal addict I think. Love Moleskin’s and these look pretty nice too. It’s always nice having a journal to take notes in. I love Evernote and SpringPad and use them a ton, but there’s something about a pen and paper that makes me happy.

  • Chris

    Wow. I use the small Moleskine notebooks all the time – there is always one in my coat pocket for taking notes. I’ve also got a stack of filled notebooks on my shelf in my office but I’ve been looking for a way to do exactly what you’re talking about – move my notes from my moleskine to Evernote. I’m a BIG Evernote user/fan and love the idea of every page being perforated.

    Thanks Mike!

  • http://wkevingilbert.me/ Kevin Gilbert

     My current system for taking notes is still based on replaceable notepads for a zippered binder/portfolio type cover. It gets so frustrating, though, as I don’t always realize until it’s too late that I’m out of paper or refill pads. I’m totally digging the Ecosystem Story, though. I love that it’s eco-friendly, made in the USA, and comes in a variety of colors. I’m following your whole series on Evernote and I’m thinking it’s time to get more organized and less paper-ed. ;-)

  • Ben Boles

    I am like you. I really like paper journals but am using Evernote more and more. I’m thinking about using my iPad and a stylus to getting the writing feeling but also then I can export them in PDF and move then move them into Evernote. I still haven’t landed the plane but need to soon because my current journal will be full soon.

    • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

       I was going to try this method as well,  But I haven’t found a great app for the iPad2 that can take my writing.   the speed and sensitivity don’t seem to work well.

  • http://profiles.google.com/lscottmeyer Scott Meyer

    After you led me to the promise land that is the Moleskine journal I have been using it faithfully for 2 years and my entire staff uses it now. So you can imagine my shock and sadness when I read your headline about “ditching” your moleskine.  My world has changed. Life no longer seems the same. I feel like one of the disciples when they asked, “To whom shall we go?”

    So trusting that you would never lead us astray I would love to try one of the Ecosystem system notebooks. Now I just need to figure out how to explain to my staff that we are making some changes. :)

    Grace & Peace

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Hilarious, Scott!

  • Authorinfusion

    Thanks for the post! I am learning EverNote and am enjoying the many possibilities. The only draw back were my torn journal pages – the ragged edges were one thing, but the tearing often went a muck and pages ripped. This journal will take of that!  
    Joy DeKok

  • Ken Burg

     I’ve been using a zippered portfolio with a legal pad for note taking, sketching, creative brainstorming, et al. I’ve seen the Moleskins, and certainly have read a lot about their quality and virtues. Your new solution seems very interesting to me, especially the “Eco” part. Thanks for the info!

  • http://twitter.com/valsykes Valery Sykes

    For formal note taking situations, I like using the template for the Cornell Note Taking Method. I use the primary writing area for my regular notes, the vertical column for any action items I need to take based on the meeting content, and the lower horizontal area for questions/clarifications I have to ask. When I’m on my game, I normally print out a template for use with graph paper for the main writing paper because graph paper always seems like it can handle whatever I need to throw at it. I am not the most awesome at drawing, so the grid format helps when I need to sketch something out.

    I tend to hop from notebook to notebook for all my catch-all notes. I collect notebooks (much to my husband’s dismay) because I always want to try the new one — my primary requirements are that it opens flat and has narrow ruling (I write small and wide ruling always seems like a waste for me). I enjoy the Moleskine notebook and have several of them on the shelf. 

    I used to use Google Notebook for my electronic brain, but I recently signed up for Evernote and have been so pleased at how easily it slides into my workflow and how adaptable it is to the myriad of information I throw at it. I just read Evernote Essentials and it’s made me so aware of the possibilities. I am a huge fan of taking notes by hand; I write very quickly and neatly, so I’ve never seen any reason to type for those reasons. I don’t love the clutter of paper though or how hard it can be to find information; your recent posts referencing the Fujitsu ScanSnap have peaked my interest on a possible solution to that problem.

  • Tristan Pisarczyk

    I like the idea of scanning directly into Evernote, I use a moleskine notebook now.  How does Evernote handle handwriting recognition? I know that even I have trouble going back and deciphering some of my notes at times, I wonder how Evernote would handle it.  

  • http://twitter.com/javerlin74 Jason Verlinde

     Good Morning Mike:

     My current system of note taking runs the gamut!   As I sit at my desk I have the ever faithful yellow legal pad in front of me.  Than if I look to my right I notice a handful of sticky notes.  Over to the left is a napkin with notes from a run in with a prospect at a restaurant last week!

    As you can tell my system (or lack of one) could be improved!  I love the idea of taking each page and scanning them into Evernote.  Being able to find my notes whether at the office or at home would be greatly beneficial to my life!

    Thanks for the consideration.


  • http://www.verythere.com Mark Notess

    For those of us who use fountain pens, the paper quality is all-important: consistent feel on both sides of the page, high opacity, and no bleeding. I just read a review of Ecosystem that says it is better in this regard than Mole, but still “toothier” on the flip side than on the front. So I’ll be sticking with my favorite, Clairefontaine. Thanks for the review, though!

  • http://twitter.com/Timbuktoons Timbuktoons

    Great post- except I wanna ditch my solution yet again! To break my spiral notebook habit (I had one for just about everything), I’ve been using Penultimate on the iPad (with a Griffin stylus) and posting that to Evernote and Basecamp. It makes it searchable (if it can read my handwriting!) and then I have a record of notes in Basecamp for client projects and IPs we’re working on. Plus it’s great for collaborating and catching other team members up quickly.

  • http://twitter.com/patrickfischl Patrick Fischl

     Currently, I’m a huge Evernote fan.  I’m a college student, and I’ve used it for my “class notes” this whole semester.  I also have the opportunity to preach every few weeks, and I always use Evernotes to organize my sermon notes.  When I do need to take notes on paper, I prefer a classic Moleskine journal, although I use Evernote for Android to scan it into the system.  It’s worked pretty well for me!

  • Heather Floyd

     I, too, have been a faithful moleskine user. The smaller size is a perfect fit and sturdy enough to handle fighting for it’s life jostling around with the other contents of my purse. I never have to fear sudden inspiration or worry that I will forget a name, number or website mentioned to me…I can write down quotes or thoughts that I find, like little treasures, waiting along the path to delight and inspire me. I use it to take notes on art and artists as I wander through galleries. I write poems and songs as a sort through my life. Scripture verses or sermon notes find their way to these pages. Sketches of things I’ve seen that I find particularly lovely. My little moleskine holds many precious pieces of my life…ready for me to sort…to pursue further…to process or purge. Without it, all these little bits would just be swarming around my head like pesky little gnats…driving me to madness.

  • John

    Been using for years, taught my son how to use it like any good father.  I will take a look at the Ecosystem, I really like the fact it is made here in America and is eco friendly. Not sure I will ever not write out my thoughts, seems to be part of the process rather than using a computer.

  • http://twitter.com/Mike_Puckett Mike Puckett

     I have been using Moleskine lined journals for a few years now and love them. They make for great trips down memory-lane. It can however, be quite difficult to track something down in them if I don’t remember exactly when I wrote it.

    I have been following your posts (those concerning Evernote especially) lately, and as a result, I’ve been converted to Evernote. I always knew it could be useful, though I never used it very often.

    In terms of my note-taking process, I primarily use my Moleskine for most things. Occasionally I will log into my Evernote account on my Blackberry and type something for safe-keeping, or while in my office I’ll do the same thing but on my desktop application. I do a lot of blog skimming/reading, so I have added the Evernote button to my Firefox 4 browser to clip anything useful. That alone has cut down on the time I spend searching blogs and reading them.

    I have tried taking pictures of my Moleskine entries to Evernote them, but the BB camera is awful, so I gave that up.

    I would like to give the Ecosystem method a try. I write too much in my journals for them to go to waste.

    Thanks for writing. I appreciate your wisdom.

  • Coronerwyatt

    Thanks Mike for sharing this – I’m the Coroner in Sacramento County and I still use a small pocket size spiral notebook that fits in my shirt pocket. I have been using this type of note pad in the field for years. I am a fairly new Evernote User and I also have started scanning my notes into Evernote. I will try this. Thanks again

  • Kathryn

    I guess I am too old-fashioned!  I use pen and paper.   I keep several journals and a ring-bound calender system.   I have tried various electronic systems, but they just haven’t worked for me.

  • http://profiles.google.com/irishturtle Shan Conner

     I use a composition notebook to capture all of my notes. At the end of the day I type the notes into OneNote under the appropriate notebook. This works very well for me because as I’m going through the day’s notes I can reflect on what I accomplished and create new tasks for the next day. 

    I will say that carrying around a composition notebook is a bit cumbersome. Having something smaller would be more convenient and less obtrusive. 

  • Sreid

     Started with 10 years of spiral notebooks; moved to a word document page per day (facilitated the ‘capture’ copy/paste) for key web, email, etc… content for my journal – since the journal often turns into ministry focused communications). 

    Most recently began using Evernote, but not yet perfected its use.   

    But still struggle with the absence of the physical notebook for tossing in my bike pack, car trunk or for taking to the soccer game or the pew during a sermon.   So I’m heading back to some form of paper/pen mode… or some permutation of all the above!  All are necessary or useful.  I need the ‘unity in diversity’ here!

  • http://twitter.com/jgwfrog Jeremy Weddle

    Mr. Hyatt:  Presently I take notes on the “Notes” feature on my iPhone, and then sync to my computer.  I also keep a legal pad with me to jot down notes if I’m on a call, or need to write faster than I can type on my phone.  I review these notes frequently, and the system works, as far as that goes.  I am, though, certainly open to anything that frees me up, if only at a rate of a few seconds at a time. Thanks much for shining the light out of the note-taking dark ages!

  • http://hopefulleigh.blogspot.com/ HopefulLeigh

    I haven’t heard of Eco-system but it sounds amazing!  I’d never heard of Moleskine until a few years ago.  I’ve always just used run of the mill notebooks and journals to accommodate my needs.  It does mean nothing is in the same place but I love my collection of journals.  In the last few years, I’ve started writing down the most impactful sermons I’ve attended in one big journal I picked up from Borders. 

  • Toria Williams

    My current note taking system is a Steno Pad and notes on my iPhone. I would love to get more organized.

  • http://profiles.google.com/stacysjensen Stacy Jensen

    I use reporter notebooks when I attend workshops or need to take compact notes. (former journo) I also have journals around the house for story ideas. And, I use the note function on the iPhone to jot down ideas, lists, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/briantjaggers Brian Jaggers

    My system involves writing notes on anything I can find sitting on my desk at the moment (receipts, back of envelopes, sticky pads, etc).  At the end of each day I rummage through the stacks of junk and try to rewrite all the notes into a spiral notebook. 

    Brian Jaggers

  • http://www.boynamedtracy.com/ td

     I have been using Evernote for pretty much everything. I also have been using Mokeskines for writing, sketching and things like that but the perforated pages would be great to make digitizing them easier.

    As a matter of fact the first time you posted this on the Ecosystem journals I ran out to B&N to get one. Seems our B&N is too small though because they don’t carry them so I still have yet to get one.

    Maybe this is my chance.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TZZ72YR6PU2XKH6CRATUJLW45Q Tom

     I use a system where I primarily use a legal size pad with a thick backing, so as not to require a clipboard or holder.  All pages are perforated at the top for easy removal. I take all my notes, then scan them to a PDF file and discard the paper. It is very quick, easy and doesn’t slow me down at all. The paper is recycled, and the PDF serves as the record. Often, I will index the PDFs so that they are searchable based on keywords or tags. It is a very simple, but elegant solution to the problem of what to do with all your notes. 

  • Kevin D

    I typically use only Evernote or, at work, the old school legal pad. Definitely need a more efficient system.

  • Jordan

    I switched from the moleskine to the Active Journal (http://www.creativesoutfitter.com/Products/Action-Journal/19) about 15 months ago and haven’t looked back. The Active Journal is more expensive due to the shipping costs I pay, but it really helps me out by having the actionable items callout.  I can see how Evernote would improve my productivity and I am thankful for the perforated edges of this notebook on all pages. 

  • Sharon

     I like the act of writing. I tend to remember what I wrote more than if I typed it, and i can be more creative. Often, for meetings, though, I’ll use a laptop. My notebook of choice is a Mead composition book, 6.5 in x 9.5 in with a pocket page divider in the middle, to tuck away some other items. 

    The Ecosystem sounds pretty intriguing though and I would be anxious to give it a try. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/kyndal Kyndal Kliewer

     I use a hodgepodge system for taking notes. I usually keep some sort of legal pad or sticky note pad on my desk to write things down.   I take some notes using my ipad.  (I have tried several note taking apps on the ipad, but am still looking for one that I really like.)  I have just recently started using Evernote to organize notes and snippets of information, but haven’t gotten my handwritten notes in Evernote yet.  I use a Moleskine for journaling during my daily quiet time.

  • Darius

    Love this post! I currently use two Moleskines – one at work and one for personal notes.

    One thing I wish I had in the notebook I use for work is that the pages could be removed… I’ll have to try one of the Ecosystem notebooks for that!

  • http://twitter.com/milessteele Miles Steele

     I currently use a Moleskine for all my random ideas and thoughts. I am currently making a transition to Evernote so I can have access to my old college notes and would also like to add to that note taking for my current job. I will definitely take a look at Ecosystem notebooks.

  • Haydeeang

    yay! willl you give me a pink colour? if yes, I will be encouraged to journal again on a paper. I’ve stopped many years ago since blogging became
    the trend & when I got my very 1st PDA.

  • Scott Seela

    I’m a Moleskine user.  Just beginning to use Evernote.  Guess I’ll have to look into the Ecosystem Journals.

  • Matt Kormann

    I’ve previously been hooked on a Levenger  product, which was ruled and sectioned for great meeting notes and expansion of ideas. The expense of those turned me off pretty quickly. I went through legal pads but never could keep them as organized as I would’ve liked. Most recently, I’ve been using the ol’ five-subject wire notebook with pocket dividers. Every page is perfed. The major odwnside is the sheer bulk of the thing. More recently, though, I’ve been taking notes on my iPhone4 or my Dell laptop. But there’s a stigma attached to that (“are you doing email while we’re talking?”). I start on an iPad2 tomorrow, and Evernote will be the first app loaded onto it. I think much of what I do can be done electronically, but there are times when pen and paper are irrepaceable, and a lot of that is defined by who else is in the room.

  • http://malzner.com/blog/ Markus Malzner

     You have probably just answered a constant search for a better way to quickly write down notes on the go!
    Thanks a lot.

  • Heatherbixler

    Hello! Interestingly enough, I do use a Moleskin notebook for sermon notes I take for Sunday and Wednesday studies. Most of my note taking though, during the week, happens on “stray” little pieces of paper I find everywhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1076406301 Lucinda Lowry Mason

    These journals sound neat. I usually use legal pads, both the full size and small size, for note taking. But I just started using Evernote from hearing you write about it. I’m very interested in getting paper clutter out of my life and love the idea of having electronic versions available on any computer I use and on my iPhone. I hope to get my daughter, who is about to start High School, on Evernote. Thanks for all your great advice.

  • Craig Dale

    I currently use moleskin journals. Have experimenting with Pluse pens and journal (not comfortable with the system flow). I use Evernote for digital storage and dropbox to share item with team members.

    Would like to try your system. Thanks.

  • Jtwoodall

    I am also a journaler who uses moleskin very religiously. I am also an IPad lover who is quite fond of the Evernote app. In the past I would have said it doesn’t get any better than the moleskin. I would be interested to find out I the ecosystem journal could do that!!

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Well, I currently have a two book system. One is my for my Spiritual notes, and the other is for my business ideas, etc. After reading so much about Evernote, I’ve downloaded it and working out the system to use it. Could still use the notebooks – especially with perforated pages during this process.

    Twitter: @WMarkThompson:twitter

  • Michelle

    I use a 5×7 spiral notebook by Carolina pad because of the need for perforation. I would love to splurge on one of the notebooks but just can’t do it right now. Thanks for the review!

  • Steve Kiewiet

     Mike, I have been a user of the hard bound ledger type journals for years and have shelves full of them.  Reading about your journey with Evernote has inspired me to change my views on note-taking and storage. I have since ditched the journal and moved to Evernote and a legal pad. I really like the idea of the Ecosystem notebook with pages I can tear out and scan.  Thanks again for guiding me into the new century and the capabilities of technology.

  • Scott Luck

    I have been using Moleskine(per your suggestion) and have loved  it. Over the course of the next year, I want to transition to paperless, so it is time to give it a try. Thanks for always sharing what you are learning.  

  • Anonymous

    Thanks mucho for introducing me to Ecosystem! I am a long-time old school user of  the std black and white school composition notebooks..partially as i go through my notebooks fast!
    Currently I use a Harajuku Lover’s “Fatal Atraction to Cuteness” version which certainly catches my clients attention but is also mildly embarassing. 

    Now you make clear to me that EcoSystem here may well be worth my first upgrade  in decades — particularly appealing to me are:  the registered number (tired of nearly fainting over the possibility of losing the notebooks!), yes- the perforated pages for scanning and actually- the multiple colors — to use for the 2-3 key projects i am on at any given time. Totally appreciate te attention to detail in  use of sustainable materials. Thanks again for posting this!

  • http://twitter.com/AshleyM_Moss ashley moss

    I have a very [dis] organized way of taking notes…I normally have 1-2paper notebooks on me, I’ve tried on my itouch, my blackberry, sending myself email reminders… and most recently Evernote after I discovered it reading one of your posts. Needless to say I’m all for streamlining my process!

  • http://twitter.com/awhitney2b Ashley Whitney

    I recently gave up my Moleskine notebook as well, and for the same reason; a lack of perforation on pages.  I ended up picking up a ring binder notebook that I can tear pages out of to remove.  I use it for my to do lists as well as note taking.  I like to remove my to-do lists when completed (or when I’ve transferred my undone tasks to a new list).  I had not thought of scanning my note pages into Evernote though.  I like it!

    I’ve been using Evernote for quite a while (years?) now.  I have never used it to it’s fullest potential, but have recently looked into additional functionality.  I’ve started using the webclipper to save interesting information from websites.  I also send blog posts that I want to save from FeedlerPro (on iPad) to Evernote.  Now I’m going to check out scanning to Evernote.

    Thanks for the post.  I’ll have to look into the ecosystem journals.  I like my generic notebook, but could do without the ring binder.


  • Marcy Kennedy

    I currently use a spiral bound notebook. Functionally it works fine, but it doesn’t look professional. The reason I haven’t gone with something more suitable earlier is that I also wanted the ability to tear out pages. It seems you’ve found a great solution for me.

  • Aaron Harris

    I sort of switch journal brands depending on what I find when its time to buy the next one – or whichever one someone gives me.  I’ve been looking for a set type to use and someone just suggested I either get a Moleskine or one of these you just started using. 

  • Barbs111

    For meeting notes I still use a yellow legal pad. For personal notes I am a new evernote user thatks to your posts about it. I have a small size ecosystem that I saw given for Christmas that I. Use while traveling.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    I have a small moleskin for my daily task and ideas and then a big moleskin for dreaming and planning.I have never been able to go digital with my to-do list and ideas. I need to be able to write it down.

    I don’t think I can be torn away from my moleskin. It is my brain. 
    I love to be able to write things down and then check them off. 

    But I will definitely check out the ecosystem stuff.

  • Angela Braach

    I have one spiral-bound 5-7 notebook that I carry with me every where I go. I found it in my daughter’s room in a discard pile. I have promised myself a moleskin (learned about from a previous post) as soon as I finish my current one.  

  • http://chadnstuart.com Chad Stuart

    I read your post on the moleskin notebook last year and set out to find one.  I searched several places but never came across one.  I was standing in line purchasing some books at Barnes & Noble and saw there in the rack the ecosystem books.  I thought at first that they were the Moleskins so I purchased one, it wasn’t ’till later that I realized the difference.  I’ve tried to take notes electronically, but to me there is just something about the kinesthetic motion of my hand that helps me imprint it in my brain.  Thanks for this blog it has been a blessing and help in my life and work as a pastor!

  • http://twitter.com/dloach Diana Loach

    Great recommendation, Michael!  I’ve tended to steer clear of Moleskine principally because I am a fountain pen user, and its paper bleeds my olde-fashioned/newfangled writing instruments.  Are these new journals more fountain-pen-friendly?  Closer to Rhodia?

    Journalling, for me, is an exercise in emotion, and that emotion can’t be, well, ‘emoted’ as well with a keyboard as in my own hand.



  • Anonymous

    I use a Strathmore 400 series Hardbount Sketch Book 8.5″x11″ w/ 192 60 lb acid free light texture pages.  I keep it in a leather book cover with pen clasp closure from http://www.hippoproducts.com.

    As I mentioned in a previous post similar to this about evernote, I’m using evernote & currently take pictures of only the pages I think are important to refer back to (sketches & project meeting notes, but not sermon notes, etc.) for evernote then archive the physical book.

    I am interested in increasing my use of evernote and decreasing my physical storage (I’d probably never throw away physical copy of good sketches, but would be happy to do away with the rest), so I’m considering the large format hard bound ecosystem journal (& if I adopt it, I will ask Hippo to make a cover to fit it because I’m hard on notebooks & the leather cover has proven to be the ultimate protection, worth the extra weight)

  • glundy31

    Would love to try the new notebook!!  I don’t have a real system for notetaking and journaling and I would  love to try this out.

  • Jacknikcevich

     Hi Michael–

    The journals produced by Behance, http://www.creativesoutfitter.com/Products/Action-Journal/19
    are also fully perforated.

  • Chris King

    My current system(s)? Its a mess. Too many options and it seems almost impossible to get a simple one that integrates with technology.   I am currently using (or at least atempting…) the moleskin/outlook combination, and I have not had great success.

  • Matt Gleason

    Use my MacBook more than anything.  Generally just take notes in Pages, but recently downloaded Evernote and want to give it a shot.  Use my iPhone when out and about for quick jots.

  • Esther

    Sounds like you found the solution that’s just right for you. My problem is that I’m a lefty and find notebooks with a left-handing binding difficult to use. Does Ecosystem have a solution for the lefty? I usually try to find journals/notebooks that have the spiral binding on top so it makes it easier for me to write. Love to journal, love to find notebooks that work for me.  

  • Hvilhaue

    For notes at my desk I use the back of already printed on paper. I cut it all in half and then use a binder clip to hold it together like a notepad. For other notes I use blank printer paper so that it can easily be filed int he correct folder after the meeting is over. 

  • http://twitter.com/LoveInMarriage Love in Marriage

    My journals for notetaking have shifted over the years.  I’m always looking for something to meet my current need – portable, easy to flip open / stay open, something pretty that inspires me to open it.  All completely subjective, obviously.

    I also tend to use different journals / methods depending on the material.  Many journals were spiral bound.  Notetaking journals to capture ideas and thoughts were small and more like the Moleskin.

    And, more recently, using my MacBook Pro for many of these things.  Of course, paper journals remain the easier for capturing things immediately because I can keep them with me.  Of course, they are also more pleasing to hold and touch.  I tend to be a tactile person.  The smoothness of the cover; the feel of the pages in my fingers.  And the sound of a pen scratching over the surface. 

    I love the vibrant colors of the ecosystem journals.  And that they come in three sizes.  I’m a medium-sized journal user most of the time.  Until recently, I had not thought about scanning my notes into my computer.  That is something I will have to consider.  Off to look at Evernote . . .

  • Colin

    I use moleskine for notes as I read books and put quotes in the back. I also use the softcover ones as prayer journals. I probably don’t use Evernote to it’s max potential. Only for web clippings, but want to start some type of system. Especially since I am going to be attending my
    first Catalyst this Fall and plan to take A LOT of notes!

    Colin (ColinH80)

  • http://twitter.com/SoleHope Sole Hope

     I have no great system for taking notes.  Sadly I pick up whatever paper is around or the complimentary pad provided by the hotel or conference center.  I then place this in a secure place like my passenger seat or on the sink in the bathroom where the meeting took place.  I have tried Palm, iPhone notes, and moleskin.  I would love to try this out and see if I truly am a doomed notetaker or if it has just been my weapon of choice. 

  • http://www.suzyparish.com Suzyparish

     I’ve had Evernote for about six months now and will not go back to anything else! It frees my creativity up.Haven’t been able to find the Ecosystem journals though. My goal is to go paperless also. I use Evernote for research on my novel. I have notebooks set up in it for character quotes, scenes, historical data, and web screen shots.Thanks for another excellent suggestion!

  • Eva P. Scott

    I use the Jim Rohn Leadership Journal for my “carrying around” journal. It is very durable. My note system isn’t extensive, but if I bother to write it down, I want it to be where I can find it. I like the idea of tear-out sheets, though. I have often torn out pages, and it isn’t very pretty.

    I also have another set of journals that I use for prayer and Bible study (one for each). I think I would like the Ecosystem journal for that purpose. I prefer writing for those purposes. I type all day long on my computer doing transcription. I like to get away from my computer to do prayer and Bible study.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jay-Stinson/1497139267 Jay Stinson

    I had never thought of using Evernote to keep tract of old journal entries. I may try that…

  • http://twitter.com/jrmckins Jim McKinstry

     Notes? If I can’t remember it then it’s not important!! I want one of these for my daughter.  She’ll use it a LOT.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Debra-Anderson/714021347 Debra Anderson

     I currently use an ecosystem journal.  As I read books I note down interesting passages, as I listen to my kids I note down their interesting statements.  I record my life and I know my words will last for my children to read one day.  It’s important.  

  • http://www.irunurun.com Travis Dommert

     Frankly (sadly and embarrassingly), I have struggled with this important organizational aspect of my life for about 13 years…that was when I ditched my much-worn black leather FranklinQuest planner for a Palm Pilot.  

    Ohhhh it was so painful.  I just couldn’t seem to make it work for me.  I’ve been in and out of various task mgt and note-taking tools and formats, ultimately arriving at a simple Word doc that I update and save off every week + a journal.Truth be told, it’s still not really working.  I’ve read the Evernote posts of late…all the while thinking, “Michael, let’s get back to some leadership posts!” …but alas, perhaps you are sharing something I really NEED to consider.Got my iphone on Verizon 3 wks ago.  Just downloaded Evernote.  Now contemplating the Essentials e-book, scanner + Ecosystem.  It sounds so good; why is change so hard?

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    Several times over the last week, I’ve thought, “What was that new type of notebook that Michael was using?”  I remember you mentioning this notebook before, and I’ve been meaning to go to B&N and look for them.  Thanks for the post. 

  • David MacMillan

    I take notes in the extra-wide margins of my Bible. It’s lined, which makes it easy. I also take notes on my iphone’s notes app, but that gets tiresome and there’s no good way to organize them. And there isn’t enough room for anything but brief notes in the Bible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Moniah-Adams/100001677608318 Moniah Adams

    I really have no established system, thus the trying to find one, 

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    Right now I just use a yellow legal pad, but it is really ineffective. I need to go back and read your post on “the lost art of notetaking”. I have good intentions, but have failed to commit to the change.

    Wanted to thank you for turning me onto Evernote. It has changed my blogging workflow and been a great way to capture ideas for life and writing.

  • Amy Hart

     I currently use notebooks, usually half sheet size legal or steno, and tear out the pages after each meeting. I have also used “Notes” on my iPod Touch and that transfers them into my gmail account. From there I will put them into Evernote. I have recently started taking more notes on books I’m reading so a consistent system would be better. 

  • http://patalexander.com Pat Alexander

     My current system(s) for taking notes are, a moleskine journal, or I sometimes use my Livescribe pen and notebook, or I may take notes on the printed documentation for a meeting and at an industry meeting I will usually use one of the hotel’s scratch pads for notes for websites & technology that I will check out later and then throw the scratch pad away. What a mish mash. For someone that teaches organization I am a mess. I do scan those notes that I take on meeting documents, but my moleskine notes languish in the journals. Not easily searchable. I’m thinking I should be checking out the Ecosystem Journals. Mike, thanks again for your ever helpful posts.

  • http://twitter.com/fieldstoislands Nic

     Hi, Michael,

    I’ve been a relatively loyal user of Moleskines since about 2005, but since I got my iPhone a couple of months ago, I’ve discovered two things: 1)  the notetaking apps on my phone are really, really good for making lists, notes and jottings that I need to remember and can bring even if I don’t have a notebook on me; and 2) there is something about writing in a journal by hand that is really, really soothing. These journals look fantastic, and because I’ve lately shifted from blogging about my life to writing about it, I would like my next journal to be a bit more than the current red Moleskine I have now. Writing has brought enough to my life lately that I feel like a good journal would help me remain devoted to the process.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    I typically use the Things app on my iPhone but I do still use a Moleskine as well.

  • Sbdugger

    I use scraps of paper — then I usually lose them. I never have a journal with me when I need one. Could be the fact that I have 6 kids and they “borrow” things like that. I usually buy cheap journals because of that. I would love to have a nice journal for myself.

  • David

     Looks good – would be interested in trying it out

  • Anonymous

     I finally broke down and downloaded Evernote to use.  I have started to  try and see if it will do as much as you say that it will.  I am also using my scanner, flatbed, but for the time being it is doing its job, to try and become paperless.   I have already used it to collect articles and also to organize ideas that I have for projects.   I am using http://power.me for project management and it allows me to upload project documents to the project file so that has been helpful.  I do keep a journal and have traditionally just used a composition notebook from the store.  The only problem is that I keep everything in there, daily struggles, thoughts, ideas to get better organized, books I might like, etc. etc.  It is a catch all for everything.  I think that perhaps this idea with the Ecosystem’s Journal might be a way to help with that using capture through scanner.  That way I can compartmentalize and make it easier to use.

  • http://twitter.com/danielhayward Dan Hayward

     I use Evernote, but it’s more work than a journal for just a few words. Thinking about alternate systems.

  • http://twitter.com/faughn4 Adam Faughn

     My current system needs a better “middle ground,” and that’s where the Ecosystem will fit in. I currently use an old-school legal pad for taking the notes, then I type them into Evernote (since my handwriting is atrocious). I would rather have a notebook like the Ecosystem that can remain as a book, or can be torn out and scanned. I have looked at Moleskine notebooks before, but didn’t like that only the last few pages were perforated. Thanks for this recommendation. Hope I’m one of the lucky 50!

  • Dave

     I am using evernote and lots of random notebooks

  • Boyden Moore

    First of all, thanks for sharing your thoughts on productivity, they have inspired me and challenged me to evaluate my own productivity.  I find that I am often more creative when writing rather than typing.  I keep handwritten notes from legal pads in manila folders that are indexed and organized (but not as easy or convenient to search).  I have been considering taking my current system into Evernote and organizing it better.  I separately keep a journal for personal thoughts and also use an iPad.  I use twitter and google reader as a repository of articles and ideas from the web that I may want to refer to later.  I’m thinking both of those could be brought into Evernote, too.

  • Bradleydavidgodwin

    I have struggled for the last year to find a single organizational system. I too, have fallen in love with Evernote, but there is something about writing things down with pen and paper.

    Attending meetings and typing on an iPad worked for about a month but similar to you, I have been a moleskin addict for the last 10 years!

    I loved this post and am excited to check these out and see how they work on a day to day basis, thanks again!

  • Lfrye80

     I generally use just a basic marble composition notebook. I have never used moleskin, but the books look beautiful

  • Kristen Keyser

    I use a combination of Moleskine journals and artist sketchbooks. I usually will grab whichever is closest. So I have two or three notebooks going at a time. It gets very confusing!

  • http://www.vanhoozer.blogs.com Mike Van Hoozer

     Michael –

    I have used and been an evangelist for Evernote for a couple of years!  I loved your posts on how to get more out of Evernote and have passed them on to people I coach.  Based upon a previous post, I took your recommendation and bought 2 Ecosystem journals (large and medium Author format) and love them!

    My best,

  • Bonnie Jean Fulcher

    I will never give up my paper journals for any electronic device.  I will never use kindle or a nook.  For one thing, you cannot make the same kind of notes on an electronic device that you can on paper, especially if you are very creative and use more than the four symbols you mentioned.  Also, do you realize how many landfills are full of electronic equipment that is outdated every year that they cannot figure out what to do with ???  Paper is recycleable at least and much more fun to store and look at.  It is far easier to personalize (you can decorate the covers should you choose) and like talking in  person is sooooo much better than texting… well, to me it just cannot compete.  It just seems to me like people are just getting further and further away from people… and also, no one can hack into a paper notebook… but they can mess with cell phones, computers, XBoxes, and who knows about a kindle or nook or an electronic journal.  They might be able to read it if they found it, but that is one person and not a million.  I think facebook is dangerous and the trend toward electronic communication, while it may be fun to talk to people around the world… I miss letters and pictures and visits.  I don’t want to spend my life sitting in front of or talking to a machine.  I want to be out among real live people doing things with them. 

  • http://eriktimmons.com/ Erik Timmons

     I use Evernote, on my computer, iPad and iPhone.  The one thing I don’t like is the image function.  It’s difficult to place an image where you want it.  Also, it would be nice if I could use bullet points and auto numbering on the mobile devices…

  • Anonymous

    I like the idea of going paperless…but, for us creatives, the idea of tearing apart my Moleskine collection seems so….. Painful? Tearing a page out seems so drastic? I use one Moleskine each year for work and label the bottom of each page to find things quickly. Then I can refer to past years stuff in each nostalgic Moleskine. I know your right, but having a hard time making the jump. Did you have any problems with tearing apart the books? I have Moleskine and steno pads saved from years ago.  I like looking through them, from time to time, too.

  • Kphotos

    I hate to admit  it, but, I am using post it notes. or little spiral notebooks that I have by each telephone.  Half the time the notes get lost. I used to have a PAD but quit using that . I really need your gift!

  • http://michaelhigh.com/ Mike High

    I don’t know if you’ve seen or tried this, but the Livescribe pen allows you to take handwritten notes and then import them directly into Evernote.  This eliminates the need to tear out the pages and scan them.  You can still keep the finished journals this way.

    Here is a link:  http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/05/livescribe-connect/

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    My current notebooks of choice (based on the last two years) are a medium-size spiral notebook from Staples for sermon notes and a regular composition notebook (usually with some cute design, ha! so I can appreciate the Ecosystem colors!) for Bible study and notes on books I am reading.

    As the years have gone by I am aware of how many notebooks one can accumulate and add my spouse to the mix!  It is hard to find a good place to keep them handy for reference (thanks NYC apartment living!), and I am more conscious of ways I can help maintain the organization I am known for and so crave.  For now, I keep the most current ones on our bookshelves; older ones go in a plastic container in our attic.

    I’ve begun looking into scanning methods for our important documents and have loved your posts, which I never would have thought of on my own,  to scan notes.  One of the benefits I see is often I cannot carry a large notebook with me, but I may still be reading a book (which can fit into my purse ) I’m taking notes on and want to refer back to something.  If I had it on the go with me, that would be awesome.

  • http://twitter.com/jbiggley Joshua Biggley

    I’ve been a whirlwind of chaos when it comes to note taking, but I’ve recently decided that I cannot live without a notebook and pencil.  No technology on the market seems to have the versatility or resiliency that a notebook provides.  I was leaning heavily towards Moleskines, but I’ll have to check out  these Ecosystem journals.  Thanks for the timely post!

  • http://www.jonathanhasson.com Jonathan Hasson

    I use the Moleskine system (medium black ruled notebook) and also have a shelf filling up with each successive used notebook.  As I’ve started to delve into the Evernote system, I’ve used a scanner to scan only selective pages that I find to be important into Evernote.  I find the Ecosystem journals interesting, and may be persuaded to try one out.

  • Jay Jimenez

    I use my note section on my iPhone. But I soon realized that is such a feeble way to take notes and disrespectful to professors. A journal is preferable and it’s the right size. Technology can be quite cumbersome sometimes there are things technology can’t replace.

  • Revitupmethodist

    I’m still kind of hit and miss. Whenever I go to a conference or a big meeting, I will buy a new notebook.  I’m just starting to play with evernote and haven’t done a whole lot with it. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500602618 Bob Bekkerus

     My current system is chaos.  Utter chaos.

  • http://brettcohrs.com Brett

    I’ve learned a bit from this blog on taking notes and journaling.  On the journaling side, I’ve been steady since my senior year in high school in 1989 and have made do with various journals my parents gave me as gifts. I just took a wonderful little trip down memory lane with my summer of 1993 journal and fall of 1999 journal. Eye-opening to say the least.

    I’ve been using a Blueline A9 notebook for its durability for my quiet times and general journaling. What I miss is something to carry with me to meetings, appointments, etc.  Since I’ve implemented a shorthand into my note-taking for weekly reviews, I’d love to have something more ‘take-along-able’ and the added ability to easily remove pages would be great for a variety of reasons. Thanks for the review. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=22404226 Mike Salisbury

    I’m using the large ( (7-3/8″ x 9-7/8″ inches) and loving it. Thanks, Michael. 

  • http://twitter.com/danielbelltn Daniel Bell

    My current system is a legal pad which is boring, pages tear easily, and offers no aesthetic inspiration.

  • http://www.blogwithcareracter.com Rashad Morris

    I currently use a the notepad and voice memo on my phone and I carry a small notebook around. The issue I’ve had with these is that there are three places where I stored information and there is no easy way to transfer them all into one spot. I’ve been following your productivity posts and have been adjusting some of my methods. I’ve downloaded Evernote to my Android phone and my PC and I’m preparing for the “big transfer”. I hope it goes well. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689042092 Craig Rairdin

     I have stacks of cheap spiral notebooks containing notes from every phone call, meeting, project, etc. I’ve done in the last 23 years. What I’ve discovered is that they only come in handy in two situations: In the rare circumstance where I need to find some old information (maybe a dozen times in those 23 years) and when I get deposed by a room full of lawyers. In the former case, I rarely have trouble finding what I’m looking for since the information is chronological, and in the latter, I wished I had never written anything down.

    Having it in electronic form is not worth the effort. Most of the time when I need to recall it, it’s just back a couple pages. Once it gets old, it becomes useless. It’s interesting, but not useful. Keeping it around for fast electronic searching would be a waste of time. Having it in some electronic format also just creates a compatibility question in the future. I have electronic documents on my computer going back almost 30 years. Some of the oldest documents are in PC-Write format. Fortunately those are basically ASCII text files with a few control characters inserted. But I have some other information in databases and spreadsheet formats that are no longer supported by anyone. Unless I’m willing to continuously migrate that data to newer formats, I need to just treat it as temporary. If I want it to be permanent, I have to print it and file it. (And I’ve learned that almost nothing I think should be permanent should be permanent. See “deposition”, above.)

    This is also why all my digital photos are in JPG format. They’re not stored in iPhoto or whatever it’s called on the Mac, nor in some fancy digital photo album on my PC. They’re just in folders organized by general topic (“Family”, “Work”, “Travel”, etc.) then by year, then by activity. So I can find pictures of my son’s 10th birthday by looking in Family2002John’s Birthday. If I had put the older ones into some database back in the day, they’d be inaccessible today without extra effort (either now or continuously in the past to move them into newer formats as they became popular). And the ones we really care about we printed out and put into physical albums that sit on a shelf in the family room.

    Taking notes on paper, then removing the paper from its binder and digitizing it seems like the worst of all possible solutions. You now have hundreds of loose sheets instead of a handful of books. And you have all your notes in some arbitrary Microsoft product that they’ll abandon in a few years. Of course it won’t matter, since you don’t need to go back and review meeting notes 15 or 20 years later anyway. :-)

  • Dayton D. Mix

     I have for years tried different systems to accomplish the same thing. Daytimers first, Palm with me then changing anticipated appointments to actual accomplished events (trying to have an e-copy), then I created a logbook (which as a pastor has been very useful– how many pastoral calls, communion served, counseling appts, classes taught, etc.). And I would carry around a notepad or such to jot down things so I could “log” them later. This last one has had a HUGE hole in it though… how to incorporate the ‘notes’ and such. Oh yeah, and how to have it with you w/o lugging a notebook.

    After following your posts and learning about Evernote, I have begun to find I like it A LOT!
    I’d like a chance to try this Ecosystem book. I think it might just be the missing link for me.


  • Pat Farrington

     I’ve never been really organized at note taking. I use EverNote occasionally, looked at Moleskine because I heard everyone talking about how great they are but for a notepad I’m still using reporter’s notebooks. I’ve loved them since college, they fit in your rear pocket easily, sit on the leg comfortably for writing and cost about 1/4 of a Moleskine.

    Of course my most common note taking procedure is writing things down on any scrap of paper that’s available.

  • http://www.facebook.com/staci.pruitt Staci Holland- Pruitt

     Well, things here are a little ALL OVER THE PLACE!  I am using mostly sticky notes…sad.  I’m trying and learning to use evernote more, but more often than not, I grab for the Post it Notes.
    Then I put them all together in a little leather notebook that I found from a street vendor in Florence.  So I’m pretty much rewriting ALOT!  But sometimes that’s good cause then I go over the notes again.  I know I need a better system.  I should get to work on that!  (hold on, I’m reaching for a bright orange post it note to write “GET A BETTER SYSTEM” on.)  That’s next on the list.

  • http://www.writerscupofgrace.com Alicia Scott

    I’ve tried Moleskine (different formats) for several years. Have loved using them – and have just taken my scissors and cut out what I needed and then attached to my project folders. HOWEVER –  the ease of tearing out the pages would make life more convenient. PLUS – I’ve been working towards the “paperless” life – and I’m a bit of a sucker for trying NEW stuff. So – I’ll be heading to my local Barnes & Noble to see what options are available. Can’t wait. THANKS for this post and happy Monday to all. :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Lucy.Ann.Moll Lucy Ann Moll

    My system is so convoluted sometimes I feel like giving up. I’ve tried legal pads, good ole memory, sticky notes, calendars (various sizes), daytimers, head-banging — which I don’t recommend; it leads to headaches and no solutions. I’m at a loss. I used to think I was pretty smart, not genius, but organized and together. God has humbled me. Mike, if you don’t pick me — and that’s okay. . .then I know some other deserving person will get my — ahem, her — ecosystem journal. God will make another way. He always does. Blessings to your and Gail. : )

  • Anonymous

    I currently use the old-style composition books that we used in school for journals and english classes.  I’m starting to switch things over to Evernote for this upcoming school year and am looking forward to having a searchable system!  Thanks for all your organizational posts!  I know everyone has to find a system that works for them and thankfully, it sounds like you and I are very similar!  I appreciate you being a few steps ahead of me and sharing your experiences!

  • Kim

    Currently I’m using my notes app on my iPhone as my journal because it’s private and I don’t have to worry about anyone snooping through it. I need a paper journal so I can physically write. I don’t want technology to hinder my creativity so I may Invest in a couple moleskine journals I’ve been hearing about or the Ecosystem one you suggested.

  • RobertPop

    I think your article is great. I’ve been using Evernote as my digital notekeeper. However I haven’t found the perfect paper notebook yet. After reading your article on the Ecosystem notebooks and watching the video, I think I found the perfect one! Thanks for posting!

  • Michael Scarbrough

    Hi Michael,

    Appreciate your organizational inspiration! My current note-taking system is limping along with a Franklin planner book I’ve had for years, but I’m not organizing them very well (your “scan to Evernote” system has been an eye-opener there). Lots of my coworkers are taking notes on iPads these days in our meetings, and that could work, especially if they’re going direct to Evernote (which I have done some on my iPhone). However, there is also something to be said for pen and paper. These journals look like a good solution for that. “Paperless office” does sound almost too good to be true. : )

  • Anonymous

    For personal stuff (projects, bible study, general note-taking) I use a combination of a large-sized Moleskine knock-off and a pocket-sized Moleskine, both with ruled pages.  For work projects, I’m using MS OneNote.

  • http://twitter.com/mirandasheart Miranda Hartrampf

     I ran into Springpad before i ran into Evernote so trying to make the switch over made my organization worse then better. I found that just sticking to my Springpad was best! As far as when I’m on the go (Though my android does spoil me with instant spring pad access!) i am a journal freak! I love all styles and forms of notebooks.  However i am really really big on buying just your average ordinary composition notebook and crafting up the outer cover. That way each book is unique! 

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Daptmin

    I found an inexpensive yet smart looking notebook with perforated pages into and and ability to replace the paper. Current I’m using recyled paper and I find it easier to read. 

  • Kirk Weisler

    My current system… well it “used to be” a Moleskin.  But I will soon be trying an “Ecosystme” thank you for the recommendation.  For the past 2 years I have started every day long training course with 30 mintues on the importance of journaling and taking notes.  There is a HUGE difference between someone who shows up to training Looking to Learn (with a journal) and a person who just shows up with nothing to write with or no strategy on how to capture insights.  Sadly in the US the system is more about getting through school instead of getting from it.  So now any leader or teacher must take time to teach their people how to learn.  The Leadership Learning Journal!  I can’t wait to try an Ecosystem… thank you! 

  • Larry Raines

    Currently, I use scraps of paper with notes, reminders and other odd information written on anything available for note-taking.My pockets stay full of paper wads! Please send one of the free moleskins you are giving away! 

  • SentryAgent

     I am slowly making more and more progress toward going paperless.  Most of my client notes are taken on legal pad.  I am now beginning to scan and file those.  I have some regular classes, and coaching sessions I attend, for which I take notes in an old fashioned Composition journal — about $5.99 for 6 at Costco.  I haven’t yet done this, but after your first post like this one have considered tearing out the pages and scanning those into Evernote.  I’m somewhat reluctant to “let go” of those written records though, as I feel like I’ve written books about some subjects.  

    I have the Evernote apps on my iPhone, iPad, and all computers.  I haven’t yet made the transition to taking written notes on my iPad, but I think that may be the next step if I can get accustomed to one of the notetaking apps — written, not typed.

  • http://profiles.google.com/stevencbradley Steven Bradley

     I have used a handwritten notebook, a laptop, and yellow pads. Currently I like the handwritten notebook (99 Cents at Target–just a composition book). I cannot easily use a spiral ring notebook of any kind since I’m lefthanded.   Ialso  have a slightly different system. I link everything with my gmail account, and use a flatbed scanner when I want to scan things in. This works better for me, since I don’t have to destroy the notebook to do it. If I want to save things as “documents,” google lets me do that, too.  The storage feature is so generous that I have no problems there.
    Steve Bradley

  • Bryantttlee

    This is a great post, just killed my lastest moleskin and will put to use the adviser ecosytems. I’ve been use both a planner and a moleskin to combine the two is a good thing for me. Thanks Michael. 

  • Nate

     I’ve been using Field Notes notebooks and Evernote on my iPad. I can’t take my iPad with me everywhere so I take the Field Notes and then transfer over to iPad’s Evernote and then sync it up to my Macbook. 

  • Larry Paine

    Did you think to contact Moleskin to see if they would modify their production pricess to match the EcoSystem Product? 

    I use a 8.5 x 11 tablet.  I do a number of meetings each day at my desk.  they go into a special 3-ring binder when I am finished.

  • Larry Raines

    Correction: Please send the ecosystem journal you are using, not the moleskin. Thanks! 

  • http://markragland.wordpress.com Mark Ragland

     Currently I have no centralized way of using notes, sometimes I use the stock notes app on my iPhone, sometimes Evernote because of its wireless syncing with the Evernote app on my mac, and sometimes I’ll just jot something down in a random notebook. Definitely interested to check out the Ecosystems and what they can offer.

  • http://www.audreyhebbert.com Audrey4j

    I’m guilty–I admit. I grab whatever piece of paper is handy to the phone I’m talking into, or to my computer. I have a hodge podge of notes that I gather into various file folders to store with the others. Sometimes I write a phone number or link , but I throw the paper away. Being a writer, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, I receive good information every day. This sounds like a good way to reorganize and use my time more efficiently.

    Thanx for all the good information you share every day, Mike. Your archives hold just about any information I need. This month it’s ebooks, and I’ve searched through your archives several times. I’m writing a teen book on bullying, using the black and blue with a splash of red color scheme. This morning I decided to add touches of aqua. God bless you!

    Audrey Hebbert

  • Todd Plunk

    Thanks for the link to your older post regarding the lost art of taking notes, very helpful.

    My current system for taking notes consists of using a collection of random notepads for the first draft, and then I’ll transcribe them to a spiral bound notebook in a more organized and systematic approach.

    I would love to try out an ecosystem journal. pick me. 
    -Todd Plunk

  • Sharon Lippincott

    When I first read that you’d ditched your Moleskine, I feared you had gone digital on us for the writing itself. Please! Not another defector! As I continue to state in posts on each of my blogs, I firmly believe in the power of the pen for seriously exploring ideas, internal or otherwise.

    My current journal of choice is hand-bound books I make of folded legal-size paper with custom covers. I love these! However … your post appeals to the pragmatist within me. This could work. Would I be diligent enough to actually scan? It’s worth a try. 

    P.S. I’m also a relatively new fan of Evernote. I rely on it more and more.

  • http://twitter.com/RevTucher Rev. Tucher

    I use the Moleskin app on the iPhone, but it isn’t the same as a pen and paper notebook.

  • Bradley Miller

     Currently I use Catch for most of my instant notes.  I recently bought QuickOffice for my Android based phone and I love the fact that I can access my Google Docs through that . . . I can write something and either stick it in my Dropbox account or directly to Google Docs.  I created a Google presentation and then I can play that back on my phone to prompt me for interview questions or to be a little mini teleprompter.  

  • http://twitter.com/caseycease caseycease

     I’ve been using Moleskin/Evernote, but as you mentioned, it is a pain to get it into a digital format.  The consequence, as I am a comfort junkie, is that my notes do not get entered into Evernote at all, thus, leaving me less organized.

    I’d love to try one of the Ecosystem Journals.

  • http://thinkspurlove.blogspot.com David

    Currently I use a Moleskine (a black, Plain Cashier Journal style) and Evernote (via Android and Mac) as well.  I was not impressed with one aspect of the Moleskine, it’s spine. It seems that the spine has started to crack and flake away. I carry my Moleskine Journal in my pocket, as that particular style is designed for. With Evernote, I am able to dictate audio notes and ideas, take nice resolution pictures (portrait/landscape has been a problem in the storage of some notes), or write out simple ideas for later development. If the Ecosystem Journal is built better than the Moleskine I would love to give it a try. Please consider me for a free one!

  • http://twitter.com/Adam_Clagg Adam Clagg

    Thanks for the great post, Michael.  I just started using Evernote and I am trying to get used to it. I love that it syncs with my laptop, phone, and tablet. I am trying to integrate a “GTD” system with Evernote, also.

    Currently I use legal pad for meeting notes and I keep notes in file folders and three-ring binders. I need a good system of digitizing this information. Currently, I have one full-time job (pastor) and two part-time jobs (writer/editor & online professor). Plus, I’m working on my doctorate.  Keeping these things in their proper context can be daunting.

    Your blog has been very helpful.  I plan to start scanning my meeting notes immediately and importing them into Evernote.

    I assume you scan them into PDF files. Is that correct?

    Thanks again!

  • http://twitter.com/tweetJill22 Jill Marie Codere

    Do I ever need to get a system of taking notes….
    I use random pieces of paper and then I create this rather nice pile of scraps and the worst part is that sometimes it’s just a name on a tiny piece of paper and no other reference.
    I need to get organized. Would love one of these sweet little books!!
    Thank you for the review!

  • http://www.momonaspiritualjourney.com Sarah Lawrence Hinson

    Hi there Michael!  This is a great idea for a giveaway.  As a blogger and budding author I often need different ways to write things down – and these journals offer that flexibility. I like the tear-out pages for my children too as well as myself.

    Have clients who are learning to journal, this will be a great product to recommend to them.  Thanks for the thought you put into this!


  • http://jbdeaton.com J. Ben Deaton

    Another really great option meeting all your criteria is the Behance Dot Grid Journal. I think it’s main advantage over the Ecosystem is having much thicker paper. All pages are perforated and have the subtle dot grid pattern. I bought it for the exact same purpose — scanning every page using my Scansnap. 


  • Jason Keene

    First, thank you for the brilliant blog. I look forward to each issue.

    To take notes, I currently use the Notebooks app on my iPad and synch with dropbox. However, I am a avid Evernote user and would like to centralize everything into one system. Being a scansnap convert, I am turning my home/office paperless and your suggestion would be a easy transition.
    Jason Keene

  • http://dominiceidson.com/ Dominic Eidson

    My current system is one where I used to take notes on paper for the longest time, while slowly moving to using Evernote. There are a few areas in which I think I’ll stick to paper notes (I have years of books/notes collected), but for the rest, I’ll likely move to something computer/online-based. Being able to easily share between computers is just too convenient.

  • Youthconnex

    Wow. I wonder if they have the ability to keep a messy in tack? I have been using Markings by CR Gibson for the easy presentation, and simplicity it gave me. I also like the fact that it has a magnetic closing that keeps those easy to fall out speaking cards. The most important thing is that it looks like a little executive on the front.  

  • http://www.powerfeedback.com/ Scott Gingold

     My current system is either a reporters type notebook (fits into breast pocket of a suit/sport coat) or a bound notebook. Neither of which are particularly efficient and cause me double-work. Based on Michael’s testimony I have been experimenting with Evernote and thus far I am very pleased. The Ecosystem Journal sounds like a very smart solution for me, especially as I have some surgery upcoming that will prevent me from carrying my MacBook Pro for quite some time.

    I am also looking into the scanners you mentioned in your post (tips) from last week.

    Thanks BTW for all of this information, it is very helpful to learn from someone who shares a similar travel/work situation and has flushed out what works, and what does not!

  • http://twitter.com/mama_kass Kass

    I just began using a moleskin. I like the hardcover binding that doesn’t wear easily.

  • Angelo Gonzalez

    I’ve been following your posts on Evernote and have decided to try and go paperless as well.  I’d be willing to ditch my moleskin for this as well…

  • http://Lbgtmsf.com Ted Werth

    My current system involves using the moleskine 5 1/2 x 8 x 1/2.

    Like you I struggled to get written notes into Evernote.  I tried using one of the small letter openers with the razor blade to cut pages out.  It worked ok but is a hassle. 

    Recently I discovered an iPhone app called JotNot.  It overcomes the limitations of the Evernote photo function.  The key is to photograph against a high contrast background and it will consistently find the corners.  It processes the text to give a nice high contrast white background.  It has built in Evernote integration.

    A key thing for me was that it is easy to photograph multiple pages and have it all sent to a single Evernote note.

    JotNot also has the ability to photo a document and fax it.  Not needed often but invaluable since I don’t have a fax at my home office.

    That said, I do like the option of the tear out pages as I also have a ScanSnap scanner.

  • http://www.bizjournals.com/ Ben Eubanks

    I still prefer paper over other options. Maybe it’s the physical act of writing that helps put in my memory. Of course doodles and arrows help too

  • Ethompson

      I would hope that you would recycle the pages you tear out of your new notebook rather than simply throwing them away. If you appreciate the fact that the notebook is made from recycled paper, it would also seem appropriate to recycle that paper as well.

    Ed Thompson

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=795189965 Kelley McCollum Basatneh

    I take notes on Moleskin and on a note-taking app on my droid, but I lost the notes on my app when I got a new phone, so no more app notes! I’ve also tried taking notes on my macbook pro, but it’s not always with me. 

  • http://twitter.com/timsherman777 Tim Sherman

    What a great product!!  I use a simple journal right now to capture my thoughts for the day and recored the days activities.  I modded it so that it would have a pouch that I could carry my goals in it.  So, one that has a formal pouch in it would be sweet!  

  • Anonymous

    I am coming to the end of my Moleskine journal and still love it for journaling and writing down personal thoughts.  I still love the tactile nature of paper and pen.  However, at work I have abandoned paper and am a huge fan of Evernote for meetings and Awesomenote as a to-do list.

  • http://twitter.com/wahradio Allen

    I use a small spiral notebook, legal pad  and now my  iPad or Android EVO.  I think the ecosystem would be better to consolidate all of my paper note taking.  I am learning Evernote and have a snap scanner. I’m trying to go the paperless as much as possible. Following your progress has been helpful since I also have  Macbook Pro and iPad. Not ready to give up the iPad because I find myself using it more and more. Being in broadcasting iPad app TuneIn Radio is awesome for listening to and recording radio station everywhere.

  • Roman

     I currently use a black Moleskin as my primary note taking device; however, I also use Evernote on my Mac to take notes while I am using the computer. I really like the Moleskin notebook, but have also found the absence of the perforated pages to be a problem. Therefore, I am certainly open to trying a new journal, and the Ecosystem journals sound quite exceptional! (I also really like that the journals use recyclable paper). 

  • Kyle Potter

    At my desk, I type notes or take screen clips directly into Evernote. In meetings I use a legal pad, and when reading books I use a legal pad or a moleskine notebook. I just started my large-scale Evernote digitization project, so I’m excited about your Evernote tips as well as getting a new Ecosystem notebook!

  • Csumey

    Long ago I used the Franklin Planner religiously but then went all digital.  Now using Evernote on the IPad2 but missing that tactile experience – and being able to flip through pages rather than clicking through files.  I’m interested in finding a way back while still using Evernote for organizing ideas, meeting notes.  Have found your Evernote posts very helpful. 

  • Gotmentors

    Mike, I am very appreciative of your genuine call to leaders to value the art of note taking. I personally value journal taking. I learned to shelf timeless truths ever since I began to keep a journal. I never thought of filing thoughts electronicly,if I ever I may highly consider the Eco system. Thanks to you am already an avid user of evernote. I am pretty close to going pro. I love jornaling si much that I had our church men’s ministry theme screen printed on our journals.

  • PatriciaW

     Like the idea of being able to tear pages out of notebook as desired.  I have so many notebooks, most of which I no longer need but the few pages that I do, I don’t want to rip.  These sound great.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Michael, currently I use a pad of legal paper to take notes. It’s not the best, but it is working for me so far. I’m looking forward to getting an iPad from work and seeing if that will help with note taking. However, I do like having a paper version to physically write down the notes.

  • Megan Clanton

    I’ve been struggling to find a notebook that works well for me as a teacher, shifting from ideas for classes to grad school to my personal life in the summer. So far, I’ve been using Cambridge Limited for the last 6 months because of its simplicity and I love the date boxes in the corner and the perforated pages.  However, I don’t think it will be very useful this summer when I’m doing a lot of unit planning. I’m definitely interested in the  Ecosystem journals. 

  • http://twitter.com/ClayBridges Melissa Leembruggen

    From one DCW & Summit graduate to another, I am ashamed to confess that I used to be an avid notetaker and organizer…then I had kids…then I started a couple businesses and somehow notetaking was one of the functions that got lost in the shuffle. My brain is my notetaking computer and its not working so good anymore since I passed 40. Eek. So aside from torn off church bulletins, random legal pads, friend’s brains & notes, along with emailed note reminders I’ve been at a loss. In fact, I just found a post-it note from last week saying, “Read Michael Hyatt’s blogs on note-taking systems/check out Evernote”. I’m trying to make that happen today. I’ll see if my iPhone schedule reminders will let me have a few minutes. Those “dings” are relentless. ~Melissa

  • http://twitter.com/bigmet Metric

    This would be great for me! I’m dyslexic and ADHD and am discovering that writing stuff down (notes, ideas, prayer request) works a lot better for me than trying to remember it. I’m also beginning to lessen my carbon footprint (started recycling!) so this would support my goal. Also, I have a 5 yr old that’s starting to write so I want to teach him how to start recording his thoughts.

  • http://twitter.com/johnataylor John A. Taylor


    I’m both a Moleskine and Evernote user.  I love the flexibilty of Evernote, but sometimes the old-fashioned pencil-t0-the-paper method is just what I need.

    And I’ve run into the same problem you’ve described.  I’m currently moving most of my items into the cloud, but have been unable to easily tear out pages in my Moleskines.   I’ve used them for so long, I almost feel like a traitor.  But, I think it might be time for me to follow your lead and check out the Ecosystem products.  If only they had a Reporter’s Notebook like Moleskine.  That one is my favorite style.

  • Dave Lewis

    My current system is primarily graph notebook combined with typing significant notes into laptop and other online tools.   I’d like to more effectively capture quotes, illustrations, stories for presentations, sermons and articles but have struggled with how to balance having a usable notebook, while at the same time being most effective with my computer work flow management tools.  I have started with Evernote  a couple of time but have trouble getting in the flow.   Maybe this will be the kick start I need to stay with it. 

    I’d love to try one of these.  At first glance, the perforated pages don’t seem like a big deal, but they really are. think I’ll try the scanner into Evernote for a few months.

    Hope you’re having a great sabbatical in the mountains Michael.  My wife and I were there just last week, doing the same thing.  Beautiful place.

  • http://www.pinkdaisyjane.com Heatherly Lane Sylvia

    A note-taking system? You mean I’m supposed to organize my thoughts?

    When I was young and child-free I had different notebooks for different tasks- one for prayer requests, one for study notes, one for personal reflection, one for quotes, thoughts, observation and story ideas… You get the picture.

    I am trying now to get back into the habit and discipline of writing a bit each day, but my notebooks are a cornucopia of  sermon notes and story elements with a side of funny quotes from my preschooler.

  • David

    I use a Moleskine for journaling.  Depending on the thought or idea I will then type it into evernote so I have a more organized permanent record.

  • Dougsbaker

    I am willing to try this notebook once. It is going to be hard to get me away from using my moleskin. 

  • nwphil

     I use a small moleskin. I’d love to try the Ecosystem journal.

  • Kevin Walker

    I actually use a small legal pad for taking notes. I switch between this and a black Moleskine. Why? I have no clue! But I want to buy a legal psd everytime I go to Wal-Mart. :C)

  • Les

    I use LiveScribe – it sends my notes to Evernote without scanning, and has the added bonus of recording the audio of the meeting as I write. Months later when I am scratching my head over the notes I wrote, I can play back the meeting at the very point I was taking that particular note. Way cool.

  • http://www.esauproject.com Julie Shreve

     I have a moleskin, Evernote on my iPhone, random slips of paper floating about all over my home and my desk at work.  I leave myself voice notes, send myself emails or text messages, really just whatever I have handy at the moment.  I could probably use a little organization!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Frankie.The.Freighttrain Frank Turfler

     I currently use a livescribe echo smart pen. I love that my notes are stored both physically and electronically.  The reason I purchased it was the feature of being able to record audio and have it sync up with my written notes.  I was forever forgetting information because as I would take a note the conversation or lecture would have moved on and I would miss something.  My only improvement would be a greater assortment of notebooks and the ability to customize notebooks and pads.

  • http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com Cynthia Herron

    I used to carry the smallish legal pads in hardbound covers, but they just fill up too quickly!  Thank you for your great tips today! I definitely need to consider a whole new way of note taking.  (Probably won’t be able to take too many notes today, though…my heart is saddened by the devastating loss in the Joplin area.)

  • Anonymous

    My note taking can best be described as being “in transition.” For the longest time I have been a big fan of the yellow, wide-ruled legal pad. I tried the moleskine, but it just didn’t work for me. I recently bought a first-generation iPad and have been trying to move toward Evernote, as I can use it on my laptop, iPhone, on the web from any other computer, and on the iPad.

    I like Evernote and am getting up to speed on using it. Unfortunately, I am also trying to get up to speed using the iPad, too. So far, the jury is out. Like you, I am trying to find if the iPad fits into my workflow. I have a MacPro that I use for any intensive video editing/rendering. My MacBook Pro is befy enough to do everything I need for my job, plus it will do most video editing/editing that I need to do. I am hoping that the iPad will be a good grab-and-go solution that will allow me to do writing, note-taking, planning, and some basic, down-and-dirty video editing and music arranging,

    As I said, the jury is out. If the iPad works out, I will likely upgrade to the iPad 2 with 3G.

    Hope you are enjoying your sabbatical. Have a great day!

  • Eric Platner

    Currently, I journal my life in a 10 year journal that allows me 5 lines a day for the “tweet” version of what’s happening.  When I have a longer entry, there are lots of extra pages in the back.  But I like it b/c it’s 10 years in one place, including my goals.  Then for meeting notes, I use Evernote or Word and send to Evernote.  Lastly, for just my planning or strategy thoughts I either write on paper and scan to Evernote or just type it right into it as a new note.  I love Evernote as well and use it as a one stop shop.

  • http://twitter.com/cynthiaSEL Cynthia Leighton

     Hmm. I use a journal from Office Depot. A great big ruled book. My ‘desk’ ones are big, 500 page books. My carry-about ones have a smaller number of pages. I’ve got more than a shelf-full! I’ve used a lot of them over the years, since, well, 1988! The one next to me says RECORD S300-5R and is WilsonJones (R) and then it says ACCO Brands, Inc. with an Illinois USA  address. Oh! And then it says Made in China.

  • Nancy

     Whatever scrap of paper I can grab and recyle!

  • http://twitter.com/staysmall amar

     It never seems to be quite complete. I am currently using a mix of moleskine + evernote + wiki. In terms of time spent ->
    [x] mostly on moleskine
    [x] evernote second and 
    [x] wiki third.

    Biggest problem for me is not having my moleskine on me at all times. I have consistency issues. I know, I know it is me not the tool :) but hey i am always looking for better solutions.

    I am intrigued by the concept of tear+scan. I might need a faster scanner though ;-) or use one of those android/iphone apps that lets you pic(scan). Maybe we should build an android/iphone app that can frame an “ecosystem” page automatically using guides at the page edges and make it easier to snap + scan.  Looking forward to giving it a try.

  • http://www.lookthrough.net Sonny Lemmons

     My current system of taking notes can best be graciously described as haphazard. A few years back, I stocked up on a number of journals – both with lined or unlined pages – from a bookstore that was having a massive discount sale. I’ve filled up all but one of them, but quite honestly, they bug the daylights out of me: when I sit down and type out what I scribbled down, I get a little frustrated because I feel like I’m having to produce double efforts for what I initially wrote out. Anything that could help with this would work wonders for me – and help keep me from growling at my laptop as I type. Based on the posts you’ve made about Evernote, I plan on downloading it and giving it a whirl…once my kid goes down for his afternoon nap…

  • Joel Heppner

    I currently take notes on a MacBook Pro, Notes on an iPhone and use a small ruled note pad.   I’ve used a Moleskin (or knock off) for a journal when traveling.  You’ve tempted to try Evernote.

    I chuckled at the fact these Ecosystem journals are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper but you throw the paper away after you scan it — perhaps you recycle the paper.  ;-)

    Blessings,  Joel.

  • Joey

    This looks like it can be very helpful! I would totally want to try that

  • Luke Middleton

     I’ve been trying your paper-to-Evernote idea by scanning pages torn out of legal pads. That’s had its pros and cons. Thanks for this info on the Ecosystem journals. This looks like it’s worth trying! 

  • http://www.gracehousedesigns.com Sharon Poarch

    I use a small leather snap-closure journal that fits in my purse…only for quick sketches, inspiration or to jot something down until I can process it into my system.  And I am always looking for the all-encompassing system…one that is simple, easy and accessible.  Evernote has intrigued me for years.  Love the journals…together with Evernote, this might be the answer.

  • http://twitter.com/SheReads Becky Rech

    I use a Moleskine calendar to keep track of what is going on and my to do list.  I’ve added sticky notes in the past to layer and keep track of special events.  I use Evernote to take more intense notes, especially ones I want to have on my phone for additional use. 

    I love the idea of scanning handwritten notes into Evernote.  I am an online graduate student and miss taking traditional notes with a paper and pen.  I usually just take notes in Evernote or within the document/PDF I’m working on.  This would be the best of both worlds.  Thanks for the tip!

  • Ron Anderson

    Hi Michael. I recently signed up for your blog, and you got me started using Evernote again on a regular basis. I forgot how great it is! And thanks for the tip about the new journal.

  • David Creel

    Currently I use nothing for note taking, but am going to start next week (cause we are leaving for a 5-day cruise in about 3 hours).

  • Albert Lew

    I mostly use Evernote  on my iPod Touch 4 to record any personal notes. From receipts to phone numbers to an idea I scribbled on a pizza box.
    At work, we haven’t quite gone on-board with using electronics and most of us revert to good ol’ legal pads. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to transfer or scan notes to keep as clutter-free as possible!
    I must say that I am intrigued by this Ecosystem’s journal since there are a couple times I am w/o my iPod and could use this tool.

  • http://twitter.com/jrheimbigner Jack Heimbigner

     I currently use a combination of Moleskin, Composition Notebook, and Evernote to dump just about everything that I could be thinking about onto paper. Though I use my Moleskin mostly for notes from church and in my personal study of the bible. And I use the cheap, not-so-great Composition notebook to take down notes and thoughts before they go into Evernote.

    I am getting ready to do a major shift in my organizational system to better adapt it to my job. It would be great to get my hands on one of these Ecosystem Journals. Thanks for the post, I have really been enjoying the posts on productivity lately, thanks Michael!

  • Chris Mapson

     Wow, Michael!  This could be huge!  

    As you know, there is actually what could be considered a veritable “cult” following out there of Moleskine users.  

    About a year ago, I found myself swept up in the ground-swell of the Moleskine-faithful and started noticing them everywhere.  I absolutely HAD TO have one.  So, I joined the esteemed Moleskine club.  It gives me rank, position, a juicy sort of snooty-ness.  Somehow, Moleskine-in-my-pocket completes me, helps me think I’ve arrived.  ;-)

    Until now.

    Your post has very effectively caused me to do a double think.  Yikes!  More than that, I’m switching camps!

    Officially, I will now forward your post to every other Moleskine aficionado I know.  I – used to – refer to them as the Brotherhood (of Moleskine users.)

    If your post goes viral, (which I secretly hope it does!), this could spell the end of a dynasty, the legendary (notebooks) just might fall.  

    And, I love it that our world can change just about that quickly!

    Moleskine – blah!  Ecosystem journals – forever!  Or … so.

  • SSD

     I currently use my trusty filofax for taking notes!! 

  • Anonymous

     Thanks Michael for the inspiring post! I’ve recently gone from being a disappointed iPad note-taker (due to the lack of worthwhile note taking apps and the handwriting experience through a stylus vs. real pen) to an Evernote junkie who carries a notebook and iPad (with synced Evernote) to meetings!

    My notebook of choice today is a Whitelines grid A4 hard cover notebook (http://www.amazon.com/Whitelines-Hard-Bound-Squared-Notebook/dp/9186177613/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306166713&sr=1-8). I love these because of the fact that the paper itself is light gray and the grid is white so it is less distracting then a black on white grid. I’m curious if you know of any brands out there that take a similar approach to paper but may offer a preforated page. Thanks!

  • April Ricafort

     I use ManyMoon.com for organizing projects w/ milestones  and the tasks associated with each. There’s a project for each of my clients and even for personal endeavors related to my illustration hobby as well as my wedding preparations. I still  need a journal (looks like a moleskine) for when I’m not plugged in, such as when I’m in transit or when on vacation.  

  • http://twitter.com/zacbailes Zac Bailes

     I actually use my MacBook Pro for most note taking, and my iPhone4. I will probably move to an iPad soon too. Though I still write out the first few pages of an article or post longhand. I have found it a great deliberative act writing out longhand. Yet I use old 70-page, single-ruled notebooks. Though, now, I’ll have to check out the Ecosystem journal. 

  • Erin Shawver

     I love journaling and usually just grab any random notebook that I can find at my local wal-mart, cvs, hobby lobby etc. I journal almost daily and also keep a separate prayer journal so that I am very intentional about my prayers for others and following up on them too. But I hate that they aren’t all the same. I recently discovered evernote as well and I love love love it! I am kind of obsessed with it actually. Thanks for letting me about about these stylish and super functional journals. I will definitely be checking them out. 

  • http://www.not2us.net Lindsay Goodwin

     Mr. Hyatt, I love the way you share your resources and tips with all of us.  Thank you for being a true leader: intent on investing in the people who are looking to you.

  • Glen Fergo

    Hello Michael,

    My comment is: this is a great (very timely) article as I have been wanting to move closer to the dream of a paperless office.

    My question(s) are:

    (1) your link to the Fujitsu scanner is taking me to a ‘deluxe bundle’ which I think includes a piece of software called Rack2 Filer. If your objective is to scan things into Evernote, do you need this software? (looks like the scanner alone is available for $35 less)

    (2) when you scan notes into Evernote on the iPad, are you using  any type of ‘OCR’ (optical character recognition) software to make your notes searchable?



  • Forrest Long

    I’m a journal writer and note taker and have been for years. Now I am beginning to make the transition to paperless and have just started using evernote after your recommendation. It is good and should help me to become more organized in my note keeping. Moleskines are great but I have been satisfied to use cheaper knock-offs. Now I see it as a monumental task to begin transferring from paper to paperless by scanning. I may not try to do everything, but keep my boxes of old journals, etc. for posterity. I appreciate your cutting edge interest in the latest technology- it helps me to know what’s out there for my benefit and use. 

  • Josh Owen

    I also am a moleskine man my dad gave me a pack of the pocket sized notebooks a few years ago and it revolutionized my organizational ability. As a teacher, I am constantly coming up with ideas for how to better instruct my students. Having a moleskine in which to jot down my ideas allows me to organize those thoughts into a system (which I then organize into a larger moleskine). After reading your article, there’s good reason to use the ecosystem. Thanks for the information!

  • http://www.brookemcgillivray.wordpress.com Brooke

    I use all variety of notebook – – always looking for something “pretty”.  But pretty is hard to file away.  I love the colors of the Ecosystem notebooks – – and heading there right now!  Thanks for the tip. 

  • zanne

    I, too, have been using Moleskine notebooks. I like the different options and sizes and always keep one in my purse. But I have noticed that the paper quality is not the same as it used to be (heaven help you if you use a fountain pen). I’ll definitely have to check out the Ecosystem and see how it measures up. Thanks for the tip!

  • Wbman99

    I’ve lived most of my life flying mock 3 with my hair on fire, and it has always been a dream of mine to get “organized” I’ve tried gadgets, journals, post-its, notecards and have many different peoples systems. I struggle with them all, call it a lack of personal discipline or whatever, i’ve struggled.
    I’m tired of struggling, I want to see if this works for me. Where do I begin? I have a Macbook pro, an iPhone. HELP! I’m tired of my piles not files lifestyle.

  • http://calebbeaty.blogspot.com Caleb

    I currently use a moleskine and evernote. I have not yet integrated them, I just use which ever one is closer at the moment. If I’m at my desk, I use my computer and evernote. If I’m out of my room, I usually have my moleskine in my backpack, or with my Bible (for taking sermon notes) This blog post and this product sound like a great idea, I’d love to try it out. If you send me one, I will definitely try it out.

  • http://twitter.com/AddisonGardner Addison Gardner

     Great post! My current system is using a mixture of my moleskine journal and my iPad 2. Normally I only use my iPad 2 for when I am presenting in a meeting or need to just put in a quick reminder. But generally if I have no part in heading up a meeting or I am just working I am jotting everything down in my Moleskine. Just graduated school in last May and like you I have already built up a collection of full journals (about 4 so far in a year).  Excited to try this new system. I currently do use Evernote on my iPad 2, MB Pro, iPhone, and BB Torch. I love it. This will be a great edition considering I already have a scanner to scan in documents to Box.net for my office docs.  Thanks for another great recommendation! 

  • bethanyplanton

     Michael, as always your so relavant and helpful! I am a journaler and have been looking for a good journal to use. Generally, I just use a cheap one or one that has been given to me. But I think these Ecosystem journals sound wonderful! I love the fact that this one is made from recycled paper and made in the US. 

  • Anonymous

     An offer of free office supplies? A key to my heart. 

    Actually I use anything handy. Until a recent liquid accident, I was using my MacBook Pro as much as possible, and I have a backup spiral notebook.  I also started carry spiral index cards. 

  • Derek

     Currently I have no system of note taking.  Just jot things down here and there. I will have to look into the Ecosystem journals.

  • Drew Moser

     This is very helpful. I too have found moleskine journals gradually not working for me. Thanks!

  • http://www.hoopsu.com Tony Alfonso

     Post-It notes. It might be time to alter my note-taking habits!

  • http://brentlevy.com Brent

     My curiosity is piqued … Used Moleskin for a while, but never thought about scanning them into Evernote. The perforated pages seem like a GREAT alternative.

    Evernote is my note taking system. I can’t recommend it enough — and I do. To almost everyone. I need to be better about tagging my posts, though.

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

     Very interesting, I think I my next journal may have to be an ecosystem one!

  • http://TheInvisibleOffice.com Erica Cosminsky

     My current system involves a Moleskine and Evernote but I get annoyed and just type out my notes. I always have a pair of scissors in my bag to cut out pages in my Moleskine. (Imagine a full grown woman in a Starbacks with a pair of pink toddler’s scissors.) I’ve thought about buying a handhelding micro scanner but just never got around to it. Plus they are quite expensive. 

    I was excited when I heard you say Barnes and Noble had the Ecosystem Journals. But of course they don’t have them at our store in Murfreesboro. I’ll have to pop into the Franklin store when I’m there next week.

  • http://twitter.com/ewdavis1 ewdavis1

     My system is a yellow legal pad. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. I am working on developing consistency in my note-taking. I’m far better than I used to be!

    I also carry a tiny moleskin in my pocket to use to jot down names when I meet people or quick notes on the fly.

  • Jennifer Cutright

      I was fascinated by your recent blog on using Evernote for EVERYTHING – and I’m working my way towards using Evernote efficiently.  However, it is proving to be a HUGE change to my current style:  ‘Write your thoughts down the moment you are inspired’ – or else, the entire thought may be gone within a few minutes – at least the ‘novelty’ of the thought.

      So my system currently happens to be whatever is near: usually a napkin or gas receipt, but most of the time it’s one of many, many spiral bound cheap notebooks that are semi-categorized (once again-depending on what’s handy and where I’m at when struck with important thoughts.
      I’m very interested to try one of the above mentioned notebooks, just for fun!  I like the looks of it.  Much happier than my 99cent spirals – but probably not worth the price in the end if I’m just tearing it to pieces….Thanks again for the always-informative blog posts, Mike.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jonathon.d.burns Jonathon Burns

     I’ve generally used a regular spiral bound notebook for many of my notes.  Being a college student, I would get way too distracted if I used my computer.  The notebooks I tend to use are  cheap as well…which is why I use them.  I bought 30 of them when a wal-mart had them on sale for 5 cents each.  If I only have my laptop available, I usually just use MS Word.

  • Josh Hill

     Josh Hill- I, like Michael tried the iPad thing and only lasted about 2 months, only to go back to my MoleSkin. I couldnt change my workflow to adapt and found that my 15″ Macbook Pro did everything I ever wanted my iPad to do. My Moleskin is tangible and easy to use. I use it for everything when it comes to work…thoughts, notes, minutes, messages, ideas..you name it. I am open to changing. The most enticing feature on the EcoSystem is the perforated pages. Im looking forward to getting my hands on one, whether I’m a winner or not.

  • Scott Revo

     I find myself looking at the Molskine display in almost every store I see them.  Thanks for your info about the Econosystem Journals.  I’ll now make a point to look for them this week in Barnes and Noble.  THANKS!!  Scott Revo

  • Andy Wojtowski

    I have used Moleskine for taking notes for the past 10 or so years. I also use them for storyboarding web site designs. This however sounds like a great product. I love the fact that it is made 100% in the US thus saving the carbon foot print of sending it around the world.

  • David Miller

    I use spiral bound notebooks but it’s not working very well for my modernized workflow. Uggg.

  • Sue Duffield

     I use my iPhone4 exclusively…the “notes” app, finding it convenient, but not easy.

  • http://www.geekforhim.com Matthew Snider

     I am loving the moleskin but am also always up for a change. I wish I still had my iPad because I would use that and evernote everywhere I went.

  • Brittany

    I use moleskines to take notes and I wish pages were perforated as well.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    I’ve also used the Moleskine daily journal to take notes and write to do lists. In terms of things of substance, I write in a journal, though that has declined since I’ve been blogging more. I still am a paper addict, though. I probably should explore evernote.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mcbrownie220 Michael Brown

    I use Mileskine I think it is called the modo & modo style – I use it for my Daily devotions and another for writing poetry.  I would love to try  the Ecosystem so it is easier to transfer both my devotional notes and poetry to the computer through scanning.

  • http://twitter.com/SusanMeissner Susan Meissner

    Didn’t know there was anything better than Moleskine. Count me in…

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    By the way, I had breakfast with Lindsey Nobles this morning. We had fun talking about you (in the best possible way). 

  • Charlie Waldburger

     I take meeting notes in my moleskin and carve out a box in the bottom-right of each page called “Action Steps”. This box is everything actionable summarized in one spot. When I return from the meeting, I use Behance’s “Action Method Online” application (http://bit.ly/ifhV6A) to schedule tasks.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen these and thought about trying them out.  I’ve always used a composition notebook for work. I think I’ve started a fad with my co-workers. They are cheap.  

    Next time I’m in Barnes & Noble, I’ll pick one up.  

  • http://www.andyallen.com Andy Allen

     Hmmm…my current system of taking notes…iPhone/Macbook Pro/any scrap piece of paper nearby…but then I get it into Evernote.  I’ve been using Evernote for a good year now and love it.  It seems we’ve been on a similar quest to contain all this information into a single storehouse…Evernote has been that for me.  I did see your post on Ecosystem a while back but haven’t made the jump…perhaps now is the time.

  • http://twitter.com/scott_haywood Scott Haywood

    I have been using Ecosystem for the last two years.  Sadly, I didn’t even realize that the pages were perforated until reading your post this morning.  I have been struggling with a way to organize and search my notes and I am looking into using Evernote based on your recent posts.  It looks very promising.  Thanks.

  • Kennisha Hill

     This is so coincidental because I just told my husband that I like taking notes on my iPad. But, I also mentioned to him how there’s nothing like old fashioned scribbles. Easier to “jot” things down when you’re on the go, instead of opening an app and typing…especially on a touch screen device. :)

  • http://twitter.com/yarby Jason Yarborough

     Thanks for sharing the find, Michael. I’ve been trying different journals lately as well. About finished with a Piccadilly Journal (Only bought it b/c of the price). I use my journals for expanding on all my ideas such as web strategy, social strategy, or an idea buildout. Often I find myself typing my notes into evernote that I have logged in my journal. Would be very interested to try the scan system. I would probably use the medium hardcover, artist style in Orange. 

  • http://katieax.blogspot.com Katie Axelson

    Right now I’m just using a basic composition book complete with Post-It notes, wrist bands, and photos glued it; it’s color coded by ink (pencil is fiction, blue is prayers, black is sermon notes or something God taught me, and purple is everything else); and it goes everywhere with me.


  • Gigi

    My current system for note taking is either a spiral bound notebook or a composition notebook. I like the idea of tear out pages and the variety of colors. I have been writing in my journal for over 35 years. I would love to try this new ecosystem journal. Thanks Michael.

  • http://twitter.com/duffbert Thomas Duff

    Generally speaking, I tend to grab the nearest notepad and start writing.  I really need to get into a more organized, consolidated format of taking notes, and I think this would be a good start for me.

  • Evan

     I currently have no system for taking notes. I’m a train wreck when it comes to personal (and business-related) organization, and would definitely like to try this simple solution. Thanks for the chance, Michael!

  • Clahookem

    Okay, this may not be an “Aha!” moment but it’s definately a “Whoa!”  as in stop everything…or stop writing everything on random scraps of paper, legal pads, backs of calendar pages and copying and pasting information into Word documents.  Moleskin-Evernote…I didn’t know.

    I’ve always kept my personal journal in a bound book but for meetings and planning sessions I’ve been grabbing mostly the odd tablet and jamming the results in a binder or typing the notes up later….sometimes much later.  So I’m usually the one with a tiny spiral notebook with odd facts to carry with me and a briefcase full of random pages.

    With that said, I have to have the outlet of writing on paper.  I’m old school with the fountain pen and #2 pencil.  There is something about the tactile nature of putting thoughts into pictures and words with your own hand that spurs connection and creativity.

  • Jamie

     I currently use Moleskin but never thought about scanning and placing in Evernote. I just found the Evernote app and am becoming accustomed to using it. This is a great idea and I definitely will add the Ecosystem notebooks to my list for the next $50 Amazon order I place (free shipping) in the near future

  • http://twitter.com/thefatrat Andy King

     I use a pocket moleskin for quick notes, ideas, etc. I use a medium moleskin for writing my bible teaching notes and prep. I use Evernote for capturing thoughts, ideas, content from the web and from my phone.
    I like to write on paper for a lot of things. But I like the ease and accessibility of Evernote. Having the torn out pages scanned would be pretty helpful for search content. Thanks for the heads up.

  • http://www.jerrygodsey.com Jerry Godsey

     Good stuff. In my continual struggle to get organized, I am trying new stuff. I bought 3 of the small journals to carry with me. That way I have a place to quickly jot down my column ideas, sermon thoughts, etc. I am already using Evernote, but I learn something new about it every day. Thanks for the encouragement, Michael.

  • http://nathancreitz.net Nathan Creitz

     I currently don’t have a universal system but I do use a journal and I do use evernote. It looks like the ecosystem is exactly what I need. Thanks for highlighting this awesome resource.

  • Scott Reavely

     I use this steel trap of a brain I have, so that I remember everything ever said…wait, did you say take notes? Oh, sorry…I should have written that down. Maybe the old trap isn’t what it used to be.

    Seriously, I use a legal pad and have paper scraps everywhere.

  • http://profiles.google.com/southernbelle886 Heather R. Asbell

    I have begun to incorporate Evernote in my note taking and
    journaling world.  I love the
    accessibility and the many ways it can be used. 
    I have recently began to scan in my documents and notes to Evernote as a
    filing system.  Though it is a work in
    progress, it’s definitely coming along. 
    I’ve loved the suggestions that have worked for you as you’ve
    streamlined your process.  Love the
    perforated idea on the sheets, and I’m quite ecstatic that you have found an
    alternative to the problem!  I, too, have
    used moleskin for quite a while and found the “tear-out” option to be painful
    for a “clean-lined” individual.  I’m
    enjoying the transition to Evernote and will look forward to the Ecosystem
    Journal to simplify the process even more!

  • http://www.lifeasexperienced.com Sethcaddell

     I love my moleskin, but I’d be up for checking this out.  Next time I purchase a notebook I’ll have to explore this possibility…. Unless I win one… then I can explore that option now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.barger Don Barger

     Your IT choices are SO similar to mine that it is scary.  I love it!  I use a moleskin journal by livescribe so it does what you are talking about – instead of having to use my ScanSnap scanner, it automatically syncs up.

    I did not think that I would like the smart pen but I really do like it.  I keep the journal and it even has livescribe sticky notes.

  • Dave Lester

    I currently use a mini notebook and MS Onenote 2010. The problem with Onenote is it’s reliance on an MS OS. I use an iPad and Android phone, which are not directly compatible. I have to use Dropbox to share. It is a bit of a pain, and not 100% reliable.

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    I have been trying to get a better handle on taking notes – it has never been a strong suit for me.  I currently use a smattering of email (via laptop and iPhone), MS Word on my laptop, sticky notes, and legal pads.  Yes, it is an ugly system.

    I still like to “write” my notes (especially since many notes include drawings, workflow elements and your basic doodling ideas).  However, I really want my notes in the computer as well.  Adding the scanning process (like you, Michael, have been sharing with us) is really making sense for the way I envision myself working – knowing that I can always get searchable information into the computer.

    I keep hearing about Moleskins – I just have never wanted to fork over the money just to try it.  These Ecosystem journals sound like the next step forward.  I would love to try one out and see if I can finally move on with improving my workflow of notes, journalling, and basic writing needs.

  • Katie Spangenberg

    As a college student I am constantly on my phone and consequently find the Evernote app the easiest thing to drop daily thoughts into. it’s no substitute for a moleskin journal though, just more convenient!

  • jsbguin

    Right now I use something very similar to a moleskin notebook. I am new to this type of note taking. I used to use a portfolio with a legal pad but it became too cumbersome. The current journaling notebook I am using was given to me as a gift at a conference I attended. Since using it I have been looking for something like the Ecosystem but had not found anything yet. Thanks for posting this. Now I know that what I am looking for exists.

  • Rlnanney

    I currently use whatever kind of journal I can find on sale…I love the design of these, the variety of bright, bold colors and paper styles…also the perforation is a great added bonus.
    You always offer great “organizational” advice…I’ve applied several of your suggestions and this one will probably be added to that list.

  • Lauren Reavely

     I currently use a small black notebook with grid paper. Not sure what brand it is. These look great though!

  • Terry Morgan

     I take notes everywhere… I think I was born with a “to-do” list in my hand!  I like the moleskin for notes from conferences/podcasts/books, my phone or mini notebook for lists on the go, and recycled paper at the office… but I would LOVE to have it all in one place. I’m going to download the Evernote now… thanks for the Personal Plan book also… I am learning a lot from you and passing these tips on to others…thanks so much for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/rcrsmith ryan smith

     I have always enjoyed the moleskin, it looks professional and  doesn’t take up a lot of space. now that i use evernote, i my give this a try. thanks for the post. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/lebrooks Lindsey Brooks

    Oh, I am SO addicted to notebooks. They draw me in….pull me towards their displays…I love the covers, the empty pages, the promise of filled pages…I love pockets, color, lines, no lines…

    Here’s the thing though–I’m on the search for the “perfect” notebook.  Maybe this is the one….There’s only one way to find out.

    I use whatever piece of paper is around, or one of my many notebooks.  I have tried to use my phone, but I love the handwritten note. I love to cross things off the list. I like pens just about as much as notebooks, so…

    I am a list-writer–in college (before Zoloft), I would write a list each morning about what my day would look like–to the MINUTE.  Like an ADD version of your “Perfect Week” spreadsheet.  I’ve since gotten a handle on things, but still have at least 4 lists going at any given time.

  • Bsh031

    I am currently using molskine but I just signed up for Evernote today.

  • Vikkihuisman

    I’m currently using a stenopad because I haven’t been able to find something I like that’s small enough to fit in my purse.  Until now! :) 

  • andy scott

    I have used Levenger’s Shirt Pocket Briefcase for the past few years.  For a calendar I have used Moleskin, then the IPhone.  Thanks for the info about Ecosystem… I will have to check it out.

  • http://twitter.com/johnsoax Alex Johnson

    Currently, I don’t have a set way to take notes.  Sometimes I type them into my iPad, or I type them into my iPhone.  I also use grid paper, and then type them into the computer by hand.  I’ve recently downloaded Notes Plus on the iPad and am trying it out.  Being able to make pdf’s on my notes on the fly is pretty neat. 

  • Ruthie

     Right now I’ve been using the Franklin Covey system, but I’m feeling increasingly like it’s too expensive for the benefit of its functionality (e.g. because I also have a handwritten and electronic combo system, such a sophisticated handwritten system isn’t necessary).  I’ve been thinking about changing to something more simple and, after reading this post, I think the Ecosystem might be my next experiment, whether I win this free one or not. :)

    Thanks for all your great tips – very grateful.

  • Randy

    Excuse to hit B & N . . . Yeah Buddy!

  • Jshanselman

    My system was eerily similar to Michael’s… and I didn’t even know it — minus the new Ecosystem line.  I stumbled upon Moleskine and loved it at first.  I especially like the calendar Moleskine… it was easier to locate regularly scheduled meeting dates.  My system is sort of a Franklin Covey-hybrid… I like their use of symbols to quickly see what I need to do with a task.  The note taking part was always a challenge.  I don’t want to keep all of them on paper — it just clutters the whole process.  I’d love to move to the Evernote/Ecosystem line.  I use my iPhone for calendaring and many other things… it would be nice to capture notes that I can locate quickly with a simple search.  Thanks for the tip Michael!

  • Ray Pritchett

    I currently use Moleskin, however I love the idea of scanning my sermons notes, meeting notes and random points to remember into Evernote.  That way I can have access to them if the notebook is at home and I’m at work.  

  • Daniel Parris

    Like any person in a corporate world, I am looking for new, innovative ways to organize my thoughts and be more productive.  Your blog has become a great resource for me.   I’ve purchased the scansnap scanner and am now well on my way to the paperless office so many desire. In the past, I’ve used a variety of notebooks supplied by my company.  The problem is that I don’t have “ONE” notebook to organize my thoughts, which leads to me having notes across several notebooks, with no apparent order or direction.  I’ve considered the Moleskine notebook, but decided to wait after reading your blog post about the Ecosystem notebooks recently.   I believe that this notebook, with the advantages detailed in your blog, would be perfect for my workflow.  The fact that these books are made in the USA, and are environmentally conscious, is a definite plus too.  Thanks for the blog, and your willingness to be so open about your thoughts.  

    Daniel Parris

  • http://twitter.com/lindsaywynne lindsay

    I currently use colornote on my droid & it’s just not cutting it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607081878 Jim Egly

     I use Remember the Milk and trying to figure out how to migrate to Evernote I take notes at meetings and need a system to get things done!

  • Rob Smith

    I take meeting notes in a little notebook that I can buy at our campus bookstore.    Notes for processes and procedures that I need to do on a periodic basis go into Evernote.  I’m intrigued by your idea of scanning the paper notes into Evernote which would help me to consolidate everything into Evernote.  To be perfectly honest, there are a number of note pads, note books, and legal pads, depending on what I can put my hands on at the time which means I have an even bigger need to consolidate.  I’ll have to see if there is room in our office supply budget for a small desktop scanner.  Thanks for ideas!

  • http://mikesingletary.wordpress.com Mike Singletary

    For most of the meetings I’m in, I have my MacBook with me, so I use Evernote for Mac. I’ve been using it for a couple years now and love it. For notes when I don’t have my MacBook, I use a Target version of a Moleskin, mainly for my daily journaling, sermon notes, and recording random thoughts and ideas. I have yet to try scanning my pages into Evernote, but I’ve been considering purchasing a scanner after reading some of your suggestions for getting more out of Evernote. Might have to give these notebooks a shot once I do.

    Thanks for always sharing helpful tips from your Evernote experience.

  • Cyndy

    I’ve used the same journal for years for both note-taking and as a personal journal. This has eliminated the need for two journals and made it easy to journal when I have extra time.  As a professional organizer, I hate to admit that I’ve selected the journal more for looks than function. The Ecosystem’s perforated pages seems like a perfect solution for separating my notes from personal musings. Plus, they would fit on the shelf better than my current jumble of journals. Seems like this is something I need to look into… : )

  • MikeB

    Michael, I just recently subscribed to your blog. Great articles! Thank you! I have used different note-taking systems including the Levenger’s Circa notebooks that others have mentioned. BUT, after recently purchasing the iPad 2, and finding the “Noteshelf” app, and Evernote…..I may be going totally paperless! Noteshelf lets you use a stylus for handwriting, and your notes can be easily sent to Evernote, Dropbox, or you can even email them to yourself to include in other filing systems like OneNote. I really like the iPad 2 – Noteshelf – Evernote combination!

  • http://twitter.com/sheilac31 sheilac31

    I try and use legal pads, or the junior sized legal pads if I’m out. 
    I’m not doing so well with keeping track of them and it seems like I’m
    constantly scribbling notes onto whatever random scraps of paper are

    Dealing with paper is one of my biggest trouble areas and you’ve really
    got me thinking of how I could go paperless and use Evernote and the
    scanning system you’ve discussed.  I think the initial cost outlay may
    well be worth it.

  • http://www.mikehickerson.com Micheal Hickerson

     Thanks for the recommendation! I thought I had found a great Moleskine alternative with Piccadilly notebooks, but their quality significantly decreased between the first notebook I bought from them and the second. These sound like the real deal. 

  • Ted Smith

    My current system for taking notes is bouncing back and forth between a legal pad and my moleskin. But I have seen increased efficiency and organization recently by familiarizing myself and utilizing evernote. Your preference with the Ecosystem journal resonated with me because just last week I really needed to scan a page from my moleskin to evernote. So, I decided to slowly and carefully tear out the page, scan it into evernote, and then tape the page back into my moleskin (PAIN IN THE NECK!). Probably makes you cringe… it made me cringe!

  • http://twitter.com/brandonschmidt Brandon Schmidt

     Right now I use a Moleskine for meeting notes, Evernote notes for brainstorming (creating a text note inside Evernote), and Logos notes for sermon prep. While I would love to simplify everything into Evernote, I can’t see myself ditching the interlinear notes for Logos!

  • Brent Colby

     current system: moleskine notebook + I send myself a ton of emails :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Skelly/100001032988467 Matthew Skelly

    I use Napkins, church bullitens, old service orders and ocassionally a small pocket notebook for taking notes – usually for my webcomic 

  • Sean Ashberry

    Awesome Michael!  Thanks for keeping us updated on the most productive (and environmentally friendly) methods for workflow.  Loved the Moleskine and am looking forward to trying the Ecosystem to better utilize scanning into Evernote.

  • http://twitter.com/BradHarris22 Brad Harris

    My current system employs Evernote on my iPad. Not only does this distract me at times (“Hey, I could check my email right now!”) but it potentially sends a message to other meeting attendees that I might not be fully focused, even if I am really taking notes. I sometimes like to add diagrams during meetings or arrows to connect thoughts – Evernote isn’t really set up for these types of actions. I also like the “old school” feel of handwriting, even if it will be eventually scanned. 

    I’ve used a Moleskine as a spiritual journal for a long time and I’d like to move toward a handwritten system for general note taking and potentially do something like you’re doing with your ScanSnap and Evernote. The ecosystem journal sounds like a key piece in such a system.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Megan E.

    I’m right on the cusp of needing a new way to file information away.  The notes I take are usually just on my iPhone, and take FAR too much time to type.  It’s about time to carry an  actual notebook with me for practicality.  I have Evernote, but I’m still learning how to use it.  Obviously it could be really handy for staying organized.

  • http://www.daveanthold.com Dave Anthold

     I currently use a combination of tools.  I use a Moleskine notebook for times when I’m on a plane or just want the ability to write out my thoughts instead of typing – I’m a little old school that way (I still handwrite thank you notes or letters).  I do rip out the pages of my Moleskine notebook, but I fear that will eventually mess the binder up.  I would love to try one of the EcoSystem notebooks as I am increasing my workflow to include Evernote more and more.  A notebook is nice when I want to doodle or explain a concept to someone visually but still retain it for later.

  • http://twitter.com/BradHarris22 Brad Harris

    My current system is an iPad with Evernote. I have found it distracting (Hey, I can check my email right now!) and sometimes feel like it sends the message that I could be doing other things during meetings. I also like to add diagrams or draw arrows and lines to connect thoughts – and currently Evernote doesn’t support such actions. And, I like the “old-school” feel of handwriting.

    I’m considering a move to your ScanSnap system to cut down on paper. The ecosystem journal would certainly make a shift in my note-taking system easier. And I really like their environmental friendliness. 

    Thanks for the great post.

  • http://twitter.com/MattMashburn Matt Mashburn

     Love the idea. I am all about being paperless but there are certain situation where you can’t avoid it. This is a great way to get away from the paper even if you have to use it temporarily.

  • http://twitter.com/jonwellman Jon Wellman

     I use a Moleskine and Evernote, but I do not currently tie them together as completely as you do. I keep my Moleskine with me, jot things down, then transfer them either to ToodleDo (my GTD manager of choice), Google Calendar, or Evernote. 

    I am interested in this notebook, but have a question. As the pages are torn out, does the notebook feel like it’s falling apart? I dislike using a notebook that I tear pages out of because it starts to feel less solid. I like the sturdiness of the Moleskine because all the pages remain attached.

  • http://twitter.com/kadewilcox Kade Wilcox

    As an avid Moleskin user I am intrigued and excited about the Ecosystem journal.  Thanks for the post!  

  • Anonymous

    Well, I feel like I’ve been living in a third world country. I’ve never heard of a moleskin journal and know almost nothing about Evernote. For some reason I thought it was a Mac only program. But in checking again I see that I’m wrong. Guess I need to spend a few days exploring it further. I will read your post on the subect.
    I began journaling almost 30 years ago and have always used whatever someone buys me as a Christmas gift. Most of the time it has been those non-spiral journals. That has always made it a challenge for me as a lefty. But I’ve made them work. Unfortunately, even though I store them in my closet, they are falling apart. There was got to be a better way.
    This year I started using a free electronic journal program called Efficiency Journal. It’s okay. I find that it does the trick but I don’t always have my netbook with me. And I do have a lot of ideas that ar getting lost before coming to fruitation. I try to drag a cheap journal or notebook around to capture ideas. But sometimes I forget them or forget where I wrote what. 
    So basically, as I read your post and all of these comments I realize that my system, up to this point, has been no system at all. It’s time for some changes.
    You’ve mentioned that you are scanning into Evernote. In what format do the documents save? Word files? Text docs? Are they clearly readable?
    So many questions. You need to do a local seminar on going to a paper-less office. I’m pretty sure it would fill up rapidly. I know two people who could benefit greatly from it. In the meantime I’ll read your other posts & do as much gleaning as possible.

  • Rumphrey

    I usually buy various on sale notebooks. . I have been looking for journals that are attractive without being flowery. I think these will fit the bill nicely. Thanks for the tip. Rhonda U.

  • Tk Beyond

     I’ve been using a basic “Mead 5 Star” spiral notebook for years… it’s simple, lined, perforated & has a 2-pocket divider in the middle… love it & it’s cheap, er… inexpensive ;-)

  • Norm Brock

     I use a spiral bond notebook or legal pad.  Looking forward to getting a chance to try Echosystem.

  • Melody Olson

    I am always searching for the perfect notebook my favorite latetly has been an inexpensive version found @ walgreens (spiral).

    Thanks for the information…heading to B&/ to check it out!.

    Melody (MizzBink)

  • Mike Wimer

     Hi Michael,  I have enjoyed your informative blogs after recently becoming a follower of you & your (Biblically based) Intentional Leadership tools in creating a personalized LIFE PLAN.

    I am constantly looking for better methods of note taking in my business of selling medical devices to surgeons in the operation room.  Note only am I looking for a way to capture all the OR staff requests &  sales opportunities, but I also need to ensure that  I am effectively follow-up on the multitude of daily tasks and documenting each OR case for products evaluated and conversations held with surgeons. 

    Currently I have been using the Markings (C.R. Gibson) Note Journal with an elastic “page marker.”  Like you, I have created a character system of prioritized follow up using the OPEN BOX for tasks to complete , STARS for prioritized items and QUESTION MARKS for help needed.  My system for documenting each surgery case entails turning to the last empty page of my journal and moving progressively backward into my journal while beginning chronologically on page 1 with my daily note-taking until the two meet in the middle (4-6 months later).

    Unfortunately, due to the nature of handling and opening, closing, and added selling tools that frequently get stuffed in between on sales calls, my hardback journal simply falls apart after 3-4 months.   Needing to constantly make quick referrals to any specific days work, case report, assignment or incomplete task, I’m torn between using PAPER vs iPad.   Because I don’t carry a computer around with me during the day, I rely on my blackberry Storm2 for all my email updates to view spreadsheets, .pdfs, sales reports.

    I am curious if using a combination of the Evernotes with your recommended Ecosystem Journal would be a welcomed improvement over my current methods?

    Best of Health,


  • duane

    Hi, Mike… I currently use Evernote for all my note taking, both on my computer and iPhone (LOVE IT) and iprocrastinate for my to do list. I also journal frequently though I have not yet used either a Moleskin, or the Ecosystem. I’m always looking for ways to be more effective – love to try this new notebook you are suggesting!

  • Karin Beery

    Whenever I can, I type my notes right onto my laptop. If that’s not possible, I bring my digital recorder and then type them later (although I understand there are some voice-to-text programs out there; I need to look into those). Usually, when I’m at conferences and such, I use a legal pad.  

    I am, however, a journal lover. I keep one in my purse at all times (there are two in there now).  There’s nothing better than a good journal – they work for unplanned interviews, recording spontaneous thoughts, and passing along info. A journal with perforated pages is the best (though I’ve never tried the Ecosystem). I doubt I’ll ever give up journals – there’s just something about a pen and paper…

  • http://twitter.com/oarolin Oscar

     This is good to hear. I have been trying to find something that would fit my life style. I use technology but sometimes I just need a note book. I went to their site and love the options they have. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Eric Abney

    I found moleskin journals and have used them for a few years now. I actually bought an ecosytem calendar this year.

    I work at a counseling center where we give every counselee a journal as they walk through our process. Having an ecosystem journal to give them would be great.

  • Andy

    Currently use a combination of things.  I have found a couple of apps on the iPad that I like, but still there are times when I need paper.  I never got into the Moleskin, but use something very similar with a band enclosure and all.  Key to me is it has to have a place to carry a pen in it as I don’t typically carry anything other than the iPad and my paper journal.  I am thinking of giving the Ecosystem a try, especially since like you I am addicted to Evernote!

  • Nolan

     Hi, Mike,

    Thanks for this helpful post! In my ministry, I have a Lead Team that I supervise and about 10 other people (staff and lay people). I’ve taken a Colorz spiral-bound three subject notebook and created my own tab system to give me sections for each of the people with whom I need to meet. I keep notes for each person to prepare for and review our meetings there. For personal information, notes from books I’m reading, or other notes, I am trying to use Evernote but have found it slightly lacking. I’m hoping a new Ecosystem journal with your suggestions might become a resource for my personal note taking.

    Blessings to you!

  • Thesha

    I’ve been looking for a good journal.  Ecosystem looks and sounds like a fit.  Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/clint.barley Clint Barley

    I use evernote mostly. 

  • http://twitter.com/obihaive Joseph Sanchez

    I just use a regular notepad for notes. I have a leather bound journal for more personal notes. 

  • http://twitter.com/jonstolpe Jon Stolpe

    This is great!  I’ve recently been keeping a journal consistently – after many attempts before.  I think I’ve been at it for 2 1/2 weeks (that’s got to be close to a habit – right?).  Now, I will know where to get my replacements.  Thank you so much.

  • http://www.milestogofromhere.com Jeff Miles

    I have been following your evernote posts very intently and have been missing the portion of the scanner as of yet so right now my notes are taken in a spiral bound two column steno book, it helps me track to do items as well as general notes. It isn’t ideal (that is why I am interested in the ecosystem notebooks that you are giving away) but it has worked for me so far. I have a little program called MakeNotes that I store tidbits of information, but my setup could use a lot of work.

  • Cheri C

     I love Evernote, but I’ve got to say I’m very partial to the Levenger notebook system. With the special disc binding and the desk punch, you can transfer and rearrange pages very easily. Love it!

  • @upneguy

    I recycle the backs of 8 1/2 x 11″ paper and cut them into 10 small sheets (half the long way then into fives). I write bunches of individual notes throughout the day then stuff them into my pockets. Once home (or at work depending) I empty them out on the desk. I toss them as they get done or pile them up otherwise. It’s a terrible but functional, system!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=602677221 Marty Thomas

    I have been using just a regular College hard-bound notebook.  Cheeper and easier to find I guess. This sounds like fun to try.

  • Brian C. Jacobs

    Michael I use a generic version of a Moleskine.  I am an author and often speak in schools and one of the things I tell the kids they need to do is to carry their “Handy Dandy Notebook” arounnd for logging ideas when inspiration strikes.  Here is the one I carry with me! 

  • http://twitter.com/mcfitzie Mike Fitzpatrick

     Lately, I have been using Evernote for the iPhone to take notes…

  • Dan Williams

    I’m trying to migrate from Moleskin to Evernote (iPhone/iPad) exclusively.  This attempt to go “paperless” has been delayed by your alluring EcoSystem post .

  • Ginny

    Thanks for the suggestions on the journal and Evernote! I just added the Eco journal to my Amazon wish list.  

  • Dg Amann

    After reading about your Evernote use and now these notebooks, I might need to give this system a try! My desk is covered in paper notes ALL the time…but this might change my life :)


  • http://twitter.com/rwhitson Robin Whitson

     I love my Moleskines. Fascinated with the idea of using Evernote and a scanner to keep all my notes, handouts from meetings and papers together in one place. I use different Moleskines or similar journals for different uses – one for bible study, one for sermons, one for web/graphic/marketing work, one as a planner, one as a daybook for the desktop with passwords, websites, etc. Moving all of this to digital, indexable, and accessible from any device would be great…
    Will definitely try the new journal when I need a new one. Would love a sample – even my size and color although I prefer the grid for work and computer use and plain for bible/sermon use. Is the paper as good with flowing inks?

  • http://twitter.com/pathunstrom Patrick Thunstrom

     My current note taking system is generally disorganized and based on what tools I happen to have nearby. With a laptop, I use either GoogleDocs or Word depending on my sharing needs, if no computer, just a standard lined notebook.

    I really should develop a better system.

  • Keeponwaving

    As a traveling slam poet I usually jot down ideas in the ‘note’ app of my iPhone, but that usually gets tedious. If all else fails I write on whatever I can get my hands on, receipts, napkins, takeout menus, etc. I can never find the write journal; it’s always too bulky or to cumbersome to open and write in on the fly. Since what I write ends up being memorized for performance, I would rather rather WRITE with my hands, as a first steps to meshing and becoming one with my words.

  • J. Meyers

    I work for the church and find myself needed to take notes frequently to remember what is going on and when it is going on.  So to save resources I write the vast majority of my notes on the backs of used envelopes.  Instead of simply recycling the used envelope I give it another use prior to recycling them.  

  • http://twitter.com/ramblingpriest Phil LaBelle


    As an Episcopal priest that runs a good sized parish, I wish I could tell you the great system I have in place.  But I can’t.  My default is to grab either a small pad of paper or a yellow sticky note to jot things down on.  This has lead to missed notes, forgotten details and a messy desk.  

    I’ve been exploring your site for the last month or so, and I’ve appreciated all you’ve said about productivity, and recognize that I’ve got a ways to go.So I promise that if I’m chosen to receive one of the Ecosystem notebooks, I’ll work hard at keeping all my notes in this single book, and look into using Evernote as well.

    Thanks for a great site!

  • http://twitter.com/jeremiahaja jeremiah aja

     Michael- thanks for this post!
    My system, which seems to always be changing over the past 5 years has been this-

    Pocket moleskines are my “capturing device” – a la David Allen & Scott Belsky.  Everything goes in these- sermon notes, brainstorms for stories, blogpost ideas, paper outlines (when I was an M.Div student at Asbury Seminary), grocery lists, business meeting notes, notes from books (especially Thomas Nelson ones!)- EVERYTHING.
    Every one of the journals are labeled and dated on the outside.  The important and highly valued tidbits on the pages are then placed into Evernote under tagged subject headings in a folder called “The Wrecking Yard”- a whole bunch of parts, pieces, and tidbits, waiting for me to someday come back and pick up to make something beautiful with them!  Those keywords/subjects are labeled with the page number and the notebook number for the corresponding Moleskine.  So when I remember there was a beautiful story about a family jumping into a lake in Donald Miller’s “Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” I can type in anything from “family” “lake” “miller” or “million” and Evernote will use its magic elephants to take me to that entry in “The Wrecking Yard” note. Then I can see the page numbers in the specific book, grab it from my shelf, and then use it for whatever I might need.  Pretty slick, eh?
    Me going through and manually archiving all these scratching in the Moleksine is pretty time intensive and doesn’t happen as much as I’d like.  Tearing out the page and automatically scanning it would be so. much. easier!
    I’d love to give an Ecosystem journal a shot!  
    The fact that they are made here in the US and with 100% sustainability in mind, is something I look for in almost anything I buy…except for my beloved powdered donuts.  The way these are made and the way I can use them to improve my “remembering system” are 2 solid points for me to also “ditch my moleskines” after about 5 years of devotion to them.  When I tweeted out this post I had someone respond to me on an email “I saw your tweet. And for you to have said that, made me go to the link and read about it. Because I KNOW for you to consider doing that, is a MAJOR deal.” I’d love be a fellow Ecosystem believer!
    Thanks for your road tested endorsement for what looks like a really great product from a responsible and future-thinking company.

  • Fred

     I use a daily diary for taking daily notes..

  • Simon Pearson

    Currently I don’t notetake or journal, anything that does get written down tends to be on the back of scraps of paper or inputed into Word if it is important. This is realise is most unsatisfactory and I suffer as a result in many areas.
    I am trying to get life on track after a hard marital situation. I am trying to set my finances straight, get used to life alone and spending time with God and learning more and more about Orthodoxy and trying to form that new worldview from my old Calvinist one. The road is narrow and often hard. Getting more organised and structuredn and getting into good habits like journalling and notetaking are great practical steps forward for me. Thanks for considering me for the offer.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K57Y7SDDTZ4XA7XZVJZHE3F7EM BJ

    Sometimes if I don’t have a notebook close by I use whatever I can find to write on or draw on. I used a napkin the other day to get down an idea I got from a picture. If I am reading a book or listing to something I have a spirial notebook. I also use lined paper and put in a three-ring notebook. Not always easy to carry any of these around.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K57Y7SDDTZ4XA7XZVJZHE3F7EM BJ

    I just posted but not sure if you received it or not. So will write it again. If I don’t have a notebook with me I write on whatever I can find. I drew information on a napkin the other day about a picture I saw. If I am reading and want to take notes I use a spirial notebook. Sometimes I use a three-ring-notebook with just lined paper.   

  • Chase

    Currently I use the old school style composition books. I have a normal size one that I put in my travel bag and I carry a wallet sized one in my back pocket.

  • Muschfarm

    As a journal addict, I keep a notebook which my kids dubbed years ago as my “Mrs. Thinky”. I also use a lot of the sticky note features on my laptop, compiling them into files later. I REALLY want to check more into evernote.

  • http://twitter.com/kootenayrev Richard Campeau

     I love my Moleskines (plural, I have 4 going at the same time!) but this looks really interesting. I hope I win!

  • http://twitter.com/rwhitson Robin Whitson

     What are the cons?

  • http://www.UnwillingToSettle.com Greg Gilbert

    Mike, Your timing is great. I have 32 pages left in my current leather journal. I have evernote now and have just began using it. When I read your post I have also considered pulling the old Franklin Planner out. I used this for 12 years prior to retirement. I could use this for all my notes and thoughts and then just remove the page from the binder, scan and discard. I now use the iPhone/Yahoo calendar so all I use a journal for is notes and songwriting. I’m e-mailing you a copy of my latest song “What Are They Leaving With?” I’m not sucking up for the prize, just think all parents need to hear this song. It began in a Bible class with a journal.  

  • Tori

    I love my moleskin for jotting down quick notes, from directions, recipes, important dates, and everything else I feel shouldn’t be forgotten. I especially like it for keeping next to my bed in order to pen my middle-of-the-night-thoughts-of-fleeting-genius (which never fail to be forgotten the minute you close your eyes again). I absolutely live the moleskin, but the Ecosystem sounds fantastic! It contains all the slight improvements I wished the moleskin had. Thanks for the tip!

  • http://twitter.com/seanpalmer Sean Palmer

     I really like this set-up as I move to a paperless office, but you just need paper for some things. I tried using the Action Journal, but my scanner makes individual scans for each action box and it didn’t work. I’m looking forward to trying the Ecosystem paper products. With a MacBook Pro and iPad I have little use for complicated paper systems, plus I like the Earth and want to use fewer of her resources for myself. Thanks for posting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ChrisGallagher Chris Gallagher

    Recently I have been using the Staples M series leather journal because the cover is a nice leather and the insides are refillable with either lined or blank pages.

    I like the opportunity that EcoSystems  journals have an ID number. I am interested in knowing if the feature has been used yet.

    Thanks for a great review.

  • Anonymous

    Michael-  I’m currently utilizing Evernote on my original iPad paired with a Zagmate case/keyboard.  However, the typing can be distracting in meetings.  I’ve been looking for a compact, functional and fashionable journal whose pages can be scanned with ease.  This just might be the one for me!  Thank you for the suggestion!  Be blessed!

  • Shawngorham

     Hello Mike, 
    I use a Moleskin.  I have also been annoyed at the inability to “rip” out pages.  I however LOVE the feel of a moleskin, the feel and quality of the paper and the durability.  I have often thought of switching…maybe now will be my chance.

  • Mark Licari

    I am a big fan of Livescribe. I just take notes and then transfer them to Evernote. Evernote allows me to search through my notes even with my hurried scribbling.

  • mb

    Mainly Evernote at this point. Got shelves full of half-used journals (some Moleskine)…but Evernote has become my go-to place to store everything. My problem w/ the journals became keeping everything organized, updated, checked-off, etc. These look like the right balance b/w the two.

  • Cindy

    I write down my notes in a journal–not any particular type. I liked the Moleskine journals, but just haven’t liked the colors. I usually purchase bright and invigorating colors and designs for my note taking journals. What a find to discover the Ecosystem journals! I love the varying sizes, the choice of paper layout and especially the perforated pages. I am forever tearing out pages of my notes for  some reason or another and now they won’t  look like the dog ate them off! Thanks for the update.

  • Mostonvt

    I need, I love, I want organization. Moleskin, move over.

  • Jason

    So I was reading about Mac apps for freelancers, and stumbled on a note taking utility that is essentially a Moleskine in digital form. I had vaguely heard of the brand not too long ago, and so…well can I get a notebook for free? There is just no way I could sleep well at night knowing that I SPENT 10 bucks on a notebook…therefore, I need one, for free

  • Richard E. Boston

    I try to carry one notebook, but I end up with one at work, home, and car. I also use the Evernote voice entry.  When I think of something I want to recall later, I simply record my idea on my phone.  This is very handy.

  • Wtcoe

    I just use a regular notebook but I am realizing that this isn’t efficient for what I am doing. Being a youth pastor I am constantly jotting things  down and I need something more reliable and that I can use with evernote. Thanks for the info. 

  • Andy

    I posted earlier, but wanted to add something after reading a few more of your posts about you Evernote “journey”. I use Evernote extensively on my iPad. You mentioned in you post HOW TO USE EVERNOTE WITH AN IPAD TO TAKE MEETING NOTES, about a way of getting sketches or other kinds of freehand notes into Evernote. I have found an app, thanks to one of the people that works for me, that is excellent at that. The Noteshelf app integrates with Evernote and allows you to do a number of things, inluding capturing freehand sketches. It also does handwriting recognition and OCR of anything you send over. It isn’t bad, but like you I prefer to type because sometimes I can’t even read what I wrote much can the iPad. Even though I still do some paper note taking it is getting to be less and less with the use of these two apps. Still there are times when I am just more comfortable with a en and paper and for that I am going to look into these notebooks you have shared with us.


  • Michelle N Acker

    My system for taking notes may seen inefficient but it works for me. I use gmails draft feature to type notes, save links or quotes that I want to have for later. The automatic save feature and search button make sure I don’t lose anything I type and I can always fund it quickly!

  • Nixican

    I actually use two different note books for taking notes.  I have a Grid style notebook for work notes because those notes sometimes incorporate drawings or sketches ( I am a mechanical designer) .  For personal journaling or notes I use a rather thick, but pretty nice journal book.  Im not sure of the make.  I have tried to move to electronic versions of notebooks but I still cant part with my good old fashion pen to paper method.  Removable pages would be a huge plus for me.  I frequently need to remove a page and having to leave behind messy paper tears makes me cringe!

  • Anonymous

    I love the detail and effort you put into your posts. My note taking system is a mess right now. Yellow note pads scattered. Note cards. Pieces of paper. Occasionally a napkin if I’m at a restaurant without anything else. Trying hard to get organized in this area. One day at a time. :)

  • Jmiller9485

    I have used a journel for quite a while and I find most are to thick or large and I found one that is 5 x 8 which actually I use right along with my Franklin Covey Planner and work really good together but it is still a little thick but this new book sounds like the medium really might be more of a better fit, I have looked at the moleskin and didn’t purchase because it was not enough pages, John M. 

  • katzhao

     I use moleskine because I love the simplicity and high quality. After reading your review I’d gladly give the ecosystem journal a try!

  • Simplejoytoo

     I have been using Exacompta for 10 years! I know…in this age, that’s forever, right? It’s a simple spiral-free journal that fits in my purse or diaperbag. I take it everywhere and am always jotting down thoughts and ideas. My husband has a “crush” on Moleskine journals, so when I share this new journal with him, he might flip! I like that the Ecosystem has the elastic strap which mine do not.  I also like that it’s thin whereas the Exacompta that I use is thick. And I too, like to store my journals away on the shelf. It’s as if I stored away a chapter in my life, yet, God-willing, get to open up a new journal and write more.

  • http://twitter.com/CrissyManwaring Crissy Manwaring

     I have been an avid journal keeper since I was k=given my first journal at 7 by my Grandmother. The story of my life now covers dozens of notebooks of various sizes and shapes, settling into the designer spiral bound notebooks with folder pockets about 10 years ago. I love being able to pick up a book and read a chapter out of my past. And although I love the technology, I think I will also have to start with a paper notebook in recording my thoughts… there is something cathartic about putting pen to paper and see your ideas take shape!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TONIPL2THA7K357CDMJWJZWQR4 c

     Unfortunately for me it’s a combination
    of digital note-taking, moleskin, and paper napkin scraps. I really need to
    spend some time to learn EverNote!

  • GBrown

    I’ve been a Moleskine user for years, but I’ve often wished they had pages that could easily tear out. More than once I’ve used the old box cutter method. This feature alone makes me eager to try the Ecosystem journals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JacklynJonas Jacklyn Krol

     I use a notepad i’m getting so sick of it. Need something new.

  • Lex

    This sounds fantastic.

    I use cheap notebooks now, or set up my MacBook if the setting is conducive. I’ve heard a lot about Moleskins, but if they make them with lined pages I could never find one. I’m just way too much of a perfectionist for crooked lines, so I could never do it.

    Win a free one or not, I’m gonna have to look into these. I live that they’re numbered.

  • JT

     I use evernote or the good ole fashioned Yellow Legal Pad has also been working pretty great for me. But i’m interested in this Ecosystem binder because i have been thinking about trying a moleskin.

  • Ivanhoe Sanchez

    I’m the type of person who forgets almost everything, and when I say “almost” is 90%, I would add some more but something keeps telling me, common you are better than that. My boss tells me: “you got to jot everything” but I just can’t find the way of having the pen and notebook when I need them. Any additional advice?

  • http://twitter.com/webdevmstr WebDevMstr

     Mike, I recently switched to Ecosystem for the tear-out pages from Moleskine.  I know you scan your pages into Evernote, but at what resolution do you scan them in at and do you save them as a jpg, png or pdf.  I am concerned about how much space I am going to consume in evernote although I have the premium service.  The reason for my concern is having all my content available offline on my iPad.

    Thanks for another great post.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am not sure what the resolution is. I looked in the Settings and it didn’t see it. However, I am scanning in PDF mode.

  • http://twitter.com/missingarrow Dan

    I really don’t have a “system” for taking notes. I have postit notes on my coffee table,
    whiteboard with random thoughts in my kitchen, and legal pads with projects and
    longer thoughts scribbled out. Once I have my notes on paper, I tend to binder
    clip them together and sometimes even give the project or topic a folder.

    I’d like to move digital but I find typing on my phone inconvenient and tend to take notes when I’m not at home. I’ve been catching up on your Evernote posts and find it interesting. I
    didn’t think about scanning paper notes in. I have to try it for a bit to see
    if it will work out for me.

  • Anonymous

    Stopped by B&N today and picked one up. I think it will work quite nicely.

    Although now I find myself wondering how often you remove pages and scan? It could take a bit to fill the whole thing up, but then it would also take awhile to scan it all. So, what timeframe have you found works best? As the notebook gets smaller is it less inviting?

    Just curious. Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t scan everything—only the things I think I might need later. I usually scan the notes as soon as I get back to the office. It only takes a few seconds.

  • Anonymous

    I use the Touchdown email app for android to sync my notes/task list with outlook on my work computer. That is strictly for work. For personal notes I use a small yellow legal pad with no cover. I just make a to do list with poorly drawn check boxes next to the things I need to do that day. Works really well for me, plus I can rip it out and scan it to evernote if need be or quickly shred it and throw it away if it isn’t important. 

    Would love one of those notebooks! 

  • Sheryl

    I use a Moleskin for taking notes in church. When I’m at work, I primarily use Evernote. Since I got my iPhone, I find I don’t use my personal laptop at home nearly as much, so I’ll often take notes while I’m reading on my AlphaSmart, as it’s easy to quickly turn on & access. Then I transfer those to Evernote.

    Thanks for all the great blog posts Michael. You always challenge me to think outside the box. :)

  • Simon

    Mike, have you ever looked at any of the Livescribe equipment? With it’s syncing with Evernote it seems a very thorough system for notes capturing?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have one. I don’t like it. I found it too cumbersome and awkward.

  • Dan Gossett

    I use a combination of my Moleskine and Evernote. It all depends on the context when I’m taking the notes.

    For 98% of my notes, I use my Moleskine. I’m currently toting a very slim, medium size, graph-paper moleskine and have hear about the Ecosystem notebooks and want to try them out.

    For the other meetings, such as our staff meeting, I take notes on the agenda I am given and immediately following the meeting, scan it straight to Evernote. 

    Once I am finished with a Moleskine, I cut the binding and scan the whole notebook in to Evernote. 

    I’d love to try out these Ecosystem notebooks and see what everyone is raving about. The one thing from the video I most liked was that the cover is waterproof.

  • Anonymous

    i currently use a legal pad and Evernote. Totally moving to the Ecosystem and scanning. You make my life easy my friend!

  • SHB

    I just started a new project in a new Moleskin –  a new format to me:  7 1/2″ x 10″, 120 pg lined, dark blue cover.  Why don’t they don’t perforate all the pages (vs just pgs in back)?  I like the bigger size vs the 5″ x 8″ Moleskins I used to use, it’s like the spiral bound Ampad Gold Fibre project planners I used at work for YEARS.  The new Moleskin fits in my handbag easily by dimension, weight, etc.  Have not yet pursued Evernote on my ipad…even though I often take notes via computer…

    For me, Moleskin or Ecosystem are a vote for style over utility and cost…

  • http://twitter.com/andrea_zak Andrea Zak

    I prefer a spiral bound notebook for my writing needs.  I have one I draft blog posts in (for some reason I experience major writer’s block if I try to sit down at a computer and blog) and another to capture thoughts from meetings and lectures I attend.  I do my best to leave a margin to add in afterthoughts at a later date.

    I’ve seen the Ecosystem journals at B&N and am hesitant to try them because they aren’t spiral bound. They don’t stay open to the page you’re on all by themselves; the spine gets cracked. Seems like artsy spiral bound notebooks give me a creative and easily managed space to collect my thoughts.

    But I’m more than willing to give your new find a try.

  • Matt Malloy

    Honestly, I use an old fashion legal pad. Yellow in color and not very cool or hip. I’d love to get into the 21st century and join the cool kids club. About a year ago I started using your tips at organizing email and using mail rules and I haven’t properly Thanked You for that……so THANKS!!!! Have a great day!!!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    My current system? If it’s my book, I underline or highlight, put the book away, and never (well almost never) look at it again.

    If it’s a conference teaching moment, I write copious notes in a furious hand then go home, put the notes in a pile, scratch my head months later, and wonder what happened to them. And you think I’m kidding don’t you?

    When I think you’ve missed me on a post (I saw the headline and thought big miss on this one), then you hit me where I live and breathe. My wife (you’re now on her favorite people list–Abraham Lincoln, C. S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, and Michael Hyatt ) can testify how much more organized I am since reading your blog.

  • http://KnowtheNetwork.com Keith

    If it’s convenient to have my laptop I take notes directly in Evernote. If not I jot them into the moleskin and I’ll transcribe them later or create tasks. I don’t necessarily need tear out pages but I’m interested in the face they are made in the USA.

  • Derek Halvorson

    Regular office notepad and scan to a folder and save to Evernote.

  • Derek Halvorson

    Regular office notepad and scan to file and save to Evernote.

  • Lacey Wilcox

    Right now, I do a mixture of both paper (usually just a yellow legal pad or a regular notebook though), and Evernote.  I’m trying to get everything onto Evernote…slowly but surely :).

  • Patrick Masoperh

    Just a regular ruled hardcover notebook. We don’t have all these improved types here in Ghana ; you just get on with it in your Note 3 book – which is what we call the ruled hardcover notebooks around these parts! …… so this comes as a pleasant surprise to me! I figure though that it will be much more efficient and fun for notetaking and organising one’s thoughts etc.. I won’t mind ‘taking a swipe’ at one to set that part of my life on a new, higher level Lol! Hopefully, I just might be lucky!!!

  • http://twitter.com/jimmymoncrief Jimmy Moncrief

    I just have a standard $0.99 spiral bound notebook – which is exactly why I want this really chic notebook you are now using!!!!!

    I really think this new notebook would turn a lot of my “ideas” into action!

    Thanks for this great post and telling us about your new system!

  • Cliff

    Notes app on my iPhone 3GS

  • http://twitter.com/BradHubert Brad Hubert

    I really need to develop a better system because my current practice is just to take notes on whatever is available at the time. Hope I win the note pad as a way to start!

  • Phil Stanoch

    Michael, I currently use a pocket Moleskine for day-to-day notes, which I input into Evernote on a weekly to bi-weekly basis.  When in my car, I like to use the Dragon dictation app on my iPhone which I then email into Evernote.


  • http://www.krissiwyss.wordpress.com Krissi Wyss

    I’ve recently started using Evernote, thanks for helping me get started. All I can say is, I’ve never come across such an interesting read about blank notebooks! I’d love to try an Ecosystem.

  • Micah Huebner

    I love ecosystem journals- been using them for a while!

  • http://twitter.com/CdotMdot24 C.M. Habermehl

    I use a compostition notebook.  I identify each one by a different sticker on the cover.  I have no systerm yet of importanting my stuff into my computer.  Would love to start that.  Great ideas.  Thanks.

  • tee

    MOLESKIN WHO??????

  • Jameslwaugh

    I have a pile of Moleskines and have to search through each.  Just downloaded Evernote and giving it a try.  Here is an image of one of the pages from Catalyst Dallas.  By the way, I loved your talk at Catalyst.  Keep up the good work.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, James!

  • Pclouse07

    Hi there! My “system” is using a random journal that I have purchased for the specific event/data I am currently taking notes for. I love moleskins, but I fancy myself an artist as much as an author and have this “thing” about texture. I want the pages to be perforated, but TEXTURED. Now THERE is a tall order for you! However, the simplicity of the ecosystem looks inviting…I may toss my artist aside and go for the authorly choice!

  • http://twitter.com/humanivy Jay McGuirk

    Thanks Michael.  I’ve been enjoying the series on how you use Evernote.  I’ve taken several of the tips and put them into practice, and I’ve got to say–it’s been a great transition!

  • http://thisjustinphoto.com Justin Baker

    I use Evernote primarily, but I’m beginning to realize that good old paper and pen/pencil is still necessary. As a photographer (and budding cinematographer) I need to be able to sketch storyboards and photo composition ideas. That’s not so easy in Evernote, and not so great on various scraps of paper. I love that the Ecosystem pages are perforated  and easily scannable into Evernote. Definitely going to have to check them out…

  • Anonymous

    My system consists of finding a scrap of paper, writing on it, and shoving it in my purse, until I find it.  Then I finally use the scrap of paper to type.  I think I need a better system, don’t you? :)  I’m willing to give one of these journals a whirl.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Still using Moleskine. I kinda like that the pages aren’t perforated. Maybe I’m still stuck in the Stone Age.

  • Anonymous

    I use Evernote and just type into my app so I can track my notes.  This allows me the search and append additional notes.  I love everything that Evernote does and I’m just ordered a Livescribe to see if this is an effective way to do notes as well.  I’d love to win this as an opportunity to see if this works well as well.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Let us know what you think of the LiveScribe, especially with Evernote.

  • Butch

    I thought you were moving away from the Moleskine to using the iPad and typing? I know I am in the middle of trying different solutions. I have been using the Livescribe Smartpen for conferences. It works great for recording the audio as you take written notes which can then be saved together as a Pencast or audio file. I thinking of using it for all notes and integrating it with Evernote. I just don’t know how searchable the nots will be. On the positive side there is not a need to tear the individual sheets out and scan them. They can be sent to Evernote as a PDF or Pencast. If anyone has been using this solution let me know.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I did try the first generation iPad for this about 18 months ago but gave up. I have been back to a physical notebook for more than a year.

  • http://twitter.com/sarachoe sara choe

    I carry my Moleskine journal with me everywhere. I’ve got a few Moleskine notebooks (the ones with the last dozen+ pages perforated) that I use to jot down talking points for tearing out.  When all else fails, any blank scrap of paper or notepad lying around is how I jot down notes. I still don’t own a smartphone so I try to use my little Moleskine planner to keep track of my schedule (though as of late, I ‘ve been making my brain work hard at taking mental notes).

    And napkins sometimes are quite conducive to spontaneous note-taking/doodling.At first, I was skeptical of Moleskine, but became a believer. So before I read this post, I was skeptical, “Nothing could top Moleskine!” I thought, but now I’m very intrigued — especially by the unique ID and that every page is perforated.  How easily do the pages tear off? I wouldn’t want them to fall out too easily…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      They definitely do not fall out too easily. In fact, if anything, I wish they were slightly easier.

  • http://twitter.com/katie_rowland Katie Rowland

    What a fascinating incorporation of old-school journaling and modern high-tech-on-the-go.

  • http://about.me/jonfulk Jon Fulk

    Currently, I’m using the Moleskine/Evernote combination, but instead of scanning the pages, I usually type in what I want to save.  Thanks for sharing this!

  • Acoffey08

    I am currently using an iPad for notes, and a mole skin notebook when I want to use a pen and paper.

  • Mamavixen

    Currently for note taking or important information I use the moleskine. I like its size and quite honestly its look. I like being able to throw it in a bag and take it with me throughout my day. I even tend to color code my moleskines by topic or type of use.

    I am not sure I have seen the ecosystem notebooks before. I’m very curious.

  • Mamavixen

    Currently for note taking or important information I use the moleskine. I like its size and quite honestly its look. I like being able to throw it in a bag and take it with me throughout my day. I even tend to color code my moleskines by topic or type of use.

    I am not sure I have seen the ecosystem notebooks before. I’m very curious.

  • James Woo

    Hi Michael,

    because notebooks such as Moleskine are expensive, I reckon paper is paper. I use inexpensive exercise notebook or older diaries. Since I buy diaries for my customers & every year I have a few left over, I might as well use them to jot down note. These I don’t throw away.

    On the other hand, if I have a fast scanner, appropriate software to manage the images & with the intention of throwing away the paper later, I’d use used A4 paper held together with a large paper clip. I learned the idea sometime back & go to meetings with it.

  • http://billkraski.blogspot.com Bill Kraski

    This looks like it has several benefits for me, beyond the ones you’ve mentioned.  I’ve always found spiral notebooks uncomfortable over a period of time.  Eventually they get left home.  Comb bound notebooks have the same issue, plus having added bulk at the binding.  In the medium size, the alternative would be junior legal pads and an equivalent padfolio style cover. Right now, you can find the 50 sheet pads for $5-10 for a 12 pack and more professional covers range from $7-12.  With the cover/folio being a one time cost & paper at 1/3 the ecosystem price, it may not be quite as fancy, but I think the savings & thinner profile make it a good alternative.

  • http://twitter.com/bold4Christ Charles H Fuller, Jr

    I am the founding pastor of a new church in Chesapeake, VA.  I have been offered helpful advice and resources by many, both inside and outside of our local association and I have a seminary education, but never have I been given me a desire to take notes like I have in reading your posts (this one and the one on note taking).  I had a digital recorder to catch thoughts and sermon seeds, but I grew out of using it as the battery life seemed to dwindle. I have tried vocalist to dictate notes, but I frequently forget to retrieve them.  Nothing (at least for me) works better for catching those fleeting ideas than old fashioned pen and paper.  I am intrigued by the new design and may even order some with the church logo on it for my core group as we prepare to launch. If only I could try one before buying it …

  • Guy Orridge

    I am using Livescribe which then syncs through to Evernote but have used scanbox through to Evernote also.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      How do you like the LiveScribe Evernote combo?

  • Kevin Fiske


    Only recently have I begun to use Evernote, and I love it! I’ve got it synchronized between my Android and desktop, and have found it immensely helpful. I’m still learning to utilize all the features/functions, and have a long way to go…just started using the recording feature for lectures so I can listen more intently in the moment, and reference back to jot down the big ideas/main points. I did greatly appreciate your post on effectively organizing Evernote into stacks/notebooks/tags etc.

    All that to say, there are instances where taking notes on physical paper would be beneficial…whether brainstorming/charting, quick meetings, or extended times of reflection…these are the moments when I’d like to put it on paper. I’ve used Molskines in the past, but think the Ecosystem nails the journal by keeping the great features of the Molskine while increasing functionality. I’d love to try one out! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  • http://aweber9.tumblr.com Andrew Weber

    There’s another interesting consideration in all of this discussion around digital storage of important notes and files, which is the question of ensuring permanent access to one’s data independent of the future direction of whatever application one is using. These blog posts at dougist.com ( http://bit.ly/lJVzxU and  http://bit.ly/kzlwj9) get at some of the issues – though his solution is probably overly complicated for most people. I’m always eager to try out new organizing/data storage programs (Journler, DevonThink, Yojimbo, Circus Ponies, Evernote, etc.), but I always check that the data will be stored in a way that I can easily take it with me should I choose to stop using the program in the future. 

  • Scott McFaddin

    Thanks for this info Michael.  I am currently using 3 small Moleskine journals, 1 for work (meeting notes, project tasks), 1 for podcasts notes and book review notes, and 1 for ideas & vision casting.  While each journal has a category, I constantly have to make sure I have all 3 with me at all times.  I started using Evernote to save my Kindle notes & highlights (thanks for that tip!) and now trying to find ways to use it regularly.  

  • http://twitter.com/Stargazyskye1 Edie Cleveland

    I’m still working mostly with an executive size Day-Timer. I have always liked the ability to add pages wherever I want them, keeping them in chronological order in my calendar,then sorting them at a later point by topic or project. Sometimes I also carry a bound journal for personal observations or thoughts. At times, I record. You have me interested in Evernote, but I’m slow to move on technology – so often, it turns out not to be what you hoped.

  • http://jonmanna.com Jon Manna

    I use a mix between Evernote and a pad of yellow-lined paper, but I’d love to get it all into Evernote.

  • Anonymous

    Sweet – my moleskine is almost full, and I need a new journal…

  • Anonymous

    Sweet – my moleskine is almost full and I need a new journal…

  • Tracy Stoller

    I use a moleskine calendar and take notes in that for everyday stuff and then I use legal pads for meetings. If the meeting was important (so many are not), I type up my notes and save them to Google docs or my work hard drive, depending on whether they were business or personal.  I am messing around in Evernote now trying to see how it would work for me.

  • http://terpryan.blogspot.com Ryan Abel

    My laptop of several years got fried a couple weeks ago. I am in the process of reevaluating my strategy for efficiency and not purely “technology.” Adapting to a more “cloud-based” approach to managing my data is what I’m striving towards, but tracking things initially with a pen and paper might be more effective for me since I think better when I’m writing and not typing. I’ve had an Evernote account for several months now but haven’t at all harnessed the possibilities. This forced laptop replacement process is causing me to rethink everything. I used to take notes on word processing documents, never to be seen again post-meeting. I want to change that so progress can be better documented, but also that present-day decisions can have a far better connection to the journey to today.

  • heather speaks

    believe it or not i use a composition notebook…strange i know but, i had some leftover from my kids’ school supplies and didn’t want them to go to waste….would love a “grownup” journal.

  • Lon Hetrick

    Q: What is my current system for taking notes?

    A: It depends on the notes. I use a Moleskine for my personal journal. (My favorite feature is the elastic band). For personal notes of things I want to remember, I use my iPhone’s “Notes” app. For to-do lists, I use Paperless on my iPhone (I blogged a review here: http://wp.me/pMUrU-u9).

    I’ve tried twice to figure out how to enhance or unify all of this with Evernote, but so far no luck. I keep hoping I’ll have a light bulb moment where I discover a need that only Evernote could fill. But I think it may be that Evernote fits me like your iPad fits you – as in, it doesn’t.

  • http://twitter.com/jakesumner jakesumner

    I’ve used moleskine notebooks for the past few years to take notes. I also have a shelf of old ones that I keep around just in case I need to reference them. After recently adding a scanner to my desk, their days may be numbered! I also use the built-in Notes app on my iPhone when I don’t have pen and paper handy. I’ve tried going completely digital in my notetaking using either Notes or Evernote on my iPhone and just don’t like it – I can’t type fast enough to keep up and I feel like people think I’m texting when I should be paying attention. I don’t know why but notetaking with pen/paper feels engaging while using an iPhone or iPad feels disconnected. I switched back to using the moleskine or a legal pad for all meetings. I then use my scanner to pull those notes into Evernote and throw the paper copy away. I also use my iPhone and Evernote to capture pictures of whiteboards from brainstorm sessions. I really like the ability to have all the notes captured electronically.  Once they’ve been tagged it’s so easy to find particular notes when needed. I process these notes weekly to make sure I don’t miss anything. One last essential piece of my notetaking system is the Sharpie pen, fine point, black. It’s my favorite pen I’ve found and I do not leave home without one. It also complements the moleskine nicely! I’m still refining the process but this is the best system I’ve found so far.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LLQMI4ZIJSNKNVLEWYKQ3GWKBA Gene

    Check out the Quiver Pen holder which fits these Journals!  http://www.quiverglobal.com. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Gene. These look very cool. In fact, I just ordered one.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I currently use Moleskine as a journal.  This is for my daily journaling.  I’ve been doing that for years, and have quite the collection of thoughts, ideas, and insights to someday leave to my kids.

    For thought and idea capture during the day, I used to use the Moleskin pocket size journals, but I now use Field Notes (fieldnotesbrand.com).  It’s more of the grassroots thing than any other reason why I tried them.  I love their website/blog.

    I would love to give EcoSystem a try to see if they would work for me.  I live far enough away from any major cities with large bookstores, that I have to do most of my purchasing online, so having the chance to examine one of these journals before making a purchase would be awesome!

  • Jason Bunch

    I have actually been trying to use your system because mine just falls through the cracks.  I have been using Moleskine journals for a couple years now and I love it very much.  I find myself accidentally ripping out perforated pages so I would love to try the new Ecosystem pages to see if I can switch because perforated pages would be great.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659277647 Michelle Cain

    Just a regular notebook.  Whatever I have on hand at the moment (I’m a bit disorganized – need to fix that!)

  • http://bible.mythoughtspot.com David Peach

    I currently use a full sheet of paper folded in such a way that I get a small 8 page notebook. You can find information about it at http://www.pocketmod.com . I have used this system for several years and like the way it works for day-to-day thoughts that pop into my head. However, I don’t currently have any system for bigger notes (like meeting notes). These tend to be jotted down on whatever paper I have handy and then potentially get lost.

    I would love to give a new type of notebook a try. I use Evernote to dump any of my notes into that need to be kept long term. Much of my stuff just lives on my notepad for a week or two until the project is over. But I don’t typically store the information for future reference unless I know I need it (then it goes into Evernote).

  • Kole Mogel

    Moleskin for me as well. I used to use random notebooks and I found myself using 3 or 4 different ones at a time. Of course a process with multiple books lead to searching for different notes, but the real kicked was I kept losing them. I would leave one at a clients home, a conference, or even at a Starbucks. Something about the little extra price, or the moleskin heritage gives me a sense of pride and to date, I have not lost one…..knock on wood.

    Another interesting note, nearly all of the leaders I work with now have followed suit and utilize the exact same black, lined moleskin that I use and believe me, I’m not that cool!

  • Elle Pyke

    My notes are napkins. I think I am in need of an Ecosystem Journal :) 

  • Debbie

    Sprial notebooks. :-)

  • Anonymous

    My current system for taking notes makes sense to me but it probably seems complex and unorthodox to outside viewers. My work provides legal pads so I take notes on there everyday. The top is my to-do list and the rest of the page is followed by notes, thoughts and followup throughout the day as a I work on projects and attend meetings. If something comes up that really has to be done I put a circled asterisk next to it. Sometimes I take meeting notes in Google Docs, on my phoneor in email recaps too. I even write on my window with dry erase markers. It really helps to visualize it. But currently I don’t have a set personal system for taking notes and keeping my to-do lists organized. Some people have suggested that I try online tools but I forget to check them just like I forget to check my Google Reader. It sounds like a would be a good consolidated place to keep my personal notes together. Great post, Mike!

  • James

    Moleskin is awesome but it’s too expensive here. Generally, I am okay with any drawing notebook. =)

  • http://www.fusionlife.org benboles


    When you scan your journal pages to Evernote is the text searchable or is it for archival purposes only?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It’s mostly for archival purposes. As I understand it, the Evernote servers attempt to scan it, but it really has to do with the legibility of my writing. ;-)

  • http://www.ordinarilyextraordinary.com/ Amy Nabors

    I am using Evernote more and more on my phone to take personal notes or get ideas down, but I still use a simple notebook to take notes in the few meetings I have. 

  • Tony

    Currently I use a moleskin and evernote. But I still prefer my 6 ft whiteboard @ home.

  • JanetGember

    I have journals, calendars, and sticky notes all over the place! I WOULD love to centralize my life! SEND HELP!! S.O.S. I need one!

    Thanks for letting me vent,
    Janet :)

  • http://twitter.com/DarienGabriel Darien Gabriel 

    I don’t have a good system for taking notes, Michael. My preference is paper even though I love my macbook pro and iphone. It’s just too distracting and cumbersome for me to try and type on anything no matter how fast I am. Plus I feel like anything more than paper creates a barrier in face to face conversations unless I am sharing content with the other person. So, I’m ready to try something. Spirals, moleskins, Ecosystems…so, I’d love one! Thx for this post. So very helpful!

  • Anonymous

    I am a journal snob. So here is my question of questions to determine whether I just may give the ecosystem a try. 

    Do they have plain (unruled) paged journals? 

    I don’t like lined pages, and I’ll give any journal without lines a try.

    • Anonymous

      Just went to the website and answered my own question. I can build it without lines (the “Artist”). Hopefully I can just pick it up this way at bn as well.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes. It is called the Artist edition.

  • http://twitter.com/mataikhan Matthew Carroll

    My current system of taking notes is scattered. Online I use a combination of Zotero, and e-mailing PDFs to my own Gmail account. Offline, I carry a Moleskine and my vintage HTC Touch phone.

    At my old work, we used a Scansnap, so I’ve seen and love the wonders of that little tool, but currently it’s a little rich for my budget–but it’s on my Amazon wishlist.

    I would love the chance to consolidate, and I think Evernote offers that potential–though with out the scanner, it’s benefit is limited.

  • Marcia Brinkley

    I have trouble reading my own handwriting so most of my “notes” are typed on my MacBookPro. When forced to write longhand, I’m currently using Moleskine journals but the Ecosystem looks like it would work better for me. I carry a pocket-sized Moleskine in my purse for shopping lists, notes, reminders and stray thoughts. I also have an XL size Moleskines in the car, on my bedside stand and in the living room for lists and ideas. I live on the Big Island of Hawaii and haven’t found a source nearby so I order them on Amazon.com when they’re offered on a 4-for-3 deal.

    Before using Moleskine, I tried 3×5 cards, spiral notebooks, Pocket Mod, sticky notes, various Franklin Covey products, calendars and, in the olden days, a PDA. All of those products had pros and cons, as do Moleskines. My biggest problems with the Moleskines is the lack of perforation on some of the pages and the cost. I like the fact that they don’t take up much room and the quality of the paper is pretty good.

    I’ll definitely give Evernotes a try, too.

  • http://twitter.com/twgoodwin Tim Goodwin

    I am constantly on the hunt for better ways to improve my workflow. I have enjoyed what you have had to offer on your usage of Evernote and look forward to fitting it into my own. I love it and use it frequently as the app on my phone and as an extension in Google Chrome for all my personal stuff, but am just starting to use it for business. I am in sales and always looking for ways to get rid of all this paper in my office! As a road warrior, my bag gets very heavy trying to carry around all of my notes.

  • Noel

    I use a paperpack journal that’s like the Moleskine Ruled Cahier Journal Kraft Large. It fits nicely into the back pocket of my purse, so is handy for jotting down to-do, shopping list, thoughts, quotes, etc. I write the to-do items and shopping lists at the back, easy to find and tear out when I’m done. The quotes and thoughts, etc., start from the front. 

    Then comes the snag. Theoretically, I will type the “keep” items into appropriate files in my computer. However, that seldom happens. So I have stacks of journals waiting . . . and waiting. 

    I do have Evernote and am intrigued by the idea of all the journal pages being perforated, and scanning these pages into Evernote. Does the scan work for sloppy handwriting? I would be SO happy if this were the solution to my backlog of ideas I don’t want to lose. 

  • Aurawings

    I prefer to write everything down by hand so I usually just use the back of receipts I find in the bottom of my purse to do it.

  • http://pocketpurposeblog.wordpress.com Carlene

    At the office: White legal pad for meeting notes. Purple unlined sheets on a purple clipboard for immediate “to-do”s; orange folder of project schedules. Yellow legal pad for phone messages. At home: Spiral pads and electronic files on my laptop for book and blog notes. Still imagining I’ll learn Dragon and put the voice recorder (a birthday gift last year) to use on long drives … Ordinary home to-do’s in an assortment of small bound books that keep getting found week-by-week. Longer projects on an electronic calendar … I dunno. Some of us creative types really like pens (very specific ones!) and paper (exactly the right color!).

  • http://tmgstudio.com Jamie Meredith

    Incredible looking tool!  Will be picking up one this week!  Thanks for the heads-up!

  • Chris Deeves

    I currently use Awesome Note App or just journals (ink and paper).  I find it hard to know if to use paper or App’s.  This sounds like great stuff – I used to have a journal that had pereferated pages and just loved it!  Hope I win!!

  • Chris Deeves

    Just Tweeted about the Giveaway – I’m MaestroMusicMan

  • http://www.lifewithdominiqueandashley.com Ashley Rustad

    Currently, I use a spiral notebook from Target. It has a little zippered pocket in the front and I leave coupons in there for when I go out. It also has perforated pages. I would love something that looked a little more sophisticated and had a closure, because I don’t have that right now. 

  • Yellobelli

     I am actually in the habit of carrying two books with me – an 8×10 spiral bound sketch book (for random design ideas and inspiration) and a standard composition book.  (I have several for different topics, each labeled on the spine.)  As a book is filled, I’ll take some time and scan the contents into a PDF before tossing the book into a box in storage.  I know it’s not very effective (as I often re-duplicate entries in order to keep my task list up to date) but it has worked very well for me over the years.  I’d love to move to something a little smaller, but the composition books can be picked up for around a $1 and that’s about all I can afford at this juncture.

  • David S

    Hello Mike, I always enjoy how you are pushing the envelope on productivity. As a small business owner, I have determined to follow your suggestions and apply them to my life to facilitate the move from where I am to where I want to be. I have ordered a scanner and plan to purchase this notebook. I can use this as I implement my life plan and attempt to harness the GTD system in my business and personal life. David S

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. I will be interested to see how it works for you. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/MichelleJWalker MichelleJWalker

    I actually have no good system for taking notes. They are everywhere–the back of my appointment book, a giveaway notebook, little slips of paper, in my laptop. I am following this discussion so avidly because I really need to figure out an actual system!

  • http://twitter.com/kprichardson84 Kent Richardson

    I always carry and index card in my pocket. I jot down the main idea and the flesh it out when I get home usually by typing into a blog, email or document. If it is something I want to think about more, I post it on my wall; not my facebook wall, but my actual wall in my office!  I do have a moleskine notebook, but mostly for personal journaling.

  • Fmwilcox

    I am a new user of ever notes and don’t know all the tricks yet. I still use a yellow note pad. For journalling i use a hard back that my son gave me for father’s day. I would love to try your new journal discovery.

  • Clinton

    I use a generic bound notebook. Hardcover and cheap

  • JP Harris

    I have  a moleskin which I don’t use regularly. I use Evernote much more frequently.

  • http://twitter.com/levittmike Michael Levitt

    My current system of note taking is the use of a cheap notebook, or scrap paper, and then I either manually enter the notes into a word doc, or calendar notes.

    Thus, time management violations all over the place.

    I will be investing in an ADF scanner, and will be setting up evernote to start the massive paper-reduction project.

    It’s amazing how much paper comes into my home and office.

    A good friend of mine offered me a nice filing cabinet last week, but I turned him down because I want to give away the one I currently have.

    With the horrendous storms that have hit Missouri, Oklahoma, and elsewhere, it’s important to capture your important documents and have them stored offline and online.

    Time consuming task for sure, but it will be more organized and accessible than the current system.


  • Alicia Arnold

    I’ve been using Evernote on my iPad and my Android, but I’ve also been using Moleskine when I really wanted to hand-write things (which sometimes helps my creative process). However, I’ve been looking into a way to get my creative writing items into Evernote for safe-keeping, and Moleskine really doesn’t help me with that. I’d love to try the Ecosystem journals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Novell/100001963038102 Scott Novell

    here is another reason take and share audiio oaths on ipad or iphone. http://www.take-an-oath.com

  • Chris D.

    Until recently, I just carried a yellow legal pad and pen to meetings.  It was also my To-Do List. But as I would flip a page, I would sometimes lose info or action items.  I too have tried to use an iPad, but I can’t type fast enough on the keyboard.  A friend encouraged me to use Evernote more so I am trying that out and liking it so far…The bummer is that I have to carry my laptop everywhere and it is not very light or small.  The Eco could be a nice solution…Thanks, Michael!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Novell/100001963038102 Scott Novell

    here is another reason, take and share audio oaths using the ipad iphone app. get it at the app store. http://www.take-an-oath.com

  • Joseaf Stone

    I am currently struggling with finding the right format for note taking. I am using the Lenger Circa system right now and sort of like it because of the removable pages. I do appreciate your tips on using Evernote for electronic arching and have begun to use it. Thank you for your helpful posts.

  • Cliff Clayton

    Finally a man after my own heart. I got the biggest kick out of reading your blog. I start taking notes with paper (of course), then there was the Apple Newton, then paper, then the “newer/better” Apple Newton (yes I really drank the Kool-aid with that one), then paper, then the Palms (yes more than one), then paper, then the Toshiba tablet (it actually worked ok, but the battery life was terrible and no I’m not going to tell you what it cost!) then paper (hmm is there a pattern here?) then the iPad (take notes with my finger, not a pen or type on a keyboard that’s not a keyboard? You’ve got to be kidding!) then paper. I’ve tried every type of note pad in existence, even the “shirt pocket” briefcase, but always seemed to end up with a Moleskine because, well, what can I say, it looks cool and of course I feel cool. I would then take the important notes and manually key  them into my computer. I used several “PIM’s”. Too many to mention here and finally ended up with InfoSelect. Then (drumroll!) I found Evernote. 

    I would take my Moleskine and manually enter the notes in Evernote. After a while, I knew there had to be a better way, so I started tearing pages out of my Moleskine, scanned them into pdf files and then would drag them into Evernote. I did refine the “tearing of pages” a little and used a sharp blade which of course cut more than one page. Then I read your blog about using a paper notebook and then just scanning it directly into Evernote. I didn’t even know  you could do that (oops, must have forgotten to read the “help” section). But I think your system will work. I can write a lot faster than any of the digital methods and the main risk of a paper notebook (losing it) is virtually eliminated by scanning the notes daily. The most I can lose now is one day’s notes. Currently I use a Moleskine until I get aggravated with tearing pages and then use  a generic spiral note pad only because of the perforated pages. I keep the smallest Moleskine note pad (which every page is perforated!) in my shirt pocket for really small quick notes as I’m walking around the office.I took your advice and ordered a ScanSnap scanner which just came in, so I’m ready to give your system a shot and scan directly into Evernote. I guess I’ll get one of the Ecosystems notebooks to complete the system. I didn’t realize until recently that the Moleskines are made in China. I thought I was paying “extra” for Italian craftsmanship. So the Ecosystems get major extra points for being made in the USA (go ahead, call me a xenophobe).As an aside, the Moleskines (and I assume Ecosystems ) don’t play well with water, so when I’m working on the farm (side job) and get soaking wet with sweat, I use a “Rite in the Rain” all-weather notebook in a tacky yellow cover, but it works. They have one size that fits in a shirt pocket and one that fits in a back pocket. One more thing, I have dished Apple computers since Visicalc (And really dished them recently,  I have 3 kids in college that HAD to have MacBooks). Anyhow I agree with you about the MacBook Air. I recently bought one, my first Apple computer. Now THAT is one cool machine.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are a man after my own heart. I went through all those evolutionary changes, too!

  • Chris

    Hi Michael, as a trainer of farmers using Farming God’s Way here in Uganda http://goo.gl/cfda2 I need something relatively small so i have been using a Mead  TLVU10-10 product that some Canadian friends brought out for me on request. good shape and size and nice inside pocket to stuff my pen and receipts and still goes in the back pocket of my jeans. See it here: http://goo.gl/89qKk I take notes in here but as there is not a lot of space so it gets a bit cramped. I then plan to scan any needed notes. As the pages are on a ring binding this should not be difficult to remove them.

  • Linda Kennedy

    I’ve just downloaded evernote. Sadly, I am using small spiral notebooks, legal pads and scraps of paper pulled out of my purse. Normally, I’m terribly organized but end up with tons of files and and spend much wasted time looking for what I know I filed for safe keeping. I’ve just finished my first novel, to be sent off to West Bow on Friday and have three more novel ideas competing for space in my brain…this sounds like my answer.

  • http://royeglass.com Roye Glass

    I’ve used various journals for years.  Currently, I use the cheapest thing I can find and the local box store.  They are always about the same size and color each time.  I use it for journaling daily, notes, praying for others, and notes from the occassional conference.  I filter into these pages family moments that I capature in the midst of our daily adventures of life as well… I don’t leave home without it.

    I would love to try one of these you are talking about here.  I am beginning your eBook “Creating a Personal Life Plan” and this would be a great time for a new one!  :)  Thanks for the consideration!

  • http://twitter.com/Serene_streams Renata

    Wow ~ This sounds like a great writing notebook for my upcoming fall semester!  Being a very “green” gal, I love that it is eco-friendly made from 100% recycled materials with acid-free paper.  Perforated pages is definitely a convenient feature and what a fabulous idea to register each journal in case it gets misplaced.  Thank you for introducing these Ecosystem Journals to me Michael as I’m going to have to get a few in all the colors for each of my classes to also support “Made In America” companies! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/irm.brown Irm Brown

    When I discovered Moleskin, I specifically liked the very skinny small ones and carry them around in purse. They are completely random but sequential by date. This is where I put every contact of people I chat with at a conference or at a luncheon. I note a quote or drop in a story idea. I love them.

    Now, as to my daily journal, I haven’t found the perfect solution yet, so maybe this is it, particularly if I want to start capturing these ideas and getting them electronically. thanks for the info. . . as always, useful.

  • http://thejeffbrown.me Jeff Brown

    Our experiences in this area are uncannily similar. 

    I’ve been using a Moleskine for about a year (not as long as you) and have liked it.  I, too, attempted a shift to the first generation iPad unsuccessfully just a few months ago.  And, I love Evernote, using it to capture virtually everything I want to remember with the lone exception of my meeting notes. 

    However, I am experimenting with a few iPad apps (Noteshelf for example), that allow for the direct uploading of handwritten notes into Evernote.  Have you tried an app that has this functionality? 

    Still, after reading your post, I’m considering buying a scanner (and an Ecosystem notebook). 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The only thing I have tried, Jeff, was LiveScribe. I didn’t like it at all. It sounded great in theory. However, I found it awkward and clunky in actual practice.

  • J. White

    IT”S A NOTEBOOK!!!!!  Not to sound unenthusiastic about such an important topic, but some of these conversations are a bit ridiculous.  What we wouldn’t do to get something for free.

  • Smedmison

    I use my Livescibe pen and notebooks for note taking. When I get back to my computer I just plug in the pen and download the notes, no scanning and the Livescribe Desktop program interfaces with Evernote so it’s easy to move the notes there for easy access on the go.

  • http://twitter.com/alibroughton Ali Broughton

    I currently use a moleskin the quality and paper weight is important to me so your review on the ecosystem has me interested in trying one. 
    For my “work” I need to use alternate note systems (medical records and the like) but my moleskin is always nearby.  It may seem a bit strange.. but it makes me happy when I see it (and the ecosystem has even happier colors) as I know it’s about ideas, plans, hopes, and bits of wisdom and laughter… even when the pages are more empy than full.. it still represents it all.   One of my favorites… as a social worker with young adults I love writing quotes from them – not always wisdom… but fun nonetheless. 

  • Andrew Acker

    If I am in a meeting where it’s appropriate to have a laptop, I will type them, since I am an extremely efficient typist. I would like to try and air or pad for a more discrete feel in a meeting, as I typically set rules of no computers in meetings. Sadly, I’m male and left handed and my hand writing is terrible, so as much as I wish I could take better hand written notes, my hand cannot typically keep up with my head. Even if I am able to get everything down, the odds of me or anyone else for that matter, being able to read it again are slim to none. So typing is #1, and my portfolio papers would be # 2…

  • Kathleen A.

    I’ve used everything from steno pads for notetaking to Moleskines (I like the graph paper ones for some weird reason–I like to take notes in boxes??). I like my journals to be “nicer” and have really liked Moleskines. I like to the combination of quality, feel, colors and size but they’re pretty pricey and I’ve been trying to find a different option. I was so desperate for a new journal I grabbed one at a bookstore at O’Hare made my PaperBlanks heading to a retreat. It’s ok but I’m so excited to hear about Ecosystem because it sounds close to Moleskine but less expensive and the option of tear out pages sounds great. So I need to use what I have, write a lot more and try one out!

  • Frank Kendralla

    I use an old loose leaf day timer (half page version).  However, the method you mention here of scanning into Evernote is a tremendous idea.  thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/bgmckinley Brian McKinley

    I am currently using the small No. 23 Pocket Journal from Colonel Littleton. It is great for quick notes and fits in any pocket. However, I need something a bit larger for more writing space.

  • Mike McGinnis

    Quick hitter. Here we go:
    1. Moleskine provides the landing mat to my helicopter pen.
    2. Sunday Thoughts/Doodles go straight to blank spaces in the Church bulletin (do we still call em that?)
    3. YELLING! – Sometimes important things just need to be yelled
    4. Ecosystem Journals – (this was written 8 weeks in the future)

  • Lmbbmw

    I currently use several methods. Evernote is gaining more traction in my system. I use “noteshelf” for the iPad. It has a an option to export your motes as images or PDF files straight into evernote, dropbox and a few other options. I like the feeling of writing so I have a live scribe pen as well. Basically I have several highwaysmfor gathering info and hoping ultimately they arrive in the city of Evernote.

  • Infuse

    using the yellow office notepads in a leather foldover padholder… luv what you’ve introduced here – had just purchased the moleskin for eldest working on his thesis – will def be passing your new option along to him too! thx!..

  • Billy R.

    The answer to this question depends on the context. If the notes are for meetings, sermins, or conferences, then I use paper. Typically my system is not too complex, but, I do have a few tricks to my notetaking. If I have a question about something that’s said, or, if the speaker has a question, then I put a “Q:” before the question. If there is an answer from the speaker, or, if I have possible answers to the question I’ve asked, then I will put a “A:” next to it. Usually, but not always, the answer is indented slightly more than the question, & the answer is always below the question. I divide my main points as Roman numerals, then large letters, then numbers with periods after them & then small letters with periods after them. If there are points mentioned that don’t fit into these point-designations, then I’ll oscillate with a dot “.” & a hyphen “-” to show these main & sub-points.

    Electronically, I use google calendar as synced with the native iPhone calendar (a life saver for me!). I am also beginning to use Evernote, & I currently use “Plaintext” (an iPhone app that syncs as notes with Dropbox) & I use the native IPhone “notes” as well for gift & general ministry ideas. My goal, however, is to eventually just use one electronic note-taking device/system, & right now, Evernote is winning. Thanks!

  • Darern

    I love taking notes on paper. Not too long ago I made the switch from Moleskine to Ecosystem just like you. Now, if notes are actionable they get dumped into OmniFocus during my weekly review. If they need to be archived, I scan them into Evernote using my Doxy Scanner. Its a great setup! Now I just need to work on my handwriting being neat enough to actually be searchable in Evernote.

  • Krissy

    I currently take notes on the back of random receipts I have crumpled in my purse. It’s very effective for the spur of the moment note taking but not so great when you have to find them and read them later. Let’s just say my method could use some improvement!

  • Robert Iversen

    I take notes in one of 3 ways. For work, I use a notepad where I can quickly replace the pads and tear out sheets. It travels with me to work in my laptop bag. Secondly, I use my iPad and BibleReader for sermon notes and teaching notes. I have to admit when I’m taking notes at church, they’re not as detailed and I use a wireless keyboard at home to generate my teaching material. Finally, I have a separate leather journal for my prayer and devotional journalling. This allows me take it with me whenever and wherever.

  • http://SavingsLifestyle.com Andrea Deckard

    I currently use a Moleskine planner that is probably the best organizational planner that I’ve tried. I like the notes section off to the right so I can keep my to-do’s and ideas. It helps keep me focused so I can quickly right everything down when it comes to mind and then be on to the task at hand too.

    I also use Evernote to write content (and grocery lists ;). I would love to try an Ecosystem journal though since I’ve been using Evernote more!

    BTW, I usually read you on my iPad and am on my macbook now. This is the first time I’ve noticed the footer. Is that a subscribe footer a plugin or custom development? I really like it since it seems to be a white label product where as other similar tools are developmentally branded.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Unfortunately, no, it’s not a plugin. It is custom code. Sorry. :-(

  • Chris M Cloud

    My note taking system is broken. At work, sometimes I type directly into Evernote via my iPad, sometimes I use a stylus and the handwriting app Noteshelf (then export to Evernote), and still other times I use a legal pad or scrap piece of paper. At church I use Moleskines, but continually misplace them at home, so I have five or six half filled identical looking Moleskines. Not very effective.

    None of the above methods work perfectly for me (probably why I foolishly use them all). However, I like your idea of handwriting notes, tearing them out and scanning into Evernote. That’s a great idea. I work in government and when I pull out my iPad, people give me grief (the govt bought you an iPad? That’s an expensive notepad. Etc). This would allow me to still use Evernote on the back end, but not draw attention to myself on the front end with my iPad. Your solution is both analog and digital, which seem to be how most of us live and work.

  • Samuelluce

    Currently I use a combination of moleskin, evernote and Apple Note. I am moving more to only evernote and would love to try out the Ecosystem. Thanks for this post.

  • Phill Tran

    Your title had me screaming heretic :) But as Seth Godin says heretics can be good.

    I currently use Pear Note to take meeting notes. Pear Note records audio from the meeting. Later I clean up the notes and fill in anything I missed using the audio. Then I copy the text into evernote.

    I have found that I rarely rely on the meeting audio and am considering giving paper another whirl after your previous SnapScan post.

    I think my laptop can become a barrier between me and those I’m meeting even with the screen fully tilted back.

    Plus it’s hard to doodle on my MacBook Pro. I hope evernote can OCR my “artistic” handwriting.

  • Ebrinski

    I currently use the standard Composition notebooks… reminds me of school way back when

  • http://lifechngr.com Brandon Avance

    I’m taking my first day of vacation here in LA to follow your Evernote notes and loved this entry.  I go to Hobby Lobby and buy Master’s Touch journals and have for years.  I love the text and feel.  But I will not consider an Ecosystem.  Your blog is legit.  Thanks for sharing.  I think you’re my new blog-mentor. 

    • Brandon Avance

      I meant now, I will now consider an Ecosystem.  Sorry for the double comment.

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  • Pastor Wilson

    I went to my local Barnes and Noble and they did not carry it.  I went online and found the Ruled Journal and the Blank Journal  Their descriptions match what you talked about here.  I ordered them and they arrived today and…the pages are not perforated.  So, what gives?  I now have journals that I have to tear out pages, which is what you were trying to get away from.  Waste of $25

    • Pastor Wilson


      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Why do you say, “never mind”? Are they perforated after all? The perforations are difficult to see. I almost missed them initially. I’d be happy to try and help you if I can.

  • Jonathon

    I go back and forth from my iPad to paper notes.

  • Tim Davis

    My current system could be described as sporadic… I have a moleskine, I use legal pads, I have evernote (although I haven’t used it much)…I need to develop a more intentional and structured system for my thoughts and ideas

  • http://twitter.com/carlamcano carla cano

    Currently, I use notebooks and a portfolio…I am starting my own business and in the begining phases. Still looking for a great system…It is how I found your blog…I was looking for information for building a life plan…I got so much more :) There is so much more…Thanks and keep up the great work.

  • Joanna

    I am a sticky note junkie, as well as a note pad girl.  I would love a simpler, mobile, more eco-friendly option.  Thank you for sharing Michael!

  • Phillip

    I use the moleskin. I have had a hard time finding the Eco in nashville.

  • Sooz

    I love journals! Looking forward to checking this one out!

  • http://www.periwinklepeacock.blogspot.com Susie Finkbeiner

    I have a sari lined journal made in India. I have it in my purse at all times. And it’s full of ideas and sermon notes and poetry (not good poetry, however). 

  • Anonymous

    First of all, I have to say that Moleskine is one of the single best examples of product branding I can think of… at the end of the day it’s just a notebook! With that in mind, I ditched Moleskine due to the price. This one income household, family of five couldn’t afford to keep Moleskines as our brand notebook anymore (my husband and I are both avid note takers/journal keepers). I’ve been using the Target brand, knock off Moleskine. The craftmanship isn’t as great but it comes in fun colors and patterns and costs $2.59!

    I also use my iPhone and iPad for notes… and I take them primarily on my Moleskine app ;)

  • TomKinsfather

    I current convert 3×5 cards to the Stickies app (Mac) and Nebulous Notes (iPhone). I have quiet a stack of 3x5s :P

  • Ben

    Most recently using “Notes” on iPhone. While I like the quick accessibility I do like the pen & paper with an occasional coffee cup stain on the paper for character. Would love to see if evernote can pick up the coffee stain off the ecosystem page!!!

  • http://www.theunbreakablechild.blogspot.com Kim

    *hangs head* a gazillion post-it-notes. I’d love one of these. Thanks for sharing and a reminder to get organized!

  • http://spmvs.com/ wvpv

    Even though I have lots of cool technology at my disposal, good ole pen and paper is still the fastest. 

    I do use a blank page Moleskine for taking notes and sketching.   It’s so cool that when I use it I feel pressure to put only top-notch stuff in it.  No grocery lists or mundane drivel allowed.I will sometimes lay it flat and scan it on my multi-function scanner/printer at home.  If I’m away from home, I’ll snap a picture with my phone and send it to Dropbox or Evernote depending on what it is.On my computer, I send a lot of things to Evernote via e-mail to Google Reader.  I also use the Evernote clipper in Chrome.   I use the  and # tags for filing in Evernote. I have great hopes for OCR capability someday arriving in Google Docs (or Evernote).  I would love to upload note scans from anywhere and have Google Docs convert them.  That’s where most of my notes end up. 

  • Stephen Clark

    I’m using a small Moleskine, which I really like, but also always carry 3×5 cards and a collapsible pen.  I’ve tried a variety of “books” in the past. When I worked at AT&T years ago, a few of us stumbled upon some nice bound journals one department had made up special; every page was numbered and ruled; were great for meetings and using in the office; not so great otherwise. The ecosystem journals look intriguing.  I’m always on the lookout for something better and more convenient.

  • http://twitter.com/scotters Scott Kuhn

    I still use and often fumble with using a legal pad and jotting things down in text files on my computer, though have recently began using Evernote on my phone.

  • Thedavidlamb

    My current system of taking notes is Evernote as well as the old school legal pad. I am a new Evernote disciple, and only hopped on board after realizing that my current system was slowing down productivity and limiting my effectiveness. Still searching for right answers.

    David Lamb

  • http://twitter.com/blessinks marsha baker

    I track notes in my daily calendar, but I track our life in a weekly journal entry to my artist journal. What ever happens, the good, bad or ugly gets illustrated in my journal. I’d love to try an Ecosystem journal.

  • http://twitter.com/kahalie Sahrie

    Thanks for this post! I always get excited about a new journals that others use. I’ve been journaling since I was 13 (I’m in my 30’s now) and it has become one of the most beneficial disciplines in my life. Over the years, I’ve become very particular about the paper weight and lines in journal, as well as using very fine pens. Can’t wait to try this one!

  • Anonymous

    I currently use a haphazard combination of Penultimate on my ipad and hand written notes on whichever notepad I grab.  In my mind I’d love to have a system but nothing seems to be simple enough to stick.

  • Dave Billington

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    I have used a moleskine for the past few years to: take notes during business meetings, jot down thoughts for new songs while out bike riding as the wind blows through my ears and clears out the daily business-fogged brain, remind myself to do things since the original-issue memory is suspect at times, etc.  I’ve been considering changing to something else as I don’t want to run afoul of those who may believe it is not correct that moles should give their lives just so I can take notes.  I’ll look at Ecosystem, but if I make the change, don’t say I didn’t warn you that there will be more bad lawns everywhere…

  • http://twitter.com/brandonclements Brandon Clements

    I use old-fashioned cowhide, a quill and some ink. I find that although it is a little slower and I sometimes forget ideas before I can get more ink, I feel much cooler and artistic while writing whatever it is I’m in the process of forgetting. And that’s all that really matters:)

    Jk…I just started using Evernote on my phone and computer and LOVE it. Usually I just go straight there but I use a Moleskin for journal/sermon notes, so I would love to check out the Ecosystem. 

  • Artgray08

    I am a bit of a hybrid system. I used SoundNote app for iPad. I like the ability to record while I am taking notes and then go back later and tap that word and it takes me to that place in the recording. Good for face to face meetings when I want to spend more time engaging in conversation than writing notes. I also have pretty bad handwriting as well.

    I do also like the Moleskin. I maybe going into a meeting at a coffee shop and a small Moleskin notebook is great for writing short notes or reminders to myself. I can also fit it into my pocket to capture quick thoughts.

  • http://twitter.com/LaureeAshcom Lauree Ashcom

    i carry notecards in a case on a daily basis. these move into various notebooks or onto boards depending on the notes i take…. i don’t use evernote but i have a personal system for including the pictures i take of ideas i find inspiring in digital notebooks on my computer.  i am always looking for the perfect notebook…. so far, i am still looking.

  • Youcatastrophe

    I currently do not take notes… BUT if I had one of these new fancy Ecosystem notebooks I would probably give notetaking a shot!

  • Arthur Gray

    I have used a bit of a hybrid system. I like the SoundNote app for iPad. It allows me to type and avoid having to go back and read a lot of my terrible handwriting. It allows me to have easy retrieval of this information and the recording feature allows me to sometimes take copious notes and record when I want to engage more relationally rather then have my face down wring. I can then go back and tap on a word and go to that place in the conversation if I need to do an in-depth review of the conversation.

    I like Moleskins when I may be in a coffee shop and want to jot down a quick reminder from a conversation or capture a quick thought. I have not found an app for iPhone for extensive note taking that I like.

    Arthur Gray

  • Brent Fielder

    I am using the writepad app for iPad along with awesomenote.

    Write pad takes my handwriting and turns it into typesld text (worked best with a stylus)

    Awesomenote syncs very well with Evernote.

  • Jason Hicks

    Thanks for sharinyour details. As an iPad/iphone user I was looking for a method to transition. This is helpful. I will definitely give it a try!

  • Cdplunkett

    I currently use Moleskin too! But, I do like to tear pages out and end up with some pages falling out b/c I tore pages out from the front…

  • Eagledale50

    I’ve also been searching for a good-better-best system for journaling and saving notes as searchable text. Never thought of your great idea of ripping and scanning pages from a perforated notebook. I am going to try that! I need to find a consistent system for journaling my prayer and Bible study notes. Thanks for the idea!

  • Matthew Musteric

    I find that I am trapped between two beautiful worlds for note taking. On the one hand, I love being able to access and catalog my notes as PDF files or electronic documents. On the other hand, I like the  feel of pen on paper and tend to still like to take my notebook to conferences, events, etc. I love my laptop but I also love my paper desk calendar. 

    I also still like using old-fashioned 3-ring binders for cataloging by subject (for example, a Sunday school course on the Gospel fo Matthew).

  • Fokke

    I am exactly in the same position as you Michael. I am using a Moleskine but it is difficult to tear the pages off and scan them with the ScanSnap. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to locate a store or website that will deliver them in Europe, maybe Amazon?

  • Kmiraldi

    I use a Moleskine, and Evernote for my iPad, iPhone, and MacBook. Certain meetings call for certain items. Perforation has been a huge issue for me…very excited about possibilities of Ecosystem.

  • http://www.DavidReber.com David Reber

    Michael, great post. I’ve given the Ecosystem notebook as gifts but have never used one. I’ve always been a Moleskine snob. I’m also a powerEvernote user and have often been torn with using my Moleskine vs my Circa because of how much more trouble archiving the Moleskine is. Love the Circa for housing reports but its just too bulky for journaling The small detail of perforated pages is a game changer though. This solves that problem.

    It’s taking every bit of will power not to interupt my off day, jump in my truck right now and head in to B&N to pick one up.

    Thanks again for the post!


    • http://www.DavidReber.com David Reber

      I went and picked up a set of the cahier version of the ecosystem notebooks. I was pleased to see B&N had these. I like starting new notebooks often and these make a lot of sense for me.

  • http://sammahlstadt.com/ Sam Mahlstadt

    I go between my moleskine, Behance action journal, and evernote. This sounds like a great option! Love the 100% post-consumer recycled material, acid-free made state side. Surprised it’s priced so competitively with that in mind.

  • Tamrfreeman

    I carry notebooks with me (various sizes) to meetings, classes, and anywhere just in case I need to write notes or information. I date each entry, and use bullets and underline words or passages that are important. I also doodle when people are long-winded. Lol.

  • Brenda Branson

    I don’t have a consistent system, but would love to try your suggestion because it combines my use of handwritten journals with computer entry. I’m just beginning to use Evernote.

  • David

    As a young professional, freelance creative, and full-time student, I am constantly berating myself for forgetting ideas and losing track of low-priority tasks. I find your posts on note taking and planning very helpful and am putting the final touches on my own system. I have found Evernote extremely helpful along with an app from Adobe, Ideas. The ecosystem notebook is definitely the next step. I just picked up one at a used bookstore (the notebook was new) for $10.00. It was the last one in the display.

  • http://twitter.com/storylinewriter Gary Hackney

    My current system is the combo method – iPhone notes, stick notes, legal pad and failing memory. I need to discipline myself to one format and Ecosystem with Evernote sounds perfect. Thanks for the tip.

  • Mrjoelmills

    My current system for taking notes switches between pen and paper and my iPad running Evernote. I can’t help sticking with pen and paper though. It is so very flexible and quick. It never runs out of batteries, never needs charging and I can always go back several days later and remember where I wrote the note.

    I do love my iPad and Evernote combination as I like how very interchangeable it is with other apps. It is easy enough with my iPhone to take a picture and then upload it to Evernote and make a comment.

    However, for quick diagrams, sketches or flowcharts, pen and paper still hasn’t been beaten. The trouble is drawing on the iPad is still a bit clunky and my fat fingers just get in the way.

    My masterpiece is yet to be created on the iPad.

    Still, the ecosystem pad might just be the tool I am looking for. Drawing and tearability… A good combination… I wonder if I can get them here in the UK?????

    • Mrjoelmills

      By the way, my twitter account is jollup in case you are looking to see if I tweeted your link!

  • http://dchristian.net David

    I currently use another Moleskine knockoff, but it doesn’t have tear out pages either. I also use evernot, but haven’t started scanning my pages in for the exact reasons you describe. I hate the thought of having to retype everything from my current journal into Evernote, but I would like to have a lot of that information transferred!

  • http://twitter.com/spencermosness Spencer Mosness

    I use two different methods. One is with post-its; this makes for a large mess and more time to organize. The other is with a digital voice recorder; it can be tough to decipher my words if I’m not speaking clearly, but it’s easy to get ideas out.

  • Neal Cordle

    I received a leather cover for inexpensive composition notebooks. It does dress them up a bit. I’m just beginning to use Evernote, using a multi-function copier to scan to a network folder that is monitored by Evernote’s Import Folders function.

    I purchased my first Ecosystem notebook last week and will be using it when I fill the current composition notebook.

  • Mark Williams

    Mike, I am probably more confused than most, composition notebook for meetings, moleskin for writing and journaling. Ipad app for additional note taking, recently at a confernce. Oh, but nothing beats a pencil and notebook. I started recently scanning to evernote, but cutting a notebook apart seems frustrating if you only need to share a page or two.

  • http://twitter.com/hernmike Mike Hernandez

    Can’t Wait to try it out!

  • http://perlesink.blogspot.com/ Perle Champion

    I buy 5×8 black spiral notebooks by Cambridge Ltd at office depot, The slide snugly into my red leather journal cover.  I try to write 3-5 morning pages ala Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way. If worthy of essay or post or poetry, I later transcribe into word, editing a I go. http://tinyurl.com/4x5f3ut

  • http://perlesink.blogspot.com/ Perle Champion

    I buy 5×8 black spiral notebooks by Cambridge Ltd at office depot, The
    slide snugly into my red leather journal cover.  I try to write 3-5
    morning pages ala Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way. If worthy of essay or
    post or poetry, I later transcribe into word, editing a I go. http://tinyurl.com/4x5f3ut

  • Lmbmoody

    Hi Mike,
    I have a little journal I carry around with me. I also downloaded the Cozy online calendar which has a journal function. It is ok for quick entries, but not user friendly. I love the idea of tearing out and scanning the pages from Ecosystem. I just downloaded Evernote for my Android. Pumped to try it out!

  • http://twitter.com/philputnam Philip Putnam

    I have a moleskine, but more often than not I’ve used a medium sized reporter style spiral notebook, precisely because I can remove pages and file them with specific projects.  I’m definitely going to give the Ecosystem a shot.

  • joy

    I like nice note book. Maybe a color that I thank looks happy.
    I also like ones I can tear a page out if I want to.

  • Maggie K.

    I have been an avid Moleskin user for several years now, however, I must admit I am intrigued by these perforated pages. 

  • Erin Littleton

    Right now, I use a combination of the notepad function and the camera on my iPhone for notetaking.  I tried using Evernote, but kept coming across glitches that made it impossible for me to upload, so the iPhone method is the second-choice necessity.  It also doesn’t hurt that I am never not ever without my phone.

    Now that I’ve recently been morphing from a stay at home mom to the co-founder of a non-profit in Uganda, I have a feeling I’m going to have to step up my note-taking pretty soon.  Maybe an Ecosystem could be a good first step…

  • http://twitter.com/chapswoodard ChaplainGreg Woodard

    For work meetings, I use my government standard issues greet journal. For personal notes, journaling and personal Bible Study, I use my Moleskine and a good pen (I am a pen geek). When I am studying for a sermon, I print out the text and make my notes there, and in my Bible Software. When I am researching for writing projects, I use a Firefox, and Chrome add on called Zotero.
    I have recently committed to increasing my creativity by journaling three full pages each day, and am seeking to utilize Evernote more, so trying out the Ecosystem journal would be great.

  • Lora

    Even with all of the technology out there, I still love to write with pen and paper. I love the smell of a new notebook and the fluidity of my thoughts flowing onto paper through ink. I have found something that combines technology and my love of writing and this is the Livescribe pen http://www.livescribe.com

  • http://twitter.com/cheetosrapper Dan Greegor

    I still Moleskine and wire-bound notebooks for most of my note taking. I just find the Moleskines to be easy to use for thought-taking and the wire-bound to be just for note-taking.

  • timsuggs

    I use a moleskin for my personal journal and for my notes when I am speaking to my youth group.  Worth taking a shot at something different until I can afford an Ipad!

  • http://twitter.com/djfuters Jeff Futers

    Mike – recently I have been using a Pierre-Belvedere standard notebook that my daughter bought me for Christmas.  It does have all the pages perforated but is a little bulky and thick and so I find I don’t bring it along enough for that reason. I like the idea of a more compact and greener solution.

  • John Williams

    Hey Michael,
    Thanks for posting this. I’m a youth pastor in West TN and note taking is a vital part of my being able to effectively minister to families. My Bible, Moleskine, and monthly calendar are always with me along with my iPhone that I’m constanly referring too.
    I saw an Ecosystem over the weekend and thought about checking into one because as I work on several projects at once, sometimes my notes get disconnected through multiple pages. The perforated pages may be the answer to this little unconvince.

  • Livethisdream

    I mostly use a-note on my iPhone, then email the notes to either my personal email or work email. sadly, because I work for the military, I can’t access any sharing sites like evernote from work, otherwise, I’d love to use your system.

  • http://twitter.com/RickSmith Rick Smith

    These looks great Michael. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to have to try them out. (By the way, I really like the scan snap scanner as well!) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/artefactaudio Noe Sanchez Jr

    I use a sketch diary that I bought and I love that I get to illustrate ideas, and order them differently for each conversation, or meeting around the page. I love that freedom. However, I began using Evernote — which is amazing. I love the snap a photo option, as well as the organization of journals and audio notes. It’s helped me really frame what I’m doing or need to do and it’s quite the perfect system for some as organized as myself. But I will say that sometimes my sketch diary is irreplaceable. I did find an app on my iPad that allows me to sketch my ideas but it’s not the same. 

  • Kpdaly

    Im a building contract in the mountains of Colorado. I carry a Swiss army 9×12 black folder with a notepad inside. As an effort to curb my consumerist ways, I recently challenged my self to buy “no new things” for an entire year. I really dig the ecosystem though and my challenge doesnt include gifts, so I’d be pretty jazzed to win one! Otherwise I’ll buy one next April :)

  • Toni Owens

    I use the note section of the utilities ap on my iphone.  I must admit that I am not one for taking many notes, but if I need to remember something it is easy to type it into this application and easy to retrieve.  Then of course my phone is almost always with me.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I always find it hard to enter stuff into my phone. Maybe for small stuff,
      but not for taking notes in a meeting or stuff like that.

  • http://twitter.com/tambourinehero Yuli Chua


  • Jkallen57

    I am a huge Moleskine fan but I really like the look of this new notebook!!

  • http://twitter.com/TheGreatDanaJ Dana J.

    Hi Michael, I love your blog and I would love to win one of these Ecosystem notebooks!

  • James Taylor

    I currently use Evernote and like you, once I began using Evernote more and more, wanted to find a perforated notebook suitable for scanning. I’ve been using Rhodia pads so far, but these Ecosystem notebooks look worth checking out… thanks!

  • Doreen

    My current system for taking notes is a combination of using word and saving notes in my Iphone.

  • http://www.christownley.com chris townley

    evernote and a moleskin… 

  • Matthew Snyder

    I’m just now trying out Evernote, but I have been using a Moleskin. Recently went back to a legal pad. I can never decide. There are too many options these days!

    But I do think I like traditional pen and paper the best…

  • Paul S.

    My current system is Evernote on iPhone/laptop or Google Docs on my laptop.

  • Jim Martin

    My current system for taking notes is a moleskin.  I take note of meetings, books, random thoughts, ect.  Then I transfer these to Things or Evernote.  Recently, I have taking photographs of particular pages and then transferring them to Evernote.

    I am interested in the Ecosystem notebook so that I can experience possible enhancement to my process.  I am hoping this will help to actually simplify the process.


  • http://twitter.com/TattooedBacon Adam Thomas

    I use Evernote for my journaling/note taking.  But I really should have some way to take notes that isn’t electronic.  :)  

  • Tpkirkpatrick

    I am a Moleskine guy.  I have been since 2005.  I am definitely open to trying the EcoSystem, as long as it still looks classy on my bookshelf. I do like the idea of the perforated pages and the ID system.

  • Anonymous

    I use a Moleskine for recording my thoughts in narrative form and a Piccadilly (much cheaper) to record quotes, my to do list, contact info, and various other things I want to remember.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BYGT2VNIXMAR6G6XTMSBF5HSIE Ava

    I currently use a Moleskine but I’ve been journaling daily for the past 30 years. The fact that I can register the Ecosystem caught my eye. I just lost my last Moleskine about a month ago and after re-tracing my steps for 3 days trying to find it, I gave up and started a new one. I’ve kept every one of my journals over the years (in boxes in my attic). They are my legacy to my daughters.

  • http://twitter.com/RobertTalbert Robert Talbert

    Hope this isn’t too late: My current note-taking system goes like this.

    (1) If it’s a meeting where I have my computer with me, i type in the notes into a simple text file (I like TextMate for an all-purpose text editor) and then copy/paste the notes into Evernote later.

    (2) If it’s a meeting or other situation where I prefer paper (or don’t have the computer handy), I maintain at my desk this giant stack of paper consisting of printouts or photocopies that for whatever reason I didn’t end up using, for which the fronts are printed but the backs are blank. Before I head off to the meeting or whatever it is, I grab a few pieces of paper off that stack and use those for notes. There’s not the hip cachet of carrying around a Moleskine, but first of all I am a cheapskate and second of all it’s recycling the paper in a responsible way. I take the notes freestyle at the meeting, scan them into Evernote (via the excellent Genius Scan app for the iPhone or my office’s copier/scanner) and then into the recycle bin they go.

    (3) I do also have a few Moleskines of various sizes sitting around. I have one Moleskine that I use for a personal journal and another I use for notes I take for talks at conferences. The bound journals are good for this because they are archival quality, and with all my conference notes in one place I can find connections between talks and ideas from different conferences sometimes years apart. If needed, I can scan these into Evernote later but generally the Moleskine itself is a sort of reference file in my GTD setup.

    So Moleskines and their ilk play a kind of small but important role in my system. But I’m not married to the Moleskine brand and would be very interested in trying out the Ecosystem.

    • http://twitter.com/RobertTalbert Robert Talbert

      I forgot to mention that I first heard about Michael’s giveaway through his Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/#!/MichaelHyatt/status/75197854741823488

  • http://twitter.com/jmichaelthurman J. Michael Thurman


    I have used Moleksine notebooks and enjoyed them.  They were more durable that mega-mart spiral-bounds.  Then, I moved to a planner to to do it all.  It was too big to carry.  Then came the PDA which was replaced by the smartphone. Nothing really satisfied my need to index / search through all those bits of paper.

    Now, I use Evernote and experience similar challenges to those you mentioned in the article using page photos.  I love being able to tag my entries for search and being able to retrieve them from almost anywhere.  Thanks for the tip on using perf pads and a scanner as some things just can’t be easily typed or photographed!
    ~ Michael

  • Melissa Smith

    I just started making my notes in Catch Notes (an android app) because I needed something I could take w/ me everywhere so I could record my thoughts at a moments notice. Plus I also wanted my notes to be secure. The only issue is the electronic format. There’s something about putting a pen to paper manually that just can’t be replaced, so I also have a journal I keep at home.

  • Dan Glaze

    Hi Mike;  I have used a moleskin for decades. And I have recently started using Evernote, thus I found your insights very appealing.   Thank you!

  • Chris MacDonald

    I usually try to have a notepad on hand or use my iPhone or MacBook where possible.

  • Drmcclain77

    I use a combination of my lap top and a regular wire bound journal, but I would like to find a new system that is more effective and this sounds good!

  • http://www.showhope.org?ref=blogcomments Melissa Wheatley

    I was just about to go out and buy my first Moleskine today for a trip to China, but I’m glad I read your post first. I also just downloaded Evernote last week. I’m late to that train, but I’m getting there. I like the idea of writing on paper and scanning it in. That makes a little more sense for me.

  • http://www.showhope.org?ref=blogcomments Melissa Wheatley

    I was just about to go out and buy my first Moleskine today for a trip to China, but I’m glad I read your post first. I also just downloaded Evernote last week. I’m late to that train, but I’m getting there. I like the idea of writing on paper and scanning it in. That makes a little more sense for me.

  • http://johndobbs.com John Dobbs

    I use a black and red wire notebook … the one you describe sounds very interesting!

  • Lonnie W. Brooks

    I currently use a moleskin journal as well, just because it looked cool.  I never thought about the benefits of using the ecosystems or anything else, but I would like to give it a try.  As a pastor, father and blogger, I try to capture thoughts while I’m out and then put them on the computer at a future time.  I hope you will send one my way!!! 

  • Sheri Yates

    I am a journal freak! I always carry a moleskin. It has never crossed my mind to scan the pages! Awesome. Thank you!

  • Joshua Madden

    I look forward to using these journals, I have been searching for 10+ years for something like this. Thanks Michael!

  • http://twitter.com/davidlooney David Looney

    I use the spiral notebook. Cambridge City.  The metal scratches my computer and the pages tear out too easily.  This sounds good to me.

  • Joan Linbeck

    I ususally use a spiral notebook and ballpoint pen for taking notes. I try and date and note the topic on each entry. I like the tactile feel of paper rather than keyboard…especially a virtual one.  It takes too much of my reserve brain power to consider which key to press rather than put that thought into what I am writing. Therefore the old fashioned writing on paper works better for me. I like the idea of scanning into digital copy. I would love to try the Ecosystem. Thank you

  • http://www.facebook.com/jimmy.braddock Jimmy Braddock

    I dont currently have a system but in desperate need of organizing random thoughts, notes, appts. as they are scattered among various torn pages, different notebooks and stacks of business cards!

  • Cseaburg

    I have struggled with the filing process. I have 20 plus legal pads in my office that are completely full over the years. I know i must change my filing and note taking habits. I was turned onto evernote it’s and moleskin about two months ago. I do love the evernote, but like u, the moleskin has still left me with pages to file.

    I would love to take a shot at the new perferated Eco-system journal. Thanks for considering me.

  • Michael

    Currently, I use a legal pad and scan to pdf.  Sometimes I organize my notes under my documents folder and for some pdfs I use evernote.  I have yet to finalize a system. :o/

  • Chris Paulk

    I have used a Moleskine, but I wished they had perforated pages…so I could scan them into Evernote. Now, I just use random sheets of paper to scan. Or, I use Evernote on my iPad. Sure wish I had an Ecosystem.

  • Kquinley

    Mike — I often use a regular legal pad and also have a digital voice recorder.  I dictate notes — lengthy or short — in this “capture tool” and periodically go back and either (1) transcribe, (b) save to my hard drive as a WAV or MP3 file or (3) email to SpeakToWrite for outsourced transcribing. 

    Kevin Quinley
    Fairfax, VA

  • Linda Condolora

    My problem is I have no cohesive current system of note-taking. I sometimes use a moleskin; I use iWriter on my iPad, and have recently started using Evernote. Recently, I have been frustrated with feeling like my thoughts and ideas are scattered all over the place. I definitely need a more organized method of note-taking. Your posts on how you’ve been doing that with the Ecosystem journal and the snap scanner have intrigued me. I’d love to give it a try, as I love using pen and paper and just can’t seem to give it up for technology. Your system combines the pen and paper I love, with the ease of transferring it into the technology I need. Here’s hoping I’m one of the lucky 50.

  • Kcroy

    I’m so happy you are encouraging journaling! As an English teacher and speaker I regularly encourage my audiences to keep a journal.  “A life worth living is worth recording!” I am a Moleskine user and have been my entire life. I really enjoyed Michael’s post and am looking forward to getting my hands on an Ecosystem journal to compare the two. I do not use digital notes yet. I record voice memos on Evernote and my iPhone to be written into my Moleskine later. The idea of tearing a page out of my journal scares me. Not sure I would use that feature. I do want to get and use a SnapScan.  

  • Thesiplomat24

    Good morning. Very interesting. I was using a paper journal for sometime. I now use my iPhone a lot for my journal and even keep an audio journal. Thanks for sharing!

  • Linda Condolora

    I have posted the tweet under my Twitter screen name ScribblersInk. I didn’t want to chance being disqualified because my posting name here doesn’t match my Twitter screen name. Thanks for the opportunity to try this new journal. I’m really looking forward to it and to becoming much more organized.

  • Johnnydye

    I use a calendar leather daytimer that my in-laws give me each year for Christmas. I tried using IPhone but it’s not practical for writing much. And my laptop is harder to carry around. If I win one o will give it to my 7 year old daughter who wants to be a writer. Have any in pink?

  • Shawn

    Michael – Thanks for the Ecosystem introduction/review. I’ve been using the Black and Red notebook because I like the perforated pages and spiral binding. Coincidentally I just filled it up and it’s time for a new one… or I’d love to try the Ecosystem! I’m a huge Evernote fan too, but have not yet integrated my paper notetaking with it… so hearing how you stop it is very helpful. Thanks again for sharing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tyler-Redden/524660753 Tyler Redden

    First, the answer to the question, “What is your current system for taking notes?” A: I use a variety of methods, but I’m heading towards the paperless office. I like how you did it!

    Second, creative math I did to show you why I would like a free notebook:
    326 – How ‘Eco’ is spelled on a phone dial pad.
    816 – How many comments you currently have. Now…watch this!

    326 (x) 3 (in honor of the three day weekend) = 978
    Divide 326 in half (because this post is already half done) = 163

    978 (-) 163 = 815.

    Currently, you have 816 comments. Subtract from that, the number above (815) and you get the number of Ecosystems notebooks I would like = ONE!! :)

  • http://twitter.com/tribeofrhinos Stefan Andrew Hall

    I appreciate the info, I’m looking for a new way of journaling.

  • http://twitter.com/tribeofrhinos Stefan Andrew Hall

    I’ve been using a leather bound journal, looking for a better system.

  • Anonymous

    For classes, since I’m a college student, I use Evernote on the iPad, and admittedly, I’ve used the “picture” feature in science labs.

    As a blogger, I use the AudioNote app, which allows me to sync audio with text so that I can more effectively express ideas to listen to as I sit down to blog.

    In church, though, I use the notes feature on the YouVersion Bible app, where I keep bookmarks and highlights attached to the notes.

    Notes are a huge part of my life as a young adult in the 21st century, but who can forget the standard yellow sticky note?!

  • Jacque Watkins

    I’m currently journaling in my Moleskine, but would love to try something new, and more easily scannable!

  • Joe Handley

    I use both Evernote and Notes for the iPad and iPhone. They work fairly well but your new system sounds interesting. I would love to try it.

  • http://twitter.com/edwards_ep Ellis Edwards

    i’ve stuck with the moleskine notebooks for journaling and evernote for note taking. i love them both so much, but i’d hate to get stuck in my ways! thanks for this post!

  • Erin

    As a college student, I use Evernote for the iPad/iPhone to take class notes, and I’ve admittedly used the “picture” feature to snap photos of diagrams and other important aspects of a laboratory classroom. Never fear, though. My apps for blogging and going to church are all different, and I would recommend them to anyone!

    As a student blogger who’s constantly busy, I find it easier to take audio notes at times, rather than typing them straight into my iPhone! So, I use AudioNote, an app that lets me sync audio with text so that I have something to listen to and read when I sit down to blog my latest thoughts and ideas. Multi-sensory approaches help me to appeal to more readers, and thus, contribute to varied aspects of feedback.

    At church, I use the YouVersion Bible app to take notes and to bookmark and highlight certain verses in sermons and studies. In the app, you can attach associated references to the Bible text, which makes highlighting and keeping track of everything such a snap.

    Even though I love all these technologies as a young adult in the 21sf century, who can forget the standard yellow sticky notes?!

  • Jessica B

    I need a new system, as I am shifting from a career as a teacher (where I kept a variety of notepads on my desk) to a career in business (where I will be completely mobile and based out of my home). I’ve kept a Moleskine in my purse (for what seems like forever) to keep track of personal ideas, notes, lists.  I’m a user of Evernote, too, and I like your argument for the perforated pages in the Ecosystem.

  • Andrew Thomas

    I take notes on my phone, in evernote as of yesterday!  Also, I have a journal both on my computer and a physical moleskine journal.  Watched the video, now I’m intrigued.  Gotta go learn more about evernote.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mikehardin63 Mike Hardin

    I have used everything from a Franklin Planner before I went digital, the a hipster PDA afterward. This may be the perfect compromise when paired with Evernote.

  • Chadrgeorge

    I currently subscribe to the GTD system and have used a moleskin, however found it inefficient in having to recall info. Ever since employing evernote, I have moved much of what I do online. I have been using a notepad and then scanning each page. However, I like the look and feel of the moleskin, especially in meetings where a more polished image is desired. I am excited to try the ecosystem notebook. Adds the efficiency and professional appeal that I look for when taking notes.

  • Scott Kedersha

    Too many systems! Time to start getting organized – moleskin, evernote, Onenote, Word, etc….

  • David Manning

    Hi Michael:  I entered when you posted this before.  Just FYI:  I tried to find these in Barnes & Nobel in the Portland area.  Two B&N in PDX stores do not carry them.   Customer Services could not (did not) pinpoint a PDX store that did have them.  EcoSystem website indicated Whole Foods had them.  Went there only to find a small sample of styles.  So I left a note on the Ecosystem website providing feedback.  In the mean time, I learned that amazon.com has an offering at good prices, although not the full line (it seems).  Too bad, it seems that they’re a good journal.  I’m planning to use the weekly format with weekly on the left, lined on the right for a prayer & scripture insights journal.  djm

  • Jgschaef

    I had been using a Moleskine for years, buy recently switched to Notesplus w/ a stylus on my iPad 2. I can organize my folders & password protect the folders I need to keep private. it’s quite an intuitive app and it’s received great reviews.

  • Ted


    I have been using Levenger but was disappointed when they discontinued the grid style from their Notabilia system. I am considering switching to an option such as ecosystem or moleskine. Good point on the integration with Evernote.

  • Josh Roberts

    been using moleskines.
    just recently switched to penultimate ipad app.

  • http://twitter.com/jrbonline josh baker

    I’m in seminary and honestly my current system sucks. I’ve tried evernote and want to start using it more. but I’m still using the old school yellow paper pads. my broke college budget has never allowed me to get  a moleskin or any other type of journal and I would like to keep a good journal for my quit time and sermon prep.

  • http://twitter.com/lastnight Crystal Cottrill

    I use a basic spiral bound notebook for most notes, but lately I’ve been using a “hipster PDA” (bulldog clipped index cards). I also have a small lined Picadilly book for my purse. The magnetic closure is more protective for the pages than the Moleskine elastic.

  • Joshua Taylor

    Currently I use Evernote & my Moleskine but I’ve been having the same problem that you’ve been having. Moleskine just doesn’t allow for easy transfer of notes to any other place. 

  • Joshua

    I currently carry a tiny reporters notepad around in my laptop bag to take notes on the go and am a dedicated Evernote user (premium membership) to organize note-taking for research projects, editorials, and to transfer note-taking to. I’m very intrigued with the Ecosstem notebooks and jar held off buying a Moleskin or another reporters pad with the thought that I might try one. Thanks for great recommendation and for sharing tye video – particularly because I share a similar systematic way of taking notes!

  • Barry

    Good day Mike. I have used a wide array of journal/notebooks/etc. including Moleskines

  • Jeff

    Is it to late to enter?

  • Anonymous

    Michael, this post is very helpful. I’m a huge fan of Evernote and I use a Moleskine for note taking. I am interested in how you organize your pages one you’ve scanned them in. Do you keep them in separate notes by date, or is there a way to keep adding to a note as you scan more pages in? I think the biggest limitation of the Moleskine is that it’s difficult to get back to your thoughts, especially if, like me, you bounce around in your note taking and end up coming back a page or two later to finish a thought. 

  • Preston Woods


  • http://twitter.com/Caleb_Phelps Caleb Phelps

    I have this constant internal conflict between taking notes on my iPad and in my moleskin notebook. Using Evernote allows me to keep track of my notes easily. Yet, there is still something about putting pen to paper that does not allow me to go completely digital. The one reason I have almost gone completely digital is because moleskin notebooks can get expensive after constant use. However, this post has opened my eyes to a new, wonderful, and eco-friendly solution. It is a good day for pen and paper!

  • Anonymous

    I currently use two things, an iPad and a Moleskine Medium Softcover Lined Notebook. Like you, I the iPad isn’t working out. I downloaded a few different paid apps, including NoteTaker HD and Penultimate, but neither of them proved to be worth it, even with a stylus.

    I like my Moleskine notebook but I really like the idea of perforated pages. It would be a great added feature that Ecosystem has that Moleskine doesn’t. 

    Great post!

  • http://www.facebook.com/victorious.soldier Greg Wiley

    I know that I am a little late to the party here: Mr. Hyatt, I use a combination to Notes Plus on the iPad, (which is a great note-taking app) and a legal pad. All of my notes make it Evernote, via a PDF file through e-mail.

    I am not looking to win a journal, but I wanted to let you know that I use my iPad on an everyday basis and it works as more than just a novelty for me. It improves my workflow in many ways.


  • Anonymous

    I was in need of a new journal so I picked one up instead of a moleskin. It’s a very nice product. I have not used the perforated pages yet, but I will get my first chance tomorrow when I meet with a client. 

    The only downside is that B&N did not have the “Advisor” available. I wanted to check one out to see if maybe I would switch to their calendar for 2012… has anyone used their calendar? Drawbacks? 

  • Leigh

    To add to the mix here: I’m an inveterate note taker and my bookshelf is full of notebooks of all types – Circa, Moleskin, spiral bound school notebooks – none of it digitized – until I started using a Livescribe  Echo digital pen. Now as I write my notes, they are automatically captured in the digital pen (with audio if I choose to record a meeting) and then I can upload into Evernote, which uses handwriting recognition to make the notes searchable – so this replaces the tear page out and scan step. Notebook remains intact, digital notes are uploaded, and notebook gets archived when it’s full. So far, loving it …

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have a Livescribe myself. Personally, I didn’t like it. I found it to big, and it felt awkward in meetings. If they ever get a normal size pen, I will take another look. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I discovered today that multipage PDF documents that have handwriting do not get recognized by Evernote’s handwriting recognition. When you scan your notes, do you save them as JPG’s? How do you handle multipages or does your ScanSnap take care of that for you?

    • Leigh

      A quick note here – although the Livescribe pen I use (mentioned in post just before this) is clunky, the advantage is that you can drag and drop your notes pages directly to Evernote as a PNG image, which Evernote’s handwritten recognition software can handle. So the text in PNG images is recognized and made searchable. There’s a few steps involved, but it’s worth it to have all the notes content searchable. No tearing out of pages and scanning them as PDF – it’s digital from the get go and then searchable via Evernote -

  • Nanzucar_641

    Just catching up on my e-mail! Great Article on note taking/journaling…I’ve read it before and kind of slipped my mind. I always take notes at a meeting, but recently starting keeping “notes” for myself to motivate me to keep on keeping on! Thanks.

  • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

    Wow. This is like the Google+ of journals. 

  • Jim Hammer

    Spent a lot of time looking at your materials on leadership over the weekend.  Also went to purchase an EcoSystems Advisor this weekend and was a little disappointed.  I kept getting referred to Barnes and Noble’s Out of Print section, and told to come back later to order.  After contacting Customer Service I found out they won’t be making the Advisor for 2012…  Well heck, take it off your website then so I can’t order it, or give the consumer a heads up on your website.  I’ll try one of their ruled Author ones to give it a shot, but had to share my frustration in case anyone else did.   I’d expect these guys to be up front and tell their prospects about their product availability.

  • Rwylie

    How often do you scan your notes into Evernote? Bought the medium flex cover now trying to come to a level of comfort with it over an 81/2×11 pad in meetings..

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      For me, whenever I have notes I want to keep permanently. Usually a couple of times a week. But now that I am out of CorporateWorld, I attend far fewer meetings.

  • Hagranger

    Thank you for making my search for exactly this type of note/journal book!

  • http://www.showmeaction.org/ Chris-macy

    Nice. Glad to find a replacement I can actually buy locally. However, I was disappointed the ecosystem website opens automatically to a playing video..especially on a conference call.

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  • a.Paulie.a

    I’m on a mission to get a gift for a friend. He is a talented lyricist, and as a songwriter myself   I know it’s important to have pen and paper handy AT ALL TIMES just in case you think of the perfect hook! I’m looking for a fancier version of these perforated notebooks (it is a GIFT I’m after!). Has anyone had any luck?

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  • Yousuckmee

    I wouldn’t change my Moleskine just because some dumbass like you says so

  • David Helton

    I use a mini moleskine to carry around and take notes with, but not because I like it. The only full-sized notebooks I write in are the standard composition books you see in every Walgreens. They’re ugly, but they’ll last a heck of a lot longer than a moleskine and they cost a third as much. 
    If they made mini versions of them I would much prefer it over a moleskine for carrying around with me. I know they do technically have “mini composition books” but they’re not bound the same way as the full-sized ones. You see, the humble composition book is not great because it has great paper or great craftsmanship. In fact, they’re as cheap as cheap gets. They’re simply bound differently than every other notebook out there. All of the pages are stacked on top of each other and sewn right down the middle, instead of having multiple groups of folded pages (called “signatures”) lined up next to each other and sewn individually to the back. This way, if I tear out the front-most page the only consequence is that I loose the back-most page, leaving every other page still firmly attached. Since I write from front to back like a normal person, this is preferable to tearing out the front-most page and having the second, third, and fourth pages come loose. Having only a single stitching also allows them to use thicker thread, and avoid using any glue entirely. Also, it fully exposes the entire page for writing on. I really don’t understand why more notebooks aren’t bound this way, or why I can’t find a smaller, pocket-sized version of this. Makes me want to scream at someone. 

  • Fakeemail

    Most moleskine journals are bound by a string. Cut and unravel the binding and the papers will come straight out…

  • Abieyoshi

    Omg! I want one! Always wanted a moleskine notebook but I found a sort copy that felt exactly the same, had curved edges, cream pages and a pocket in the back for £2.75. Copies can be just as good as the famous moleskine brand.

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  • ARda152

    The Volant notebooks have all pages detachable, also, why don’t you try Evernote’s smart notebook if you want to scan pages?

  • Dave

    I bought this at the supermarket and I got 4 for the price of I moleskin

  • Ashley Strachey

    Oh finally, thank you so much. I’ve been trying so hard to find a decent notebook for writing to my distant friends.

    I’ve seen this brand at my office supply stores, but they only came in Artist or Advisor, so I moved on. I had no idea they also came in this perfect perforated ruled paper – just ordered one from Amazon!

  • http://ibmarketer.com/ R.G. Riles

    Is anyone else having a really difficult time getting their “handwriting” app (I’m using Moleskine and Penultimate plus the Jot Pro stylus) to actually record all of your pen strokes? I’m especially having difficulty with Moleskine, but I love the wrist guard so I’d love to be able to utilize this app if at all possible. Obviously, someone is making it work so I’d love to get some advice! Thanks!

  • http://www.brianjones.ca joshaidan

    Moleskine has an Evernote version of their notebooks that align the pages automatically when you take a picture with the app. Have you tried it?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I have not. I have one, but I haven’t used it.

  • Tracy

    Oops! I’m not sure what happened to my post… here it is again, hopefully fixed! Sorry about that!
    Thanks for your post! I was searching for discounted Moleskines and came across this. I ended up purchasing the ecosystem medium hardcover architect; it was ~$3 cheaper than the Moleskine version. I’m especially excited about all the pages being perforated! I hate tearing out a sheet from my Moleskine only to have the formerly connected page come loose at the binding. Having ALL perforated pages is the perfect solution, I just hope the paper quality is similar! Thanks again for this post!

    -Tracy (http://brokelifeblog.blogspot.com)

  • hhh

    i use a moleskine for sketching, and my main issue with it is that you cant tear out pages :( i will look into getting an ecosystem book next time i need more paper uvu

  • Nick Edelstein

    When Ecosystems and all the other impostors produce a music journal (staves on the pages) then I will consider switching. Also, upon recent visit to my Barnes & Noble, I did not spy any Ecosystems branded books. There was a company called Piccadilly, on clearance. I bought one of their blank journals. They don’t make a music version either.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This post was written two-and-a-half years ago, so I don’t if Barnes & Noble still carries them. Sorry.

  • Matt Beeman

    You should check out a startup from North Carolina “Bound Custom Journals”, originally founded by a high school friend of mine, you actually get to pick all the individual pages that you want and they will put it together for you (yes, it is more expensive).

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      I looked it up and that’s very cool, Matt! $35 seems reasonable for the product. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kris Welborn-Virus

    You may want to check out the Whitelines Link notebook as well. You can set it up so that when you take a picture of it, it lines up the image and will send a copy simultaneously to email, and Evernote, and Dropbox. The paper is quality like moleskine too.

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  • Thomas Tonkin

    I understand this use and I agree with the premise, however, that is why I use Levenger’s system. You can take it our and scan (using ScanSnap — very awesome tool), but then out it back into the notebook (or shred it). Kind of the best of both worlds. Thank you for all you do Michael.

  • wheillebhertt-jan montalbeu

    the most important thing is made purely in USA :p

  • Nadia

    I’ve been eschewing spiral notebooks because I’m a left-hander, and writing on top of the binding is both uncomfortable and unhelpful to the way I write. I use a Moleskine weekly notebook planner for appointments, and cahier journals as travel journals. I love writing quotes both on the covers and on the inside of the planner, and it makes the experience much more personal.

  • http://www.vegetarianzen.com/ Vickie

    Wow! Will definitely need to try this! Thanks for the tip!

  • krosentrater

    Michael, why do you not write electronically with a stylus, thereby saving the steps of tearing out a page and scanning? I do that regularly.

  • Gary Klimeck

    I use a moleskine evernote edition and scan them into evernote. However, the spine on my moleskine journal has already broken down which brought me to your blog about Ecosytem journals. I too use a scansnap scanner and like your idea of tear, scan, toss!

  • Richard Wilson

    I am trying to buy the medium hard cover lined journal and cannot find them anywhere. Can you direct me to a supplier. You go to ecosystem web and nothing is available through B&N, nothing at Amazon (in black). Maybe it’s me but it seems seems strange I can’t find them

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m afraid I can’t. I don’t use them anymore. I wrote this post several years ago. I now just use Evernote for all my note-taking.

  • http://www.smartbag.com.au/ Smart Bags

    Hmm, this is interesting. I’ve been using evernote and just simply notepad and saving it on my local system or in dropbox. Moleskin seems good handling journals. Thanks for sharing.



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  • Janella Rollert

    Reading this November 2014. Do they make these anymore? I used to buy them at B&N, but now I can’t find them anywhere.