Index Cards vs Moleskines

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Daniel Choi

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Sep 16, 2008, 9:49:54 AM9/16/08
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What do people think is more convenient, index cards or Moleskine
notebooks? I'm rather torn myself.

John Mayson

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Sep 16, 2008, 10:02:39 AM9/16/08
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On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 8:49 AM, Daniel Choi <dhc...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> What do people think is more convenient, index cards or Moleskine
> notebooks? I'm rather torn myself.

That's like asking which is more convenient: a lawn mower or a rake.
They're both useful tools, it depends on what you're trying to do.

I find a "hipster PDA" works well when I'm out and about and need to
scribble notes, but my Moleskine is my primary note taking tool and
anything I scribble on index cards eventually gets recorded in the
Moleskine.

John

--
John Mayson <jo...@mayson.us>
Austin, Texas, USA

Daniel Choi

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Sep 16, 2008, 10:09:01 AM9/16/08
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Thanks for that answer. I'd like to have the best of both worlds as
well. I like your system. So the index cards are for capturing stuff
on the go. But do you really copy everything from the cards to the
Moleskine?

Dave Graham

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Sep 16, 2008, 10:12:41 AM9/16/08
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tuck the index cards in the moleskine - either in the pages, or in the pocket at the back.

win:win

:-)

Daniel Choi

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Sep 16, 2008, 10:15:57 AM9/16/08
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Does anyone try to keep the index cards organized for the longer term,
like in an index card file with dividers? Or use color-coded index
cards? Or discard them as soon as possible? Index cards are hard to
keep track off. Lots of entropy.

John Mayson

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Sep 16, 2008, 11:11:52 AM9/16/08
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On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 9:15 AM, Daniel Choi <dhc...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Does anyone try to keep the index cards organized for the longer term,
> like in an index card file with dividers? Or use color-coded index
> cards? Or discard them as soon as possible? Index cards are hard to
> keep track off. Lots of entropy.

I did at one time. When I was in college (late 80's/early 90's) I
kept information on 3" x 5" index cards and had them files
alphabetically inside a box. It was handy when I was in my dorm, but
if I was going to the library it was a little unwieldy.

Here's my system today. It's not perfect, but I decided a while back
a perfect system doesn't exist. :-)

1. Outlook for business contacts and calendar.
2. Google GMail and Calendar for personal. (I used to keep the two
synced, but it was more trouble than it was worth and the two
calendars/contacts works fine)

3. I have a medium-size grid Moleskine. About 1/3 is my calendar. I
spent about an hour creating a week-at-a-glance view calendar for
about 9 months. I used a highlighter to mark the ends of these pages.
I have other sections marked with different colors for work notes, a
journal, project lists, etc. A duplicated calendar? Yeah, sometimes
I'm offline and it's good to have the information on paper.

4. Using the "43 Folders" concept in my email. I created a @TICKLE
folder in my work and personal email and have folders for the next two
months and next 31 days. I drag emails into the appropriate date.
This is VERY handy and it works almost like a calendar. I pay bills
electronically. I get the email with my bill and I drag it into a
date about a week before it's due. I see it a week or two later and
pay it. I also drag in emails with meeting minutes for the following
meeting. I'm often the only person on the call who has last meeting's
minutes handy. I store these on our Exchange server so I can access
them anywhere (Outlook, the web, home, work, hotel rooms, etc.).

If you haven't figure it out, my biggest weakness was forgetting about
upcoming appointments and not being ready on time. I've surrounded
myself with calendars and it's worked extremely well.

5. Long term archives. I love GMail. Sometime I have started doing
is making generous use of "+" email addresses. For instance if
there's information I need to keep I'll send it to
myaddress...@gmail.com. I have filters set up that stores this
under a special tag. I'll be able to find it easily even years later.
I have +journal, +quicklog, and others.

My problem for years was I had an excellent WOM system (Write Only
Memory). I recorded everything, but I could never find it again.
GMail and Google Desktop have helped immensely. When Desktop was
first released I loaded it on my work computer. My boss sent out
emails asking if anyone had X or Y. I'd find it in seconds and send
it to him. He finally stopped by and said, "Okay, how are you doing
this?" I'm now the "information guy". Any obscure thought we once
had, I can probably find it. For this reason I suggest saving ALL
incoming and outgoing emails even if you think you'll never look at it
again. You just never know.

I know this email is rather disjointed. My goal has been creating an
application agnostic system (I think that's Merlin Mann's term for
it). I'm not tied into any proprietary format. I can use Outlook,
webmail, Thunderbird, Alpine, Apple Mail, anything I want and get to
my information.

I hope my random thoughts on the topic help.

John Truong

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Sep 16, 2008, 11:18:52 AM9/16/08
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I use the Moleskine as a general purpose inbox/journal. When I go over
it, I "digest" the actions out and write them into lists on the index
cards. So I have lists of things to do when I'm at home, at work, at
lunch... the main places where I do things. But not too many places.
I've only got two or three cards at a time, using the front and back.

When you're figuring out what I should do, I get the card for where I
am and I do whatever looks important. If doing that leaves me
something I'll need later like a confirmation number or a phone
number, I write it into the notebook and digest it later (e.g putting
phone numbers into an address book).

I keep my old notebooks because they have my thoughts and a record of
what's happened in my life, but when the cards get full I copy any
outstanding tasks to a new card, I toss out the old one. The notebooks
are all I need because the stuff on the cards came from the notebooks
in the first place. Try to keep the cards as meaningless as you can,
so you can toss them guilt-free. Otherwise, you'll have shoeboxes full
of them in no time and people will wonder why you spend all your time
writing on cards.

Speaking of time, whatever system you come up with should be simple.
Time management systems are supposed to free up time and make you more
effective by reducing the waste of scrambling after things that got
missed or forgotten. If you get all tied up with list after list and
setting priorities and calendar maintenance, etc, before long you have
an ISO9000 system. After a few weeks, ask yourself if things are
really better, productivity-wise than they were before. If you're
using the system but you can't say yes, perhaps it's not worth it.

Sorry for the wordiness.

John

John Mayson

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Sep 16, 2008, 11:38:10 AM9/16/08
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On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 10:18 AM, John Truong <gren...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Speaking of time, whatever system you come up with should be simple.
> Time management systems are supposed to free up time and make you more
> effective by reducing the waste of scrambling after things that got
> missed or forgotten. If you get all tied up with list after list and
> setting priorities and calendar maintenance, etc, before long you have
> an ISO9000 system. After a few weeks, ask yourself if things are
> really better, productivity-wise than they were before. If you're
> using the system but you can't say yes, perhaps it's not worth it.

I think that is really key. If you get too complex you're defeating
the purpose of a time management system. I wrapped mine around the
skills I already had and the tools I already owned. I know there are
GTD plug-ins for Outlook. I don't use them. I don't care to learn
something new and if I'm on a different computer without the plug-in
I'm out of luck. I stopped synchronizing my calendars and contacts
because I got tired of dealing with duplicated entries or entries that
would double each time I synced (I ended up with someone's birthday
512 times in my calendar and that was quite a shock to see Outlook pop
up 512 windows all of a sudden).

heleneas...@googlemail.com

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Sep 17, 2008, 8:27:01 AM9/17/08
to Moleskinerie
Ah now with being a law student I have tonnes of cases to learn so I
use both, index cards in a memo-pocket moleskine. It keeps them in
order and lets me just learn the crucial bits that I need to remember
in an exam. Good revision writing them all out too.

John Mayson

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Sep 17, 2008, 10:20:29 AM9/17/08
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Everyone is different. I found index cards worked well when I was an
engineer student because I could put formulas and such on individual
cards and find them quickly. But I had to carry the card case with me
everywhere and it just didn't fit well with my other stuff. I
should've bought a card wallet, but I'm not sure they existed. At
least I never thought about that.

goodwolve

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Sep 17, 2008, 11:00:07 AM9/17/08
to Moleskinerie
"4. Using the "43 Folders" concept in my email. "

That is brilliant. It is SO easy to miss a little piece of a project
when it is buried in an email.

Currently I am using index cards for all of my client work (I work
with multiple clients).

Each client gets an index card, as I talk to them or read email I add
the deliverable and notes (to do's I guess or next actions), then as I
do them I cross them off. When the card is full they get a new card.

I am keeping them filed in box to refer back to.

So far so good, the notebooks don't work for me because they get
buried inside. - For notes I have a clip board and ruled paper that I
take notes with. I then copy any to do items onto the index card, and
file the sheet in a folder that is on my desk for future reference.

Granted I use iCal and Mail too, but those are for mail and calendar
only, no to do items there!

Will have to see if I can keep this up and if it needs any tweeks.

Jacqueline
http://www.moxieworks.net
http://www.goodwolve.blogs.com

John Mayson

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Sep 17, 2008, 11:06:37 AM9/17/08
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On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 10:00 AM, goodwolve <good...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> "4. Using the "43 Folders" concept in my email. "
>
> That is brilliant. It is SO easy to miss a little piece of a project
> when it is buried in an email.

Thanks. It's been a lifesaver.

I also created a folder on our Exchange server called "@@IN BASKET"
and under that I have folders with various projects. I can quickly
find emails relevant to active projects and since it's on the Exchange
server I can access them from anywhere.

> Currently I am using index cards for all of my client work (I work
> with multiple clients).
>
> Each client gets an index card, as I talk to them or read email I add
> the deliverable and notes (to do's I guess or next actions), then as I
> do them I cross them off. When the card is full they get a new card.
>
> I am keeping them filed in box to refer back to.
>
> So far so good, the notebooks don't work for me because they get
> buried inside. - For notes I have a clip board and ruled paper that I
> take notes with. I then copy any to do items onto the index card, and
> file the sheet in a folder that is on my desk for future reference.
>
> Granted I use iCal and Mail too, but those are for mail and calendar
> only, no to do items there!
>
> Will have to see if I can keep this up and if it needs any tweeks.

Good luck!!

a.van...@gmail.com

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Sep 17, 2008, 3:41:32 PM9/17/08
to Moleskinerie


On 16 sep, 17:11, "John Mayson" <j...@mayson.us> wrote:


> 4. Using the "43 Folders" concept in my email.  I created a @TICKLE
> folder in my work and personal email and have folders for the next two
> months and next 31 days.  I drag emails into the appropriate date.
> This is VERY handy and it works almost like a calendar.  I pay bills
> electronically.  I get the email with my bill and I drag it into a
> date about a week before it's due.  I see it a week or two later and
> pay it.  I also drag in emails with meeting minutes for the following
> meeting.  I'm often the only person on the call who has last meeting's
> minutes handy.  I store these on our Exchange server so I can access
> them anywhere (Outlook, the web, home, work, hotel rooms, etc.).
>
> If you haven't figure it out, my biggest weakness was forgetting about
> upcoming appointments and not being ready on time.  I've surrounded
> myself with calendars and it's worked extremely well.
>
> 5. Long term archives.  I love GMail.  Sometime I have started doing
> is making generous use of "+" email addresses.  For instance if
> there's information I need to keep I'll send it to
> myaddress+noteb...@gmail.com.  I have filters set up that stores this
> under a special tag.  I'll be able to find it easily even years later.
>  I have +journal, +quicklog, and others.

That is genius! I always thought the folder system of gmail was
slightly annoying because I lack the patience to classify every email
by hand. The filters are so handy! Thank you!

John Mayson

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Sep 17, 2008, 4:57:39 PM9/17/08
to Molesk...@googlegroups.com
On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 2:41 PM, a.van...@gmail.com
<a.van...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> 5. Long term archives. I love GMail. Sometime I have started doing
>> is making generous use of "+" email addresses. For instance if
>> there's information I need to keep I'll send it to
>> myaddress+noteb...@gmail.com. I have filters set up that stores this
>> under a special tag. I'll be able to find it easily even years later.
>> I have +journal, +quicklog, and others.
>
> That is genius! I always thought the folder system of gmail was
> slightly annoying because I lack the patience to classify every email
> by hand. The filters are so handy! Thank you!

It took me a couple of years of using GMail before that solution
dawned on me. Yeah, tagging by hand is a pain.

Evan Edwards

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Sep 17, 2008, 5:25:57 PM9/17/08
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On Wednesday 17 September 2008, John Mayson wrote:
> It took me a couple of years of using GMail before that solution
> dawned on me.  Yeah, tagging by hand is a pain.

When GMail was first released they had no folders. The original intent
was to let everybody do everything via tagging. There was a massive uproar
of complaints (for folders and for a "Delete" feature, which didn't exist
because you'd just tag messages as trash), and Google caved. Now tagging is
seen as "a hidden feature" by some users when it was the original concept
behind GMail itself.


--
Evan "JabberWokky" Edwards
http://www.cheshirehall.org/
615.686.9538

John Mayson

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Sep 17, 2008, 6:23:41 PM9/17/08
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On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 4:25 PM, Evan Edwards <jabbe...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> On Wednesday 17 September 2008, John Mayson wrote:
> > It took me a couple of years of using GMail before that solution
> > dawned on me. Yeah, tagging by hand is a pain.
>
> When GMail was first released they had no folders. The original intent
> was to let everybody do everything via tagging. There was a massive uproar
> of complaints (for folders and for a "Delete" feature, which didn't exist
> because you'd just tag messages as trash), and Google caved. Now tagging is
> seen as "a hidden feature" by some users when it was the original concept
> behind GMail itself.

At first I hated it, but now I love it! An email can live under
multiple tags without the message being duplicated. Today it seems to
be sheer genius when at the time I thought it was stupid.

Mark Everett | PMP

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Sep 18, 2008, 11:54:59 AM9/18/08
to Moleskinerie
I use both. I have Exacompta 75x125mm bristol cards/record cards/
index card (they are called so many things...) in the pocket of all
my Moleskines. I also have a card wallet from Levengers that I carry
those cards in. Why? I don't like ripping pages out of my
notebooks. So if I need to leave a note, or share a diagram or
whatever, I can write on the card. If I want to save it, it goes in
the pocket. If not, it goes in the trash.

My current supply of cards was purchased several years ago in St.
Martin, FWI, but nota-bene in Canada carries them too, and in other
sizes.

euicho

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Sep 22, 2008, 3:04:11 PM9/22/08
to Moleskinerie
I used to carry around index cards in my pants pockets but they'd get
all worn and dog-eared. I could have used a holder but on a whim I
tried the pocket cahiers and they worked much better for me
personally. I can slip it into my pocket and hardly feel it, so I
don't mind always having one with me. Plus you can rip out the
perforated pages guilt-free if you need to leave a note or discard a
page full of scribbled out ideas and such.

That said, I agree with John Mayson, that it very much depends on your
needs, but I personally carry around a pocket cahier in my pants
pocket nearly all of the time, and have my pocket/regular ruled
moleskines in my day bag.

If I write something I need to save for later, I just copy it to my
hard-cover moleskine whenever I get back to it. The option of keeping
a few index cards in the moleskine pocket also has worked well for me
in the past.

sarnaa

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Sep 23, 2008, 11:55:11 PM9/23/08
to Moleskinerie
I use both. I use large moleskines (including blank and ruled),
cahier, pocket, and I use index cards.

Large moleskines:
ruled ..... for study notes, message/presentation/sermon, ideas,
questions, etc...
cahier... meeting notes (have lots of meetings)
blank ..... literary art, like poems and random sketches
pocket ..... poetry
index cards ..... TODO LISTS... 3x5 (have lots to do)


On Sep 16, 9:49 am, Daniel Choi <dhc...@gmail.com> wrote:

Marika

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Sep 24, 2008, 3:56:39 AM9/24/08
to Moleskinerie
Index cards aren't tought to keep track of if you by one of those
index card holders. from there you can set up your own organizational
system ... I use a box with dividers and put the subjects that I use
them for on the dividers myself.

I use my Moley for character sketches ideas etc ...

On Sep 16, 9:15�am, "Daniel Choi" <dhc...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Does anyone try to keep the index cards organized for the longer term,
> like in an index card file with dividers? Or use color-coded index
> cards? Or discard them as soon as possible? Index cards are hard to
> keep track off. Lots of entropy.
>
>
>
> On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 10:12 AM, Dave Graham <dake...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > tuck the index cards in the moleskine - either in the pages, or in the
> > pocket at the back.
>
> > win:win
>
> > :-)
>
> > On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 3:09 PM, Daniel Choi <dhc...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> >> Thanks for that answer. I'd like to have the best of both worlds as
> >> well. I like your system. So the index cards are for capturing stuff
> >> on the go. But do you really copy everything from the cards to the
> >> Moleskine?
>
> >> On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 10:02 AM, John Mayson <j...@mayson.us> wrote:
>
> >> > On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 8:49 AM, Daniel Choi <dhc...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> >> >> What do people think is more convenient, index cards or Moleskine
> >> >> notebooks? I'm rather torn myself.
>
> >> > That's like asking which is more convenient: a lawn mower or a rake.
> >> > They're both useful tools, it depends on what you're trying to do.
>
> >> > I find a "hipster PDA" works well when I'm out and about and need to
> >> > scribble notes, but my Moleskine is my primary note taking tool and
> >> > anything I scribble on index cards eventually gets recorded in the
> >> > Moleskine.
>
> >> > John
>
> >> > --
> >> > John Mayson <j...@mayson.us>
> >> > Austin, Texas, USA- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Ms. Cin

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Sep 24, 2008, 10:58:28 AM9/24/08
to Molesk...@googlegroups.com
Although I'd love to stick to just one or the other, I'm simply not able to! So I tend to use a combination of three things - my pocket-sized moleskine calendar, index cards (kept in the pocket of the mole) and a junior-sized circa notebook for current projects.
 
I don't always carry the circa but almost always have my little planner with me, so the index cards come in handy when an idea strikes - the cards give me just enough space for notes and rough sketches, which is handy as most of my personal projects are of the writing / photography / design vein.
 
Often I'll transcribe and expand whatever I've written on the index card in my circa and recycle the card. However, if I'm still mulling the idea over or don't have time to focus on it yet, I don't bother with the extra work and simply punch the card and slot it into it's new home. I also make a point of scheduling time in my mole to work through these ideas.
 
It's a work in progress, but during the 9 months I've operated like this I've noticed that I feel much more organized as I can look back through my mole and see the evolution of projects in the time scheduled and lists made. Plus, I 'lose' less ideas, which really is the point of it for me.
 
Cin

Daniel Choi

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Oct 5, 2008, 1:51:26 PM10/5/08
to Moleskinerie
Thank you to everyone who replied.

I'm still experimenting, trying to find a system that combines
Moleskines and index cards in a way that suits me.

I love writing and reading my Moleskine large journals, but the main
reason I'm drawn to index cards because they are so much more
convenient when accumulating ideas and information on several
different subjects over time. I can just add index cards to different
stacks, one for each the subject area.

I've tried keeping multiple notebooks on different subjects, but it's
a hassle to make sure you have the right notebook on hand when an idea
or fact strikes you, and carrying around several subject-specific
notebooks is cumbersome.

So right now I'm embarking on a experiment to try using index cards
more extensively, with an index card file and tabbed dividers. I won't
give up my Moleskines, but I want to see if using index cards for more
than just disposable to do lists might make managing my ideas and
notes easier. Does anyone have any experience on this front they can
share? Also, any index card file box recommendations?

Toby

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Oct 6, 2008, 10:36:59 PM10/6/08
to Moleskinerie
Daniel, take a look at levenger.com for the different variety of
card holders. I will use both index cards & my moleskines, small &
large. I was thinking the same thing as you recently about taking
notes on different topics & keeping them separate. Have you heard of
concept maps. Maybe you could transfer the info. from the index cards
into concept maps, which would take more info. on a page. Then to
solve the problem of taking those notes with you on different
subjects, I am stumped as well, as the best method. Maybe using the
circa notebook is a thought. Anyone else have more ideas?

Toby

Daniel Choi

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Oct 7, 2008, 12:33:54 AM10/7/08
to Molesk...@googlegroups.com
What are concert maps? Could you link to a page that describes what they are?

I'm not entirely happy with using index cards because they're harder
to keep track of than notebooks. But yesterday I started re-reading my
half-dozen Moleskine XL Cahiers and putting Post-it flags on the top
of pages to mark the place of important notes on certain topics.

http://www.3m.com/us/office/postit/products/prod_ft_dur.html

I think this system might work for well enough for me. A nice thing
about the Moleskine XL Cahier, besides the large amount space it gives
you to write on, is that the larger dimensions lend themselves well to
indexing with Post-it flags.

Tob...@aol.com

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Oct 7, 2008, 2:03:42 AM10/7/08
to Molesk...@googlegroups.com
     Hi Daniel,
 
     Thanks for the link to the Post-it flags. They are great to use. I've never been to the site. I also have tried the Cahier's. I'm a girl, so I  use a small pocket moleskine that I carry in my handbag. I leave the larger ones for using at home.Yet, being able to rip out a page would lend to using the Cahiers. You did come up with a good idea. I might just have to try it out. Thank you. Let me know what you think about using concept maps.
 
     What I mentioned is called concept maps. It's concepts & it's associations. I would suggest you google it as there is a wealth of info. on this subject. I find it fascinating & a great learning tool. I like it better than mind maps.Here is just 1 of the links.
 
Concept mapping, Concept Maps, Creation of Concept Maps, Concept Map Software          
         Toby
                                                                                                                                 What are  concert maps? Could you link to a page that describes what they are?

I'm not entirely happy with using index cards because they're harder
to keep track of than notebooks. But yesterday I started re-reading my
half-dozen Moleskine XL Cahiers and putting Post-it flags on the top
of pages to mark the place of important notes on certain topics.

http://www.3m.com/us/office/postit/products/prod_ft_dur.html

I think this system might work for well enough for me. A nice thing
about the Moleskine XL Cahier, besides the large amount space it gives
you to write on, is that the larger dimensions lend themselves well to
indexing with Post-it flags.


 




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Daniel Choi

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Oct 8, 2008, 10:45:36 AM10/8/08
to Moleskinerie


I like the idea of concept maps, which seem to be the same thing as
Mind Maps. I've been making mind maps a lot recently. I think that
often, they are better for generating new ideas and insights than the
usual, linear notetaking, because they let you think in 2 dimensions
and not just one. That's another reason I like the XL Cahiers
(unruled). They give you enough room to mind map.


On Oct 7, 2:03 am, Tob...@aol.com wrote:
> Hi Daniel,
>
>      Thanks for the link to the Post-it flags. They are  great to use. I've
> never been to the site. I also have tried the Cahier's. I'm a  girl, so I  use
> a small pocket moleskine that I carry in my handbag. I  leave the larger ones
> for using at home.Yet, being able to rip out a page  would lend to using the
> Cahiers. You did come up with a good idea. I might just  have to try it out.
> Thank you. Let me know what you think about using concept  maps.
>
>      What I mentioned is called concept maps. It's  concepts & it's
> associations. I would suggest you google it as there is a  wealth of info. on this
> subject. I find it fascinating & a great learning  tool. I like it better than
> mind maps.Here is just 1 of the links.
>
> _Concept mapping, Concept Maps,  Creation of Concept Maps, Concept Map  
> Software_ (http://www.graphic.org/concept.html)          
>          Toby
>
> What are  concert maps? Could you link to a page that describes  what they
> are?
>
> I'm not entirely happy with using index cards because  they're harder
> to keep track of than notebooks. But yesterday I started  re-reading my
> half-dozen Moleskine XL Cahiers and putting Post-it flags on  the top
> of pages to mark the place of important notes on certain  topics.
>
> http://www.3m.com/us/office/postit/products/prod_ft_dur.html
>
> I  think this system might work for well enough for me. A nice thing
> about the  Moleskine XL Cahier, besides the large amount space it gives
> you to write  on, is that the larger dimensions lend themselves well to
> indexing with  Post-it flags.
>
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Tob...@aol.com

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Oct 8, 2008, 5:53:46 PM10/8/08
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     Yes, isn't it fun. There are so many ways of taking notes. You can also use images with a few words placed near the image.
     Great idea about the Cashiers. I'll have to dig out my moleskine box to see if I have any Cahiers in it.
 
     Toby
I like the idea of concept maps, which seem to be the same thing as
Mind Maps. I've been making mind maps a lot recently. I think that
often, they are better for generating new ideas and insights than the
usual, linear notetaking, because they let you think in 2 dimensions
and not just one. That's another reason I like the XL Cahiers
(unruled). They give you enough room to mind map.
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