How My Moleskine Makes Life More Manageable

February 26, 2013

I love my Moleskine. It’s the paper version of my Mac. You can get them in any size you need, any color you like; you can get them blank, lined, or with grid-lines. Perhaps this is the idealist in me, but I love a brand new Moleskine journal. It’s a blank canvas to build, to write, to dream a new plan and forge a new future.


There was a time when Moleskine’s stifled my productivity and creativity. I used my Moleskine so heavily that I became a slave to it and it bogged me down. I would sketch anything and everything in my journal, from future project ideas, to books I want to write; from my daily tasks, to new things I was learning. I put so much information into one place, it became a mess, and it became challenging to track ideas as they progressed. I had developed a case of “Moleskine Paralysis”. It stressed me out to have bigger picture thoughts and ideas intertwined with my daily to-do lists. The former I want to save forever and the latter I’m ready to throw away as soon as I can check off that little box.

I needed a system for thinking AND doing.

It is not as if one person thinks for an organization while another person implements. We all think, and we all do. However, they require very different head-space for me and without a system to manage that, I was frustrated. The key for me is knowing how and when I’m ready to write, create, dream and think without any obligation to do anything and on the other hand, when I’m ready to power through my to-do list.

I needed a system that allows me to think without the pressure of having to implement the idea right away. Good ideas often need to stew before they are ready to take off and become action items. Likewise, I need a clear system for keeping track of what needs to be done, and how to prioritize these tasks day-to-day. In a previous post, I go into detail about the logistics of getting things done.

Knowing this about myself helped me overcome that Moleskine Paralysis. I rethought my system to work with the way I operate. I now use a small, disposable Moleskine (the kind that comes in packs of two) to organize my priority list. They’re perfect because they’re pocket sized, super handy and I don’t feel bad trashing them regularly. I use a larger journal-sized Moleskine for thinking, planning, and journaling. Ideas almost always end up as action items, but the mere act of not co-mingling them keeps me organized and sane.

By extracting the pragmatic to-do list from the creative journal, I don’t get bogged down. The ideas can have a more fluid structure without impacting my daily priorities, and vice-versa.

What’s your system? Do you struggle like I do and need a better way to organize your head space?