This week’s Fan Profile features note-taker/programmer Chris Grovers:
“I use notebooks for everything. Writing code, what I’m going to do, random thoughts, finishing projects. I take my notebook with me everywhere, that’s why I love Rhodia notebooks. They have great quality paper that doesn’t bleed, durable covering so that it won’t fall apart after a year of carrying them around, and a satisfying logo on the front that catches the eye. I love notebooks!”
RD: How and when did you first discover Rhodia products?
Chris: Well, this answer starts with the fact that I love to collect things, including data. I tried storing information on my computer, or phone but I would never look at them. After a couple different systems, I discovered GTD (Getting Things Done) and fell in love with the concept and picked up a small pocket notebook. This worked for a while until the notebook fell apart, so I started looking for a notebook that wouldn’t fall apart, which led me to a couple different websites (reddit.com/r/notebooks is the most recent that I go to). Rhodia was one of the most recommended brands, and I fell in love ever since!
RD: Does using Rhodia products in any way make your job easier? (Do quality tools make the job easier?)
Chris: Quality tools definitely make the job easier, since I carry my notebooks everywhere with me. I’m not always the most mindful of my things, so this means they have to be able to handle getting tossed around a lot and not fall apart on me before I’m able to finish filling it up.
RD: Which are your favorite Rhodia products?
Chris: Modularity, and portability are two things that I always keep in mind. Modularity is easily solved by getting a notebook with dot grid paper; It’s just enough to help you keep everything organized, and minimal enough to stay out of the way when you want to get a little creative (even better if I can rip out the pages, since there are some notes I don’t need to carry with me). Portability is a little harder to solve without compromising space. I used to stay away from anything bigger than 3×5, but I’m experimenting with a bigger notebook (5×8) and it seems to be working for me; I just can’t carry the notebook in my pocket very comfortably.
Rhodia Webnotebook 5×8 with dot grid: This has plenty of space for me to work on projects/list out what steps I need to take to be more efficient with my day. I keep this bad boy at my desk in view open to my current project page.
Rhodia pocket Webnotebook/Classic Unlimited: These two are my go to’s for carrying around in my pocket. These get used for any ideas that come to my head, making lists, leaving notes (a bonus for being able to rip out pages in the Unlimited), and beating the crap out of.
I try to stay away from spiral bound notebooks because they tend to get warped with how I use them and don’t open too great after a while. I haven’t tried any flip top notebooks, but I’ve been really curious about them and I’ll probably try one out once I fill up my current pocket notebook!
RD: Do you use them in any way that is specific to your job?
Chris: Absolutely! They help me stay focused and on track (more productive) in plenty of ways.
After many man hours, I came up with a very advanced system to track how much time I should be spending on a goal/project (I number boxes and fill them in for each hour spent on the project).
I’m a programmer so that means I spend a lot of time looking at a screen. Sometimes my brain doesn’t want to work after staring at my computer for 8 hours, so I resort to writing down my thoughts with pen and paper. Code isn’t very elegant when you’re scratching out everything that doesn’t work, but it helps me turn my ideas into something real. An added bonus is that once I jot down an idea in my notebook, it’s always there. If I write something in a file on my computer (or the flavor of the month app I’m trying to use for productivity), I never really open the file up again and and it’ll be in limbo forever. With the notebook, I’m always flipping through pages, so everything I write down stays in my thought queue.
RD: Pencil, pen, or other? Favorites?
Chris: Definitely pen. Pencils fade over time, run out of lead, and can get messy when I erase something over and over (I haven’t found a way to erase ink without carrying whiteout with me, so that doesn’t usually happen). I was using a Pilot G-2 with a Mont-Blanc refill mod (link) for everything, but I found my old Lamy Safari pen (which forces me to write a little nicer than my normal chicken scratch) so I’ve been using that at my desk, with the modded G-2 downgraded to my on the go pen.
RD: Is there any way we could improve on your favorite product?
Chris: If you guys could find a better way to carry a pen in/on/with my notebook, I will gladly sell my soul to you.