My Field Notes Collection

Earlier this week, I received the first delivery of my second year subscription  to Field Notes notebooks. My subscription to The List gets me one of these deliveries each quarter, and I always look forward to it.

Since June 2015, I have been using Field Notes notebooks to serve as a supplement to my short-term memory, and they have proven far more useful to me than any digital substitute that I have tried. I have not been without a Field Notes notebook in my pocket since. I don’t run through them as quickly as some people might. I have filled nearly 7 of the 48-page notebooks since I started using them. That means, that over the last 20 months, I have built up something of a collection of Field Notes notebooks. It makes choosing the next one to use fun.

Field Notes Collection
My Field Notes Collection

The notebooks have made a real difference for me. Instead of trying to remember all kinds of things (and for the most part, failing) I have learned to make it a habit of writing them down. If I forget, I’ve got my notebook—always in my shirt pocket, or jeans pocket—to remind me. Most of these are ephemeral things: what to put in the kids lunches tomorrow; the name of the conference room I am going to for my next meeting; a list of things to pick up at the store. Sometimes, I’ll jot down funny things the kids do or say.

How I record information in the notebooks has changed over time. I used to just jot things down, and separate things by drawing a line across the page where the subject or topic changes. Now, I go one step further, adding a date below the line for each new day. That way I have some reference back to the day on which I jotted something down.

I keep all the old notebooks, not because they are immediately useful, but because, like a diary, they serve to show what I was thinking at a particular time. I have one notebook reserved as an index for all the others. I just record the start and end dates and the number I’ve taped on the pack of a particular notebook.

Old notebooks
My old notebooks

I love starting a fresh new notebook, and watching it become used and worn over time. Among my favorite that I have received across my 5 quarterly shipments to-date is the Lunacy edition. The design is clever. I may even use one of these as my next notebook.

Lunacy Edition
Lunacy Edition

The notebook peeking out of my pocket at this moment is a yellow, “Country Fair” edition for Virginia. Another week or two and I’ll be done with this one and move onto another one.

Virginia County Fair Edition
Virginia County Fair Edition

The most recent edition, which arrived just a few days ago, is the Field Notes “Utility” edition. This one comes in two page styles, either engineering graph, or ledger. The pages are thick, and there is a cool fold-out ruler for measuring things at the pack of the notebook

Utility Edition
Utility Edition

My biggest problem with Field Notes notebooks is deciding which one to use next. Of the ones that I have used so far, my favorite is probably the “Shenandoah” edition.

3 thoughts on “My Field Notes Collection

  1. I think I missed whatever it is that makes Field Notes notebooks so sought after. I’ve seen the brand pop up now and then and I like how they look. My equivalent has been Moleskine, or at least it was before we arrived in Israel. I can’t seem to find them here and can’t really justify the cost of ordering them from Amazon.

  2. I wish I could remember where I first heard back Field Notes notebooks. I like them for several reasons. 1) They are the perfect size for my shirt pocket. 2) They have good quality paper. 3) I like the variety of designs they provide. 4) I like the facts that are included on the back cover. These are all little things, of course.

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