Beyond the Moleskine notebook

A few weeks back I made the transition from relying on 37Signals’ Backpack service to a small plain Moleskine notebook. Of all the web based or electronic organizer doohickeys that I’ve rolled into my daily activities, all have failed in comparison to the sheer simplicity and reliability of my 4″ x 6″ notebook. From sketches to todo lists, assignments to random brain farts, the notebook can always be found in my left back pocket. I’ve grown so accustomed to it, chances are that if I’ve forgotten my Moleskine and click pen, I’ve probably forgotten to brush my teeth or slap the deodorant on.

While I have managed to successfully roll my daily tasks into a single Moleskine, I do feel the urge to share a quick snippet concerning the Jotspot Wiki service. As I had noted earlier, I recently made the transition from Backpack to my Moleskine. The Backpack service as a whole is a fabulous web based “organizer”. However, users opting to go the ‘free’ route who happen to utilize the service beyond their personal needs soon find themselves in a position requiring a paid upgrade. Understandable considering the upgrade allows users to upload / host files as well as create additional pages.

I believe that each individual has their own agendas and methodologies of completing tasks and that no two tasks are alike. With that said, I believe Jotspot has built a great toolbox of options for organizing, collaborating, and completing tasks online. Looking at the features open to individuals opting to utilize the free accounts, you can already understand why Jotspot is a more than worthy competitor for Backpack:

  • Collaborate: If you’re cheap *cough*, 5 users essentially translates into 5 concurrent open projects.
  • Pages: Free accounts enjoy up to 20 pages. Compare this to Backpacks limitation of 5.
  • Attachments: Unlike Backpack – which requires a monthly upgrade fee – Jotspot allows users to upload files with a maximum attachment size of 5MB. How large are the average Word, TXT, or image files these days?
  • Applications: Jotspot calls these ‘applications’, I call them plugins. What better way to maximize efficiency than a Project Manager, Company Directory, Contact Manager, Gallery, Blog, and Forum to name a few. Each of these packages installs directly into your wiki accessible by authorized wiki members.
  • Syndication: We can’t have a Web 2.0 service without RSS can we?

If you’ve searched high and low for an alternative to current web based collaboration services, Jotspot may hold the secret(s) to your success. Register your free Yahoo backed Jotspot Wiki.

Discuss - 5 Comments

  1. Details man, details! (I really enjoy the writing here @ 5thirtyone and would love to hear the details about your move from webased organization platform to a 4 x 6 moleskine.)

  2. Derek says:

    Details as in specific uses for the Moleskine? Or details as in how I manage to organize the pages for various items?

  3. More about how and why you personally have started using the Moleskine for your daytiming tasks.

  4. Derek says:

    Well I’ve always carried a small day planner in my messenger bag for class assignments and what not (I assure you this planner was very masculine). I started to take on a few design projects on the side and soon found myself limited by the small lined spaces in the planner. [Pocket sized planners are great for small task organization.]

    In order to prepare for client meetings, I would jot down misc notes throughout the planner. I soon discovered that despite the calendar dates and ruled paper, I became very disorganized. I prefer structured organization, yet fluidity as far as running task lists.

    A close friend of mine had picked up on my hint that I wanted something sturdy yet flexible enough for my needs. She gifted me with a Moleskine one day and I’ve been using it since.

    Basically, what I do is I create mental categories. The plain sheets allow me to write out todo lists as well as provide ample room for sketches / doodles. As items are completed, I simply scratch them from view. I’ve found that by waking up each morning to flip through pages looking for unscratched items, I am more likely to set aside time to complete tasks. I think the planners calendar dates limited me in that the current and future dates are all that I concentrated on. Any previous dates became meaningless. There’s no yesterday in today or tomorrow.

    I also make use of the back folder on the notebook for misc receipts or emergency cash. All in all I’m quit pleased with the number of tasks I can juggle within a single 4″ x 6″ item.

  5. [...] I’ve had a number of “projects” on the side which have consumed most, if not all, of my conscious mentality. The amount of sane workable time in a 24 hour day never seems adequate. The Moleskine notebook is definitely doing its part attempting to keep items of importance organized. Does anyone out there work at an Aquarium of some sort? I could really use a hand with some of that marine biology stuff college professors are throwing at students. [...]