Let’s just journey back 5 or so years and picture a meeting room in any successful company. You would instantly see a range of people sitting around a table with various plastic water bottles, coffee cups all wearing a range of clothing including the odd tie perhaps. You would also see at least half the people using tablets to make notes if not more. iPads were the weapon of choice but there may be the odd android offering there too. It was the only tool to be seen with to use in a meeting, but things are changing and for some, it is a return to a better way, others it’s a new world. The notebook is back and for those involved in real business and the business of being successful, it is the only way to go!

But Tech is the Future!

Agreed, technology must be embraced right across the business world. No successful company in 2019 would be using a paper filing system but there are in-betweens and sometimes going all out on the tech isn’t a great idea all the time. Smartphones really are critical in business, mobile email has both freed and imprisoned most successful business people but ultimately a return to desktop email would kill a lot of businesses dead. Online learning has also changed the face of business, people can learn languages online, coding, business skills and so much more from their devices and grow their career independently and for very little cost.  Computers…of course we need them, wireless presentation tools, projectors, live stream conferences, video conferencing; we need and love it all but they all serve a great purpose that cannot really be beaten by anything we used to use.

Why are Notebooks So Good?

Well, before we look at that it is important to think about why tablets can be bad! In a meeting everyone should be focused, any distraction can slow things down, it can reduce creativity and it can also just be annoying! While a tablet is a great tool for taking notes and automatically sharing them it is also a live email and internet device and as such can be a meeting killer. The simple fact someone can be looking like they are making notes and actually emailing a friend or even a colleague makes the tablet a less than perfect tool.

The notebook only does one thing, it offers a blank space to add in the information you wish to remember and use later. It does it perfectly and it does it with no chance of any interruption or distraction. It is this purity of purpose that is leading to a resurgence of the mighty notebook and its great news for people who really want to get things done. It isn’t such good news for those pretenders in meeting that secretly look on eBay or twitter the entire time and that’s a good thing!

Style and Substance

Not only is the notebook a focused and simple tool it can also look very good. We may not wear ties anymore but looking good in the office is still important. Successful business people still think about looking good and if they don’t it may just come naturally. A stylish moleskine notebook, for example, can give a real impression of power. It may seem silly but leaning back in a chair with a quality pen and notebook can show far more confidence than mucking about trying to get a tablet on the wifi!

Who Uses Notebooks?

Well, a few very successful people you may have heard of and a lot of up and coming business people across the world.

  • Richard Branson – Having a $5bn business doesn’t mean Richard doesn’t need a notebook. He carries one everywhere to note down any ideas he may have. His “lifehack” is simply to “write it down” but doing so he cements his ideas and plans and can review and action where he needs to at a later date.
  • Sherly Sandberg – The COO of Facebook would certainly be someone you might expect would “go digital” but no. She likes to set out lists of items and action points in her very basic spiral notepad before ticking them off and ripping out the page. For Sheryl, this is a systematic and satisfying way to work through her enormous workload.
  • Bill Gates – Yes Mr Microsoft uses a notebook! While he may rely on much if his own tech day to day he was recently spotted giving a speech where he referred to his own small notebook!

There are some very interesting historic icons that also used notebooks but they had very little choice at the time! https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/the-pocket-notebooks-of-20-famous-men/

Backwards to Go Forwards

While the notebook might seem a backward step it is, for many business people, the perfect noise reduction system. We are bombarded with digital noise all the time and a lot of it really damages our productivity. The notebook not only reduces noise at critical thinking times but it also shows others you are meeting with and engaging with that you are focussed on the meeting, not something else. This can help close deals, it can inspire staff and it can make people listen to you. Not only that but it is also a great tool for…well, for making notes in, it really works well!