Why do notebook page layouts suck?

Posted on February 23rd, 2008 in business , ideas , wonder why - 7 comments

My job takes me to numerous meetings, even though I hate to go to so many of them. Most of the time during the meetings I end up writing lots of notes about,

  • good ideas
  • things to do, action items
  • usual meeting notes
  • mind maps, diagrams
  • and of course doodles

well, this brings me to the point, I think the notebook page layouts suck. Lets take a look at a typical office notebook page layout (well there is no such thing as a layout in them, but I like to use lots of photos in my posts)

Typical office note book page layout

I think the page layouts haven’t really progressed much after Chinese found out how to make a page, otherwise how on the earth we can explain the above one? I mean we no longer use notepad.exe to write our project plans, so why are we stuck with this dumb page layouts? Looks like some one at office depot (or staples) never involved users while designing these office note pads. So instead of focusing more on the meeting, I end up drawing all kinds of symbols (the stars, the banners, the pointers, the call outs) to differentiate action items from caricatures.

I think a more practical office notepad page layout can have few of these following sections like the one I showed on the right,typical office note pad page layout

  • Meeting notes
  • Doodle section, draw whatever you want, be the next Scott Adams
  • idea pile
  • action items
  • parked items
  • issues / challenges

What do you think?

Written by Chandoo
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7 Responses to “Why do notebook page layouts suck?”

  1. Hypnos says:

    Cheers! You have turned into the next Scott Adams.

    He writes about house plans, you talk about notebook designs.

    Dude, if you want sections on your notebooks, you've got a pencil - make them.

    How could there be a common planogram for all people's notebooks? We already have those planners which have two lines each for each hour of your day, which works for a miniscule minority, but does not for the overwhelming rest of us.

    Even if you have customized plans for everyone, say 4 cm for doodles, 6 cm for meetings notes and the bottom horizontal for blog ideas, what ensures that you would stick to that plan for everytime you write something, or that everything you write in a certain section fits in the designated box?

  2. Gouri says:

    Hey Buddy,
    I attend to 1 or 2 meetings a week at max, but I use my notebook a lot. šŸ™‚

    I dont mind to draw those sections.

  3. Kapil says:

    Another would be to use those 5 subject notebooks - which help you sort ideas, to-dos and meeting minutes. Although it might be difficult to flip around the pages during a meeting. It could act as a good repository for later collection.

  4. Krishnan says:

    i believe that we can have sections marked permanently and ppl cal figure out what they want to place and where. maybe sections like Action Items and Ideas can be inked forever in most notepads.

  5. Chandoo says:

    Excellent comments everyone

    @Amit - debatable, but my point is more about meeting notepads, I am sure there is a big enough market for them. As it is, we have a standard meeting minutes format across the corporate world, So why not use a pre-layouted notebook, makes note taking simple and fun

    @Gouri - I envy you, just one/two meetings a week, man you have time to work šŸ˜€

    @kapil .. yeah, that is a nice idea, again if you are willing to juggle.

    @krishnan - exactly my point, the notebook layouts have been the same way since they were first made. We can certainly afford some change there šŸ™‚

  6. Hypnos says:

    What layout did your first pic have? It was a plain sheet with squares. If someone needs a layout, they can simply draw the boxes they need. That's all I said.

  7. Jeff Jorgensen says:

    You fellas need to check out Geek Pad. Visit me at http://www.geek-pad.com

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