Posts Tagged ‘notepad’



[Picture of Fisher Space Pen Silver Bullet]OVER 15 YEARS AGO, I got chatting with Paul Billington about design ideas and lifehacks, and he told me that he always carried with him a small pencil from Ikea, or one of those small pens from the bookies, and one of those small square Post-It Note pads.

This was genius to me.

I was so convinced that I immediately started this habit, and have thanked him ever since.

My pen is a Fisher Silver Bullet Space Pen – one that is small (94mm) but good quality; it doesn’t feel cheap. It’s always in my right side trouser pocket. Always. It has a great form factor or fiddle-with quality — that in itself is a bonus de-stress device.  This pen writes underwater, upside down and onto surfaces that are no good with ordinary everyday pens.

I don’t feel right without this pen, and I have lost a couple over the years. Those periods without having my pen on me are so weird – and very short due to my impatience to return to normality.

[Picture of 3in square Post It Note Pad]The partner  to the Silver Bullet is the square Post-it pad. Butternut is the colour apparently. These are brilliant, and the sticky section makes then far better than diaries or bound notepads like Filofaxes.  Brand new pads are too thick to carry around, so I usually pull off a thinner pack.

So what do I do with this pen and paper combo? — Well, really, the question is what would I do without them on me at all times. I have walked around, snagging jobs, scribbling notes and comments and sticking them right where the problem is. I have even decorated houses in Sweden by sticking notes about colours to paint walls, and other instructions.

In traffic incidents, I have left notes on windscreens. If I visit someone who is out, I leave a sticky message saying I called. Notes to neighbours, memos to the self. I take orders for drinks (and food) at bars and restaurants. Really, this is so useful – I’ve even scribbled “Out of Order” for things I come across, just to help the next guy along.

I developed a system at work for recording jobs and tasks allocated to people. These could be unstuck and repositioned to reflect urgency and priority.  I have used the wall behind my desk, and I have used an A4 sized notepad to stick in tasks, notes and messages – and rearrange them as I wish.

At home I carried on with this office notepad system, such that if I post a  note to remind me of a refund I am expecting (for example), I can unstick and carry it forward each day and onto each page until the matter is resolved. I don’t always throw them away – just score through to show they are resolved. I have notebooks full of them as a record.

My habit is to date the note at the top with a completed date on bottom. I have experimented with different coloured post-its in the office, but ended up with different coloured pens. It has helped me keep track of the schedules of my children and when bills are due. It is such a simple and easy way to get organised.

These days I use a lot of features and apps on my phone and other devices – but I still have to rely a lot on my pen and post it system.

Everyone knows I always have them on me, especially my children – who have always loved drawing little pictures when bored.

Everyday I thank Paul for this idea that really did change my life for the better.




[Pictures of sketch bnooks from 1977)I grew up in a semi-rural location.  It was quiet, mature and terribly boring, so I had little choice but to travel to meet up with my pals — and this meant that I was in a lot of different and pretty diverse groups, bands, teams and gangs.

I had pals in one group that would never — ever, in a million years — get on with pals in other groups.  That was part of the fun!

Mind you, it was not entirely black-and-white, cut-and-dried; I knew a few guys who liked art AND motorcycles, others who liked art AND music, others who liked music AND motorcycles, if you see what I mean.

But largely speaking, there were distinct groups of pals — and I would hang out with the guys who loved album art and who painted motorcycle petrol tanks, then I would see guys who played guitars and drums or the guys who played rugby with me!

Heck I actually had a pal who was incredibly shy, he liked to listen to music and was into hi-fi, but hated musicians and avoided bikers! So it was more about keeping everyone away from each other than anything else!

The result was that I picked up a bit of this and a bit of that.  I played a wee bit of guitar and bass, I did some sketches, I played a wee bit of rugby, I dabbled in hi-fi, did a bit of writing.  I think I did rather well as a talentless will-o-the-wisp, I may not have been any good at any one thing, but it was always fun… and still is to be perfectly honest!  Today, my wife is constantly amazed at the wild diversity of my acquaintances!

Anyway, for myself, I sometimes try to merge one thing with another.  I painted rugby players, I photographed rallies and speedway, and the above are the results of my attempt to blend guitar playing with art!

I discovered some old schoolday sketch pads from 1977, and thought I would embarrass myself by putting them up here on the world-wide web! Hey, why not? They are decades old and of no use apart from this sort of thing — maybe they will spark something in some real artistic soul that wanders across this blog.  You never know.  All I know is that all my life I have been about cross pollination between disparate social groups, why should it stop just because I am unable to get out and about as much!