There are quite a few things that I carry daily. One of which is my handy pocket notebook. You have tons of choices when it comes to a pocket notebook, it doesn’t have to be a trendy Moleskine, Rite In The Rain or Field Notes. What it does have to be is small enough to fit in your pocket and actually be in your pocket when necessary. I started carrying a small pocket notebook while I was in the military and have ever since. This practice was only reinforced by my time as a police officer.
In law enforcement you have to write everything down. If you didn’t write it, it didn’t happen. Every single detail of every single encounter is recorded. This can be a pretty time consuming practice but it’s vitally necessary when it comes time to write your reports and to help you recall details in court. In the military, it serves to help recall vital mission details like targets, rally points, hard times, as an expedient range card and even a quick and dirty language guide. On the civilian side of life, they can be very useful for recording a license plate number, address, description of a suspect in a crime you witnessed, details of a traffic accident you saw, strange events or collecting your thoughts after a use of force incident. Even if you aren’t trained in report writing, a small notebook can be indispensable in recalling small important details that you may need to go over with your lawyer. Mostly though, a pocket notebook is extremely useful in normal every day uses.
Since I’m not currently in the employ of any government agencies, the contents of my pocket notebook are vastly different these days. Mostly my notebook contents consist of ideas for posts, phone numbers, class dates, grocery lists and the list goes on. At this point you may be asking why I actually use pen and paper in this “digital age”. I’ve got an iPhone that has an acceptable note taking application but when it comes to notes, a good old fashioned notebook just can’t be beat. Not to mention I just don’t think that typing on your phone presents a very professional image when taking notes. There’s just something about having something tangible to physically write on to help you remember. I use a few different kinds of notebooks depending on weather and space available in what I’m wearing. One of which is just the standard Mead spiral notepad. These notebooks are the main work horses of my notebook collection. They work very well and are very cheap, which are two very great things. I couldn’t even tell you how many of these I have filled to date. The second kind of notebook I generally use is a Rite In The Rain Tactical Bound Book which is 4.5″ x 7.25″. That can be a wee bit on the large side for some folks but it fits in my back pocket opposite my wallet, and is easily slipped in the center console of my Jeep when I’m on the road for any period of time. Rite In The Rain makes a whole host of different sizes of notebooks so chances are good that you’ll be able to find something that suits you well. There is one thing to consider when using Rite In The Rain products and that is you can’t just use a regular old ball point pen because of the water resistant coating on the paper. You need to either use a Fisher Space Pen or a pencil. I’ve opted for the pen option personally.
When I am complete with a notebook, I date it on the front cover, put a rubber band around it and place it in a .50 cal ammo can in the closet. You never know when you will need information from a couple years ago, or want to write your memoirs. I’ve known some people to scan the pages of their notebooks onto their computer. I’m not that detailed with it, if it’s information that is that important chances are good that I’ve already transcribed it into some other kind of document or have written a narrative report and have it saved on an external hard drive and a thumb drive (when it comes to electronics, I always have a backup). If you’re the kind of person that likes a little style, even with the standard cheap Mead notepads, you can get some nice notepad covers to help keep your notes in tact while riding around in your pocket all day long. I’m partial to the thick, stitched, natural leather varieties that get softer and darker with age. But that’s just me. There are multitudes of covers available to suit your tastes. I hope this gets you thinking about always having something to write on, the advantages are endless.