100 Amazing Ways to Hack Your Moleskine Notebook

Posted June 29, 2010

Moleskines are both legendary and trendy little notebooks, and their lasting popularity is particularly fascinating in such a tech-fueled, tool-obsessed world. But Moleskines can really help with your productivity despite their simplicity. Here are 100 modern and amazing ways to hack your notebook as a student or in the real world.

Selecting a Moleskine

Learn about where to buy Moleskines and all the different kinds of Moleskines here.

  1. Where to buy Moleskine Notebooks

    Use this store locator to view maps of all the locations in your city where you can buy a Moleskine.

  2. Buy one on eBay

    Find cheaper Moleskines on eBay.

  3. Cahier Journals

    Grid-like pages are great for doodling and brainstorming.

  4. Museum Notebooks

    These come as ruled editions and sketchbooks, in honor of Van Gogh.

  5. Reporter Notebooks

    Use a ruled notebook with flip-up pages in classic reporter style.

  6. Diaries and Planners

    Pick monthly or weekly planners for notes, assignments, deadlines and more.

  7. City Notebooks

    Pick a city notebook — they come in editions for Europe, North America and Asia — to find maps, city guides and room for organizing a trip.

  8. Folio Art and Professional Books

    These notebooks are like portfolios and come with an elastic band over the cover and an expandable pocket.

  9. Folio Tools

    Hack your Moleskine with this product, which includes extra little tools and notepads for organizing messages.

  10. For paragraphs get a a large-ruled notebook

    Large, ruled Moleskines are best for more organized writing.

  11. Large Squared Notebooks are best for balance

    Mash up organization and more flexibility with this option.

General Organization

Learn about GTD hacks and other organization strategies for your Moleskine.

  1. Implement GTD

    This simplified model of GTD will help you index and organize your Moleskine.

  2. Add contact information

    Always put your contact information on the inside front cover when you get a new notebook.

  3. Use symbols

    Make up your own symbols to use in your notebook to indicate priority items and other tasks or meanings.

  4. Use tabs

    Use colored tabs and label them with a Sharpie to divide your notebook into sections like Inbox, Someday, Projects or Special Priority.

  5. Tab pages

    If you’d rather not have tabs sticking out of your notebook, cut pages to create tabs.

  6. Number the odd pages

    As you go along, number the odd pages in the lower right corner, starting with the first ruled page.

  7. Work back-to-front

    Put on-the-fly thoughts and messages in the back, and more static projects in the front, working your way to meeting in the middle.

  8. Use multiple notebooks

    Have a larger notebook for all your tasks and ramblings, and a smaller one for more direct organization and high priority tasks.

  9. Use Post-Its

    Stick little Post-Its on pages to mark your spot or add temporary notes and references.

  10. Use right-hand pages for notes, left-hand pages for tasks

    Or, vice versa. Carry this through for the entire section, or even all your sections.

Indexing

Keep track of all your content with these hacks.

  1. Leave open pages at the back for an index

    Fill it in when you’ve finished the notebook.

  2. Index each section

    On self-adhesive tab labels, record page range and content for each section.

  3. Record start and stop dates

    Label it on the spine, inside front cover, or inside back cover.

  4. Label the spine

    For archiving your entire Moleskine collection, it’ll help to have your spines labeled.

  5. Number your books

    You can also number the outside of your notebooks as you finish each one.

  6. Put a calendar on the inside cover

    Use it on either the back or front inside cover for a quick reference.

Customizing

Make your Moleskine your own with these hacks.

  1. Twitter-ify your Moleskine

    Stick easily removable white labels on the cover of your notebook for reminders and quotes that you can later switch out.

  2. Use the MSK

    This printable format lets you "import" digital content to your actual notebook.

  3. Make your own weekly planner

    Follow this hack to turn your Moleskine into a customized weekly planner.

Security and Protection

Keep your Moleskine safe and private.

  1. Get a cover

    Slip your Moleskine into a cover to protect it from spills and tearing.

  2. Padlock your Moleskine

    This ridiculous hack is actually pretty effective.

  3. Write on one side of the page only

    It wastes paper for sure, but it’s easier to shield your writing from spying eyes when you only use one side of the paper.

  4. Include an emergency phone number

    Besides your contact info, list an emergency contact number in case someone finds your Moleskine on you when you’re injured or unconscious.

  5. Use trick labels

    If you think someone’s trying to read your diary, use a trick label on the spine to throw them off.

  6. Offer a reward

    Include a reward line on the back of the front cover where you place your contact information.

  7. Get a Moleskine messenger bag

    A bag like this will make you less likely to lose your notebook.

For Students

These hacks are great for helping students get organized.

  1. Time management

    Dave Gray’s example will show you how to make your own time management "software" system with a Moleskine.

  2. Summarize each page on the upper right corner

    Skim your notes by reading only the metadata you record in the upper right corner of each page.

  3. Use the datebook as your planner

    If you need a low-key planner, use the Moleskine Diary.

  4. Create a Research section

    If you’re adhering to a GTD system, include a Research section for brainstorming, creating research questions, recording citations, and more.

  5. Use context tabs for different subjects

    Substitute classes or subjects for the context tab on this page that you can move around to follow your notes and assignments.

  6. Use it for central, temporary storage

    Stash magazine clippings, tickets, receipts and other to-file items in your "inbox" section.

  7. Study abroad diary

    Moleskines make great travel companions and can be great for recording study abroad experiences. Use it as a diary and to mount photos, postcards, and other souvenirs.

  8. Create visual mindmaps

    Use the Moleskine as space to make visual connections between concepts learned in class.

  9. Reading journal

    Use a Moleksine as a reading companion filled with responses, questions, notes, favorite quotes, and more.

For Business and Freelancing

Let your Moleskine help with your business, too.

  1. Waiting list tab

    Use a moveable waiting list tab that is for tasks delegated to others.

  2. Keep track of processed work

    Use a blue tab to separate processed work from stuff that still needs to get done.

  3. Manage expense accounts

    Keep track of daily expenses or travel expenses.

  4. Try out logos and designs

    Sketch ideas for website designs or new logos in your Moleskine.

  5. "To-done" list

    For freelancers and contractors needing a record of billable hours or what they’ve done on a task, they can write down finished tasks in their Moleskines.

  6. Give it as a gift

    Moleskines make great gifts for clients.

  7. Job hunting companion

    Record information and responses to interviews, application dates, key names and phone numbers, and other references for your job hunt.

  8. Use it as a branding tool

    Attach your logo to the front and carry it with you to meetings, like a portfolio.

Note-taking

Hack your note-taking skills with these tips.

  1. Tag your notes

    Use the @ sign before a keyword to quickly "tag" notes.

  2. Diagram your notes

    Connect ideas visually by diagramming notes.

  3. Take notes to be more engaged

    Taking your notes requires you to concentrate more and become more engaged, so bring your Moleskine with you to presentations and conferences.

  4. The Box

    Brad Rourke explains his "The Box" technique for taking notes at a meeting.

  5. Shorthand

    Write in shorthand for quick, space-saving notes.

  6. Date your notes like a journal

    Give each note section a date and title.

  7. Keep track of abbreviations

    If you make up abbreviations and symbols as you go along, use a page in the back of your notebook as a key.

  8. Link your notes

    Separate notes into four quadrants and use arrows to link up page numbers and notes, like this user did.

  9. Use symbols

    Stars, question marks, equal signs and other pictures help you when skimming your notes later.

  10. Be goofy

    Draw pictures, give nicknames and have fun with note-taking in your Moleskine: you have all that space, so use it!

Add-ons and Accessories

Learn about tricks for your pens and other add-ons in this list.

  1. Kindle Cover

    Get an analog-digital hybrid Moleskine that also acts as a Kindle cover.

  2. Mount photos

    Mount inspirational photos into your notebook for added encouragement.

  3. Use a bookdart

    For soft-cover Moleskines, attach a bookdart to hold your pen in place without wearing out the notebook’s cover.

  4. Typography template

    Print out this template for practicing typography.

  5. Find the right pen

    The right pen shouldn’t skip or feather.

  6. Moleskine Cozy

    Knit a Moleskine cozy with this hack.

  7. Uniball Signo RT Gel mini Hack

    Follow this hack to customize your own pen for the Moleksine.

Clever Uses

With these hacks, you’ll discover all kinds of purposes for your Moleskine.

  1. Set it up like a blog

    Organize your Moleskine as you would a blog, as this blogger did.

  2. Store business cards

    Mount business cards and use your Moleskine as a more portable Rolodex.

  3. Press flowers and plants

    This Moleskine user used his notebook to collect plants and flowers from a trip to Mt. Hood, which you can also use to collect plants and flowers from Texas, Florida, Hawaii, Maine – where ever!

  4. Make a passport

    It’s just for fun, but you can decorate the cover of your Moleskine to mimic any passport in the world.

  5. Moleskine hard drive case

    This "Geekster Moleskine" project turns your notebook into an external hardrive case.

  6. Secondary wallet

    Stick library cards, printing cards, sticky notes, and even money in the back pocket of your Moleskine.

  7. Dream journal

    Keep a small Moleskine by your bed to record dreams when you wake up.

  8. Blog organizer

    Create a Blog section so that you can brainstorm for posts on the fly.

  9. Wallet

    Start using your Moleskine as a wallet if it has a pocket so that you can carry fewer things in your pockets.

  10. Smoking or drinking journal

    If you’re into wine, beer, cigars, coffee or anything else you want to compare and keep track of, let the Moleskine help you.

  11. Password log

    Devote a page to storing passwords and registration codes.

  12. Rough drafts

    Write your rough draft in a moleskine to welcome creativity and notes.

  13. Family reference

    Store medical information, important contact numbers, bank numbers and more in your Moleskine.

  14. Directions Write down directions or systems that you’ve tried out to solve problems, at work or home.

     

  15. Gauge a design or web project

    Use a Moleskine with grid-lke pages to scale a design.

  16. Photo log

    Make notes about pictures you take in your Moleskine.

  17. Lists

    Use it for grocery lists, goals, TV shows, book lists, and more.

  18. Love letters

    Trade Moleskine notebooks with a boyfriend or girlfriend to share love notes and then be able to archive them in one place.

  19. Customizable city guide and travel log

    Write down locations, newfound favorite restaurants and other places you want to remember, in your town or as you travel.

DIY

With these hacks, you can customize your notebook and create little add-ons for it.

  1. Make room for more index cards

    If your notebook has a pocket, reverse the accordion folds so that it can fit more index cards.

  2. Refill your old one

    Refill an old hardcover Moleskine with cahiers to save money.

  3. Pen Clip Mod

    Check out this hack to fashion your own pen clip.

  4. Make your own planner

    Devote your last 12 pages to a customized monthly planner if you don’t need a separate notebook for appointments.

  5. Moleskine Hipster PDA case

    Turn your Pocket Reporter Moleskine into a notebook that you can wear on our hip.

  6. Create an iPod case

    Create a secret iPod case with this little hack.

  7. Make tear-out pages

    Check out all the hacks for creating tear-out pages in your Moleskine.

  8. Rebind hack

    Read this hack to learn how to rebind a damaged Moleskine.

  9. Moleskine shelves

    Attach Moleskines to the wall in various patterns to create shelves.

  10. Pen hack

    Use ribbon to create your own pen holder on the front cover.

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