Original question from Quora:

What is one small thing that you always carry, that makes your life better?

My Answer:

A couple years ago I learned a cool trick to get stuff done and a year ago I found something magical that makes my life better every day.

Let me explain why it’s so cool…

Every day we are all faced with useless stuff we do to waste time and waste money. There is only a small amount of things you do every day that are truly valuable and move the needle so to speak.

For example, I’m a software developer and every day it is easy to get bogged down in email, meetings, and fruitless work. Very little of that moves the company, my career, or my life forward in a meaningful way.

Ask yourself, if this doesn’t get taken care of, does it matter?

Most of the time the answer is no.

In fact, there are usually 3-5 things on a given day that are critical to do today or to build for tomorrow. The rest is mostly optional.

So, I needed a daily todo list.

For a while I tried a bunch of various todo list approaches, using apps, and everything else to track the important 3-5 things each day, but it mostly didn’t work. I tended to forget to add things to my list every day, update them, or even care.

Eventually, I settled on some kind of pocket notebook. That worked better, the notebooks lived in my pocket and generally made my life better, but the cheap spiral ones from Wal-Mart sucked, so did the tiny composition books from the dollar store. I tried Field Notes, but they were too big for what I want and I hated the side fold.

I wanted a small pocket notebook that fit in my hand, folded at the top, and had tear out pages. Talking to my friend Shawn, he wanted the same thing for the same reason.

Shockingly, such a notebook didn’t exist. Or, more accurately, I couldn’t easily find one.

So, we created our own version of the perfect Pocket Notebook ourselves…

The process of making the notebook involved literally making them by hand, cutting out different sizes, sewing our own binding for prototypes, and all kinds of trouble getting it manufactured. But, once we had the perfect notebook that we loved to keep in our pockets, we asked friends and family what they thought. They liked it enough to buy it and eventually we got a small run of them manufactured.

We sell the Unbranded Pocket Notebook on Amazon as a side business and while we are nowhere the size of Field Notes or Moleskine, we have many happy customers who get as much value out of their Pocket Notebooks as we do.

To this very day, and hopefully for many days to come, I start my day by writing out my 3-5 most important things I can get done in my Pocket Notebook. At the end of the day, I tear out the page and start the next day with a blank slate.

It makes me happy and makes my life better.

Whether you use my product or someone else’s, carrying a notebook in your pocket full of your daily todo list will change your world.

It seems like a small thing, but it might be the biggest thing.


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