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What Is a Notebook System / System Techo? — The Gentleman Stationer

Myths About Notebook Systems / System Techo

I use at least one example from each of the aforementioned categories on a near-daily basis. Part of why I wanted to do this series is to talk about how these notebooks aren’t just “collectibles” for me – I really do use them to manage my everyday work and personal life, and certain of them have proven invaluable as I find different systems appropriate for different types of writing. That said, I regularly get questions about “whether I actually use all these notebooks,” or other comments referencing one of many misconceptions about notebook systems and stationery in general. I’ll briefly address a few of them below.

Myth No. 1: Notebook Systems Are Extremely Expensive and Not Worth the Money.

First, anything is “expensive” if you pay money for it and never use it. Similarly, whether something is “worth the money” depends entirely on the value you personally derive from it. While there is an up-front investment required in some of the more intricate systems such as Plotter, Filofax, or Traveler’s Notebook, I use them so much on a daily basis that the $50-$250 I spent years/months ago to set up the system eventually fades into the background. That said, I would caution that it’s very easy to get carried away purchasing add-on accessories that you will never use. A solid strategy is to start with the standard binder and a few refills, and add to it as your needs evolve.

Myth No. 2: Notebook Systems Lock You into Proprietary Products.

Several years ago, that may have been the case. Today, however, nearly all of these systems offer a wide array of compatible refills in multiple papers and layouts. With respect to the ring and disc-based systems, purchasing a compatible hole-punch that allows you to use your own paper that you already have on hand can save you a lot of money over time while also increasing the flexibility of the system. I’ll plan to discuss this more when I talk about how I use Plotter and some of my Filofax notebooks. It’s also important to remember that if you’re willing to experiment, you can absolutely use accessories from one system with another. For example, I’ve cut down Stalogy notebooks to fit inside a Traveler’s Notebook cover, and regularly use the Midori MD system of tabs and sticky notes across brands.


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