I usually have a half-dozen projects going on at any one time, not the least of which is my real estate investing. The one thing that’s made my life easier is getting used to having a notebook handy all the time. I’m not talking about a day-planner, which has it’s uses. I’m talking about a place to capture ideas, plan things out, doodle and keep some record of what goes on each day. Now Google Calendar and my phone serve most of the planner and diary tasks, but for the rest, I love my Moleskine notebook.
Now while I’m just going to take a minute to gush about 192 pages of paper with little squares on them, this is germane to my real estate focused blog for a good reason. The next several posts are taken straight from my notebook. They’re ideas, business plans, flowcharts, procedures and marketing brainstorms. Take a look at the pictures a little closer (if you click on them they’ll open a larger version in a new window) and you’ll get a little preview of what’s to come.
These eight pictures are the eight reasons why Moleskine (or really, any good notebook) will change your life.
First, the size and the little elastic. This version of the notebook is 1.3 x 14 x 8.9 cm, which is 5.25 x 8.25″, also known as just right. I love the elastic because I can put mail in it and use the elastic to hold things together. The paper is big enough for big ideas, but small enough to come everywhere.
The ribbon marker is awesome. I love being able to always get to the last page I was on, or to a new page. I also usually use a combination of paper-clips and postit notes to mark current projects.
There’s a kangaroo pouch! Really, it’s just a little envelope thing inside the back cover. However, it’s perfect for business cards, important notes and other little things like an extra SD memory card.
But what do I do with my notebook? Where’s the real estate?
Honesty, sometimes it’s just a sketchbook. I also like making geometric shapes when I’m bored. I’m a big fan of the ‘squared’ graph paper book so I can scribble down floor plans and draft designs for all sorts of random ideas.
Real real estate! Here I needed to get some Joint Venture numbers figured out, so I whipped out the Moleskine. I’m a huge fan of knowing the numbers and systems so well you can do them by hand from memory. No shortcuts!
Then comes the wonderfuness of flowcharts. Sometimes I’ll just do a list when I’m making a procedure, but then I fell in love with flowcharts. (You should have seen my bankers reaction when I showed her this. She’s never questioned me since when I’ve asked to change payment levels). This one is a flow chart showing my procedure when my mortgage rate changes.
Here’s a pretty typical page. On the left is a bunch of notes from Arlen Dahlin’s talk on the JV Secrets CD’s. On the right is what I like to call the Big Real Estate Investing Flowchart. It’s an attempt to draft out the business of real estate investing from end-to-end.
Here’s a close up of the REI Flowchart. Want to guess where some of my future posts will come from?
I can’t say how important I think it is to have a notebook around you. It’s useful for capturing ideas as soon as they appear. It’s also important to keep a bit of a journal of your day, recording things as soon as you can. Then, once a day, cruise through your notebook and capture any important tasks you have to get done.