Post 6 in the series: Recommended Productivity Tools
I use pencils for pretty much only one thing: underlining and writing notes in my books. Marking up your books is an important component of active reading. Hence, unless you only read books on the Kindle, it’s useful to have some pencils around.
When it comes to pencils, the main principle is: only use mechanical pencils. The non-mechanical kind needs to be sharpened, which means you need to keep a sharpener around, which makes things more complicated than you need.
The next thing to keep in mind with pencils is the size of the lead. As with pens, I recommend smaller. I get the 0.5mm pencils.
The last thing to keep in mind with pencils is that you want one that isn’t annoying to write with. I’ve found the Bic MatiC grip to work great. (I admit it — even though I don’t recommend Bic pens at all, their mechanical pencils are just fine). You can easily get them at Target, Office Depot, or even Amazon (and they qualify for free shipping if you have Amazon Prime).
Paper pads are useful to have at your desk for capturing thoughts and such things. If you have a moleskine or other journal to serve as a capture tool, you’ll usually be using that (or your iPhone or computer). But it is still sometimes useful to be able to reach for a pad of paper.
I don’t recommend the full size legal pads, because they are so big. I recommend the smaller, 5×8 pads, which are easy to get at a place like Office Depot or Target. Here is an example.
Posts in This Series
- Recommended Productivity Tools: An Introduction
- The Tools You Need to Have (And Where to Keep Them)
- Recommended In Boxes
- Recommended Capture Journals
- Recommended Pens
- Recommended Pencils and Paper Pads
- Recommended Staplers, Staple Removers, and Tape
- Recommended Scissors, Letter Openers, and Post-Its
- Recommended Paper Clips and Super Glue
- Not Recommended: Desktop Organizer Things
- Recommended Chairs and Waste Baskets
- Recommended Labelers and File Folders
- Recommended File Cabinets and Bookshelves