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Thread: Notebook ergonomics

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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Notebook ergonomics

    Something I've been struggling a little with of late is a degree of discomfort using certain sizes of notebook. In part this is due to the hand not being positioned on the notebook itself, and in part due to the thickness of the notebook.

    I guess what I am saying here is that there is a qualitative difference (for me at least) between writing on a single page of A4, where paper, hand, and nib all rest on the same plane, and using (say) a thicker and smaller notebook where the hand is resting on a table but the nib is now elevated above the table to a significant degree.

    Anyone else notice this phenomenon? How do you deal with it? I suppose for short/quick notes it doesn't matter so much, but for longer writing sessions there is (again for me) a cumulative effect that contributes toward fatigue. If I am writing letters on A5 - typically a Rhodia pad - I will separate the sheets and place each one flat on the table (usually supported by some tape to prevent slipping).

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    I usually compensate for the thickness of the notebook when I write by positioning my phone next to the notebook. I generally use notebooks about half an inch thick which is about as high as my phone and this works well for me.

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Noticed it? Yes, but then I'm left-handed. It is something I've had to deal with since my earliest school days.

    I, if I can, remove pages from notebooks if they are attached along the long edge. Otherwise, I prefer A4 tabletsthat are attached at the top.

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    My wife has touchy joints and suffered discomfort while reading, writing notes, etc. as a law prof. So I made her two things.

    A simple, slanted board (clear plastic) for desktop use. To change the angle, i insert different dowels.



    A lap board with a soft leather cushion, filled with wheat, that stays put at the desired angle.





    They can be used with a clipboard, or a clip might be added quite easily.

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Those are nice ideas. Will consider adopting one.

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    For virtually any extended writing, I have a wooden clipboard, that I rotate about 45 degrees and then tilt up at the front by placing on a foam block of about 1.5" height. This is to accommodate being left-handed and make for a comfortable angle.

    To your point, though, the level of the paper in a bound object also bothers me, but the solution I've found is fairly simple: assuming the part of the book that is open to the left has fewer pages and is laying lower, I just put a small book/journal/something unterneath it to make a flat surface. If I am getting close to the bottom of the journal I'll sometimes place something there, as well. I've found I don't need it to be exact, just to minimize the difference in height between where my hand rests and where I'm writing.k

    The other issue I have is any kind of bound object that is 'lumpy' on the left, a good example being spiral bound items on the left. That *always* falls under my hand and is mostly a deal-breaker. I purchase either flat-bound objects or if spiral bound, at the top, like an old school steno pad.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    There's also the issue of the hand butting up against the edge of the journal when you reach a particular part of the page. Putting a support (another flat surfaced object) beneath the hand to raise it to the level of the notebook seems like a good idea.

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Yeah, there are a lot of ways around these issues. And then, at the end of the day, there is simply getting used to it or accepting it! I don't write all that much in journals/books, maybe this is part of it, but when I do there is usually some way to make it... comfortable enough, I suppose. Good luck!
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    There is that Joe. and then why 'suck it up and make do' when one can simply switch to something that is more user-friendly. After all, the vast majority of us aren't having to use school/teacher mandated copybooks or suffer the consequences.

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    I put a thin notebook by the book, so my hand is level so I can write comfortably.

    Other options include using thinner notebooks - such as the Moleskine cahier range, or the Atoma range where pages can be removed and added with ease. Atoma comes with two types of paper - the cheaper set is rubbish for fountain pens.

    Another option is to dispense with the notebook altogether. If you are deak hopping a poly wallet can store a large no of sheets of A5 or A4 paper which you can use at will. You can slip a board or something in there to lean on as you go. ic arry two - one for paper, and one for completed sheets.

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    I use left handed notebooks. Spiral wire on the right so the spiral wire isn't under my hand. I use one side only of the paper.

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    I use left handed notebooks. Spiral wire on the right so the spiral wire isn't under my hand. I use one side only of the paper.
    Could you give a link to a source?

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    I use left handed notebooks. Spiral wire on the right so the spiral wire isn't under my hand. I use one side only of the paper.
    Could you give a link to a source?
    https://www.leftyslefthanded.com/Col...ties_s/152.htm

    https://www.leftyslefthanded.com/Lef...books_s/22.htm

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    I use left handed notebooks.
    It's only mono-handed if you don't use both pages / both sides of the page. I think that iw why I opt for top-binding journals. That said, there are a few bound books journals that I love (Musubi, Curnow) that are so nibe to put words into that it is worth looking for these other tactics to make the process comfortable.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    For most page layouts (lined, graph, blank) wouldn't it work to just flip the notebook so the spine is on the right?

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    For most page layouts (lined, graph, blank) wouldn't it work to just flip the notebook so the spine is on the right?
    Yes... if you only want to write on one side of the page. If you wanted to write on the facing page, re-orienting the book 180 degrees would put the writing upside down, alternately, on facing pages.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    For most page layouts (lined, graph, blank) wouldn't it work to just flip the notebook so the spine is on the right?
    Yes... if you only want to write on one side of the page. If you wanted to write on the facing page, re-orienting the book 180 degrees would put the writing upside down, alternately, on facing pages.
    The other problem with simply flipping note book over is that it then becomes a nuisance for anybody else who needs to read what has been written, and finds everything 'back to front'.

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Quote Originally Posted by An old bloke View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    For most page layouts (lined, graph, blank) wouldn't it work to just flip the notebook so the spine is on the right?
    Yes... if you only want to write on one side of the page. If you wanted to write on the facing page, re-orienting the book 180 degrees would put the writing upside down, alternately, on facing pages.
    The other problem with simply flipping note book over is that it then becomes a nuisance for anybody else who needs to read what has been written, and finds everything 'back to front'.
    Another option is to flip the notebook 90 degrees, so you write from the side edge, instead of the top edge down.

    For lefties it is a pretty good solution when using FP ink, as your hand is always below the bit you've written on. You are not stretching across and rubbing the left page hand as you fil in the right side.

    I use this with A6 and Field Note size notebooks. That way you are writing across the longer edge of the page, which means sentences have more room to flourish.

    The alternative is to write across both pages and move down.

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by An old bloke View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    For most page layouts (lined, graph, blank) wouldn't it work to just flip the notebook so the spine is on the right?
    Yes... if you only want to write on one side of the page. If you wanted to write on the facing page, re-orienting the book 180 degrees would put the writing upside down, alternately, on facing pages.
    The other problem with simply flipping note book over is that it then becomes a nuisance for anybody else who needs to read what has been written, and finds everything 'back to front'.
    Another option is to flip the notebook 90 degrees, so you write from the side edge, instead of the top edge down.

    For lefties it is a pretty good solution when using FP ink, as your hand is always below the bit you've written on. You are not stretching across and rubbing the left page hand as you fil in the right side.

    I use this with A6 and Field Note size notebooks. That way you are writing across the longer edge of the page, which means sentences have more room to flourish.

    The alternative is to write across both pages and move down.
    Being a believer in the saying, 'Work smart; not hard', I'll keep doing what I've been doing -- using A4, A5, etc. tablets that are connected at the top, short edge and notebooks have that removeable and re-insertable pages.




    (Bl**dy Typos!)

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    Default Re: Notebook ergonomics

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    For most page layouts (lined, graph, blank) wouldn't it work to just flip the notebook so the spine is on the right?
    Yes... if you only want to write on one side of the page. If you wanted to write on the facing page, re-orienting the book 180 degrees would put the writing upside down, alternately, on facing pages.
    When I write in a spiral bound notebook, I have to work across the spine to write on the back of a page, and have filled thousands of pages thus, without a problem.

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