steno pads?

I recently discovered steno pads at my workplace, and while they are intriguing, I really have no idea how I would use them. The line in the middle is intimidating.

How do you guys use your steno pads?

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Weren't they originally designed for shorthand? And you wrote in two columns? For me, the middle line would be a distraction too. However, I like the pseudo Cornell notes in my Circa notebooks. ;-)





I have a couple around the house... I use them for lists mainly. :)

The middle line on mine are quite subtle so if I write over it - its not distracting.

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steno pads at work here too

Steno pads and legal pads are just about the only types of notebooks available in the office supply cabinet where I work. If you want anything else, you would probably have to bring them in yourself. Luckily, I had just read the post on this site about the advantages of keeping an analog work journal. I like the idea of keeping a chronological list of actions and what I've learned with a index that starts at the back and works its way toward the front.

All that being said, I just ignore the line down the middle for the time being. I can't think of any good use for it, it isn't that noticeable, so I just don't do anything with it.

One additional note: my current job is a consulting gig, and I have to do time-sheets for the consulting company and the client. I keep track of time in/time out and lunch breaks in my notebook, and it also leaves me a little less than half the page, so that is a good place to make note of the major tasks I want to accomplish the following week.


My high school planner

My high school DIY planner was with a Steno pad. I put the date at the top of each page. I'm sure I used each side of the line for different things, but I just don't remember. I'd guess one side for plans/appointments and the other for assignments. I do remember, in 10th grade I'd filled out all the dates for the rest of the year and someone stole the pages. Not the whole notebook, just the dated pages. At the time, I thought they took them for their own used, now that I think about it (27 years later) I think they might of done it to mess me up (I was anti-popular at the time). Thankfully, both my life, the people I'm around, and my planners have improved immensely.

BTW, I remember using a little spiral-bound memo book in elementary school. Now they make the kids at my son's elementary school buy an offical school planner. I had to make my own which only goes to prove I've always been a planner nut. I've never remembered anything if I didn't write it down.

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My favorite part of going back was the new school planner... or assignment notebook.

I can relate to the stolen pages - I had a kid "borrow without permission" my datebook and black marker over a whole lotta stuff - he had to buy me a new one as punishment. I cried... so much hard work destroyed. I'm glad I got a new one because I recall it being much better than the one I 'hacked'.

I find that writing things down is great way to train my brain to recall things easier. Goofy but if I don't write it down I tend to forget - once the stress of HAVING to recall is gone - I do a better job and remembering. go fig. ;D

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Commonplace ... the losing place?

I find that writing things down is great way to train my brain to recall things easier.

Having just heard a programme on BBC Radio about Vera Britain I'm reminded of a quote from her friend Winifred Holtby who said, after starting to keep a commonplace book, she was unable to remember things that she had written down. I can't now recall in which of Vera Brittain's books I read this ... but most probably Testament of Friendship, which is her autobiographical account of friendship with Winifred Holtby and the beginnings of their careers as writers. (Note to self: find your Brittain and Holtby books pronto.)

I know just how you must have felt.

I adopted Filofax way back in the 80s when it wasn't well known in the UK except as a Yuppie phenomenon and, at the time, I was working in a small rural school. I'd spend many happy weekends drawing up plans for the coming week and rearranging my info and ostentaiously consulting my info section whenever anyone asked a question. I lived my life by that planner. Then one day it went missing and I went spare. I tore the school apart looking for it to the great amusement of my colleagues. Then the ransom notes started arriving with pictures of the Filofax in all sorts of potemtially dangerous situations for a paper-based product. The cost of getting my baby back was that I take whole-school assembly and lead the singing (I can't carry a tune in a bucket) What did I do? I paid up naturally and sang my little heart out. It's still the talk of the town.

What makes me laugh now is the fact that most of those colleagues now have various planning systems of their own which they take very seriously. So I did some good then! Ah, happy days.


Haha, what a funny story

Haha, what a funny story :D
Though you must have felt so helpless for those days/weeks without your planner. Did you ever find out whodunnit?

Steno template

My DH uses steno pads for quick notes. He uses them in two ways. Either he disregards the cetral line, or he uses both sides of the line with say the quote on the right and the provenance of the quote on the left, for example. He can"t live without them. I made a steno template for him to use in his circa notebooks HERE.

"It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy." -- Steve Jobs


I use one at work ... On the left column, I write the client's name or maybe a subject and then on the right I write the action for that client/subject. Then if a client called in or I was asked about a certain action, I could look quickly through the left column and find my notes... It works for me!

happy day, nay nay

I used to use steno pads for

I used to use steno pads for everything! I used the line for columns so I had more room - a lot of my jottings were short things (to do lists, shopping lists, etc.). They are so cheap that it was easier for me to just use them until they were gone. If I had ideas or thoughts during the day, I would just start a new page and my daily plans for the next day would go on the next page.

On a daily basis, I would start a new page at the beginning of the day and make a schedule on the left and a to do on the right. That worked well, but I lacked a place for tracking projects and such, which is why I eventually moved to a classic planner.

Also, I would only use one side of the page at a time. When I got to the back of the book, I would flip it and use the backs. If I had something outstanding, I would move it forward. Also, I would cross completed stuff out with a permanent marker, or cross out a whole page, so I could easily see what still needed to be dealt with.

When I worked, I used the steno pads a lot for to do lists and notes about phone calls or voicemail messages.

Hope that helps!

Just as notepads...

I just used them as notepads. They were reasonably handy for that. I generally wrote on both sides, flipping it over and writing on the back side, so that the pages stayed in chronological order. But, I like to tear pages out and clip them with the meeting handouts or put into a folder for that topic or project. And in doing so, I had to deal with the torn off edges from the spiral binding (I tended to just tear them off rather than cutting them) which I trimmed off with a scissors, so I switched to using 5x8 perf pads for note taking. I used to carry around a Levenger folio for 5x8 notepads. After discovering Circa, I use Circa notebooks instead.

But, like in Kenny's case, our office supply cabinet has the steno pads and letter size pads, plus bound Record books and small memo pads. So, I'm on my own making Circa notebooks.

Still, a steno pad is a useful tool.


"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Albert Einstein and Buckaroo Banzai


I discoverd them at work as well and I love them. I am a student, so I use them for notes mainly. I use them for lists. I use them for translations. I use them for assignments/agendas (although I prefer my moleskin). But by far the best usage is as a budget. I work it out for the month. Then I keep track of all my and my boyfriend's expenses. He has one side, I have the other and they are coded into categories. Plus I can keep it in my purse. We never worry about where the money went or how we are going to pay rent anymore.

PS. The guy next to me in class keeps his notes in a stenopad too.

Steno Pads

I actually took short hand in my early years, so I began using them at that time. I have used them over the years as to-do lists, shopping lists, phone logs, etc. I keep one at work and one at home. I would be hard pressed to do without one. I keep them, too - not forever, but I go back and look over the info and phone numbers periodically. They are great!

Lately, I've been using

Lately, I've been using these for grocery and art supply lists. Filled a pocket moleskine reporter with lists, and wanted to try something larger. It's working fine, so far. I punched a few sheets to try in my Filo, but the paper seems too thin.
Too much of everything [I love] is just enough.
~Calvin & Hobbes

Steno pads . . .

Steno pads were used to take shorthand. Something I spent 4 years learning and have no use for anymore! ;o) Notes were taken down the first column and continued on the second column.

The rationale behind the two

The rationale behind the two columns was that the stenographer could write his/her shorthand across the column with just a wrist movement and no hand movement. If they had to lift the writing hand to move across the page it would slow them down. Possibly not a lot but your shorthand WPM did confer some bragging rights then.


Pro & Con

I fell in love with them in my youth, initially because the paper was green, to be honest. I used them for a lot of lists, especially pro-con lists, but also for long lists that just flowed from one column to the other. I came to love the size of the format, great for popping into a bag of any size, and the top-bound spiral didn't get in my way like a side-bound spiral always would. I still pull them out today for brainstorming and list-making.

I have been getting all Circa-fied this year, and I am very tempted by the Circa steno, except that, unlike the other formats, there doesn't seem to me to be any easy way to DIY my own steno-sized pages without a lot of wastage. If anyone has some clever paper-cutting tricks for that, please share: it might just tip me over into another Levenger spree!


It's only their words they speak, so speak with your own. (:wumpscut:)

Steno pads

I field a lot of phone calls at work. I use the levenger steno pad to track them. Every morining I note the day and date (one in each column) and then list all calls with their information across the columns. I check them off as they are dealt with.

steno pads

My mom was an old-school secretary, and we always had steno pads around the house. They were always used for lists - esp. groceery lists. Haven't used one in forever, but they are really the perfect size for portability. I used one for planning my wedding - checking off tasks, keeping track of guests, gifts/thankyou notes, and so on. It was invaluable. Wonder if I still have one lying around here somewhere... Gotta love the green paper, and I've always loved the line down the center - not restrictive but inspiring and forces one to be less conventional.

Re: Steno

I was drawn to them in my teens because I was a lefty and like the spiral on top rather than on the side.

I recently purchased a Circa Steno from Levenger but Steve Leveen told me they were going to be closing those out since not enough folks are buying them. Here's my blog review of the notebook:

A nice sturdy book but I guess I'll have to build my own in the future.

Levenger's does that a lot...

Toss out new products every few months and then disappear them a few months later.
Makes me wonder if they are doing their test marketing properly.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

I am left-handed, and steno

I am left-handed, and steno pads are the perfect alternative to messing with the side-wire spirals and bindings on traditional notebooks. I use them mostly for taking notes at meetings, recording my students' grades (when I can't get to the computer to input them), and for taking notes in church. The pad size corresponds nicely to any size Bible, and it's easy to review a series' worth of sermon notes written on a steno.

For those of you who are "squares" (pun intended), Staples carries quad-style steno pads with a perforated top.