This may seem trivial and not even worth mentioning, but I think it is important. Your performance is related to how comfortable you are with your tools. Even if you spend most of your time on the computer, a good writing instrument is a necessary tool for getting work done.
Since you have to use a pen, you might as well get one that you like. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a $50 ink pen (especially if you tend to lose them), but put a little thought into getting pens that you actually enjoy using. It is a small thing, but the happier you are, the better your productivity.
Good idea. I have a bad habit of chewing on my pens while working, maybe if I get one of those really comfortable ones I will actually feel like holding it.
I am a pen fiend.
I have two beautiful stainless steel fountain pens that I use on a daily basis. I even found one that won’t leak from the pressure changes while traveling by air.
That said, I love a good, smooth roller-ball or ball-point just as much.
I would also recommend a good, comfortable mechanical pencil. I use pencil in my paper planner, since there are lots of changes and I hate scratching things out.
Yes, this is so true, not only of pens but other tools in office. But for pens I just love the Foray™ Pens (Medium Pt). They write smooth and are super comfortable. I love them.
Brad Newman says
Really good tip. I always carry a pen with me that has meaning. It’s not the price of it, but rather where it’s from or who used it before me. I like to get pens from my favorite hotels for some reason….
I wouldn’t say that I’m a pen fiend or anything like that, but I do choose my instruments with care. In fact when I moved the US for college, I brought a whole box of my favorite pens with me.
This is so true – I get happy when I write with my Uniball Gel Impact RT. I also like the Signo gel pens. They write so smoothly, and my physical writing style gets much more free and flexible when I use them vs a regular ballpoint.
Fred Schechter says
Great call on a good pen, however, sometimes the solution of Good pen can be affordable.
As a designer, my “office pen” is a simple papermate rollerball. Once you really learn how to draw with them, they’re great and don’t screw up too badly with markers.
For my at home and Moleskeine writing I LOVE the Fisher Space Pen. It’s my favorite but it can get a tad smudgy at times. The feel is outstanding though, and they’re not too expensive.
I’ve been debating for years about getting a Cross Ion too.
Mark Shead says
I’m still partial to the Pilot G2 Gel Pen. They are inexpensive and so far, I haven’t found a non-disposable pen that I like better. I would like to try the Fisher Space Pen sometime.
I can’t agree more. As a left-handed person, most pens don’t work for me. I have collected and discarded enough pens in my lifetime to outfit a small school. Right now the favorite pen is a fountain pen. The ink doesn’t smudge down my hand and arm, and it’s big enough to be comfortable.
I love the feel of a good pen on good paper. Nothing like it!
Barbara Blackwell says
Check out the Namiki retractable fountain pen. They are not inexpensive (best deals on ebay) but I love mine (red with gold, medium nib, deep purple ink).
I definately write more when I use it, it feels great to write with.
Matthew Cornell says
By far my favorite is the “Pilot Better” (fine tip). Cost: ~$1.50 Writes great, inexpensive refills, feels fine in the hand. More here: http://www.amazon.com/Pilot-Better-Retractable-Ballpoint-Translucent/dp/B00006IEB8
Oddly, I have mostly now stopped using pens and have switched to a mechanical pencil, typically a 0.5 or 0.3 mm lead. This works well a Hipster GTD system where I can write more precisely with less effort. It also helps to remember that most written notes are temporary, so doing them in pencil instead of ink is no problem. There are lots of good pencils out there, but my recent favorite is a $5 rubber barrel one that I picked up at Muji in NYC.
Mark Shead says
@Doug – When I was writing a lot of music, I used a 0.7mm mechanical pencil and found it seemed to work best for what I needed.
@Matthew – Last time I tried on of those it seemed to want to “eat” the paper. Maybe I write to heavy.
I would agree — I feel more motivated to work well when I’ve got good tools to use. My personal favorites are the Zebra F-301 Ball Points (Fine).
Nils Davis says
Since my original reply a year ago, I’ve started making my own pens. You can see a few of them here. I’m really enjoying writing with pens that I’ve made!
Patrick Mackaaij says
I carry the small Inka Pen as part of my keyring. Very convenient indeed. See the URL for more info.
Tim Price says
Foray Precision Poing .05. Good stuff
Ruth P says
I definitely agree. A comfortable attractive pen begs to be used. :)
I love pens ! I like to leave them in a display case when I’m not using them. I collect them but not just for show. I prefer using them but when they’re sitting around waiting their turn to be used I think it’s nice to display them and in a place where they won’t get dusty.
I have a gripe. Why is it that expensive pens don’t have any better (sometimes worse) ink than their cheaper counterparts? It’s like all the money from the price of the pen gets poured into the color, design, etc but *not the ink.* It’s next to impossible to get a good ball point ink. Bic is one of a very select few that writes boldly and smoothly and seems to write the minute that you set pen to paper while other pens’ ink have to be coaxed out, first. The tricky thing is too, if an ink manages to be bold and smooth writing, it has a tendency to clot on the paper and your hands. Although, as I say, Bic, and I think PaperMate don’t have this issue or the issue is not as bad as with other inks. I’m not saying that there are not others – it’s just that I seem to get stuck with the brands that have terrible ink. You shouldn’t have to buy a refill in order to have a decent ballpoint ink. That should already be inside your new pen. Any thoughts?