Some places still have snow, but as far as the birds and the daffodils around here are concerned, it's already spring. In fact, when the sun's out, it feels like spring to me as well. My advice to anyone venturing outside to see whether the birds and daffodils are right, is to take a notepad with you. This is a time of year that tends to stir inspiration, and it's a time of change. Without a notepad you risk forgetting the ideas and sensations around you.
    You can record things on your phone or tablet, but I prefer an old-fashioned pencil and pad. You don't ever have to worry about batteries running low, or not having a signal, but that's only a start. When you want to refer back to your notes you can look at more than one page at a time, and you don't have to worry about filing or losing them.
    I recommend a pencil rather than a pen, because it will still write in the rain. A reporter's notepad is a good choice as it is sturdy but lighter than hardbound books. It's also easy to flick through the pages, and you can put a hairgrip or pen top through the spiral binding to keep your place. When you are taking rapid notes, there's no need to write on both sides of the page; simply write on the tops side from the start of the pad, and when you reach the last page, turn  it over and write on the reverse side. This means you don't have to waste time turning the pad over. Always make sure you put a date and place at the start of each new note session, so finding particular events is easy.
    A notepad has other advantages: you never risk losing a file, unless you tear a page out, as even if you delete something with a line through it, it's still there; when you're struggling to find the right word, you can doodle; you can use it as a coaster to rest your coffee cup on, and tear out a blank page to mop up spills. In addition, you won't be distracted by the lure of the internet, games or phoning a friend. You can even press the first flower of spring in its pages!