Essays on Technology and Culture

Filling a Notebook

I’m on the cusp of accomplishing something I probably haven’t done since my elementary school days: filling a notebook. Back in November, I decided to experiment with the Bullet Journal, mostly just as a capture method for personal productivity. The idea of a record of my days would be a bonus. So, I picked up a pocket Moleskine, and a fancy pen quiver so I would never be with my notebook and without a writing implement, and began the slow journey of learning how to keep a notebook.

The hardest thing to wrap my head around has been the idea that “nothing doesn’t go in here”. It still isn’t fully baked into me, but I know that in the earliest days of my notebook habit, I would write down data points like the number of steps I took in a day, or what I had for lunch that, while have value, are things I already have a system for. It also became a way to track my work tasks, but now, not so much.

What my notebook has become is a way for me to capture thoughts, either in snippets or long-form. The more I use my notebook, even in the “wrong” way, has trained my brain to use it more often anyway. It might not be a complete portrait of my day, but it’s still a great aid to memory, and when I settle down to journal in Day One at the end of the day, I have reference, and something that will last long after all the stuff in Day One has become unreadable due to the march of technology. (Oh well.)

Though what excites me most about filling up this notebook getting the next one. Since a pocket Moleskine and a Quiver takes up a lot of space in my pants pocket, I’m moving to carrying around pocket notebooks (Doane Paper, if you’re curious) in a Hellbrand cover, and keeping a larger notebook in my bag or on my desk to fill in at the end of the day. I’ll be doing my long-form journaling in Day One for the foreseeable future, but incorporating something analog into my life has helped a lot.

Now, I just need to overcome years of terrible penmanship.