Thursday, 4th November, 2021
Been watching some videos on Rocketbook, this seems like it could be what I’m after to help with my challenge. If nothing else it’s a cheap experiment. In fact, they offer printable templates to try out first - so free!
I (re)remembered the Advent of Code. That’ll be another good intention that I’ll never furfill.
The longevity of physical notebooks, and their content
The other day I was tidying my office. The clutter had slowly grown and it had become too annoying. I also had a bunch of things to do that I was putting off, like scanning some letters, storing boxes of (yet more) stuff I’d bought as well as just the tidy up itself. I had a stack of notebooks, a mix of Leuchturms, moleskins, random brands, but all about A5 size. I use these every day at work to track my weekly and daily to-dos, notes from meetings and general paper scratchpad for calcs or ideas. This stack probably went back to about 2018. What was I going to do with them?
I probably spent a good 20 minutes just flicking through the pages - this is something I love about physical notebooks. The ease of rediscovery of previous entries. I’ve not found a digital equivalent that’s quite so enjoyable. The “on this day” feature that many photo and journal apps have is nice but it’s just that day. There’s sometimes open a random entry or but the flicking through large time ranges and just having things jump out is much better.
* Although if I’m honest, whilst it’s nice to do, it tends not to yield anything other than a brief moment reminiscing about that particularly entry. It’s definitely not a good way to manage work or organise important information.
At work, I always have my notebook with me. It’s very quick to capture anything, I also think it’s perceived as less rude than taking out a laptop. Pretty much as everyone thinks you’re not paying attention whilst writing notes on it. Now of course I shouldn’t care what other people think, but sometimes it isn’t appropriate to take out a laptop. I also have a nice routine of weekly planning, and daily planning in my notebook. That’s worked well for me for several years now and I shouldn’t really change that.
The bulk of entries are transient, stuff that needed to be done that week, meetings about it, updates, which whilst important at the time, the information tends to become meaningless over time. However, within it are useful items - what did I accomplish, updates and records of long running projects, and good reference information that I’ve captured. It is this information that I’m wondering about.
I’ve managed to get into a good habit of summarising my weekly achievements and capturing that in a private Tiddlywiki file. The habit is not entirely mine as my boss asks for the updates each week so that makes me do it, I suppose the putting it into TW is mine. I think there’s more improvements I can do in TW to make the information more convenient but generally it’s good enough. I have to do this summary as part of my work, so it gets done.
The obvious solution to saving this other important information is to extract it from the notebooks and into something more permanent, and probably something digital for longer term storage and searching. Maybe Tiddlywiki as it’s a pretty nice application, very customisible and has a good long term viability. The problem is getting the data into it. It’s going to take more time to do it, and time is always limited. There’s probably a whole host of systems and methods and I’m sure I can spend many hours figuring out systems and tools and maybe even buying stuff. In fact, I’m sure I’ll convince myself that buying stuff is the right solution - ranging from eye-watering eink notebooks like reMarkable or Supernotes, to more reasonable rocketbooks. I’m just not sure if they really solve the problem or just give me the feeling that I’m solving it. I don’t really need to buy anything, but I suppose the arguement would be that if it saves me time then that’s the value it brings.
* Anyway I suppose thoughts and review of those products are beyond what I started off typing about.
Whilst I think about the future, I looked at all the notebooks and decided just to recycle them. They probably have useful information in them but it’s too late now.