I’ve noticed, there are two kinds of people – those who take notes and those who don’t. I love taking notes. I love capturing every thought that flutters up in my brain. But, it is tough to find good notebooks that specifically suit your needs. What were my needs, you ask? That it had to be with me all the time, easy to jot down, easy to refer & easy to store. Once the needs were nailed down, it was the quality of the tools that needed to be looked into: Do you want something to get the work done with, something cheap, something that can withstand any abuse or do you want your tool to mean something, stand for something, made of premium material, bring you joy while using it? Over time, my needs have varied from one end of the spectrum to another. Over the last few months, I have deliberately tried moving away from using digital tools. Not just for the heck of it, but to simplify and have more clarity. I would put information into various apps and never bother to look back at them again. And, then forget where was what. Not to mention that you have to remember what you want to search for, or else, it is not easy to find them. I just wanted one solution that I could write-in, and easily refer back. This lead me not to another app, but to notebooks.
Just before the start of a new school year, my father used to pull out all the class work and home work notebooks I used in the previous year and tear out all the left over pages from them. He would then cut all the pages to the same measurement and take them down to a binder to get it sewn and bound. This book would have on an average 300 pages, some of which were single rule, some broad rule, some double rule and some plain. This book then would be my ‘rough book’ for the new school year. A book in which I could do all math calculations, doodle, or write notes (when I forgot the main notebooks). It used to be the book I could fall back on.
But, of course this was in school.
I read the GTD book almost 11 years back and been implementing it for more than 5 years now. This has been the only time management system that made practical sense to me. But, to be honest, though I organized all the information into projects & contexts, I rarely checked off work as I was supposed to. Most of the time I worked only on urgent stuff making all the organisation (projects, contexts, & perspectives) pointless.
A few days ago, I realised I worked better when I wrote down the tasks I wanted to get done that day in a notebook and ticking them off from there than directly referring to them in Omnifocus. This lead me to buy a softcover moleskine with which I fell in love with. At the same time, I happened to open an old notebook where I had written a few passages from a book I was reading then and towards the end, added my thoughts on those passages. I didn’t even remember I had done this. But, it was so good to see the author’s thought and mine side by side, that I wished I had written more. From there started a desire to add more notebooks to my workflow. This raised a problem, albeit a first world one. I just didn’t want my highlights, quotes I collect, thoughts I write in different places. I wanted one solution, preferably. I could not decide if my workflow should be digital or analogous. I was debating both the sides. I started making points.
As a kid, I saw a movie where a family is brutally murdered before their child who helplessly watches the crime but is unable to do anything because of his age and limitations. The child, of course, then grows up to avenge his family’s murder, just like countless other movies that come out every year. But, the scene of the helpless child had a profound impact on me. Would I be able to save my family, if something happened to them? The answer was frustratingly ‘no’.
When it comes to new year resolutions, we all either want to start a new habit or get rid of an old one. Everyone loves the new year time. ‘Optimism’ is in the air. All of us look forward to ‘change’, sometimes even expecting/hoping things to change magically over night. We list down a few changes we want to bring about in our lives and start working on them, only to abandon most of them two months down the lane. Once optimism and euphoria of the new year subsides, reality sets in. We fall back into out rhythms, our comfort zones of how we do/handle things. New year resolutions, or for that matter any behavioural change requires great deal of patience and discipline on our part. Not, just limited to new year resolutions, I found the below two strategies help me in building new habits and letting go of old ones.
One of the advices you get from ‘pro’ bloggers when you are about to start a new blog is to be on every social network conceivable and engage the crowds on those platforms. But, being on every platform is not just limited to bloggers. I personally know many folks who are on every social network I know, tweeting 4 to 6 times a day, posting pictures on Facebook & Instagram, pinning posts in Pinterest and god only knows what Google+ is now, but have presence there too. I have my personal account/blog page on Facebook, blog accounts on Twitter & Google+ and ’use Buffer to cross post. But, whenever I cross post, I feel guilty. Questions swarm my mind, Am I adding value? Am I spreading myself too thin? Am I repeating myself? Do I need to say this? Or am I doing this only to play to the gallery? Do I have enough, valuable, unique things to say/do in every social network? And, recently a funny thing happened. I joined Instagram. Why?