Every day is another chance

A nice write-up in the New Yorker about Bullet Journalling, with an interview with its creator, Ryder Carroll.

Can Bullet Journaling save you?
In the next hour, he helped me set it up. “The Bullet Journal is designed to embrace the chaos that is life,” he said. We made a meta page with my intentions for the journal and a “brain dump” for anything on my mind. He had me draw bullet points instead of a checkboxes for tasks, because, he said, “Things aren’t binary; things begin, they pause, they resume, they get moved.” We talked about the BuJo practice of “a.m. and p.m. reflection,” when you look over the day’s notes. “For us, lists aren’t just stuff we have to do,” he said. “Each task is an experience waiting to be born.” …

“Only add what serves you, and be patient with yourself, because it’s a new thing. You’re not doing it right, you’re not doing it wrong, you’re just figuring it out as you go along.” He paused. “It’s another reason why I love the notebook,” he said. “It’s like every day is another chance.”

The notebooks I use for work are based on this, a little. For all the bells and whistles that the million apps and online systems have, there’s something immediate and concrete about pen and paper that I prefer. As he says, things aren’t binary.

As with anything, some people can get carried away with it all, and spend hours creating wonderfully polished, Instagram-friendly pages that would take more time to produce than the actual tasks being listed. But that’s up to them, it’s not a requirement of the system. Thankfully, as my handwriting’s appalling.

From paper to screen

Moleskine instantly transforms the hand drawn into Adobe Illustrator digital art
For graphic designers, visual artists and illustrators who already live in Adobe Illustrator, this old school piece of stationery upgraded with new school technology helps free the digital creative process from one being constrained to the screen and back to the liberating platform of paper.

Pen+ Ellipse. Ideas take a new shape
Discover the new sleek and sophisticated silhouette of the Pen+ Ellipse and seamlessly bridge your paper world to your digital devices.

On keeping a notebook in the digital age

“In order to exploit this particular quality of idea formation, he keeps what he calls a ‘spark file’: ‘A single document where I keep all my hunches: ideas for articles, speeches, software features, startups, ways of framing a chapter I know I’m going to write, even whole books.’ He doesn’t try to organize them. The randomness is intentional. He reads them over every few months and finds themes emerging — connections between fragments that wouldn’t seem apparent if those fragments were presented in isolation.”

https://medium.com/architecting-a-life/f85cea174de0

Why we write

Maria Popova’s found a chapter from Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem from 1968 that resonates today, with our blogs and twitters and instagrams.

Joan Didion on Keeping a Notebook
Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it? Why do I keep a notebook at all? It is easy to deceive oneself on all those scores. The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.

An anxious malcontent. Hmm.

We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.

Getting back in touch with text files

appdotnettextfiles1I was very intrigued by this post from Gabe Weatherhead about how he “organizes everything with plain-text notes“. I think I’ve been looking for a reason to give Dropbox another go, and his method of twinning it with TextDrop (and a bunch of other stuff) looked like something to try out. But it was only when I remembered I’d got an IFTTT account did things start to knit together. (Here’s something I wrote about IFTTT earlier this year.)

TextDrop allows me to publish a MultiMarkdown document into a public Dropbox folder, so here’s one I prepared earlier: a list of my current IFTTT recipes.

Meetings, sketchbooks, stress

The experience must be finished to enjoy the fruits of the effort
Disorganized meetings with no well defined goals inhibit positive communication and lead the participants to wonder if the organizers of the meeting really know what they are doing.

Pretty obvious really, but useful prompts nonetheless.

David Cameron has banned the use of mobiles and Blackberries in his meetings. The BBC asks what would happen if our workplace did the same.

Certainly, fiddling with your phone in a meeting doesn’t look good, but perhaps what people are doing on them is only what other people are doing on their laptops. They get to look all keen as mustard and productive and whatnot, typing away notes (or looking like they are), so why are we mobile phone users not equally given the benefit of the doubt and assumed to be working appropriately too? (I think in my case it would be fair to assume I’m tweeting and not working, but THAT’S NOT THE POINT.)

Some photos of Irina Vinnik’s wonderful sketchbook. This is how you’re supposed to fill a moleskine.

I’m very jealous. The doodles I make in meetings never come out as good as this. I need to go to longer, more dull meetings, I guess? I’m compelled to dig out my old moleskines and bring them to work next week.

Stressed staff can’t get no satisfaction
People working in higher education are “dissatisfied with their jobs and careers” and are “stressed at work”, according to new research. … Staff were asked questions about job satisfaction, well-being, work-life balance, stress at work, control at work and working conditions using a Work-related Quality of Life (WrQoL) scale devised by Darren Van Laar, a Portsmouth psychologist.