Stuart's Notebooks

Posted by Stuart Lennon on

(This article was originally published on stuartlennon.com)

Mike Hurley and Federico Viticci, two of my favourite podcasters, are fans of #the multi-pad lifestyle. I believe the phrase may have been coined on Cortex, a show that Mike does with CGP Grey, but don't quote me on that. I live the multi-pad lifestyle too.

They, of course, are talking about iPads. I’m talking about pads. Paper ones. You know, like notebooks. I use a lot of notebooks.

Let me give you an insight.

1. I carry a pocket notebook and a writing instrument everywhere. When I wake, it is beside my bed. Then,¡ it lives in my pocket or by my side all day. I use it to record anything and everything. An observation, a thought, an aide-memoire.
2. Bullet Journal is my daily driver. A free-format planner if you like. I track things in here and it serves as my task list and time-blocker.
3. Scratch pad or book. Sitting at my desk, I often think things out on paper. Or doodle. If I do this in the Bullet Journal, I would burn through them.
4. Novel Kit. I use medium/A5 size cahiers. These often come in three packs and I use a pack per novel. One is for plot, one is for characters and one is for research.
5. Learning. A medium or large book that lives in my office. I passionately believe in the importance of learning. Whether that be how to use an app, edit a photo or edit a website, I love to learn. I have one book for media skills, one for corporate compliance stuff and one for Greek language.
6. Procedures. Not the most exciting, but I have discovered that I have an enormous capacity to forget things. This leads to a loop of discovery, implementation, amnesia, which whilst fun, is not terribly efficient. I have started writing these up, and they exist in notebooks and digitally. I imagine that the more team-oriented ones will live in the digital world, whereas my own, - say, photography workflow, will live in a book.
7. Standard Memorandum. Here I record a single thought every day.

You can see why I bought a notebook company.

Part of this extensive use is, I concede, a vehicle to allow me to use lovely stationery, but it does serve other purposes too.

I need to make space in my head. Getting things down on paper, allows me to forget them. Once one trusts the system, then having written something down, I can forget it and come back to it at a time that suits me. This is a key element of the Get Things Done methodology and many other productivity frameworks. I find that taking notes helps me maintain attention. If I don’t, I am more than capable of completely blanking a fifteen minute video. Reference: Not only can I refer back to notebooks as reminders, I can get a glimpse of what I was doing and feeling at specific times.


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