Why every Bloke should carry a notebook.
This has been a habit that I have formed over several years. I have always been the guy carrying a pen around with me, and slowly it dawned on me that carrying a notebook to write in was probably a local addition. Now, I hate being without one. The more you have one on you, the more you use it, the more you like to use it.
To carry a notebook means you are a little bit more prepared. It’s also funny to watch how people suddenly actually consider what they are saying once you start writing it down. It keeps us all honest.
All good reasons to carry a notebook.
Dont try to remember everything.
Unless you are gifted with some form of supernatural memory, you are going to forget things. A simple couple of words written down can be enough to prompt you to remember (and take action) on a conversation you had, a promise you made, and idea that formed.
By recording this things down, then getting on with you day until the appropriate time to review things, you don’t clutter your mind with a million and one things that you vaguely remember you need to know. Live in the now. Not in the ‘oh I must remember to that’. Get all the things of your head to free up your brainpower (it is limited) for the task at hand.
You are likely to remember it wrong.
Just ask a Police Office, Search and Rescue Operator, or anyone else that has to rely on people’s recollections have out of shape our memories can get. From details like a phone number or a rego, through to what color shirt someone was wearing, the human brain has a tendency to twist our memories and then, convince us that what we do remember was totally right. If it needs to be remembered correctly – write it down.
Keep a track of all your ideas.
Similar to my first point – most of us have ideas all day long – sometimes about things relative to what we are up to, sometimes about things we would like to do, sometimes just random, but brilliant ideas. That great idea for a project you have just before you fall asleep? Carry a notebook, leave it by the side of the bed with a pen, ready to write it down. There is a real good chance you won’t remember it in the morning, even if you have the best intentions to do so.
It can track progress.
When you carry a notebook and recording any activity details – the gym, the shooting range, anything, it enables you to track and measure your progress – this is key if you genuinely want to improve. It can also save time. For example – recording your weights in the gym ensures that you get right back to your optimum/maximum lift – without having to try and remember, the go up or down on the second set. Get it right first time. Save time, save energy and make the most of your workout. Tracking these things can be a great motivator as well – either because you can see improvement, or because you can see where you can make improvement, then celebrate when you achieve it.
You never know when someone will need paper and a pen.
More often than you think, probably.
You get to be the helpful, organised guy who is will actually carry a notebook and a pen. While you probably won’t lend out your notebook, mine generally have removable pages and pens are always useful. If someone has one on them. While you are at it – get yourself a small torch, a knife and a lighter. It’s amazing how often you find uses for tools when you actually have them on you.
But, but, but smartphone?
Yeah, and? I guarantee it’s not going to be fast as just taking out a notebook and writing in it. Believe me, I have tried. I have Evernote, MLO on my phone and have tried a pile of other apps – while some are quite – nothing is a quick or as natural as writing something down. There is something awesomely physical about taking pen to paper.
What should I use?
Well, it’s a little bit of personal preference here. I have been using the small Moleskin Notebooks you get in packs – right at the moment I am experimenting with the Evernote Integrated versions. If I have a pile of notes I want to capture, I can take a photo and Evernote automatically sizes the sheet, can autotag and runs letter recognition on the sheet – so I can include it in my searches later. It’s working well.
If I am out bush – I have my Rite-in-the-Rain. Essentially just a notebook – but made out of waterproof paper. It seems to be guaranteed to be raining during any outdoors training I do, so having something that doesn’t end up as a soggy mess is critical.
However – if I find myself without my notebook (left in the other pants maybe?) my time honoured fallback is a simple piece of A4 Paper, folded into quarters and kept in the back pocket. It doesn’t really matter. As long as you get into the habit of writing things down, and processing/reviewing them later.