Tuesday, March 12th 2019
Around eight months ago I decided to add two things to my everyday carry: a pocket notebook and a pen. I quickly fell in love and this decision kick-started a lifestyle I hope to keep the rest of my life.
For a few years I have collected Field Notes, mainly as a hobbyist and follower of the company. The co-founder of Field Notes, Aaron Draplin, is someone I greatly admire because of his approach to design, personality, and sense of humor. The people over at Field Notes have proven to consistently tell incredible stories through product design/marketing and have a yearly subscription service with quarterly releases that always put a smile on my face. They are simple, practical, and pure Americana.
After years of accumulating these fun little notebooks I decided it was time to stop jotting in them every couple weeks or even worse, months. The only way I was going to start putting them to use was by stuffing them in whatever pocket that they could fit. For a long time I kept one in my backpack but they typically never left the pack. Sounds cliché, but there is some truth behind, “Out of sight, out of mind” -Bigfoot.
I have always wanted to write daily. I have wanted this habit to be a part of my life for some time because I have always found peace in writing. It allows me to get the thoughts out of my brain and on paper so I can analyze those very thoughts even more. My brain can sometimes get away from me and writing increases my capacity to remember things as they come to me (even the motto for Field Notes is: “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing is down to remember it now”). When I embarked on this journey eight months ago I didn’t write in the pocket notebook everyday, but the biggest contributor to forming my habit of writing daily was making sure I had it with me. No excuses. I told myself that, “If I can’t leave my house without my phone, I can’t leave my house without my pen and paper.” Slowly but surely I would remember it was with me when I had an idea I wanted to remember or if I heard someone say something I wanted to think about. Now, it has become second nature to write in them and they help me get things done!
One of the most enjoyable parts of working with these tiny books has been my system. I told myself early on that I would be okay with constantly evolving my syntax, even if I thought I “got it right”. How I write each day has changed significantly from when I started and has been influenced by trial+error and also conversations with a close friend who is also enjoying this hobby with me. I like my system right now but can’t wait to see what other cultures I adopt in the future. Currently, I log what I eat for each meal, the events of the day, my main priority for the day, other “lesser” priorities, and my thoughts on how I am doing or what is going on around me. Each day is a personal taste into my life, my appetites and desires, and who I want to be.
Using these analog tools everyday has been life changing (I will write about pens/pencils in the future, trust me). These tools allow me to slow down and really think about what I am going to write and why. They are also a joy to handle and their beauty sparks a deeper appreciation for craft and great design. I cherish the sight of a worn and weathered pocket notebook. I highly recommend adopting analog tools into your daily digital life and my hope is you too will fall in love. If any readers ever want a recommendation on which tool to add to your life, I am willing to try and give the best possible answer.