For the Last 9 months or so I have been carrying a Moleskine notebook in my back pocket. I am finding the practice to be indispensable in many situations and would encourage everyone that works in a knowledge or creative field to consider adopting the practice. Here are a few things I have discovered so far:
1. You never know when you will need it. It’s amazing how often you can be pulled into a “quick” meeting that ends up making some major decisions that need to be documented. Carrying a journal at all times means you’ll never be caught flat footed.
2. The mind doesn’t stop thinking when you walk out the door, and that fantastic idea that you “will never forget” will often fade away the further you get from the point of inspiration. If it’s really important, stop and write it down.
3. When you fill up a journal, stop and reflect. A full journal provides a wealth of information on which to pause and reflect. These are good direction setting periods in the flow of life where you can evaluate how good you have been at staying on task recently.
4. Don’t stress about whether what you are going to write is “worth” writing down. This impulse is hardest to fight with a new journal. New journals are full of potential. Unfortunately we can let that potential keep us from starting anything. The first thing you write in your journal is the first thing you need to write that day. Maybe its a phone number, or a grocery list, or a note to remember to call your mom. No matter how mundane, write it down. Chances are it will be interesting in context later.
5. You only need one journal. I used to have 3 journals that I never used. When I consolidated down to one was when I really started using it. If you try to segment and categorize your journal around different segments of your life (work, home, gym) you often find yourself hesitating to write things down in the “wrong” place. There is no wrong place to write something down. Just get it committed to paper and organize it later.