Capturing Ideas While Out And About

26 April 2020
Wallet and pocket notebook combined into two object My personal notebook + wallet combo. About the size of a smartphone. I bought it here: Amazon link.

Similar to a process described by Andy MatuschakPocket memo pad to capture into writing inbox while out, I carry a pocket notebook when I'm out and about to capture ideas, which later get transfered out and expanded upon. I used to use a phone to capture these transient thoughts, but switched to a notebook for two reasons: social misunderstandings & inefficiency.

Social misunderstandings occurred when others mistook my phone-based note taking for disinterest or distraction. This got bothersome enough that I started explaining why I was taking out my phone, but doing that awkwardly interrupted the conversation.

Inefficiency came when trying to compose text and diagrams. Using a phone for diagramming has always felt encumbered and slow. Inefficiency also came through distraction by the notifications that I would see while capturing a thought. Even worse, after taking out my phone, it continued as a peripheral distraction by just being "out".

While I've been generally happy with my pocket notebook, I've looked into a couple alternatives in the past couple months. I've toyed with carrying around an iPad & stylus instead, but remain against it. I don't want to add another thing that I need to carry. Also, I think the aforementioned social misunderstandings would still occur. In a similar vein, I did a short search for an "auto-transcribe-to-the-cloud" smart pen, which ideally would speed up the time for transferring writings out of my pocket notebook. I found the Neo SmartpenNeo Smartpen. It requires you to use a specialized paper, but they provide relatively affordable notebooks and print-your-own PDFs for their speicalized paper., but haven't yet felt that transcription is too toilsome.

A few parting thoughts: