Capturing Ideas While Out And About26 April 2020
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:
- For those that want to continue to use their phones for capturing transient thoughts, I recommend enabling Notes to be directly accessible from the lock screen. This reduces the friction to start writing and reduces the chance of getting distracted.
- I have only started using my notebook since Winter, so I haven't felt the annoyance of taking a bulkier wallet with me around with me during the Summer when I'm wearing fewer jackets and more shorts.