Books and trust

Breaking the radio silence. My spare time recently was taken up with both the new job, and one coding project that I really, really wanted to get done. Now that it’s done, I hope I can push some things I’ve been thinking about to the blog.

Lately1 things have got shaken up. I’ve moved countries and started a new job, and I’m still feeling the ripples. One unexpected consequence is that I stopped trusting my notebook as much.

My usual (and preferred) setup looks like this:

I started noticing that I wasn’t trusting my notebook when ideas started to go missing. By which I mean: it’d be a Sunday morning, I’d be sitting at the breakfast table, thinking about things, and I’d suddenly think to myself: “Wasn’t there something I wanted to do this weekend? I’m sure I wrote it down somewhere.” I’d written it down in my notebook, but thanks to my new schedule (in which I don’t really use or check OmniFocus until the weekend) I hadn’t cleared it all week.

The most insidious thing about this wasn’t the fact that I’d stopped clearing my notebook, though: it was how quickly my subconscious became aware of this, and how long it took my conscious to realise. In hindsight, I could see myself going through a repetitive pattern in the last few weeks:

  1. I write things into my notebook, but they never get into my task managers.
  2. Therefore, if I have a good idea, I have less incentive to write it down.
  3. Now all my ideas are floating around my head, rather than being in my book, so I have even less incentive to clear my notebook regularly.
  4. Go to step 2.

It’s a horrible, horrible positive feedback loop that I just didn’t spot. Thankfully, the fix was dead easy: make sure that tasks on my work and home computers both ensured I cleared my notebook regularly. Now I clear it every morning: and it’s back to being an invaluable way of capturing thoughts and tasks.

  1. And by “lately” here I actually mean the last half-year or so: everything’s relative.