Tinkering With Ideas #016: One notebook to rule them all

Hi Reader 👋 -

Did I say that my newsletter's new send date would be Tuesday? Scratch that. It's Wednesday. 😆 Which I decided after Memorial Day in the U.S. Monday holidays always throw me off and it's unlikely that I'll have recovered by Tuesday morning. So Wednesdays it is.

1) Reflection:

I've been talking a lot about tools lately. I shared my freelance tech stack on LinkedIn and it sparked some questions in the comments. I also frequently talk about tools when I appear on podcasts.

Something I say, repeatedly, is that I don't believe people should find a "single tool" that meets all their needs. All-in-one tools can be great with certain features, and then other features are lacking. Better to find the best tool for the job, and then use integrations and automation to connect the tools.

I feel the same way about notebooks. I have a bunch of notebooks on my desk at any given time. I jot down things I need to do in one (I also use an app; this is more of things I think of on the fly). One is filled with ideas, scrawled out in my chicken scratch. Another serves as a journal.

2) Product:

I've moved away from handwritten notes in meetings, in favor of meeting recordings and transcripts. This approach helps me focus. But I also understand that for some people, taking notes in a meeting helps commit the information to memory.

When I used to fervently take notes, I used a Rocketbook. I could write notes, take a picture of the page with my phone, and the pages would sync to GDrive or OneNote or other notebook apps. Then I could wipe the page clean and reuse it.

This was much better than my prior approach of filling dozens (hundreds?) of spiral notebooks. Storage was an issue and it was really hard to later find my notes from a meeting.

3) Tip:

Ever have an idea and think, "Shoot, I need to write that down!!" and there is no notebook nearby? We've all been there.

As a creative person, I try to keep different tools at my fingertips:

  • I have a small voice recording device I can take on walks
  • I keep a tiny notebook in my purse
  • I have a notebook on my nightstand for those late-night aha moments

I do not yet have a dry erase board in the shower. Usually I'll try to mutter the idea to myself over and over and then write it down as soon as I can.

But the point is to have tools at the ready. (And another reason to not rely on a single notebook, since it can't be "wherever you are" at all times.)

That's it for this issue of Tinkering! See you again in two weeks.


Anna Burgess Yang

LinkedIn | Medium | Substack

Want more ideas?

The Best Tools for Capturing Different Types of Notes | Medium

17 Smart Tools Solopreneurs Need to Start, Grow, and Scale | eBook

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Anna Burgess Yang

Practical tips to make your day better & make your life easier.

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