How Will Keeping A Notebook Help You Hack Your Life

(page was renamed from Why Keep A Notebook)

How Will Keeping A Notebook Help You Hack Your Life?

(How Will Keeping A NoteBook Help You Hack Your Life? For Hack Your Life With A Private Wiki Notebook, Getting Things Done, AndOtherSystems)

I first got semi-converted to NoteBook use when reading the books of Steve McConnell and Jim McCarthy about Software Development. Ever since, I've always pushed any programmers I work with to be more active in writing Progress Notes and other real-time documentation as part of their daily work. Because my handwriting was already horrible, and I was already a convert to the editing made easier by computers, I started keeping various little notes in Palm PDA text notes, which would synch to a lite interface on the PC. I discovered Wiki after that, and recognized its potential as a project planning notebook, but didn't consider it for my personal writing because I wanted a portable tool to access it. When I bought a Sharp Zaurus PDA in 2005, which ran both LinuxOS and Python, I was finally in a position to bring those worlds together, and run a Private Wiki on my PDA (Wiki On Zaurus) (which I could synch to my personal Lap Top). I converted all my past Palm notes to text files that my Private Wiki could deal with, and made a bunch of Category pages to index them (Category To Do, Category Personal, Category Brand You, etc.). Then I started writing much more, with date-named pages, and started taking advantage of Wiki's cross-referencing to refine my thoughts and recognize patterns in my thinking and behavior. I would much a much less-happy and less-sane person without this tool.

A NoteBook helps you Know Yourself

Even if you have a particular favorite "system" of Self Improvement, like Getting Things Done, you will

  • combine other types of thinking with your favorite
  • change favorites over time
  • have other general notes/ideas that run through your life, and sometimes surprisingly cross with your Self Improvement efforts.

Since both you and the world keep changing, you will want to do this throughout your life. That doesn't sound like the Simplest Thing, but it really is. You won't be worrying about the Big Picture every day of your life, but you'll

  • spent lots of calendar time each "batch" scratching away at something
  • you'll want/need to do it periodically to update your picture
  • you'll often want to be able to remind yourself of that Big Picture.

Further reading:

Next: Why Getting Things Done?

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