I need to get away from the computer

Is there such a thing as an addiction to “being on the computer”? If there is, I suffer from it.

I sit here staring at a screen for hours with no real goal or plan. I just click things and read things and move things around.

Eventually, I’ll get bored and “go do something” but that doesn’t last long. The whole time I’m off doing things in the real world I’m thinking about getting back to the computer.

It can’t be healthy.

For a while, I was pretty good at following my “no computer after 7:00pm” rule. I’d go write in my journal or read a book or take a walk. For the past few months I’ve ignored that rule completely. I mean, I’m trying to get better at Photoshop so I’ve gotta put the time in, right?

Something needs to change.

I’m thinking of starting with some sort of computer fasting routine. Maybe I’ll work on bringing back the “no computer after 7:00pm” rule and the long-neglected “no computer after 1:00pm on Sundays” rule.

I’ve ordered a copy of Ryder Carroll’s new Bullet Journal Method book hoping it will help inspire me to bring paper back into my day.

Right now I’m going to go outside and take a walk.

Missing my notebooks

I sometimes drift away from using a paper notebook for taking notes. This usually happens when I become infatuated with some new computer workflow or app and decide that paper is just too much work and too inconvenient.

Then something happens that makes me miss my notebooks.

Today, for example, I was trying to remember something about the sale of my house and even though I took lots of notes on my computer, I couldn’t seem to find what I was looking for. I had originally started taking notes about the process of selling the house in my paper notebook, so I pulled that out, opened to the page with the “Moving” topic, and quickly spotted what I needed.

It’s easy to write off immutability as a negative aspect of paper, but I believe it is one of its greatest strengths. Even though I can’t search my notebooks, I can usually find what I’m looking for by sight and it’s always right where I left it.

I then sat for an hour and just wrote, scribbled, and flipped through my current notebooks and was reminded how very relaxing and pleasant writing on paper can be.

Why the Future of Data Storage is (Still) Magnetic Tape – IEEE Spectrum

Why the Future of Data Storage is (Still) Magnetic Tape – IEEE Spectrum:

To begin with, tape storage is more energy efficient: Once all the data has been recorded, a tape cartridge simply sits quietly in a slot in a robotic library and doesn’t consume any power at all. Tape is also exceedingly reliable, with error rates that are four to five orders of magnitude lower than those of hard drives. And tape is very secure, with built-in, on-the-fly encryption and additional security provided by the nature of the medium itself. After all, if a cartridge isn’t mounted in a drive, the data cannot be accessed or modified. This “air gap” is particularly attractive in light of the growing rate of data theft through cyberattacks.

Via Kottke

My Oldest Postage Stamp

2018 07 15 Stamps

I found my stamp collection today. I had written it off as lost for at least ten years, so I’m very happy about this.

The oldest stamp I have in my book is a 10 cent Thomas Jefferson from 1873. This makes me want to start collecting again.

Working with the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter

My Notebook intentions for 2018 didn’t take into account my work projects, so I’ve been reviewing my options for note taking and project planning at work. I’ve been using the big Boorum & Pease at work, but it’s pretty bulky, so I have been considering using a daily planner instead.

Enter the Hobonichi Techo Cousin and Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter

Roterfaden 1

Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter

I’ve had the Roterfaden for a few years but haven’t used it lately. I guess I thought it was too bulky.  However, after using the Boorum & Pease record book for a while, my tolerance for larger notebooks has increased.

I adore the little Hobonichi Techo, so I’ll be trying its larger “Cousin” in the Roterfaden for planning my work. The idea is to replace the current combination of Boorum & Pease notebook, Dave Seah’s Emergent Task Planner, and whatever random scratchpad I have at hand with a single notebook.

The Roterfaden is a high-quality notebook cover with a clever and flexible binding system, into which I can put just about any A5 or smaller notebook.

I may try to add a soft-cover Leuchtturm2017, thus combining my work planner and personal Bullet Journal. That could end up being too bulky or cumbersome, so we’ll see.

Roterfaden 2

Roterfaden with Hobonichi Techo Cousin


Roterfaden with Field Notes “Dime Novel Edition” tucked in back

Paper Notebook Intentions for 2018

Hobonichi, Field Notes, Leuchtturm1917, Epica

The final week of December is a good time for planning. I spend the week organizing things, tidying up my desk and files, and laying out plans for the year.

One thing I evaluate each year is how I intend to use my paper notebooks. This doesn’t mean I don’t allow myself to change things up, but I at least go through the exercise of thinking through my intentions.

2018 looks much the same as 2017. Here’s the plan.

Leuchtturm1917 (Medium, Dotted)

The Leuchtturm1917 is my Bullet Journal. I’ve been using a Bullet Journal for several years and have found no better system for managing my personal life. Tasks, lists, quotes, and ideas all go in mine. I don’t use a BuJo for work projects, but for personal stuff it’s a terrific system. I use a Quiver to hold whatever pens I’m favoring at the moment.

Epica Classic Leather Journal

The Bullet Journal is messy and random, so I use a fancy Epica leather journal for my personal journal (aka Diary). I try to write at least a page or two every day, but typically only use it once or twice a week. I am hoping to get closer my goal of writing in it daily this year. A personal journal is priceless and will be kept forever so I forgive myself the luxury. The paper in these books isn’t my favorite for fountain pens so I typically use a pencil.

Hobonichi Techo

Paper calendars remain my favorite way to plan my life, and the Hobonichi Techo is full of them. Monthly, yearly, weekly, daily, you name it. The Techo uses Tomoe River paper, which is tissue thin yet handles anything thrown at it. As with my journal, I try to add something to the Techo every day. Usually this is a small drawing or a note about the weather or a fun quote or just splash of watercolor. It also contains vertical calendar pages that work well for habit tracking, so I don’t need to create them by hand in my Bullet Journal. I’ve been using these cute little notebooks since 2013. They’re fun and useful and I intend to use mine often in 2018.

Field Notes (with Bellroy cover)

I don’t carry my larger notebooks everywhere, so I always keep a Field Notes notebook in my back pocket. I find that capturing a quick note in a paper notebook to be much faster than using my phone. It takes a while for me to go through one, and the covers tend to degrade and come off over time. To prevent this I keep mine in a Bellroy Notebook Cover. The Bellroy feels and works great. I review my notes every few days and copy anything important to somewhere more permanent.

Other miscellaneous notebooks

I use a few other notebooks for various tasks.

There are times I want to consolidate everything into just one or two notebooks but this feels like a pretty good setup for next year.



No screens, no devices. Just ordinary physical materials —
paper and clay, tokens and toy cars — brought to life by
technology in the ceiling.

Every scrap of paper has the capabilities of a full computer,
while remaining a fully-functional scrap of paper.

I’m not even sure what this is but it looks fascinating.