How I work: Why a notebook?

This autumn when I’ve arrived at the local Starbucks to enjoy a cup of coffee and work for an hour or two, I’ve often found myself needing to share table space.

This adds a challenge to my visits: I’m used to taking over a two person table with my spread of notebooks and I’m an introvert who escaped my desk so I can focus for a bit without a helpful cat (or two).

More often than not my unintentional workspace colleague will strike up a conversation assuming that because I have a paper notebook, I am a student. When they discover my line of work they are often even more surprised.

Today’s post isn’t going to cover all the questions and comments I’ve received over the past few weeks. I’ll attempt to answer the most basic and common of those questions:

Why do I use a paper notebook?

Am I purposely trying to be contrarian?

No. Not at all.

There are countless technological tools available at my fingertips. I could code my ultimate program if I so desired. I’ve worked with and written many systems over the years, the humble notebook is one that I know will work in almost every condition. It is the most adaptable to how my work changes day-by-day. While I prefer to do much of my planning in a pre-printed agenda, I love the options of the blank page.

There is another reason and I think it’s important to think of as we deal with this past election cycle.

I personally believe it is not healthy to consume information 24/7. Working in a notebook forces me to take a break and not check to see if something happened. It’s why I turn off notifications. I’ll still check email from my phone or tablet, but I’m not as “on” as I am when I’m at my desk.

There are many additional benefits found for notebooks and writing by hand. I also take joy in finding the right notebook for me. While I have a few criteria I prefer, that doesn’t mean I don’t try something different every once in a while.

Additional Resources

one more thing:

I’m a shy introvert and have historically skewed toward subtlety in my advocacy. I will continue to do so on my business pages. If you want to see it all, please follow me on twitter as @pennyshima, read my personal blog, Penguin Girl, or at my tumblr page. Be kind.