A New Year and some new methods of productivity/procrastination. I spent most of 2019 journaling with an old 1960s typewriter. Towards the end of the year, I drifted back to pen and paper and then, around about Christmas Day, I started playing with Good Notes 5 on the iPad. This app takes a little getting used to but it’s actually fantastic for handwritten notes, mainly because it allows you to scale the writing after you’ve done it and it makes handwritten text searchable.
I’ve started an everyday notebook in Good Notes and, not wanting to start from a blank page, I’ve made it a hybrid; that is to say I’ve imported all typewritten journals and scanned all my handwritten entries from my Midori notebook and arranged them in order. The idea now is that I can journal however I feel on the day and all then entries end up in one place. Good Notes can also accommodate photographs, sketches and doodles from other apps and it automatically backs up the entire thing to a pdf file on Dropbox, so it’s disaster-proof in the event that the company goes under or the app is shelved.
In addition, I’ve started notebooks for key work projects, into which I can pour earlier drafts of scripts and notes for reference and annotation and, again, incorporate any notes I make in any form.
THIS PIECE on sketchnoting is a good place to start.
Another systematic change I’m trying out is to my daily to do list. I have been using OmniFocus exclusively for this for all of 2019 but the interface becomes so familiar that I’ve found my eyes repeatedly skimming over it without really seeing what’s on the list. Following a piece I read on Medium, I have employed a Trello board with four columns: Done, Today, To Do and Someday. New to dos are still “inboxed” and processed through OmniFocus but every Sunday I copy the upcoming week’s tasks into the To Do list on Trello and then each day I move some out into Today and then across to Done when they are completed (there are always some that seemed important and then suddenly aren't, and these end up in Someday). This exercise provides a real sense of actually moving through the list and seems a little more tactile than other digital methods. Trello power-ups allow the list to self-sort in some ways, so I have anything with a due date set to a particular day to jump into the Today column by itself when its time rolls around.