In the journey to intentionally make analog tools a more significant part of my life, I decided choosing some analog tools I would attempt to use daily would be a good place to begin. Inspired by the other posts outlining intended analog set-ups for 2017 (such as this set-up by Wonder pens: (https://blog.wonderpens.ca/2017-analogue-system/)), I will describe my plan in two parts:
1) Daily Carry
2) At-Home Analog
Each of these posts will primarily focus on the paper products that will be home to my ink this year. Let's start with the daily carry. When I am thinking about the use of analog tools that I carry with me, two basic needed functions come to mind.
The first is CAPTURING.
I need a tool or tools what will allow me to capture things as I go about my day frictionlessly. Capturing is the backbone of many productivity systems from (http://gettingthingsdone.com/) to other newer systems such as Mike Vardy's work. (I highly suggest his new free skill share class found here: https://www.skillshare.com/classes/business/Productivity-Habits-That-Stick-Using-Time-Theming/1216959000.) For me, if I don't capture it in some way- I am just not going to remember it, and thus it is not going to get done. There are lots of digital tools that allow capturing as well- I've been using todoist (https://en.todoist.com/) for about a year off and on. Even though I have todoist on every device I own, sometimes the digital just provides too much friction to capture everything in real time. I find it works better for me to carry a paper capture tool that I can take back to my devices and input into the digital world for safe-keeping on my own time.
Outside of to-dos and important reminders, there may also be many other specific things that may be worth capturing this year- daily activity level, eating habits, new analog acquisitions, productivity level, and much more. I haven't exactly settled on all the things I will attempt to capture, and we will save that for other experiments. Even so, I know I need a place to capture anything and everything that might come to mind- from grocery lists to phone numbers to light-bulb moments.
There doesn't seem to be any better tool for that than Field Notes pocket notebooks. I recently became a Field Notes quarterly subscriber (https://fieldnotesbrand.com/limited-editions), and I have been excited about the editions I have received thus far. Even better, I found a Field Notes leather cover for a ridiculously low price on Ebay, making it the ideal little catch-all notebook to carry with me at all times.
I don't have to worry about it being neat or beautiful. Any little thing that comes to mind- goes in this little notebook.
The second function that I need analog tools to serve in my life is PLANNING.
To be honest, planning is something I need a little more of in my life. Sometimes I am going so quickly from thing-to-thing that the days and weeks fly by without ever making time for some of the most important long-terms goals in my life. There are all kinds of things with no external deadline I want to incorporate more of into my life, like focusing on my health, reading, writing, and art. I think on of the keys to making time for these things for me might be finding the specific hours to do these things in my day. My favorite book of 2016, Deep Work by Cal Newport (http://calnewport.com/books/deep-work/), proposes a kind of hour-by-hour planning that I have been thinking about for months. This Medium article about Calendars and To Do Lists also caught my attention: (https://medium.com/the-mission/why-calendars-are-more-effective-than-to-do-lists-557b07ac9aeb#.ana4bde8z).
So, when I saw the Kickstarter for Slice Planner (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sliceplanner/slice-planner-first-notebook-connected-to-digital), it intrigued me. My Slice Planner just landed last week, and I am pretty excited to give this thing a go.
The app related to the planner is still in development, and it remains to be seen how useful this will be for me, but there are plenty of stand-alone analog reasons I love the idea of this planner. First of all, and maybe most importantly to me, it doesn't have dates. Some days, I just don't need to do intensive analog planning some weekends, holidays, etc. I just won't likely use a planner every single day, and I don't want the annoyance of wasted blank pages, or the time waste of completing them just for the sake of finishing them. Secondly, you get a two-page full spread for each day. The left side has a Chronodex type system (http://lifehacker.com/track-your-time-with-a-colorful-chronodex-to-get-more-d-1673235700) for setting up your day, a place to put your most important goal for the day, and a few blank lines on the bottom of the page. The right side is just a blank dot-dash grid.
For now, my plan is to stop at the end of each work day and set-up my Slice Planner set-up for the next day. Then, throughout the next day- the two page spread will give me plenty of space to keep notes from meetings and projects as I move throughout the day. Do I think that I will perfectly follow my hour-by-hour plan each day? Absolutely not. But I hope that seeing my day as a visual break down will help me plan ahead and realize, for example, that I only have one empty hour to complete my tasks for the day and thus do not have time to bake cookies.
In terms of writing tools to round out my daily carry, it depends on the day for me and what role I am playing that day. PhD-candidate type days allow for a lot more flexibility in writing utensils, while clinic pharmacist day often call for the need for at least some non-fountain pen type pens. The one thing that I plan to always carry with me? My Nock Co. (http://nockco.com/) Sinclair pen case. It nicely fits three pens (*cough* ten pens *cough*), and even my field notes carry.
Follow along this year to see how my daily carry analog system is being utilized, and maybe even how it evolves over time. Happy 2017!