Inksmudge

Why writing down tasks from your task management app can be a productivity booster.

February 25, 2016

This started out as a tweet, when I was listening to the latest episode of the Pen Addict Podcast, but I didn’t find a way to write it short enough. One of the biggest productivity boosts I every experienced when I used a task management solution like OmniFocus or Todoist was when I started to write down what I planned to do that day in a notebook. I know it sounds counter productive and weird. But hear me out.

The way I used to do it was that I opened a double page in a Field Notes notebook, and wrote the name of the day, and then went over what I had in OmniFocus and first wrote down everything that was due on the left side, and what I hoped to do on the right page. Then I closed the application, and it would stay like that until I had completed everything.

This eventually drove me down a path that led to me going 100% paper on everything that is related to calendars and task management, but it doesn’t have to. You can read more about that <a href="http://inksmudge.net/gtd">here</a>.

This is what you get if you give this trick a try:

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  Planning. You actually sit down and plan everything you are going to do, and you actually think about what is important and what you reasonable can expect to accomplish.

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  Focus. It is much easier to look down on a notebook while working than switching to your app of choice. There might be something poping up and distracting you, or you might get lost in all the other tasks that you have there. When you look in your notebook, you only see the double page, and what you put there.

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  Efficiency. It is so easy to be efficient at what ever you do, when you know exactly what you should be doing. And my personal opinion is that the only way to get there in a consistent way is by doing some simple planning and focus.

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Then, at the end of the day, I used to go over what I completed and didn’t and cross out in my notebook what I didn’t get to, and marked what got done as completed in my app of choice. This method gives you a lot in terms of planning, focus and efficiency, but you also learn a lot about yourself, and most important: how much can I expect to get done in any given day.

Fountain Pens for Lefties

February 24, 2016

<strong><a href="http://officesupplygeek.com/pen-review/fountain-pens/fountain-pens-for-lefties/">Patrick Kansa</a>:</strong>

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  Well, not learning how to write from scratch, but rather, learning how to write with a fountain pen. You see, as a lefty, there are all manner of things working against me successfully using a fountain pen. You have the whole push-vs-pull hand movement, but more importantly, there is the issue of ink. Specifically, of ink drying times.

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I had lot of the same doubts, being a lefty, when I got curious about fountain pens. But I got over it. The most important thing until you either learn some techniques or get over it is to go for ink and paper combinations that limit the dry time. The Noodlers Bernanke inks are the best. The only places I even noticed dry time when I used it was with paper that are known for long dry time.

Noodlers Bernanke and Leauchttrum1917 is a solid combo.

Load out February 2016.

February 24, 2016

These load out posts have become one of my favourite things I write each month. I find the process of looking at everything I do very rewarding, instead of just noticing the minor changes that I actually pay attention to every month. I think it is a great way to identify what I do, how I do it and how to improve it.

The biggest change during the last month is that I have added a TWSBI Eco with a Stub nib to my daily carry. I have been using one of my newest inks in it: Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku. This is the first ink I have that isn’t black.

I also did something that have been in the back of my head for a while. It all started when I found a box of Pilot Cartridges that I had forgotten about. The thing I have started doing is to just use them up, and to use up my bottle of Lamy Black Ink, before I start using any other black inks.

This is the method I have been using to avoid getting a huge notebooks collection. I realised that I’m not a fan of the Pilot Ink or the Lamy Ink, but there is no good reason not to use them, and I will never do so unless I just force myself to do it.

Because, if I don’t take the active choice to use up that before I use anything else, then I’ll just keep using the stuff I prefer, until its so old I can’t use it. There is nothing wrong with the cartridges or the Lamy Ink, I just prefer my other inks.

The plan now, for both my TWSBI’s is to ink them up with the Lamy ink as soon as they are dry.

This is my current pen situation:

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  Pilot Metropolitan: Inked up with Pilot Cartridges

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  Lamy 2000: Inked up with Black Lamy Ink.

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  TWSBI 580AL: Inked up with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku.

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  TWSBI Eco: Inked up with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku.

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And the notebooks situation:<br /> – I finally completed my A4 notebook that I have been using since September. So I moved that portion of my writing and note taking over to my Midori Travelers Notebook.<br /> – Midori Travelers Notebook: I use it for all my long form writing, and I have started to do some sketch noting as well.<br /> – Hobonichi Planner: same as always: stuff that are due and appointments.<br /> – Field Notes is as always the place I put all my tasks. But I only have 4 left, and I have not ordered any new ones. This means that a major change in this aspect of my day to day life is very close. I’m not going to say what, but I have planned to try something new in this area since in December.

Planner Formats | Notebook Stories

February 23, 2016

<strong><a href="http://www.notebookstories.com/2016/02/09/planner-formats/">Notebook Stories</a>:</strong>

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  How do you feel about planner notebooks with highly formatted pages? I love seeing images of how people use them, as the pages sometimes look wonderfully dense and textured with text and colors and highlighting. But when it comes to using them myself, I’m a bit reluctant. I make lots of lists on paper, but when it comes to keeping track of appointments and projects, I tend to use digital tools instead. I love to use pens on paper, but for some purposes I have to admit I don’t find it efficient. The image below with blocks of time laid out with different color highlighters is very appealing, but in my day to day life, I know I’d get frustrated by having no way to erase them when meetings were rescheduled! I do like the way these planners prompt you to slot your to-do list items into blocks of time– I think it’s a key part of being organized, as you have to allow yourself time to actually do things!

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I personally prefer doing both planning and task management on paper because of the simplicity and how much easier it is to look in a notebook compared to a complicated calendar or task management app. The formats of a planner is very important, and I think the preference comes down to personal choice and use case.

I prefer using one with as little formatting as possible because it is more flexible. But there are many places where a highly structured one is important, for example if you run a business with hourly appointments or have a class schedule.

What Makes The Stationery Community Great — The Pen Addict

February 23, 2016

<strong><a href="http://www.penaddict.com/blog/2016/2/10/what-makes-the-stationery-community-great">Daniel Lemay</a>:</strong>

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  I too experienced the sheer generosity of the people here. After saving up for months fairly early in my pen addiction I finally was able to purchase a Franklin Christoph Model 40. Less than two months into owning it, I somehow lost it (my most expensive pen at the time and the only one I ever lost). After sharing the sad news in the Pen Addict Slack Group I got an unexpected message from Thomas Hall offering to give me his Model 40 because he wasn’t using it much. That was something that totally caught me off guard–that I, a nobody in my perspective, would be the recipient of such generosity from someone I didn’t even know. The generosity of this community shows itself regularly through freely offering ink samples, picking up and shipping of Field Notes only found locally, etc.

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That’s amazing. I just love the stationary community. You are fantastic.

Midori Traveler’s Notebook Rebranding

February 22, 2016

Goulet posted about something very interesting a few days ago:<a href="http://blog.gouletpens.com/2016/02/midori-travelers-notebook-rebranding.html?m=1">Midori Traveler’s Notebook Rebranding!</a>. I love my MTN. And I am very excited about the news. The new colour looks amazing.

I’m a huge fan of the regular sized notebook. And the passport isn’t really something I’m interested in, for a number of reasons, that I’m coming back to in a upcoming post. But they are finally making sure that all the great refills you can get are the same for both options. Which makes the passport sized one much more attractive.

I can’t wait for the reviews this spring.

The Pencilcase Blog | Fountain pen, Pencil, Ink and Paper reviews

February 22, 2016

<strong><a href="http://www.pencilcaseblog.com/2016/02/conid-pens-bulkfiller-mechanism.html?m=1">The Pencilcase Blog</a>:</strong>

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  Conid is a small-scale Belgian pen brand. For those of you that never heard of them before: they make fountain pens with a unique filling system: ‘the Bulkfiller’. The Bulkfiller system is quite an engineering feat, and there’s a lot to say about it. That’s why I decided to make this into a separate post. I’ll focus solely on the filling system in this post. You can find the review of the Conid Minimalistica fountain pen here.

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This posts is going to end up costing me a lot of money. Conid have something very interesting. The filling system is interesting. But the thing that got me interested, and pushed me to add it to my wish list is their pens. They have five different pens, they look kind of different, but the key difference between them are ink capacity. I love how they market themselves: exchangeable nibs & maximum ink capacity.

This is not a cheap pen, but they claim and it looks durable. My two favourite pens from a design perspective is the Lamy 2000 and Visconti Homo Sapiens. But I also love the contemporary look of TWSBI. Conid is the first example I have seen of a pen that can compete with both.

Handwriting will not die… | The Cramped

February 21, 2016

<strong><a href="http://www.thecramped.com/handwriting-will-not-die/">Patrick Rhone</a>:</strong>

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  Our children. Mine and yours. All of us who write by hand and advocate its importance and advantages. We who have children will write by hand in front of those children. Through such actions they will learn from us that writing by hand is something one does. We will teach them to do the same.

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A fantastic piece by Mr. Rhone. I’m getting fed up with the “handwriting is going away” posts. Fine, most people write less with pens than they did 100 years ago. But when I look at the various places I have worked over the years, I can’t remember anyone that didn’t use paper. All of them used it for something. Writing down stuff they have to do on post-it’s during a meeting or writing a todo list on a A4 page.

Why do people use a pen when they have a computer? It is the pragmatic choice. It is just easier to write something down on paper than it is to find a piece of software to do the same thing. Children will also learn how to write by hand for the foreseeable future. The writing essay part of writing can be done on a computer, and the teacher are probably thankful for students that hand in papers written on a computer. But what about math? It is very hard to do what is very simple on paper with a computer without a lot of training.

There are of course areas where we used to use pen and paper where a computer, or a typewriter is better in every single shape or form. But there are also many areas and use cases where paper is better.

Task Management with pen and paper.

February 16, 2016

I just added a new page to the site. One of the things I wanted to do when I started this site was to put some time into explaining how I use pen and paper to manage my day to day life. You can find the first version of it <a href="/gtd">here</a>. I decided to have it as a page instead of a blog post because I’m going to update it from time to time.

It is a rough first draft. it will be updated from time to time, both in terms of content as my system and tools change, and in terms of some much needed editing.

I’m also going to set up a Public Github Repo to have easy access to the different versions of the text.

Forrest Brazeal

February 15, 2016

<strong><a href="http://forrestbrazeal.com/2015/09/16/taking-notes-in-class-dont-use-your-laptop/">forrestbrazeal</a>:</strong>

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  I could write faster than I could type, but without knowing shorthand, this method still wasn’t fast enough to allow me to perfectly transcribe every lecture slide. So I was forced to write smarter, not faster. I’d listen carefully to the lecture while paraphrasing anything that seemed important, in real time, using as few words as possible.

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I have tested this out a few times, where I have used my laptop to take notes in entire subjects, and the result is always the same: I remember way more of what I was told in a lecture or seminar when I take notes by hand, and the same goes when I take notes while reading.

I manage everything I do at work with pen and paper; a combination of Midori Travelers Notebook, Field Notes and the notebooks we have at work. There is no reason to do everything digital just because I work as a web developer.