profile

Anna Burgess Yang

Tinkering With Ideas #016: One notebook to rule them all

Published about 1 year ago • 2 min read

Hi Reader 👋 -

Did I say that my newsletter's new send date would be Tuesday? Scratch that. It's Wednesday. 😆 Which I decided after Memorial Day in the U.S. Monday holidays always throw me off and it's unlikely that I'll have recovered by Tuesday morning. So Wednesdays it is.

1) Reflection:

I've been talking a lot about tools lately. I shared my freelance tech stack on LinkedIn and it sparked some questions in the comments. I also frequently talk about tools when I appear on podcasts.

Something I say, repeatedly, is that I don't believe people should find a "single tool" that meets all their needs. All-in-one tools can be great with certain features, and then other features are lacking. Better to find the best tool for the job, and then use integrations and automation to connect the tools.

I feel the same way about notebooks. I have a bunch of notebooks on my desk at any given time. I jot down things I need to do in one (I also use an app; this is more of things I think of on the fly). One is filled with ideas, scrawled out in my chicken scratch. Another serves as a journal.

2) Product:

I've moved away from handwritten notes in meetings, in favor of meeting recordings and transcripts. This approach helps me focus. But I also understand that for some people, taking notes in a meeting helps commit the information to memory.

When I used to fervently take notes, I used a Rocketbook. I could write notes, take a picture of the page with my phone, and the pages would sync to GDrive or OneNote or other notebook apps. Then I could wipe the page clean and reuse it.

This was much better than my prior approach of filling dozens (hundreds?) of spiral notebooks. Storage was an issue and it was really hard to later find my notes from a meeting.

3) Tip:

Ever have an idea and think, "Shoot, I need to write that down!!" and there is no notebook nearby? We've all been there.

As a creative person, I try to keep different tools at my fingertips:

  • I have a small voice recording device I can take on walks
  • I keep a tiny notebook in my purse
  • I have a notebook on my nightstand for those late-night aha moments

I do not yet have a dry erase board in the shower. Usually I'll try to mutter the idea to myself over and over and then write it down as soon as I can.

But the point is to have tools at the ready. (And another reason to not rely on a single notebook, since it can't be "wherever you are" at all times.)


That's it for this issue of Tinkering! See you again in two weeks.

Cheers,

Anna Burgess Yang

LinkedIn | Medium | Substack

Want more ideas?

The Best Tools for Capturing Different Types of Notes | Medium

17 Smart Tools Solopreneurs Need to Start, Grow, and Scale | eBook


If you're enjoying this newsletter, please forward to a friend. Sharing is caring. Or you can buy me a coffee and fuel my writing habit.

This newsletter may contain affiliate links, which means if you sign up, subscribe, buy, whatever, I earn a small amount.

Anna Burgess Yang

Writer. Productivity Geek. Always Tinkering.

Practical tips to make your day better & make your life easier.

Read more from Anna Burgess Yang

Hello, fellow tinkerer 👋 - Happy Wednesday. My part of the U.S. is experiencing sweltering heat right now — 95F (35C). I'm not a fan of heat in general, and this is way above my "comfortable" zone. When it's this hot, I love going to ultra-cold buildings like a museum or a movie. In fact, that's what I'm doing with my family today. It's a holiday in the U.S. (Juneteenth) and my kids' summer camp is closed, so we're headed to the James Bond exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry. What are...

6 days ago • 2 min read

Hello, fellow tinkerer 👋 - Happy Wednesday. School's out for the summer. Which means my kids are in summer camp and, as a result, our schedule shifts a lot. 1) Reflection: If you're like me and summer throws you off from your "routine": I get it. I have a love / hate relationship with summer. Love doing stuff with my family and outside, but am always relieved when the school year starts again. I'm not really a go-with-the-flow person. I like plans and like to know what's happening....

20 days ago • 2 min read

Hello, fellow tinkerer 👋 - Happy Wednesday. My kids only have 8 days left in the school year, which is wild to me. On top of that, my oldest will be in high school in the fall. 😭 I've heard the saying, "The days are long, but the years are short" and it is TOTALLY true. If you're a parent with older kiddos, I'm sure you'd tell me that in another blink of an eye, my son will be graduating from high school. 1) Reflection: The more I think about my kids going off into the world, the more I think...

about 1 month ago • 2 min read
Share this post