Journal 2.0

I’m a Software person, I spend 80+% of my waking hours in front of some kind of computing device. I love it. Building software products is fun and creative - virtually anything you imagine is possible, sometimes things that seem impossible are just difficult. Careful thinking and prioritization helps build the most amazing products.

It may be surprising to you, but I like to write things down. With a pen. It helps me remember things and to fully internalize whatever it is I’m writing about. I write documents and emails and posts and tweets on a computer too, but when I really need to remember something, I write it down. When I was studying as a kid, or revising for my finals, I made detailed summary notes and somehow, once I’d processed whatever I was trying to remember through the physical act of writing, recall became much easier.

I am quite a busy person. I have many different projects all going on at the same time. I mostly keep myself organized using my email inbox, a todo list and my (online) calendar. Recently, I’ve found myself wishing I knew how to spend more of my time on stuff that really matters to me - to drive my inbox and my calendar rather than let them drive me.

Therefore, I’ve decided to try making and using a paper journal. Not just a diary, but a structured scratchpad that is designed to help me work the way I want to.

It has sections for setting objectives and how they will be measured. The act of writing them down will help me remember what the most important goals are. They repeat in the journal at the right interval so I can track my progress and set sub-goals.

It has sections for plotting charts of metrics that relate to my objectives throughout the year. The act of plotting my progress on a chart every day and every week keeps my priorities connected to my goals.

I’m a software person, so there are sections for wireframing, for sketching system designs and for capturing feedback. There’s even an ASCII chart, because who knows when you might find yourself stranded on Mars with only a webcam and a pointer to communicate with earth?