I always have a notebook in my pocket.
No matter the occasion, the place or the time, I always have something to jot down my thoughts or ideas. Even if I don’t write anything in my book for weeks, there is something soothing and comforting about having it with me. The ability to record my feelings at any time is therapeutic in a way that I can’t quite express. By writing them down, I give them a permanence that they just wouldn’t have otherwise.
Thoughts and feelings can be fleeting, and even the memories of them become unreliable and shaped by our current context. While I can remember and picture my time as a teenager heading off for University, I don’t have a record written in my words at the time – only recollections that have been warped by the consequences and experiences of the dividing years. With a pocket notebook that doesn’t have to be the case. The mere potential of recording my thoughts brings a comfort and legitimacy that my thoughts are valid and not destined to simply be blown away by time.
Now, I realise that this might all be a rather haughty and loose way of explaining the importance of having a notebook in your pocket, so I’ll shift gears a little and talk about the practical value it has, beyond my own romantic notions of recording the past.
Carrying a notebook gives permanence to more than just your thoughts, but your work and interactions too.
There’s been many a time that I’ve had a conversation with a co-worker or woke up in the night with an idea on how to resolve a problem at work, and by recording this in my notebook I’ve been able to create a chain of thought that is much clearer than the memory of a dream or conversation.
It’d be conceited for me to suggest that recording every aspect of your personal and professional life is essential or of value, but I will suggest that keeping track of the points that standout or leave an impression is important. A week, month or year from that moment you may think back and wonder how you resolved that problem, or what you did last time that, on reflection, clearly did not work. By keeping breadcrumbs in that book in your pocket, you’ll sooner find your way back to the source, rather than stumbling around unreliable memories.
I think I’ve made my thoughts on the value of pocket notebooks more than clear, but it’s down to you to determine how you take advantage of their potential, and hey, maybe you’ll find yourself as head over heels with them as I am.