Notebook zero

I keep my inboxes empty. That’s my thing. Except my notebooks, the most beautiful and functional inboxes of all!

So I’ve started trying to process notes as I take them, on a semi-daily basis. It is difficult because sometimes I go all over the place in a given stack of papers, so I’m researching what others have done and creating little sub-systems as I go.

Of course I have a morale issue: I have literal banker’s boxes full of old notebooks, waiting to be processed. How am I gonna get to those?

Well, I’ll start tracking those separately. They sound like fun things to go transcribe somewhere secluded.

Currently, I produce about 4 pages of notes a day, sans deep dives that potentially fill entire notebooks, but probably on average add about 10 extra pages a week. And some illustrations, but my mobile camera will handle those fine.

Since I use a bullet, sub-bullet, and major heading system I should be able to kinda drop the points into my various tracking systems. Then the fun begins.


A lot of the recent activity is due to my daily notebook zero task. But I’ve run into a strange issue, where some things aren’t ready to be public, or serve no purpose to the public. Personal notes.

Now I have a notes directory full of markdown files. It syncthings to my mobile, it is great. But I can’t operate on text files the way I can with Discourse. I’m considering making a private discourse for my work, as in each category is assigned to a client/project, and I could use the same instance for notes.

I could learn to process my text files better. But I really do want to move my work correspondence out of my inbox, and all my non-public notes basically refer to work, so it makes sense.


Kind of on topic here… I thought you promised me a breakdown of your favorite notebooks?!

It is pretty great.

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do you use a private discourse for work, @tim?

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@judytuna, we do and it’s really great. it’s our KB, our internal quasi-ticketing system all rolled into one.

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Yeah, that was my next question!

Oh snap, I need to talk more about everything! I will totally pick your brain about this later, @tim!

I’m writing this from my mobile and Firefox right now. I love it! So using it for work sounds exciting!

Re: favorite notebooks, the trigger for that is completing a given notebook, starting now. So, as soon as I process all the pages in a notebook, the next step is to write it up, how did that notebook work out.

Its a nuanced “slow method”. Our brains and the web say, “be first, set the trend!” But my heart says, “be last, set the record.”

I can’t even know a notebook until I’ve filled it up in two instances! So it’s in the pipeline. One filled noto at a time. :slight_smile:

For reference; discussions are recent.

@tim, do you folks have customer-created tickets, via the email and staged user feature in Discourse?

Also want to note (ha!) that I’ve run into an issue processing the last notebook, because I need to write some things down but don’t know where; hence private Discourse. I’m sure I’m bending this thing in ways it doesn’t always seem appropriate, but lots of folks are.

Eventually I’m gonna figure out a quick way to migrate posts between instances, so I can work on my weirder fiction in private before I unleash it here. :face_with_monocle: It is also a great place to stash work notes and other correspondences. Did you know you can forward an email thread to Discourse and configure it to create staged accounts that can be replied to?

This will be fun. And way easier than being public and vulnerable. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Negative, we use it for internal customers only at this time. Everyone has an account, etc. It is a private instance.

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  • Topic-timers
  • Concept of a “run-book”; sounds straightforward, but maybe a nuance I’m missing

They are amazing!



Unfortunately, they don’t show up in a modal on mobile views for me, but I can see these getting a lot more of my attention! I loved setting reminders with the Slackbot, and this probably hits the same functionality for me (fire and forget)!

Now that I ink, I’m not sure I have favorites anymore. For instance, I’m currently working through a large Moleskin cahier. I love the size, but the paper didn’t work well with the pens or pencils I used. Ink is fantastic, annoyingly so.

I dislike Moleskin for a lot of other reasons, but at least a get a new dimension to their product.

I’ll say this: the Mastermind pad from Baron Fig is my favorite form factor. Light glued border to hold large, lightly dotted grid pages. But the kicker is removing sheets; it’s amazing. You can carry them around, write all over, spread them out.

The only notebook that made me feel like a founding father or a composer, when I would pace and write at night by candle light…

I suspect I can somewhat emulate the experience with the readily available Rhodia something something (I wanna say… #19, but I’m not sure where I’m getting that).

Or, ya know, learn to print my own grid paper. Can’t be that hard…

I realize I use a weird shorthand in my notes, an emergent system to indicate a feeling: the use of short exclamations.

Specifically, and meaning:

  • Oh! - This thought, while seemingly tangential to the previous one, is totally connected.
  • Ha! - fun, or art, or chaos, or hopefully all of them

Reading back I find it easier to get back to that spacetime, so it’s an excellent mental bookmark. I wonder if I’ll develop more, and if they will remain three characters total…

once i looked at my best college friend’s notes and all his bullet points were in korean. just the bullets themselves, not the writing. he was already fluent in english, spanish, japanese, and getting there in mandarin chinese, so i said “what? are you learning korean too??” and he said “no, i just learned the alphabet.” and i was like “what??? so are you going to learn korean now???” and he was like “no, not now.” and i was like “why are you using them to number your notes!!!” and he said “it’s good to practice.”

some people are just high-functioning. he is one of those people. =D

i use lots of tuna-specific emergent behavior shorthand! stars, underlines, OMG, WTF, WTF with double underlines…