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The Lost Art of Writing Things Down

Today I want to talk about the power of writing things down. You see, I am a self-described propeller head or geek. That means I am, by default, the first call for a dozen or so people when it comes to computer, phone, fax (I know, right?!?) printer or wifi problems.

I am fine with this label by the way.

My ability to weave in and out of print advertorials and digital display ads 15 years ago is what got me to where I am today, and I don’t apologize for how I feed the kids, even if that means being called a geek.

That said…there is a power to the lost art of writing things down when you do what I do.

I have gone back and forth for years with carrying a journal or notepad or whatever you want to call the thing with lines on it that I keep with me at all times to take notes. It’s been there through meetings and plane rides, coffee shop stops and phone calls, conferences and roadside braindumps.

But I’ve gotten away from that for a time, and I miss it.

Being a propeller head also means you live inside a two-dimensional world between you and some random screen; be it a cell phone or a tablet or a laptop, but a screen none the less. It’s a shame Hemingway never got to experience the feeling of moving from a typewriter to a keyboard, then back to a typewriter again just for old time sake, because it feels good and I think he would have enjoyed it too.

Why write things down?

Writing things down commits you more…at least, it feels that way to me. I feel like I own it more, and nothing gives me a better feeling than crossing shit off that list every day!

What do you use to keep track of your day?

Do you use a calendar app or book to track appointments? Do you have little bits of paper flying around your truck or office? Could you stand being a bit more organized? I know I could. The irony is, as I type this out on my iPad, staring out the window of some random Starbucks in the suburbs of Philadelphia, is that one day, even the physical act typing something on a computer or smartphone will seem like the good old days.

Sometime in the not so distant future we will simply think about a conversation, a meeting, a topic and be able to send it off in an email or speak it to some Siri-like assistant who will take care of the menial task of actually formatting it while we get back to worrying about the next big thing.

But for now, I am going to spend the rest of the year trying to manage and master the art of the Bullet Journal system. I have dipped my toe in the water for a while, but I think this system is the easiest way to give me the ability to have a written history of my day to day world versus relying on apps and servers and things that break, corrupt or crash.

I mean, if the common pencil is good enough to take into space, it’s certainly good enough to help run Darren’s house of useless knowledge. Anyway…back to writing down my next big idea!


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