J. R. Swab

Why This Technology Lover Needs a Journal

Categories: [Analog]
Tags: [journaling]

I love technology. As time goes on you will see a high percentage of my posts will be about something tech related. However, this me, my personal blog and I want you to get to know me for more than just technology.

Even though, I've already labeled as a "techie" by many people and hold to the ideals of a true hacker as described by Eric Raymond. My love of tech reaches into every part of my life, but over the past two years now I forced myself into the analog. Using a pen and paper to capture my thoughts instead of a million apps on my phone or yet another program on my laptop or desktop.

I Get Lost in Apps

Or I should say my dreams and ambitions get lost in apps? The data I need to capture most certainly ends up lost across the plethora of apps I have on my device (I took a minimalist approach to apps). This scattering the data I want to remember does not bode well when trying to be productive, grow a blog or get home-life tasks done.

I have used so many apps in the past, but when it comes to remembering information, it is always a losing battle. My brain loves to hop around subjects, learn new things, and be engaged. Naturally, I not only forget what I put in "app x" but even that it's in that app, to begin with! I never mattered if the app could sync over the Internet, have a web-portal, or just contained within my phone. Ideas got lost, dreams where crushed, and everyday life to-dos slipped through the cracks (the wife is never too wild about that.)

Writing Helps Solidify my Knowledge

Writing things down with a pen and paper has a way of solidifying the content to my brain. Not every piece of material that I write down can I remember of course. However, way more does than when I would type ideas and to-dos into an app. It's quite amazing how much more I can remember just because I wrote the data down.

I don't have the data in front of me, but I am pretty sure that there were some studies on writing and why it helps us remember. After I read about these studies and many others on recording data in analog, I started to keep a journal of my to-dos, inspirations, and general notes. Anything I wanted to remember or easily recall upon I began to write down.

At the beginning of each year, I get a new notebook and start all over. It does not matter if I used every page or not. I want to be able to think, "hm, I read that book a few years ago, what were my notes again?". Narrowing down data by year is effective end allows me to keep the search within a few notebooks at most. Plus, having the journals be one year each, they act as a snapshot of that year allowing me to go back and see what I did and how far I have come.

I Love Fountain Pens

Yeah, I fell in love with fountain pens, and those don't work on my phone. There is no better feeling (when it comes to recording information) than using a fountain pen on some good, high-quality paper, so smooth.

Confession: I do use some apps still...

Simple Note:

I write my blog posts here at the moment for easy retrieval no matter what device I am on. I also use this app to store any information that I will need on one or more of my digital devices. It's lightweight and simple (hence the name) with nothing more than the bare minimum needed to keep track of digital notes.

The OnePlus Note App:

I use this application as an alert system. If I need to pick up coffee on Monday after work, I can create a note that says "get coffee you addict" and set a time for the app to notify me.

A Calendar App:

I use a calendar app to schedule out blocks of time. These blocks of time have a specific task associated with them. One for my full-time job, one for my morning routine, one for creating, and so on. This started a few months ago, and I am amazed at how much I get done now that each hour of the day has a specific goal.


Creates and saves my passwords cause who wants to write all these unique phrases down anyway? Stop using the same password on all your site, it's a terrible practice.