Filling my first Field Notes

5 minute read

I recently filled my first Field Notes with notes! Usually I just toss them in a drawer never to be seen again, but not this time.

In this blog post I show, by going over my notes, that I use my notebook as a productivity tool, a memorization tool, and a nudge tool.

Taking notes is fun. I love taking notes. I really do. However, we must be careful to take some time to go over our notes and process them. If you don’t do this, then you end up with a big pile of unorganized notes. I personally like to call this the big pile of notes trap.

This trap has fooled me more than once! To avoid falling into this trap again, I’m going over my notes in this blog post!

Notes

I’ll go over the pages in my notebook and make some notes on what I wrote down on each page, looking for recurring themes. For privacy reasons I have redacted names and other sensitive info.

  • I wrote down things that I enjoyed doing (alone or with friends)
  • I wrote down something that inspired me
  • I wrote down todo items
  • I wrote how I felt felt when sneezing in the train during corona times.

Don’t worry, I got tested and am totally corona free!

  • I wrote down more todo items
  • I wrote down how it feels to write in this book
  • I wrote down how I felt after putting a product online on Gumroad for a single dollar and asking my friends for support.
  • I wrote down more things that I enjoyed doing
  • I wrote down more todo items
  • I wrote down that highlighting doesn’t work

I vividly remember how I felt while writing down the Gumroad entry. Gumroad is an online marketplace where you can buy and sell digital products. I have always wanted to put something on Gumroad but was scared to do so.

Even after I pushed myself and put something online I remember I was scared. I was simply scared of putting myself out there. Of course, in hindsight this fear was completely irrational.

No one has bought my product yet… and that is OK! If no one listens to me or no one buys my product, that’s fine! That just means I have to work harder, iterate, and make it so good people are compelled to buy it.

  • I wrote down a piece that I found online which basically says that you are a unique person with unique skills and a unique situation this means that whatever you have to say is going to be unique from your point of view
  • I wrote down more things that inspire me
  • I made a small graph which shows the value of money goes down with time which is what we call inflation
  • I wrote down how it feels to write in this book and that I wished there was a better way of recording my thoughts
  • I wrote down an observation about how women are more inclined in our society to keep peer group around them to support them and that men could find a lot of value from that as well
  • I wrote down a reflection that I am now doing BJJ and this is only because I asked a friend to support me at the right moment in time, something I’m very grateful for
  • I wrote down that it matters what you write even if no one reads it because it clarifies your thinking

  • I wrote down the question about why I am taking all these notes
  • I wrote about the concept of inversion, which basically means that you try to take something and put it upside down. For example, instead of asking “How do I make better decisions.” You should ask yourself “How do I stop making bad decisions.”
  • I wrote about a book that I want to read again

  • I wrote about an observation about someone at work and my view on him and how I need to adjust my own actions based on that
  • I wrote down about how Niklas Luhman how uses a slip box to write his papers and made a small sketch of that
  • I wrote down that the demo effect is real
  • I made a small sketch of a funnel
  • I wrote down more todo items

  • I wrote that in times of chaos and stress you need a strong leader, and you need to either lead, follow, or get out of the way
  • I wrote down questions that are good to ask in the beginning of a meeting

  • I wrote down something to think about the challenges that I’m facing right now
  • I wrote on a statement which says to make your own luck, which is how I need to change my actions
  • I wrote down that I need to ask stupid validation questions

  • I made a sketch of a thing that I hate
  • I wrote a small note on what to do better when making videos
  • I wrote down more todo items
  • I made a sketch about a BJJ video that I watched

  • I wrote down some things that I enjoy doing
  • I wrote down some things about career advice that are I read online and don’t want to forget
  • I wrote down things that I’m good at

  • I made a sketch of the ideal self and the gap between that
  • I wrote down more todo items

Conclusion

By analyzing my notes I came to the following realization: I use my notebook as a todo list, a memorization tool, and a nudge tool. Hence my notes fall in three broad categories:

  • 1. Todo items
    • I use my notebook as a personal productivity tool. It is incredibly satisfying and motivating for me to check a checkbox.
  • 2.Things I want to remember
    • I write, doodle, and sketch things because…
      • I want to be inspired
        • Ex. inspiring quotes, what is leadership to me, etc.
      • I want to remember things recipe,
        • Ex. career advice, info, side project ideas, etc.
      • I want to figure out what I enjoy doing
        • Ex. working hard, deep thinking, etc.
      • I want to figure out what I’m good at
        • Ex. being social, analytical, quick learner
      • I want to make good decisions
        • Ex. reflections on past actions, observations on other’s actions
  • 3. Nudges
    • I use my notebook to try and nudge myself in the right direction by
      • Prompting myself with the right questions
        • Ex. What challenges am I facing? What is the purpose of this meeting?
      • Reminder of concepts and the nudge to apply them
        • Ex. Validation questions, demo effect, inversion

If you made it so far, thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed it and in the future might take some time to go over your own notes and figure out why you take notes.

See you next time!

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