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5 Reasons to Keep a Notebook

· 3 min read

Expressing ideas and thoughts — whether by some hurried doodle on a post-it or with a finely crafted sentence in a leather-bound journal — is incredibly important.

1) Thoughts are forgotten (obvious)

Your mind is constantly whirring, processing new information, generating new thoughts, forming memories. When forming memories, our incredible brains sift through our experiences and thoughts, only retaining information we are unlikely to require in the future. Every day incredible ideas are lost, as memories unformed or un-recalled.

That cool idea you had at 1am could be worthless to you today but 10 years down the line, when you’re in a better position to act upon it or that idea is inevitably relevant, you’ll be grateful you recorded that one golden idea.

That amazing fact you read probably seems unimportant to you now, but in a few years time you may encounter a problem for which that knowledge is invaluable.

2) Sometimes thoughts need be forgotten

The other side of the coin is that the aforementioned amazing fact or cool idea you won’t need until a few years down the line is not useful now. Let your brain move past the thought now — write it down. By documenting it you remove the need to keep thinking about it, and you free up your mind for thinking about more pressing matters safe in the knowledge you can return to the thought later.

This makes the process of writing almost meditative. If you ever find yourself lying awake thinking about something, your heading buzzing, try putting your thoughts to paper. You will likely find your mind clearer afterwards

3) Ideas need to be processed, formalised, and developed

The process of writing something down and formalising a train of thought is a huge part of consolidating and legitimising an idea. If you can’t effectively express an idea then does that idea have any merit?

Ideas need nurturing. The very action of writing something down changes the way your brain treats that idea, and having put to paper the original idea you are free to explore the idea further, to expand it. This also means coming back to ideas and building upon them over time. When you return to something at a later date you are able to do so from a new perspective, ideally safe in the knowledge that the original idea has truly been preserved.

4) A body of ideas is far more powerful than any one idea in isolation

A single idea formed in isolation is inherently limited; great original creations from the joining of a few ideas together. Creating a soup of ideas, where each idea can borrow from or build upon the best parts of other thoughts and develop overtime is a huge advantage.

5) A notebook is great for quality of life

On top of helping you stay organised and giving your brain a spring clean, preserving memories and your mind at a point in time is a massively important part of enjoying life. Somewhat philosophically, if you take the view that a life consists of your experiences and memories made, documenting your thoughts inherently gets you more out of life.

These are just some of the reasons I carry a notebook at all times, and have done for around 7 years now. I recommend trying Moleskine Soft Underwater Blue Large Dotted Notebook if you are a visual person, or their Soft Large Underwater Blue Ruled Notebook if you prefer just writing.