The Imperfect Notebook

So I put together an imperfect notebook/planner/journal/organizer/bullet-journal. I was irritated by the insta-slime worthy notebooks I see around. So for the heck of it, I decided to see what is at the opposite end.

All I did was buy a bunch of newsprint sheets (the cheapest paper available) and few ring binders. I cut up each sheet to 8, punched a few holes and bound them with the ring binder. If you find an old filofax or binder to give it some protection in this harsh and cruel world, I understand that. Everything beyond that is quite possibly a tinsel charade that serves no real purpose. To imbibe this lesson deeper into myself and enthusiastically pursue imperfection, I deliberately speeded up the cutting up of sheets giving it haphazard edges. This might be an unnecessary exercise, however it does help to unlearn the urges. At some point I hope to feel secure enough to shed the zeal of convert and reach a happy medium.

Now there are few decisions I must explain regarding this. I keep the page sizes small because I need them to be filled up fast. Once a couple of pages are filled, they are either transcribed or photographed. Depending on free time I might batch up to 5 pages, but not beyond that as it will become a chore. Next step is to tear away those pages and shred it. It empties up space for new pages later. In addition, always seeing a notebook full of blank pages gives a sense of freshness and relief possibly from Zeigarnik effect.

Not all pages get the distinction of being transferred to the digital world. Half of them are simply torn away. This has two fold effect. The obvious one is the reduction of transcription workload. Even before that, the knowledge that I can discard generously frees up my ability to write things down. It is for the same reason I chose the cheapest paper available, for I do not want to feel guilty when tearing them out. Of course this is just a poor-person-problem.

Why not do this whole process in computer itself first? I like the flexibility of paper. The keyboard/mouse/other input methods are not even close to replicating that. Tablets might get there some day. However what are my options with tablets? Apple, Google or Xi Jinping? No thanks.

Think in paper - Some wise people

Why not keep the notes in notebook itself? Give me a minute while I revise my school essays about advantages of computer.

Think in paper, but store it in digital format - Combination of wise people

Disadvantages? You have to number pages manually, if you are into such weird stuff. Also I had to abandon my favorite gel pen in favor of ball point.


  1. If we ever make rules regarding imperfect notebooks, the first rule should be that no photos of it anywhere in public space. No matter how well intentioned, the urge to present it before people will consume time otherwise better utilized.
  2. Shredded paper is a good cat toy.
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