Going Back To Basics


Thursday, 8.03pm

Sheffield, U.K.

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. – Mike Murdock

I haven’t written much this year and that’s because of a few reasons. The most important one, however, is that I changed my routine. At the start of the year I was researching different ways of organising notes and ideas using analogue methods. Basically, writing in notebooks.

Changing your routine, even slightly, has unpredictable impacts on output. Spending more time on paper means spending less time on the computer. It takes longer to write by hand but what you write has a different cadence and feel. It’s more physical because you literally carve words into paper but it’s harder to work with and share. Once you’re done with working on paper there’s less energy left over to do anything more on a computer.

Once you’ve reallocated time from one activity to another, the rest of the time isn’t enough to do everything you used to do. For example, I used to draw something, anything, to think through an idea and then I’d write it up. There isn’t enough time to do that now and so it’s easier not to write at all. Adding friction to your routine makes it harder to get started as easily as you used to before.

These two challenges – the limitations of time and the frictional costs of getting going can derail what you’ve worked towards. Five, maybe more years of activity, can come to a halt because you’ve changed something and not realised what that does to your process.

Sometimes you need something else to come along and get you out of a rut. In my case, that’s a piece of technology. I got a Pi400, the single-board computer in a keyboard, sometime back. I didn’t use it much but recently came across a Cyberdeck hat, a 45 degree angled mount that would hold an old TFT screen I had lying around. Coupling this with a power pack has given me a nice little system that does just one thing – it lets me write.

Having added friction to my process earlier this year I’m going to see if removing friction will help me get back into writing. So less of the drawing and more with words – although not too many of those either.

If you have been reading these posts I did mention that I was working on a notetaking book written by hand. I have done that – it’s very short and was probably a unnecessarily hard way to do something like that – but if you don’t try things out you don’t learn whether a way works or not. If you’re interested it’s here

On with the writing experiment then.


Karthik Suresh

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