The Scratch Space

I bought a white legal pad from Office Depot the other day, and it’s taken up residence next to my MacBook Pro, along with a black Pilot G-2 0.38mm gel ink pen.

Despite being used to the 0.7mm, I switched to the 0.38 upon Shawn Blanc’s recommendation, thinking the finer point might help my atrocious handwriting. It doesn’t. But I like it, and while I’m not sure if it’s better than the 0.7, I think the finer point gives me slightly better control. The 0.38 has a scratchier feel to it, which is foreign, yet satisfying. Time will tell which prevails.

I bought the legal pad because I’ve been having the urge to write things down while I’m at my computer: to-dos, thoughts, ideas, outlines, etc. I try to use my iPhone and iPad to take notes and capture things because it cuts down on clutter, but sometimes it feels better to scrawl something on paper. So now I have a legal pad here on my right. I like it.

The scratch space has already proven itself to be very practical, particularly since I’ve started using it to plan out my day. I was getting depressed because I started falling into the habit of completely wasting my days off. My Mondays, for example, are twelve-hour affairs, but my Tuesdays are mostly free. Amidst the nonstop Monday action, I always found myself wishing I had time to do this and that. I’d tell myself, “Oh, I can do that tomorrow.” But when tomorrow showed up, I usually had no idea where to start or what to do first, so I ended up getting distracted by something. Suddenly it’s dinnertime, and I’ve gotten nothing accomplished. Not good for morale.

So I started planning out my day the night before, like so. It works. Instead of wondering what I should be doing with myself when I wake up, it’s right there in front of me. The list inspires me to action. At the end of the day, I can see what I accomplished. And it’s damn satisfying to cross things off with my shiny new Pilot G-2 0.38mm.

We’ll see how the scratch space evolves, but I plan on covering every inch of the page with ink before throwing the sheet out. There’s a kind of romanticism to filling a page with your brain’s miscellanea. I can write down anything I want, no matter how trivial or earth-shattering. Getting things out of your head and onto paper is good. It keeps your brain from getting overwhelmed and you from having a breakdown. That’s worth adding a third item to my desk.