April 21, 2005

How I use my Moleskine pocket diary

A lightweight version of my Analog Blog concept as classification system for my personal pocket journal




What I like with the Moleskine pocket daily diary is his size and his number of pages (much more than the Moleskine pocket ruled notebook). He is just perfect to slip it into your coat's pockets; and have enough pages to be useful as a personal journal. When I bought it some months ago I first thought that I would use it as a pocket diary. I quickly realized that it would not be a good idea and that it will be much more useful as a pocket personal journal. Then I started to use it as an idea repository organized as a lightweight version of my analog blog concept that I developed some months ago.




Why do I opt for a lightweight version of my system to use with my Moleskine pocket diary?


  • Because the pocket diary is too small to efficiently implement the whole concept. I don't want to write my life in it; only ideas that come up in my mind and quotes that I found during my journeys. Given this, a lightweight version of the concept is all designated to fulfill my needs.



Why to use this classification system to organize my pocket personal journal? Because I want to rapidly and effectively organize my ideas. I could put my thoughts without any classification system. I could put my quotes here and there. I could put book excerpts at random. The problem with this is that if I search for something, I don't want to check every of the 300 pages before finding it. But I don't want to put as many time to organize my journal that it take to write it. It's why I adopted a lightweight version of the analog blog system.






The lightweight version has only 3 sections:


1.      The content pages.

2.      The categories pages (build as the index of the journal).

3.      The external references pages.





This is what looks like a typical page of my pocket personal journal. It's literally a repository of my ideas, my thoughts, quotes and book excerpts. There are only 5 features that I implemented in these content pages:


1.      The page number.

2.      A possible reference to an internal ( ->[x;y] ) resource.

3.      A possible reference to an external ( [x;y]-> ) resource (see the section bellow for more information about this feature).

4.      A date (in this case I used the date of the original Moleskine pocket diary; but you can explicitly write it near your entries).

5.      Possibly Meta Data words at the top corner of your pages.





The categories page(s) is essential. The idea and his functioning is the same as in the analog blog system. You can see it as a dynamic index. You can create your categories when you start your personal journal; you can also create them when you need it. When you'll put a new entry in you journal that have the same semantic meaning as a category, then you'll only have to add his page number at the end of the category's line.


These categories pages will be in the first pages of your journal. Remember, this is a sort of index or table of content. When you'll need to find something, or check what you already thought about something, chec'k this section to quickly find what you want. It has the same utility as the Synopsis of Categories of the Roget's International Thesaurus. You can easily use it as a source of inspiration; a place where ideas emerge.


[Category's name]

·        This is the name of a category. Use words with clear and rich semantic meaning to name your categories.


[x - y - z]

·        This is the pages of your journal where you can find entries with the same semantic meaning.



I put the external references pages at the beginning of my journal (some pages after my categories pages). You can also put it at the end pages without any problems. This is the place where you'll put the external resources references referred by your journal's entries. In my case, it's usually a reference to a book where I wrote an excerpt of it in my journal. It could also be an internet URL, an address, a phone number, etc. The purpose of this section is to put references to resources that you don't want to rewrite every time you refer to them in your journal.


[x : y]

·        This is the reference's identifier. X is the number, the ID, of the external resource's reference. Y is the page where the external reference is viewable. Then if you check the page content excerpt above you’ll see: [3;6]-> . When I read this in one of my content pages, I know that if I'm checking at the page 6 of my journal, I'll find the external reference #3 that refer to a resource (in this case it's a book called "Page after Page" that refers this journal's entry).






I used this lightweight version of the analog blog system since some months and I'm really satisfied by it. It's simple (much more than the original version) and effective (I use it often to find ideas to write about on this blog).


The whole aim of this is system to save time while using my journal as a personal source of knowledge. The axiom is that if I can't find the information I want; it's that I don't have the information. The personal journal concept is a way to backup and/or create the knowledge, the information; and this classification system is the way to find this knowledge, this information. The union of the two concepts is the foundation of my axiom.



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