Your Notes Are Meant For Much More Than Just Storing Away

Ev Chapman
May 2, 2022
2 min read

For years I clipped notes from things I was reading & consuming and put them into a notes inbox to process.

I was under the impression like many people that notes were some static thing that were meant to be stored away for safekeeping in case I might need them sometime. I was optimising the process of note-taking for storage.

When it came to my notes inbox it was all about processing. Getting as many notes processed and into categories and stored away as possible. But I was missing out on something more important when it came to notes (& something far more joyful than processing) - not-making as a process for thought.

Here's what happened when I stopped optimising note-making for storage and started optimising it for thinking.

From Notes Inbox to Writing Inbox. The way you name things creates a signal in your brain for what action you should be taking. I created the signal that when I jumped into my writing inbox I was writing (in other words thinking).

No Inbox Zero. When you optimise for thinking you are less worried about getting to the bottom of your inbox or how many notes you can process and more concerned with the quality of your thoughts.

The outcome takes care of itself. My ultimate outcome is to build a library of knowledge that supports and fuels my writing. I never worry about the outcome, because the process is optimised correctly. Spending time thinking daily produces the outcome I ultimately want.

Just like most people hate processing their email inbox, if you've fallen into the habit of treating your notes as storage - try optimising for a different outcome and see if you can put the joy back into making notes.

Liked thIS? Then You Might Like My SPARK Newsletter...

My best content in your inbox each Sunday.
Learn How To Build Your Unique Personal Knowledge & Share It With The World

Join 1200+ other creators building a magnificent obsession around their their unique ideas.
Or Keep Browsing More Posts Like This...

My Powerful Note-Taking Workflow That Turns Information Into Insight ⚡️

Peek behind the scenes into my workflow for taking notes from articles I read using Matter and turning them into real insights & knowledge.
Read post

How To Keep A Full Writing Inbox (That Serves You Inspiration Everyday)

My Writing Inbox is one inbox I prefer full not empty
Read post

The Four Stages Of Building Knowledge

Ideas take time to emerge. I rarely go from a new spark idea to a fully formed thesis in one spark writing session. They need time to soak & marinate. Often over days, weeks or even months.
Read post

How to Build a Spark Writing Practice That Will Ignite Your Creativity

I've been building what I now call my Spark Writing habit for the past 3 years. I'm not sure I've explained this before, but It's actually what set me on the path of becoming a creator and writing online. The more I built knowledge privately, the more I wanted to share publicly.
Read post

How To Swap Your Blank Screen For A Content Bank Overflowing With Ideas

Even after 10+ years as a content marketer, I still hate that moment at the start of the week when I’m staring down the barrel of a blank screen, wondering what to post.So I swapped a blank screen for a 🏦 Content Bank full of ideas.
Read post

6,000 Thoughts a Day: Why A Capture Habit is Crucial for Content Creators

Capturing ideas is the single most important thing I do as a creator everyday.It's a cornerstone habit that cascades into every part of my content creation. When I sit down to 'do content' I don't have to spend any time brainstorming ideas. I have more than enough ideas to work with because I've captured them beforehand.
Read post