Impulse: The Impact of Color in Your Notebook

Tomorrow at 1 PM Central I’m hosting a free webinar titled “The Power of Raw File Formats.” It’s all about using plain text, jpegs, PDFs, and anything anti-proprietary. If that’s of interest to you, register here.


When I first started spending time in notebooks and kept scratchpads on my desk, I was strict about keeping on black ink pens around. Nothing blue. Nothing red. And certainly nothing from the remainder of the rainbow. I wanted black ink and nothing else.

My thinking was that in keeping with black ink only, I could keep down on the need for decisions and my paper creations wouldn’t be mistaken as artwork.

But if I’m honest, this rationale was made up because it’s what I had and I didn’t want to spend the money on something as frivolous and unnecessary as colored ink. It’s sometimes easy to create excuses and explanations for decisions when you can’t (or won’t) justify a decision rationally. Thus, I was on the black-ink-only train because I didn’t want to spend money on extra inks for my fountain pens.

The game changed when Mark Bacas sent me a couple of TWSBI Ecos and a TWSBI ink sampler. My explanation and excuses were out the window and I had nowhere to hide.

So I decided to experiment. I felt I owed it to the community to at least try these inks and see how they perform. And that’s how I ended up with a purple Eco with purple ink and a green Eco with green ink. And since I had recently received a Prussian blue TWSBI 580 ALR, I figured it should go blue as well. All in one fell swoop I had three different colors in my hands.

That was a few months ago.

Since then I’ve adopted a regular pattern in my Bullet Journal. I use specific colors for titles on my monthly spreads and then rotate colors for my daily lists. I wouldn’t say it goes into the world of artwork by any means, but it has taught me something valuable.

Namely, this consistent pattern of color has made it quicker for me to locate what I need on the page. I know that a blue title is my Monthly Log. I know that purple is my Frankenlog. Green is my month-long task list. And using a different color for my Daily Log means it’s very easy to see the line between today and yesterday on the page.

My point is this: the use of color has a lot more value than I thought.

I still hold to the stance that too much color leads to a waste of time in creation. But a calculated use and repeatable pattern can have benefits that go beyond the abilities of plain black ink.


Working Without Apps

This is my new video course, which is under beta testing right now. If you buy early, you get $5 off and the ability to screen and help refine each video before launch.

OmniFocus Auto-Parser

A full article and installation instructions are coming this Saturday on my blog. But this script was converted to a universal Omni Automation plugin yesterday on the live stream. So you can now run the Auto-Parser on iOS!


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