Dieter Brehm

Methods in the New Year

# New Years Resolutions

I'm very excited for the new year and all of its mystery to come. There are a lot of artistic opportunities, projects, and possibilities ahead for 2020, and it has me raring to go. Before I jump in, I've been getting some rest and considering my processes and habits.

For the new year, I want to be more mindful about the content I consume, and why I consume it. I recently took a class called Creativity Practicum which opened my eyes about the necessity of mindful consumption in a way I hadn't understood before. For links, papers, articles, music, and books I read this year, I want to consider and what I'm getting or not getting out of them, and why.

A new year also means a new cycle of paper and digital trackers and information systems. This year, I'm using a couple recording systems. Most of these are rolling over from last year, because I liked them so much.

# Leuchtterm1917 A5 Dotted Notebooks

Sketch notebook

This is a great notebook for pencils or ink. It has a lot of pages, is dotted with a subtle but visible pattern, comes with a small pocket, a hard cover, and numbered pages. It comprises my main non-classwork notes and my project sketches. I really love it for how effortless and durable it is. Over the course of last year I covered it in stickers and artifacts, and used the majority of it for "Bullet Journaling" mixed with technical sketches for projects at School.

# Hobonichi Techo


This notebook is something special. The paper in it is extremely thin, like rice paper you can write on, but at the same time is extremely durable. It is perfect for more intense fountain pen inks, and I've never had issues with ink bleeding or feathering on on the surface. It's a planner in structure, and has one page for each day along with a lot of utility spreads. For the day spreads, the main partition of the page is a graph paper rectangle, with an interesting quote on the bottom from the editors and dates on the top.

How I use this varies throughout the year, sometimes serving as a bullet journal, sometimes more on the side of a diary. I also plan longer term events with it because it is easier to look at quickly compared to the strict bullet journal structure of the Leuchtterm.

# Kokuyo Campus Notebooks

This is the notebook type I prefer for class notes. The size of the notebook and number of pages it includes make it easy to scan, lay flat, or remove a page from. Additionally, they have just enough pages to use 1 per semester per class. Typically, I get a set with a few different colors so that each class I take can have its own color notebook. This was more useful than I thought it would be last year, especially when trying to grab the right notebook in the mornings after long nights.

# Notion

screenshot of a notion table with links

A Notion link tracker system I'm trying for this year — I converted a lot of bookmarks from last year into this system

I learned to love this last year, and this year I'm going to explore it more. Notion.So (opens new window) is a website and app which combines a few software tools into one. (Namely spreadsheets, google docs, dropbox, and Calendars for me.) The process of using it involves treating anything you might want to store or write about as one big document which you selectively hide parts of. Each sub-document is composed of blocks. You might have a header text block, or a body text block, or a youtube embed block. More complicated blocks exist, including tables which have spreadsheet functionality and photo gallery blocks.

Last year, I used Notion to collaborate on group projects (it has live collaboration on any page structure!), to collect interesting links, and to draft documents & proposals. This year, I'll be doing the same but with the goal of staying more organized. I've converted what was previously a pile of bookmarks into a tagged and sorted table of links that is easier to reflect on and retrieve.

# Drive & Dropbox

I don't have much to say about these. They're better known, and much simpler than the other items I'm talking about here. I put files in, they sync to my laptop and my phone. Dropbox works better for me and syncs faster in my experience. I put personal documents in dropbox and school documents in drive typically.

P.S. I still think Pinterest is cool and I'm going to get back into using it this year!

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