The benefits and disadvantages of “official notes”


I have been annoyed for quite some time with my system of “Official Notes” – my title for Word documents containing plans and ideas about some or other way of making money. These “official notes” get filled with page after page of thoughts on the subject, bullet points, lists, tables, and explanations. It has become abundantly clear that I spend precious hours filling these documents with notes that are supposed to facilitate a process so I can finally advance – without actually advancing on any front.

My new approach is to just start with a basic idea of what I want to do, and to do some elementary planning, without wasting too much time on “official” paperwork. Just do – let the notes be, is my advice these days.

Then, a few minutes ago, I realised something: Most of my writing over the years has been “official notes” about my life. Instead of just doing, I kept to myself a lot of the time and made notes about what I thought I needed to do, why, why maybe not, what the alternatives were, what made more sense, and what held more value for me and even for others.

I collect information. I take notes. I compile lists. I come up with ideas – some of them a waste of time, others decent and potentially profitable. I do take action, but is it necessarily bad that I have not applied more what I’ve thought possible in theory?

If you spread open on a table before you a roll of cloth to make yourself a pair of trousers or a shirt or a dress, I believe it’s better to measure twice and only cut once.

Having said that, if you continue measuring and never get to the cutting and the sewing parts, you’d better be happy appearing to the world naked, with no fruits of your labour – or in this case, no garment – to show for your time.