It’s the middle of February, so I’m a bit late to the whole techo kaigi scene. However, I’ve recently finished a notebook so it seemed like a good time to share what I’m using for my work.
Some pastors like to craft complex and powerful Notion templates. Things which will track all of their church members, keep meeting notes and events running, and all other manner of thing. I’ve explored the dashboard and if you’re the kind of person who likes to have everything set up like that, it’s a really good option.
For me, however, I just prefer working on paper. Not because it forces me to slow down but because writing with a pen is how most of my thinking happens. It engages my brain in a way that other methods don’t. Stationery is also fun.
My system is centred around a Traveler’s Notebook. I’m still using the camel-coloured one that I bought toward the end of our time in Poland. It’s got some scratches but is mostly starting to get a shine from being handled. Thanks to lockdowns, it’s spent most of its life sitting at a desk but it is starting to pick up more marks of being used.
I just finished up using a Galen Leather Everyday Book which used the lighter-weight 52gsm Tomoe River paper. Loved using it and seeing the paper get a little bit crinkly over time. That refill contains my first six months in my role as the pastor at our church. It’s a really nice token to have and I’m sure it will be nice to look back on in a few years’ time.
For my new refill, I’m using an A5-slim notebook by Taroko. I had some Christmas money so I used it to order a couple of these. When it arrived, I couldn’t believe that it was handmade. Everything is so neatly lined-up and square that I swore it had to be made in a factory. This notebook still uses Tomoe River paper but it’s the heavier 68gsm stock in dot-grid. I have to say that I much prefer the heavier paper. It doesn’t feel so fragile and so it seems like it will hold up better.
I’ve finally entered the world of Hobonichi planners this year, as well. I had tried a daily planner last year and found that I couldn’t get a big enough view of what was going on. So I’ve gone with a Hobonichi Weeks. I was able to order the One Piece edition from The Journal Shop and I’m really enjoying it. What I’ve found most useful is the big chunk of gridded pages at the end of the book to use for notes. It’s meant I don’t need to carry around another notebook while I’m out.
The biggest advantage to using a paper diary is that I’m able to reference it while I’m trying to keep my phone turned off. This usually happens on Mondays when I do the bulk of my sermon prep.
It’s been very tempting to fall down the PKM rabbit hole. I tried using Obsidian for a while and I like the idea of this organic mass of notes growing and then finding connections between things. However...
What I’ve found in practice for myself is that I just try to save too much. My current system consists of the notebook that I’m working in (which functions as both a journal and where I do my sermon thinking). This means it’s up to my brain to make the connections to things that I remember from earlier. I’ve found this to be much better for how my brain works as I’m able to make connections between bits of information intuitively.
And whenever I am trying to remember a source for something, it’s typically in the Bible and the ESV.org search function has proven to be quick and easy.
So all I am doing to try and keep track of study notes from my sermon prep at the moment is having an index at the start of my notebook and then numbered pages. Between this and using dates on all my entries(a la Anna Havron), I don’t really see the need for back links or maps of content.