On unplugging and notebooks

“Optimism and hope are not the same. Optimism is the belief that the world is changing for the better; hope is the belief that, together, we can make the world better. Optimism is a passive virtue, hope an active one.” Rabbi Jonathan Sachs

On August first, I deleted Instagram and Facebook from my phone and iPad. I knew I was spending too much time scrolling and the only way to change was to eliminate. The first few days my scrolling fingers felt itchy. But then I fell into a few good books and found ways to use the new found minutes in my day. More knitting, more reading, more time walking and digging in the garden.* I used some of that time to clean up my email and unsubscribe from some of the newsletters that had become infinity pools.

And in that regained time, I began tidying up my notebooks. The one on top is for note taking. I have signed up for a number of online classes and I am committing to finish or delete these classes. I am using this notebook as a place to keep track of what I am learning.

The one below is my faith notebook. A few weeks ago it looks like this:


I had developed the habit of taking notes on the church bulletin or random pieces of paper and sticky notes. I would shove these bits into my notebook, intending to go back and transfer them. It took a few weeks but I have read through all those notes, dating back to February, and added the bits that still spoke to me to the,pages in this notebook. The quote above was my most recent entry. I found it in a newsletter from Jeffrey Chu, one of the newsletters that survived the great unsubscribing.

There was a time when I shook my head in disbelief at pictures with stacks of notebooks. Now I have such a stack. I have tried to Omni journal, keeping everything in one notebook, but it didn’t work for me. I love having one notebook for books, one for knitting and fiber crafts, one for faith notes.

And now that August is coming to an end, I have begun dipping back into Instagram. I only have the app on one device – not my phone. I have a few groups on Facebook that I will visit but the main stream will stay hidden. It has been good to see where connections make sense.

*digging in the garden is not the same as gardening – there is a lot of work that needs to be done to reclaim my beds and the digging is the first step. Hopefully I will have a garden ready to grow things next year.

Published by Juliann

Recently retired and ready for adventure

15 thoughts on “On unplugging and notebooks

  1. Oh, I love that quote, Juliann! 🙂 You have had the same kind of experience I had when I “got rid” of Facebook and Instagram last year. I never did return to Facebook . . . and I have set some pretty strict rules for myself when it comes to Instagram. My life is so much better for it! Thanks for sharing your experience. XO

  2. love this post! I have been drilling down on how I want my days to be and how I want to spend my time. It’s easy to scroll through social media (twitter for me) and I get so angry or sad. I’ve limited my time effectively without deleting the app so far. I’m not on FB and I am on Insta 3 x a week. Writing out what I want to do each day helps and I’ve created lists of whatever I’m keeping tabs on and that will be tested starting tomorrow!

  3. good for you!!!! I’ve never been much of a facebook fanatic….I’ll post a couple photo, will send out the plea to area friends to please come to my porch and relieve me of too many cucumbers, but that’s about it. Too much drama on that platform for me. I wish I was as successful as you seem to be on unsubscribing to stuff on email…it seems I finally get rid of one thing and three pop up in their place. And to unsubscribe might take months. I don’t get it.
    Love your notebooks….I love notebooks…not so much to write in, but just collect!!! (Travel journaling I did….boy, does that feel like a distant time!!!)

  4. Part of me wishes I could delete Facebook but I need it for both work and political stuff in my role as a selectmen in our town. I do try to not scroll mindlessly but it’s so easy to get sucked into it. Thanks for sharing your process with your notebooks.

  5. I LOVE all the notebooks … paper is one of my favorite things 🙂 (pretty pens, too) Thank goodness I don’t NEED FB … and I’m working to WANT IG a little less!

  6. I so enjoyed and related to this post. Last August, when our dog became paralyzed, I stopped IG cold—because ANY extra time I had was going to our pup. I found that I not only didn’t miss it—but the thought of going back caused me anxiety. To combat that—it felt like something strange hanging over my head—I seriously curated who I follow…I comment very little, and I use it as a means to stay informed. I felt a little less alone reading this post! Thx 🙂

  7. I love this! I left FB years ago and don’t miss it at all. I finally deleted Twitter earlier this year and don’t miss it. IG is my nemesis – my relationship with it is so hot and cold.

    But I love your notebooks. Thank you for sharing them! What sorts of things do you write in your commonplace book? I’m so curious about how other people use them!! 🙂

    1. I think Twitter should be outlawed. Seems to be such a nasty place. I think I have an account but never use it anymore. In my commonplace book I write a lot of quotes or references. It’s pretty random. Something like that index card idea you mentioned could go in there – in fact, I should do that today 😊 The key is to have an index so you can find things. I was just looking at that 5 year journal on amazon. I have some points so I may just need to but that one too Juliann

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      1. I totally agree about Twitter! My husband is still on it and he’s always telling me about what’s on his feed. I often have to tell him that if I wanted to know what was on Twitter, then I’d still be on it! Here’s our rules: he can only show me posts with cats, corgis, and owls. He hasn’t followed those rules yet!

        Yes – the tricky part with the commonplace book is that things get lost really quickly. I can see how an index would work well. And I could REALLY see how transferring them over to a zettelkasten system would be helpful, but I’m not sure if I’d have the time/energy to commit to that!

        (And I still need to write a zettelkasten post!!)

  8. Great post and yay for unplugging. I look at FB occasionally because some family members post there, but that’s it. IG I look at occasionally, but I don’t post there (or on FB) and honestly don’t spend much time scrolling. I’ve never been much of a list maker but your notebooks look really, really nice!

  9. Rabbi Sachs is quoted often by our senior rabbi, and I love this quote!

    I’m glad you’ve been able to find the time to tidy up your notebooks and that it’s been a productive activity for you. I know I am guilty of gathering collections of little notes that just form piles on my nightstand. I have to remember to clean and organize every now and then because it’s just not doing me any good if it’s a big mess!

    1. I actually love going through those bits and transferring the things that still catch my attention. Sometimes I wonder why I made a note which is funny too.

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  10. Although I have a FB account, I spend little time there. And Instagram is a mystery to me. I’d like to keep it that way. I am happier away from social media. I love notebooks and journals too. I wonder if there is some connection between enjoying the fiber arts and enjoying note taking?

  11. Your notebook looks like it can breathe now :). It must be very satisfying not to have loose things floating around … I like your quote very much; hope feels like something to hold firmly to in these times.

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