Shawn Blanc is one of the good guys. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him online for years and was excited to finally meet him in person at the XOXO Festival in Portland this year. My thanks to Shawn for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer Three Questions.
1. What role do analog tools such as pens, pencils, and paper play in your day to day life?
My pen and paper give me a bit of balance and escape from my otherwise fully-digital workflows. I do almost all my reading, writing, task management, research, communcation, and more from something that has a screen and an Internet connection.
But I always have my pen and notebook opened beside me because I employ a hybrid sort of system that uses both digital and analog tools. In short, I start out each day with a cup of coffee, my iPad, my notebook, and my pen. I then scrub through my OmniFocus to-do list and write down on paper all the tasks I hope to do that day. I also write down my "big three" goals which will define success for me. And then, I write down my day's schedule -- I make appointments for when I'm going to do my goals and tasks.
The whole process takes me less than 10 minutes, and when I'm done I now have a written down, concrete plan for my day -- I know what to do and when to do it.
Not only is this a nice excuse to actually write with pen and paper, but I also like the "distraction free" environment of a notebook when it comes to referencing my plans as I move through the day. Moreover, you can't flip through the pages of your archived OmniFocus database. Having a journal which is thick with crossed off action items and scribbled-down thoughts is proof that I am, in fact, showing up every day and getting to work. It's proof for me alone. It's my own reminder that today I am not in the same place I was yesterday.
2. What are your favorite products you are currently using?
The Baron Fig is almost the best journal on the planet. It's exactly the right size, has exactly the right type of paper, and is very well made. I only wish it had a higher-quality bookmark ribbon and a stay-shut band to wrap around the cover when it's closed.
And it was you, Brad, who introduced me to the Signo DX. It is the finest pen on the planet, and I am forever in your debt.
3. What post are you the most proud of on your blog?
Ask me another day, and I may give you another answer. But today it's this article I wrote regarding family, country, and conviction.