I have this shower notepad in my bathroom. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a waterproof pad of paper with a little waterproof pencil that can write when wet. I received it from a dear friend as a gift at one of the last retreats I helped out at, who said she uses hers constantly, and when I opened it up I was giddy with glee! A shower notepad! What could be better?! I dutifully hung it from its built-in suction cup on the shower wall and it has quickly become a happy part of my daily routine.
EXCEPT. I haven’t written on this dang shower notepad in months. Even though I love it! Even though it’s arguably a better invention than sliced bread! Even though it’s both useful and adorable, like so very few things are! It has just sat there, bearing old notes but not being used.
You see, I hadn’t been ripping off the pages after I’d filled them. There were fresh, new pages underneath the full pages, but I wanted to keep the previous ones there. Why? Probably because I have this deep-seated urge to fill notebooks and look back on old ideas and have a record of what I’ve been thinking. I like documenting things, which means I do a lot of holding on to all the evidence of my life. Even the pages of my shower notepad, apparently.
Gretchen Rubin talks a lot about the Strategy of Convenience to build better habits. The idea is that the easier it is to do something (even by a tiny fraction of distance), the more likely it is that you’ll do it. And so in this case, even though my notepad was right there and the pencil was right there and I was having a shower anyways, the fact that I’d have to lift up the previous pages and hold them out of the way while I wrote down new ideas has been enough to stop me from using this extremely fine piece of analog technology.
So today, I’m ripping off those previous sheets. I’ll capture any relevant ideas into somewhere more permanent (my bullet journal or Asana) and then go on my merry way recycling the pages. And I plan to also be on the lookout for other places in my life where I’m trying to force myself to write on a full page, metaphorically speaking. Where else do I need to get out of my own way and create some space?