Waste Books

One of the Nine Precepts is WASTE BOOKS.

WASTE BOOKS help you procrastinate by letting you record your ideas and thoughts and plans without having to act on them any time soon. (Remember how Beethoven jotted down ideas for three years before writing his Fifth?)

Our role model Georg Christoph Lichtenberg got the idea of WASTE BOOKS from British merchants of the time: they would jot down transactions as they occurred, willy-nilly, in what they called "waste books," then transfer those numbers neatly to their account books in the evening.  GCL would jot down anything and everything that came into his mind with the understanding that he didn't have to stop and develop those ideas until later.

So good Lichtenbergians always have some way to record their ideas at hand, some kind of WASTE BOOK that works for them.

I've used all kinds of ways in the past: from large calendar notebooks (when I was in charge of things and had deadlines and stuff) to elegant Moleskine notebooks to electronic thingies like apps and websites.  I have settled on small notebooks from a company called Field Notes Brand.  I really like their attitude and their products.

My personal system—and it's not really a system—is to have one waste book on my person for regular scribblings:

And then separate waste books for any major project: theatre productions, major compositions, a Burning Man theme camp:

Your mileage may vary, of course.  You may be one of those Evernote people, or a bullet journal guy.  Lichtenbergian Mike lusts after those little spiral bound memo notebooks and buys them at dollar stores whenever he can find them.  It may take you a while to settle on a system, or you may be like me and transition from one to another and back again.

It doesn't matter.  Just provide yourself with a way to get all those thoughts out of your head so they'll stop nagging you to act on them.  Otherwise, you're going to have to act on them, and then what kind of a Lichtenbergian would you be?