I Spent An Hour Changing The Font On Every Previous Note in Microsoft’s One Note.

You’re not going to commit to something ugly.

You and I are creatures of habit and emotion. Your emotions are difficult to overcome in favour of logical reasoning.

Commitment is difficult with shitty designs: You skip that website that seems like it was designed in the 90’s, complain when your phone’s UI is poorly designed, condemn someone who’s fashion is out of date and choose your next car based on what emotions will rise from your neighbours, friends and family.

Aesthetics are an important part of psychological buy-in. I discuss this principle of psychology in the second part of this article. It helps you decide, “Is this the right product, service or tool for me? Is this something I would use for a while?”

OneNote was a regular part of my self reflection. How my day has gone, which books are worth buying, interesting people to build a relationship with, bad ass local events, summaries of actionable information taken from the books I read were all included.

I eventually stopped using OneNote for managing the constant flow of life. I began using Evernote because the person who introduced common placing to me made the switch. I had the intentions for continuing with Evernote but…

I didn’t. There were 3 major reasons I lost the momentum I had built with OneNote.

The importation process was messy.

I might have had a hand in making things complicated with limited understanding of the process. When I began importing notes to Evernote everything imported and was unorganized. I spent hours manually moving different notes across new categories.

That was not fun.

Lack of style in Ever note.

The product aims itself at students who need a commonplace for compiling their class notes. If that were my goal then I would have been satisfied. You understand the importance of having wonderful design(by default) and equally wonderful styling options for customizing your experience.

I was greeted with some kind of grey color scheme when using the Desktop application. Then I noticed the few styling options for formatting text into something appealing to your eyes. You might not find fault with the lack of customization for styling but I couldn't get over this — the experience had been ruined for me.

EverNote’s web application has much better design but still lacks in styling fonts, headings and lists. I favour Evernote’s web application over Onenote’s.

Breaking The Habit(Tonight!)

Ah — That Linkin Park reference brings such warmth into my soul…

When my baby boy arrived on April 30th,2015 I was taken by surprise. Suddenly life wasn't about reading books and taking action on their contents, summarizing actionable information from books, raising early to write regularly, maintaining the blog I had at the time or the number of other things I found important in the journey of personal growth.

I found myself stranded on an island of less sleep and more diapers. The energy I had previously found it’s home with this beautiful baby I had helped bring into the world. I slowly found myself pouring forth from an empty cup which I had been neglecting.

Now I find myself finally capable of refilling that cup and rebooting my journey of personal growth.

The Principle Of Psychological Buy-In

You increase the binding effect of similar neurons in your brain by investing your time into something — even if it’s boring.

Have you ever been in a theatre watching a movie when half-way through you notice you don’t like it? How often do you get out of your seat and walk away?

I do not believe I have *ever* walked out on a shitty movie.

The reason?

You’ve invested both your time *and* money into the film.

You have “bought-into” the film and must see it through. You can apply this principle towards achieving your goals when boring or tedious tasks present themselves.

I decided that I could apply this principle for getting reinvested into commonplacing. When I opened OneNote for the first time since I stopped using it I was immediately pleased with the design….

Yet something was missing that would complete the design. And I didn't have that drive towards using OneNote that I previously had. Remembering the principle of buying into something I made the decision to update the font on each note until I was satisfied.

Altering each note’s font by hand had accomplished two things:

I had bought into the use of the program by changing the font of each note and made this program my own through customization. The only thing missing was creating a habit loop that automates the use without tying up mental energy trying to remember and commit to the use of my commonplace.

The habit loop I chose for journalling was: Phone alarm(trigger,) Writing the journal entry(Action,) and the feeling of releasing the thoughts and emotions that I had pent up all day(Reward.)

That is how you create a habit and “buying into something” works across each field of study, work and life.

Are you a student? Write your essay twice.

Are you a lawyer? Prepare your strategy multiple times.

Are you a public figure or speaker? Write multiple copies of your speeches and perform them in front of the mirror over and over again.

Still not convinced? Think about it:

Your friend and you write similar speeches that you must deliver in front of your peers. The difference is you have spent hours writing, editing and finalizing your speech while your friend put in the minimal amount of work, and appears detached from the content of his speech. You’re surely more invested into your speech than your friend is in his….

Because you’ve bought into your speech, aroused interest on the topic and made it your own. Your friend has not.


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