Nothing captures the glorious patchwork of modern life quite like a simple collection of notes on the iPhone. Take a look into yours now and you will probably find yourself in a strange, beautiful, chaotic, esoteric world, populated by your most stupid and secret thoughts.

In this amazing universe, there are all sorts of lists, passwords and meal plans, next to poems and revelations written in anguish, unspoken and sentimental. This is what separates notes from most of our digital activities—we rarely share them, and often they are private. This is an immediate, careless form that is often incomprehensible: one of my notes simply says «Friends vs. Turkey.» Another reads: “Idiot. Toes? Razor». Maybe because of the lockdown, I’ve got too much time, but I think that our notes can tell more about our lives than any diary, because they create a random chronicle of our lives.

And, as in any form of self-expression, everyone is drawn to a certain style. Extensive research, mostly through my WhatsApp groups, revealed a huge amount of notes and a lack of entertainment. But from dream diaries, text templates, secret sonnets and endless shopping lists, characteristic characters for notes have formed. Whoever you identify with, the main thing is to write notes with enthusiasm and reread them after a few months for fun.



Books, restaurants, travel tips, exfoliating tonics, comfy pants — you’ll recognize a hoarder from a mile away, because as soon as you mention something good, he’ll tell you «Wait!» and reach for the phone. The next time I’m in Lisbon and I’m thinking about how to spend 48 hours (dare I dream about it) or I need good tapas in Soho (or through delivery), I’ll take back my words and call for yours, oh wise and a little sharp drive, experience and support. Whether you share your acquired wisdom or not is up to you.

From innermost thoughts to drunken delirium and passwords: what our notes on the phone say about us (photo 1)

From innermost thoughts to drunken delirium and passwords: what our notes on the phone say about us (photo 2)


Buy, pack, make, be, not be—there are no limits to your listing prowess. Lists don’t have to be completed or even started, though the most sophisticated use the checkbox feature for added satisfaction. When the supermarket is the only option for a fashion outing and social (distancing) interaction, shopping lists really come into their own — just making one is enough, and it doesn’t matter at all if the oat milk is really out of the fridge.


IT geniuses will scream at the questionable security of your methods, but how else can you remember the endless passwords, usernames, and pin codes needed to unlock your digital life? If possible, cover them with code — ideally one that you can remember in a few weeks.


You’re sitting on the subway or after Zoom, you couldn’t resist a glass of prosecco on the way, but ironically, this is the moment you can most eloquently express: a) everything that’s wrong with your partner; b) exactly what you want to say in the next discussion of your work; c) an offer to read a particular book. When inspiration and clarity collide at such an unexpected moment, notes are your lifeline. Just beware of prying eyes in the neighborhood.


One day you will write them in Word, but for now your poems are limited by the space of notes. The app provides privacy that your Moleskine could never achieve. But you often think about starting a poetry account on Instagram. Curse the haters, budding bard! Moreover, many great contemporaries were born in this modest kingdom. Click the icon, and after a few margaritas, to make the process a little less humiliating, send screenshots of your best work to a friend who’s up for it.

From innermost thoughts to drunken delirium and passwords: what our notes on the phone say about us (photo 3)

From innermost thoughts to drunken delirium and passwords: what our notes on the phone say about us (photo 4)


If the word you fear most is «typing,» then you, friend, are a professional draft writer. You know that the ideal form for composing a clumsy email or similar signature is a sticky note. Sharing this is completely optional: in fact, some drafters have legions of unsent messages to pushy managers, unspoken speeches to irrational associates, and unpublished food for haters. And all this is safely in the application.


Are you ready for careful meal planning and have an insatiable appetite for repetition? For this I salute you. It’s winter, so every pathetic note-lover is trying to join the rows where your sculpted figure towers — do them a favor and share your hard-earned workouts, health tips and calorie counters with a screenshot.


Dreams, thought dumps, date chronicles — you have no doubt that the notes have surpassed the traditional diary. Even Bridget Jones switched to the iPad for the third film. From time to time, diary writers take great pleasure in re-reading their entries, so the more details the better, although if the topic is not explicitly revealed at the moment, brevity is pardonable.

The material was first published on January 30
2021 at BURO. London


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