Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Recording Life

I do promise to get back to the topic of free software eventually. After running Linux as my main operating system for the last ten years, you can believe that I've pondered the topic now and again. Today, though, my thoughts turn to the area of recording ones life and the various mechanisms toward that end.

The main reason that this is on my mind right now is that I just finished one of my journal books, a beautiful cloth-bound one from India, and have started on my newest, a leather-bound one from Florence, Italy. In the seven years since I started keeping a journal, I've usedIndian and Italian Journals several spiral notebooks, a beautiful leather-bound book that I received from my wife, and the two aforementioned ones. I've used writing implements from cheap Bic and Papermate pens to pencils to my current favorite, a Cross pen that I've had to refill several times. Each has its impact on what I write. The spirals are easy to write in, but get tattered quickly. The words that flow into them often seem to have the routine of the everyday about them. The nicer journals, on the other hand, are physically more difficult to write in (the pages don't lie flat and they usually don't have lines). They also seem to demand that I record something a bit more profound which can lead to the worst kind of writer's block.

What do I write about? Sometimes it's just about the happenings of the day and my thoughts thereon. On better days, I'll record my goals and my plans for the future, or sometimes the next step I want to take in development of my business. I've jotted down my dreams I've had while sleeping and those I have while I'm awake. I write about my feelings, whether sad, angry, or happy. I write about the challenges I encounter and, quite, often in the process, I discover the solutions to problems that at first seemed insurmountable.

My Karate teacher (for eight years) and business coach, Professor Keith Hafner of Keith Hafner's Karate, has advised us to record our lives in everything we do. If we don't know from where we are coming, we don't have much of a chance to get to where we want to be. He should know. He's been recording his life since he was sixteen years old! Philip Humbert, another inspiring coach, who's weekly newsletter I reed religiously, also touts the many benefits of journaling. Writing down what you want and how you are going to go about getting it are the first, surest steps to a World Class Life.

Of course, taking pen to paper isn't the only way to capture your experience. Each of us must find our own best techniques. Some people prefer the keyboard and mouse. Others make audio or video logs (think about Star Trek's "Captain's Logs"). One young woman I know has a calendar on which she jots down just a few words to represent her day. She claims she can go back to any day and recover the meaning of that time with only those few words.

How are you recording your life? Pen? Pencil? That giant 64-pack of Crayola crayons? Let me know!

No comments: