Taking Daily Notes

One of the productivity hacks I tried this year was to keep a physical notebook with daily handwritten todo items following the Bullet Journal idea.

It became part of my morning routine to try and think of 3-4 things I wanted to get done each day.  I’d refer back to my monthly goals every few days to help think of ideas or to prioritise. Now that it is nearing the end of the year I’m starting to look forward to reviewing the past 12 months worth of notes to see just how much I got done in 2017.  Surprisingly I managed to stick with it for the full year.

I’m finding these kinds of rituals to be rewarding and become more valuable as the history builds behind them.

For instance, each month since 2006 I have tracked my net worth.  In that time I have lived in 4 provinces, had 4 different jobs, and bought and sold a house.  Each month that I add a row to that spreadsheet the value of that information and the insight it gives me compounds.  It’s a routine that I do on the last day of every month, and will continue to do because I think the economic story it will tell when I’m 80 years old will be fascinating.

The same holds for my daily notes. Looking back even a month reveals things that I thought were important 30 days earlier but, subsequently abandoned.  The memories and insights that might come from a decade worth of journals is hard to imagine.

More than anything else, the personal value I get from keeping a history is that our brains are fallible, they remember only the things they want to remember, and twist memories away from the truth over time. Recalling a memory and then cross-referencing with your own written thoughts at the time can be an interesting exercise to do.