The Power of Documenting

The other day, I glanced at the stack of notebooks on my dresser and realized how many things I’ve been documenting and writing down. I’ve always been the type to find comfort in a pen and some paper. I’ve also been the type to thoroughly enjoy listing or organizing. It caught me off guard, though, to realize just how many things I’m writing in on a regular basis.

So what are they?

Journal. Tried and true. I’ve been steadily keeping a journal of life happenings for a few years now. I don’t write in it every day, and actually don’t technically write in it at all at the moment, but when something is on my mind or in my heart, I make sure to get it out. For at least a year, I’ve been documenting my days on the computer and then printing them out and sticking them in my journal. I love a handwritten journal, but I’ve realized I have A LOT to say and at this point in time, it’s just easiest to type it up. I love being able to look back and read through my thoughts. Quite often you’ll see a common thread stringing through it all.

30-Day Challenge. I was recently asked if I wanted to try a 30 day challenge where I’d choose something I wanted to work on for 30 days and keep a record of each day. It didn’t have to be elaborate, just a few notes, whether good or bad. Although I originally wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit to it, I was told that was kind of the purpose of it. Fine. I opted to read every night before bed. There have been nights I didn’t really want to or was so tired I only made it through a few pages. It turns out, however, that you get through a book much quicker by opening it than you do just looking at it sit on your dresser. Who knew? I hope to continue to commit to reading before bed because, besides helping me feel accomplished, I’ve also been falling asleep so quickly afterwards that I can hardly get through talking to Bob Ross of the Universe, or as many call him, God. Now to figure out what my next 30 day challenge will be…

Gratitude Journal. A couple of years ago, I attempted to keep a daily log of three things I was grateful for. It lasted for about four months before fizzling out. I decided I wanted to start it back up again, but as I was reading through old ones, I realized that I needed to add a tiny bit more description in order for it to properly jog my memory. I don’t write in it daily, but I’d say I write in it at least four times a week. I also am not set on writing three things. Some days it’s two and other days it might be six. Even some effort made towards recognizing gratitude in my day-to-day life and documenting it is helpful in boosting my mood and outlook.

Garden Journal. Brought about by a couple different things, this journal gives me a pretty place to note any new developments in my garden i.e. planting, sprouting, success. If you read my last blog post, you know that after reading an article about vision boards and focusing on the process rather than the outcome resulted in wanting to dive all in to gardening. This instance coupled with a book I had been reading led to the journal. I’ll do a more in depth review of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle soon, but it follows a family’s year towards eating more locally and seasonally. In it, the author mentions keeping a garden journal with dates of germination, quantities of harvest, and even when a hummingbird comes back to build its nest. I loved the idea, so I resolved to start my own.

Wall Calendar. I still love a wall calendar and always devote some time in December to finding just the right one for the following year. The always on display visual aspect of it is what keeps a spot in my room dedicated to it year after year. Several years ago, I had vowed to exercise for 30 days straight and kept a tracker on my closet whiteboard for the duration. It is still the most consistent I’ve ever been with exercise, not wanting to have seen a gap in my progress. While I’m not trying to exercise daily these days, I am making an effort to go to the gym or get in a good workout twice a week at the moment. I ordered some stickers from Amazon and make sure to add a sticker to my calendar each day I reach that goal. I’m about as proud of myself as a potty training toddler who successfully uses the toilet to get to put that sticker on there. I’ve learned that a visual reminder and a little reward work wonders for me.

At this point, you might be thinking that that’s too many things to keep up with. I assure you it doesn’t feel overwhelming for me. However, I also didn’t dive into them all at once. Baby steps prove to be beneficial again and again.

Could you use more order in your life? What ways can documenting help you?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. carolee says:

    Like you, I find comfort in pen and pencil. I keep a clipboard and list to-do jobs. It helps me priortize and gives me great satisfaction to mark things off. I keep a daily journal, where I record the weather, family happenings, thoughts on this or that, accomplishments, whatever moves me. But my favorite is the Garden Journal that I start each year with the first seeds sown, the first plants to emerge in the potager, the first flower to bloom. It continues until the harvest is finished and the garden put to bed, and includes pages of notes for next year’s wish list and needed changes. And lastly, the Harvest Journal records everything gathered from the potager, from the first snippings of chives to the final leeks, parsnips and carrots pulled at the beds are prepared the next spring! That helps me tweak the succession plantings for the following year to get the timing better, reminds me that I grew too much of this, not enough of that, etc. It’s all fun! Easter blessings and happy growing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Megan Vogel says:

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoy keeping a garden journal also! This is my first year doing it, but I’m looking forward to being able to refer to it in the future to help with the very things you mentioned. Happy Easter and happy growing to you as well!

      Like

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