If you’ve ever wondered where the day went, or where the week went, or where the month or year went, slow down. Take notes. Keep a diary, a journal, a blog, or whatever other way you want to keep track of your accomplishments and celebrate the little things.
Notes don’t lock you into the past. They let you see where you’ve come from and remember where you’re going. You can store your unfinished thoughts for further reflection. You can figure out what to say and how to say it. You can figure out what you think.
Keeping notes also helps you in other ways. If you write down your accomplishments along the way, yearly performance reviews become a lot easier. If you write down solutions to problems you’ve encountered–or even the things you’ve tried along the way–you’ll find that your notes will save you time when you need to solve that problem or similar ones. Record other things: what you enjoy, what you don’t, what you’re curious about, what you’ve learned.
So get a journal that you’re not afraid to write in, or start a blog (more about this later), or write one-line summaries of your day on Twitter. Block time in your schedule so that you can write. Five minutes will do. Fifteen minutes would be even better. It doesn’t have to be a perfect record. It doesn’t have to be a coherent essay. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day. Just keep writing. Be kind to yourself when you write. Celebrate.
Come back after you’ve done that for a month. Now life should’ve slowed down for you, slowed down enough to enjoy. You can look back and see where you’ve been, what you’ve done. And you might’ve found yourself writing about who you’d like to grow into, what you’d like to do–great!
Now think about some stories you can share with more people. Stories can help you connect with others and build relationships. Through stories, you can teach other people about what you’re good at and who you are.
Here’s the big step: try telling those stories in a conversation. Or even better: on a blog. You don’t have to tell everyone about your new blog, if you don’t want to. You can just write. Share your notes. Share how you’ve solved problems, share what you’ve learned. Share a couple of stories from your day.
Because you’ll learn a lot more along the way. You’ll learn in the process of figuring out how to explain things to someone else. You’ll learn from your own notes. And you might just learn something from the questions and experiences of other people.
You’ll learn a lot from helping other people by sharing your experiences. And people will learn more about you and the value you create.
It’s a great habit, and not hard to start. After all, life already happens. The problem you’ll find yourself encountering, actually, is that there will be too many great stories to tell.