Mindfulness is a byproduct of keeping field notes


It’s mid-December and your list of things to get done is long. It seems like no matter where you look, someone or something is asking more from you. Will life ever slow down? How can you find the time?

I realized recently that I’m doing more than I ever thought remotely possible in the past and things just get done. And I think I really owe it all to Field Journaling.

Let me explain. You see, by simply documenting the day – what I work on, finish, start, accomplish in my field notes holds me accountable and shows me very clearly how I spend my time.

That, in turn, makes me more aware of what I’m doing throughout the day. I used to let rabbit trails take over without really realizing it. I’d fritter the day away. Then I started tracking what all I did. I found myself a tad bit ashamed to write, “surfed the afternoon away” but I did if that’s what happened. While that’s fine some of the time, it doesn’t help day after day. And knowing I’d document my time in some fashion helped me to make better choices.

Keeping these field notes – what happened – keeps me mindful of how I choose to spend my time. It also becomes a pretty good reference of when I did things. I find myself returning to it time and again as an extension of my memory.

Developing this one simple habit has slowly shaped the rest of my life so I’ve cut out those things that rob me of time and focus of the goals I want to reach. A media diet (less ‘in the box’ time – both TV and computer) for the past year now probably made the best change toward a more mindful life.

How do you start? Grab a notebook, a sheet of paper, an old envelope – write down what you do. It feels odd at first, but a few days of it and you’ll find yourself much more aware of how your days pass, where your stories lie, and how to make better choices to create the life you want to lead.

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  • Janet Kemper
    Dec 12, 2012., 13:04 •

    another nice post from you & also a great photo!

  • Joan Schonrock
    Feb 04, 2013., 08:42 •

    New to this site--think your field journal sounds like an idea for me to try to make me aware and accountable for those days when I intend to accomplish so much and just end up doing "whatever" and before I know it,the day is over.