How to document a life
One day at a time
Previously I wrote about my reasons for documenting my life in Your Life’s Work. This entry will go into the more practical, nitty gritty of how I plan to do this.
It's hard, mentally, for me to write. So I have tried to make it as simple as possible. Every day, it's my aim to write down a few things:
- What I did that day, no matter how small or insignificant, in short bullet point form
- One thing I'm grateful for that day
- A number from 1-10 cooresponding with my overall mood that day
And then, if I am feeling like it, I write any thoughts I have as they come. This has taken the form of plans for the day, what I ate, complaints/frustrations, more expanding on what I did, to do lists, and more. I do this on paper in a small physical notebook, where each day gets its own page. I chose physical because my employment keeps me in front of a computer, and I wanted to separate this journaling from the other writing I do, as well as just liking the tactical ritual and process of using a pen and paper each day.
The other side of this documentation process is on my phone. I'll need to write more about my phone usage later, but here I'll just note that I purchased the phone I use - the iPhone 12 mini, specifically for its form factor and camera. I purchased the largest storage option available - 256GB, which still feels small to me, but I haven't hit its limits yet. As of writing this I have filled up a little over half of it in the year that I've owned it. The idea behind all of these choices is that my phone's primary use is as a camera. Storage is cheap, and I'd rather have 50 photos I don't care about than lose 1 photo I do. I take photos of my kids mostly, and almost all of them are candid, a stark contrast to the photos that were taken of me as a child growing up in the 90s and early 2000s. But I'll also take photos of places I visit, food I eat, signs, receipts, or anything I find interesting. 99% of this isn't for Instagram, this site, or anyone but me. I'll revisit every one of these photos later, so they can be useful reminders and not just memories and nostaglia (although that is a lot of it).
The weekly review
Every Monday, I look at all the journal entries and photos from the previous week, and put together a short bulleted list of highlights for the week. These all go in order week to week and live towards the end of my notebook.