creativity, flow, learning, lifehack, memory, memory management, motivation, prosperity, purpose, success, time management
Spaced-repetition, the final frontier. To boldly go where no samurai notebook has gone before.
I’ve used notebooks for a long time. For a while, I was doing “morning pages”, a method popularized by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. (I highly recommend it.) Using this method, I would get up and write three handwritten pages of whatever flowed out in the morning, whether it was complaining, nonsense or whatever. Morning pages are a great bridge between the dream mind and the rest of your day and your life. Cameron actually suggests waiting a while before reading these rants, etc and I have a few boxes of them somewhere, waiting to be read, mined, and discarded.
I think it’s really important to have a space or page where you rant, complain, dream, etc to yourself. I have a space on my laptop called morning blurts, where I complain and brainstorm if I am not inspired to write on a specific topic.
However, my “Samurai Notebook” is a little different. First of all, it is a physical notebook. I like Japanese notebooks because they are light, sturdy and stand up to punishment. More importantly, a samurai notebook should include mostly forward-moving stuff, though there maybe a few rants here and there.
A random dissection of the last month’s notebook reveals:
- Steve Chandler’s Four Circle Time Management Circles
- Random ideas that came up while I was working on other projects
- Kanji flashcard practice
- Quotes from “The Making of Modern Japan,” “Zen and the Art of Making a Living“
- Sentences from my Japanese flashcard program
- Random observations: “Mei (my one year old daughter) just tore the title page of “The Spirit of Tao” in half and presented it to me. Is she trying to teach me something?”
- Copycat sprints–copied out sections from Japanese books I like and want to learn from.
- A running list of things and experiences I want in my life
The content of my notebooks change depending on how much time I have and what my current focus is. However, for my Samurai notebook there are two requirements: it’s mostly forward moving stuff and I review it using an adaptation of little nifty technique called spaced repetition. For more information, see my post, “Spaced Repetition Systems: How to Forget About Remembering.”
In short, I go through my notebooks regularly, and kind of on a schedule. In a perfect world, I would read my entries on the following schedule:
- one day later
- two days later
- four days
- one week
- two weeks
- one month
- two months
- four months
- eight months
- a year , two years, four years
A “review” doesn’t mean some serious academic examination. It could involve just a quick glance. After I review the entry, I date it and label what kind of review it was: 2D for two days, 1W for one week, etc. If there is an old idea I want to keep current, I place a note to myself to myself in my most current notebook so it stays current and in the mental mix.
Why do this?
- The scheduling aspect keeps review from being overwhelming.
- Since this notebook has your forward moving ideas and plans and murmurings, it gives you control of your mental channel. (BTW if something stops being interesting to review–put a big X on it.)
- It is a great, organic tool for continuing to work on big, life projects in what David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, “reminders of of the outcome and the action required in a system you trust.” (p.15) Allen explains that it is key to have a Weekly Review because, “everything that might potentially require action must be reviewed on a frequent enough basis to keep your mind from taking back the job of remembering and reminding.” (p.46)
- It’s fun and requires no batteries, upgrades, or monthly payment plans.
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I really like the idea of applying space repetition to your own notebooks and moving up certain notes that you feel are important.
Thanks for your comment and sorry it took me so long to reply. I liked you post on writing. It's a nice introduction for beginners. http://howtojapan.blogspot.com/search?updated-max…
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