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Keeping Field Notes

This week I had to order so additional Field Notes as I ran out. If you don’t know what they are, they’re small pocket sizes notebooks that you can carry around and track your notes, thoughts, ideas, and inspirations.

It occurred to me today that I have never shared with you how I got the inspiration for the show you’re listening to right now, Friday Field Notes.

I got the inspiration because I literally have these small notebooks lying around everywhere. I’ve got a couple in my workshop, in my desk, in my nightstand, and in my car among other places.

I want you to know, before I get any further, that I am not endorsed by Field Notes. They’re not paying me to tell you this stuff. I’m simply sharing a tool – a resource – that has proven to be useful for me.

So, whether you want to use official Field Notes like I do or another journal, or notepad, or even an app on your phone, I don’t really care. I don’t care what you use as long as you use something to track and journal your thoughts.

I’m going to talk about why I think it’s important you do and share with you some tips when journaling your ideas.

So first, let’s talk about why this is so important.

TURN THOUGHTS INTO REALITY

Study after study has shown us that there’s something almost magical in documenting your thoughts. Thoughts aren’t tangible. You can’t sink your teeth into them. You can try them on for size or even see and touch them.

I believe that when you begin to document your ideas, you give life in some small way to your thoughts. In a way, you’re turning the intangible into the tangible.

And, once you do that you start to give your thoughts traction. I don’t know all the science behind this. I’ve never needed to because I know it works through my own process of experimentation.

The ideas that are in my head stay there. The ideas I get out of my head, gain momentum in coming alive.

FLUSH OUT IDEAS

Which leads me to my second point. If you’re not documenting the ramblings in your mind, it’s going to be very difficult for you to ever flush something out enough to the point where it comes to fruition.

We’ve all heard of the next million-dollar idea. You might have one.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are no million-dollar ideas. If that were the case, we’d all be millionaires. But, seeing as how not all of us are, there’s a missing element.

That missing element is the execution of that idea. And, don’t get me wrong, just because you start writing things down does not mean that your idea is going to grab hold.

But, what it will do is set a series of small steps into motion that are an absolute requirement to the success you desire.

I don’t care if we’re talking about writing date ideas down, or goals for lifting, or business aspirations, or how much money you want in your bank account, it all works the same.

And, it will help you turn what would normally be a jumble of thoughts and incoherent ramblings into something that is actually workable.

I’ve written things down before that sounded absolutely amazing in my mind that, after getting pen to paper, look like horrible ideas. And not that I’ve nixed them right away but at least it gave me a foundation to work from, regardless of how weak that foundation may have been.

DON’T FORGET

Outside that, documenting what is going on in your brain keeps you from forgetting life-changing, earth-shattering ideas.

How often have you thought to yourself, “I’ve got to write this idea down so I don’t forget. Oh, I don’t need to worry about writing this down. There’s no way I’ll forget this idea.” The next morning you wake up knowing you had an idea but can’t remember exactly what it is.

It reminds me of that scene in the movie Grumpy Old Men when one of the friends turns to the other while swapping fishing stories and says, “The Green Hornet has caught more fish that you’ve lied about.”

I’ve forgotten more ideas than most people think in a lifetime.

And, I can’t help but wonder what life would look like if I had only written those ideas. Would it have been much different than it is now? I and the world will never know.

SANITY

And the last reason you should be documenting everything is purely a self-preservation strategy.

I think what I’m going to share with you next happens to high-achievers all the time.

Let me paint this scenario for you:

You’re lying in bed talking with your wife and you stop her mid-sentence because something she just said sparked an idea that will alter the trajectory of your life.

But, rather than stopping and writing it down, you continue in your conversation with her or you try to go to sleep but, you CANNOT STOP THINKING ABOUT THAT IDEA.

Nothing gets done. You don’t go to sleep. You can’t put together any coherent thoughts in conversation. You’re so distracted. And, you cannot function.

Well, if you had a Field Notes on your night stand, you’d literally do a brain dump into that journal, get a good night’s rest, and attack it in the morning.

Writing things down has saved my mind, many sleepless nights, and probably to some degree my relationship.

Are you convinced yet? Are you officially sold on the idea of documentation? I hope that you are. This has been such a powerful – and simple strategy – in my personal life.

As we wrap things up today, let me just give you a couple ideas you can use to trigger the types of things you should be writing down.

I write down new business ideas, names of potential podcast guests, shopping lists, parts lists for a project I’m working on, email ideas, efficiency strategies I recognize, birthday gift ideas for others, birthday gift ideas for myself, emails I need to write, phone calls I need to make, important dates I need to remember, phone numbers I’ll need to call, confirmation numbers from customer service departments, payment due dates, my wife writes down the amount and date of bills that are coming due, songs I like, YouTube videos I want to watch, Google search terms I’ll check later, website I hear about, social media profiles I want to see, important information about people I just meet, conferences I need to attend, feedback I receive, social media posts I’d like to make, Friday Field Notes topics for the future, and the list goes on and on and on.

In other words, and to sum it up nicely, write everything down, and you’ll never be at a loss for information, ideas, insights, strategies, tasks, or to-dos.

The only problem will be remembering which field notes you wrote it down in.

Guys, that’s all I have for you today. I hope that’s been helpful. I think it would be cool to see how you take notes so, if you would share you notetaking strategies with me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and tag @orderofman so I can see what’s working for you.

If you want to learn more about this tool and so many others, and you want to learn a more efficient, more effective way of doing things, I’d invite you to join our exclusive brotherhood, The Iron Council where we’re talking about these types of strategies and more, and more importantly, DOING the work required to experience the results we’re after. You can learn more at www.orderofman.com/ironcouncil.

In the meantime gentlemen, take action, document everything, and become the man you are meant to be.

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