On January 17th this year, I started a daily habit called Homework for Life. I learned this tool from the book Storyworthy, written about earlier here. Homework for Life is the act of writing a daily sentence or two about the most interesting moment or story from your day. Answering the question: “what makes this day the most different or memorable than any other day?” is an amazing exercise and one I recommend for numerous reasons.
I do not have a great memory. I wish I could spout off entertaining quotes or historical references and stories with photographic-memory-like accuracy but I can’t. Before Homework for Life, so many small details and days of my life have been forgotten outside of photos or major memories. Going back and looking at each entry for the past 6 months, I remember the exact moment and environment of almost each entry. The better entries include a dialogue for some reason.
Another reason I like Homework for Life is time seems to slow down. The last 6 months have felt like 6 months. The daily discipline to document in an excel spreadsheet what makes the last 24 hours different has been worth the value purely in slowing down time. In the years prior, I remember saying to myself, “I can’t believe it’s already summer, it feels like we just celebrated the New Year.” I haven’t said anything like that once this year.
The purpose of Homework for Life from Storyworthy is to find good stories, or pieces of stories, from your life that you can later construct into a worthy story. After looking back at many of the entries, documenting “why” for that entry is a good way to better craft stories. I’m not looking to craft stories for the stage yet, but I do believe storytelling is a powerful tool in business and life.
The most observable downside of writing a few sentences a day: it can replace other writing if you’re not careful. Two or three sentences does not get you into deep thoughts and feelings like a traditional journal. Maintaining the discipline to write longer form pieces is important to hone your craft.
Six months in, I’m ready to keep doing it and make them even better.
Below are few fun entries:
7/7/2019: We drove back from North Georgia and stopped at a country store on the way back. They had milkshakes that were amazing. Over heard the server tell the next customer: “I’ve never served a milkshake without whip cream and sprinkles and I’m not starting today.” What a tradition. Dinner with my parents at Los Bravos.
3/17/2019: Played 9 holes with Tim. We started talking about the mentality of a golfer. He poignantly said: “You either apply pressure to the course or the course applies pressure to you.”
2/16/2019: Kid about 4 or 5 years old outside of Victory Sandwich bar in Inman Park was jumping and splashing in a puddle. Any adult would have stepped over it to avoid it at all costs But the kid kept jumping in it. Splashing without a care in the world.