One good habit that makes you smarter than you thought – keeping record

I was benefited a lot and made huge improvement in my life after forming a good habit of keeping record, therefore I feel it’s very important that I share what I have learned and experienced with all of you, my readers.

As you might or might not have known, I am very big on reading reports, blogs and books in my daily life. Years ago, I was always overwhelmed by the information that authors were providing and I was also surprised by the fact that there are so many smart people out there. One day, I realized it was the power of keeping records. Image if language is only oral and can’t be written down (recorded), how the world we are living in will look like even after civilization existing for many years. If we can only speak and listen, the only way we learn and understand the world is by listening to what our parents and grandparents tell us, so how much can they remember from their ancestors and how much can we remember from them?

Keeping record is important not only for governments and businesses, as individuals, we need to keep record and organize the records in order to keep improving the quality of our work and lives – to learn from the previous experience.

Memory vs. Record

Many people reply solely on their memory and believe they can possibly remember everything in their brains, however the truth is, without proper record, their lives become very poorly organized and things always got messed up. Some of them even lose trust from family and friends because of they forget to show up to important meetings and appointments – can’t keep their promise. Let’s look at one simple example here. Can you remember what happened exactly on your birthday party five years ago? The chance is very slim. Before you blame why your brain has such a small capacity, please face the truth that there are so much information we are receiving every day, even though we tried very hard to filter out the less important messages, the important ones still add up very quickly and make our lives so busy. When we feel overwhelmed, without keeping proper record, information can sneak out from our heads very easily. Just as a famous Chinese idiom explains, “The palest ink is better than the best memory.”

E-record vs. paper record – get them organized

The traditional way of keeping record is to write things down on paper, however just simply writing things down without organizing them will still not help much in lots of situations. For example, I used to keep lots of sticky notes on my table to write down short notice for important meetings, phone calls and emails, etc., but very soon I realized when I have so many things going on, without organizing these notes, it’s very hard to keep myself on the right track and sometimes I lose the stick notes, hide them into paper files by accident, or overlooks them till the deadline was missed. To improve that, I started using notebooks to organize my records and the progress was significant. Most recent years, technology has helped develop more efficient tools available onto all kinds of electronic devices such as Smart Phones, Tablets and Personal Computers to make record keeping faster and easier. Here are a couple of advantages to use E-record comparing to use paper record:

–  Convenience: E-records can be kept in the form of electric files, so they are very easy to be carried around, shared to others (via Internet). With a little smart phone in the pocket, you never need to worry about the size of your binder and the color of your pen anymore. In addition, E-records can be transformed into audio files. When eyes are too busy, ears can help sometimes. If you are interested to know more, please check out how audible products help improve efficiency in life.

–   Safety: E-record can be easily copied and stored into different devices. The chance to lose E-record comparing to paper record is very close to zero.   

Analyze records

The benefit of keeping record is not limited to remember the facts. The other use of record that really makes you smarter than you ever thought about yourself is the result concluded after analyzing records. “What gets measured gets done.” In order to improve our efficiency, we always spend more time to find the patterns, trends and problems from records and use the analysis to help with future revisions.

Here is my little example of reducing family monthly expenses by using record of previous months smartly. Every once a while, I got a kind of question from my parents or friends about how much my family expense is. I always answered the question with a guessed amount. One day, I thought it would be smart to keep a track record of all the expenses and see what kind of result I was going to get. I carefully kept all my receipts and recorded my expenses every 2-3 days into a Microsoft Excel file. By the end of the month, I sum the numbers up. I was in a big shock! The final amount was 30% more than the assumption I always made. This really caused my attention and I studied the numbers in details and highlighted the expenses that my family can possibly reduce or eliminate. Guess what, the month after that, I was able to save over 8% of the total expenses. Of course this is not the end of my story and I am going to continue this process, but all I am trying to say here is, analysis of records improves efficiency dramatically.    

Share records

I bet you have come across some articles or books impressed you deeply in the heart through your readings, but have you ever taken some time to think about and summarize why these books are better than other books? What did they bring to you and how they benefit your personal and family life? The information delivered by most good reading materials represents good summary of knowledge and experiences. Here is the key, if the author is not kindly enough to share the information, it will be sometimes hard for us to learn quickly without experiencing things ourselves. This is the beauty of sharing records. If you ever wonder why the Internet is so powerful and loved by almost everyone in the world, information sharing is definitely the key. 

To readers

Alright in order to keep the length of post under control, I will stop right here. Please let me know your thoughts and share your experiences with me. Your comments are appreciated.


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