Keep a daily journal
Keep a Daily Journal
Keep a Daily Journal- Who, What, Where and Why.
In my 42 years as a government employee, 22 years as a Soldier, I have met many great people and experienced a lot of interesting things. Can I remember their names, the dates, places, and events in any detail like I think is accurate? Not a chance.
What caused this revelation was an interesting conversation I had the other day with an old friend. He was my executive officer of the third battery I was fortunate to command, HHB, 6th Battalion, 9th Field Artillery, 175 MM Gun in Giessen Germany. I commanded this battery from August 1977 to October 1978. The incident we were discussing occurred at Grafenwöhr in late November or early December 1977 when one of our gun batteries shot out from Hard Stand 3. My XO’s recollection of that event and my recollection differed on critical results and which battery shot out.
If I had kept a daily journal then of who, what, where, what, and why, I could have explained my theory as to how this happened, and he gave me insight as exactly why it happened and who caused it by name. Later in my career, I began to do what I am suggesting. I have referred to those journals many times as I reflect on what happened on a certain day or with a certain event.
Especially important is the who you meet. I failed to record in my early career, the great Soldiers I worked with. I especially regret not recording the information on the men I worked with in Vietnam. I can see their faces, but I don’t recall their real names, only their nicknames.
As I have read biographies of great leaders, many have kept journals or diaries. Journals do not have to be elaborate or long. Two or three lines each evening. I would suggest paper rather than electronic. I have tried both over the years. I have found electronic to be too volatile, the formats change too often, or you lose the device. I used a daily planner for years when I was working. As a retiree, I use a notebook to record health information plus daily events. Health records for us older folks help a lot for our multiple visits to the docs.
So, take the time and write it down.
LTC, FA (Ret)