Looking versus Looking

More specifically, active looking versus passive looking.  We can use these two basic modes to differentiate how we are looking at a given occurrence and make sure that mode of looking matches up with our goals of the moment.  By looking I mean in the more broad sens of paying attention.

Let me first say that passive looking is awesome! I love zoning out to a movie, gazing up at a deep blue sky, getting lost in the trees, staring at my toes (I do that a lot), or watching the people passing by.  Sometimes it is a great thing to simply let the mind drift amongst the incoming signals.

However, there are some occasions where passive looking does not quite cut the mustard.  A few examples:

  • Driving (Look out pedestrians!)
  • Performing surgery (Wait, which kidney was I supposed to yank?)
  • Listening to a loved one (Mmmm, hmmm.  Yup.  Great dear.  Uh-huh….)
  • Chopping carrots (Youch!)

You get the idea.

Active looking is also a very good idea when we want to learn something, and truly absorb it.  This can come in several modes.  Here are a few:

  • Investigating. Here is where we are trying to discern what is really occurring, or has occurred in a confusing or obfuscated situation.
  • Observing. This is the mode we go into when we want to figure out how something is being done or accomplished.
  • Learning. A great head space to be in for taking in material in a way where we can modify future behavior.
  • Memorizing. Awesome for all those little things like social security numbers, your boy friend’s digits, or your mom’s birthday (August 15th, yo!)

At any given moment our looking can be in an active or passive mode, and it’s not a bad idea to check in once in a while to see the type of looking we are employing.  Especially when we want to be in active looking mode, like when reading a blog post by a cool guy who give out lots of keen little tips and tricks.  😉


Page Flow Journaling, FTW!

Hola!  I hope this finds you well!  I wanted to talk to you today about journaling.  Let me first say that I loooooove journaling! I think it is an incredibly empowering, effective and engaging form of self-reflection and learning.  I have journaled, off and on, for the last decade.

On because it’s so very useful!

Off because I had a major roadblock with  the process.  My roadblock had to do with all the different things I want to accomplish with journaling, all the ways I have heard and learned to do it effectively, and the lack of a good way to section my journals.

You see, I have several uses I want to put my journals to (currently):

  • Keeping a dairy
  • Making a daily gratitude list
  • Keeping a daily list of 3 Good Things
  • Brainstorming
  • Keeping study notes
  • Holding course assignments for whatever program I am going through at the time

The trouble is, how do I keep all the sections straight?  My first solution? A different journal for each purpose!


Not only is this a crimp on the pocketbook, but if you are like me and you get pulled from one cool subject to the next quickly, you don’t want to be lugging around 6 different journals as you adventure about the world.  Also, what happens if you make an entry in the wrong one?  And, who wants to keep this stack at your bedside?






My next brilliant solution was to use post-it notes to delineate the various sections, so that I would be easily able to flip back and forth.

Epic Fail!

This thing ended up sinking a third of the time hunting through the tome for a particular thread, a third of the time in trying to make sure I maintained the design well, and the last third giving up on journaling!



So, what’s the solution?  Ta-da!

Page flow!

(I came up with that name. The idea, however, was seeded from some cool MoleSkine hack articles I read a while back that recently jelled for me.)

In order to implement this you need to take a couple of steps.

1 – Get a blank journal.

2 – Number the pages

Now, when your writing in the journal you can reference what page your last entry was on for a particular subject, as well as the next:

You can also reference the page where the last entry was on the topic and show that the topic continues on the next page:

There you have it.  Now whenever you want to read multiple sections of a subject you can just follow the page prompts.

The only thing I would add is an index.  Some hackers suggest a table of contents up front in the journal, a few pages you leave blank and fill in as you start subjects in the journal.  I don’t like that method because a table of contents feels like it has to be in order.  Of course, an index should be in alphabetical order, but violating that convention feels less egregious to me.  YMMV.

I hope you got something out of this piece.  Keep up the journaling!  It’s good for you!