Well, not just "pure" data, but when I look at my day, I see a problematic blur of meetings, emails, phone calls, emergencies, things to read, things to watch, things to listen to and things to write.
Bigger problem is that most days, I don't even look at my day.
And this is a bit of a drag, because that's where the learning lies. (Usually, my "end of the day" is spent planning the next one.)
So at the risk of sounding like a commercial pitchman, for the past couple of weeks, I've been jonesing on a book--well, to be honest, an iPhone app based on the book--called Keel's Simple Diary.
For over two decades, I've kept a journal book with me at all times, in which I scribble thoughts, ideas, to-do and to-call lists, random drawings and other creative musings. While a good catch-all and reminder, it's not necessarily a source of reflection.
A diary mos def is, but really...who has the time to faithfully contribute to one of those these days?
Hence the impeccable timing of Keel's Simple Diary, which helps you reflect on your day with a little off-beat tug from brief, multiple-choice questions followed by chances to further explain your answers (sample page below).
Add to this some post-modern Confucius-isms (a la "A finger points, a hand joins") and the chance to add photos to the mix and you have a whimsical little tool that sucks up a maximum of five minutes of your time, but manages to add some profundity and meaning to your day (not to mention the opportunity to look back even further).
The tool is named after its creator, Philipp Keel, an Swiss-born renaissance man of the arts--painter, sculptor, director, writer...I can keep going--whose previous literary adventure, All About Me, was a massive international best-seller. But as good as that one was, Keel goes one step further with Simple Diary, which he describes as his "response to having too much information and not enough meaning." (It's well worth your while to find out more about him here.)
The power of Keel's current project really hit home last Wednesday, when I had lunch with an old friend and business partner Chris Arsenault. At 11:00 p.m. that night, while going over my schedule to fill in the day's blanks, I realized that so much had happened in the interim I actually forgot that we had lunch.
No, this ain't onset of early Alzheimer's; it's onslaught of information overload.
So what did I learn this week? I learned more about me. And I learned how to bring context to so much of the content and data that consumes me on a day-to-day basis.
But most importantly, I learned how to let a somewhat silly tool allow me to look in the mirror every day.
I guess that's why they call it "reflection."
And why it's so necessary.