As I was leafing through Armand's diaries this morning, I wondered if
the actual discipline of writing down his thoughts and activities gave
him an incredible memory. I know that he re-read his volumes, often
making notations or corrections, years later. If there was a poster,
photo or any printed material that he deemed important, it was numbered
and noted in red pencil on the item and in his diary.
Thomas Edison wrote five million pages of notes and his system is believed to have assisted in his research and inventions. The seven main elements of Edison's system as offered on Lifehack follow, along with a link to a comparable Armand diary entry:
1. Any useful or important development was recorded so that no effort was wasted in repeating experiments or efforts unnecessarily. In 1943, Armand and Mary came up with a balanced education program for colleges: Raising It Higher.
2. Forward-looking. Fifty years before his death, Armand had A Consoling Thought.
3. Rearward-looking. Income and expenses are familiar entries but so are records of public appearances, topics and attendance. Speaking of Speaking.
4. The record system was searchable. When Armand and Mary couldn't remember if they had seen famed pianist, Arthur Rubenstein, it was his diary that settled the matter. Read "...but still!!"
5. Who, what, where, when and how much. Armand's entries written during the early days of World War II detailing how he exited Europe unscathed, are some of my favorites. In France, September 1939.
6. How and why. As time passes, we have a tendency to forget the specifics and may even change history a bit. But when you write it all down, as Armand did in the final days before getting married, you can never forget the details and emotions of the past. Finding Mary, Part II.
7. Extremely powerful memory aid. When Armand broke his finger, not only did he give a Who,What,Where,When and How Much account of it, he even drew a picture of the bone break. Trying To Make a Point.
Some believe that diary keeping will boost productivity and even cause the CIA to recant. It may be worth a try.
Photo: The Barber's Diaries