Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Five-Minute Diary

When I realized that the craziness of our daily schedule might not change any time soon, it seemed like a terrible thing. Instead, it was the beginning of a new life for me. I began to confront my situation as it truly was, rather than how I thought it might be. I began to look at exactly how my time was being spent -- right in the midst of everything. I began to look at what was taking place week after week in our lives.

Out of my frustration and my need for concrete answers, I began keeping a short diary in a week-at-a-glance calendar. Each day I wrote a brief summary of how yesterday had been spent while having my morning cup of coffee. This only took me about five minutes, but it eventually transformed my life. When I glanced back over the weeks, I noticed patterns. And I found that my perception of our life together was very different from what had been taking place. This was a shock. I had prided myself on objectivity. Now I saw that I had none.

The discoveries I made in this way were so astounding that I kept a five-minute diary for five years. During this time, I also timed how long it took to do routine tasks. I wanted to see what was actually happening to me. I thought I knew how much of my day, my week, my life was being spent with various chores, but I decided that I should be thorough with my research.

The results, and the conclusions I was forced to draw from them, were a great surprise. My sense of how long things took was almost never accurate. My intuitive sense of how my time was being invested was nothing like the reality. Writing it down exposed this.

I had to admit it. The way I viewed my life was subjective. I was coming to each day with a preconceived set of expectations, and I was blind to them. They had been with me for so long, I could not recognize them. I peered through them at my world, and they were reflected back to me as reality.

If you were to keep an accurate record of how you spend your time each day, what do you think you might find? How might your perceptions about your time and your life be different from the reality?


  1. Great idea! I am going to try this to see what my reality really is! Should be an eye opener for sure. Have a great day!

  2. I used the Country Diary for this. It's fun and pretty. It's my absolute favorite for Five-Minute Journaling.

    To find it, go here:

    They also still carry a 2009 Diary.

  3. Whoa.
    Well, I'd better try it. Let me see what it exposes.
    Search me, O God...

  4. Very pretty! Thanks for the link! Hope your having a cozy day!


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