Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Maintaining a Personal Journal

Journal Entry: Weight = 176; Coinage =$.76, .28 from a residual walk, 26 pennies, 1 nickel, 2 dimes, 1 quarter; 2 glass bottles retrieved. The external entrances to service bays of automotive garages and body shops are becoming a reliable place to find money.

Feature Entry: The MoneyWalker reluctantly maintains a daily journal. Journals require internal discipline and my orientation is toward obligations to others. But I keep one as a part of my arsenal to fight weight gain and to add interest to my blog. Seeing those daily weight gains or losses on paper locks them into my consciousness and influences my eating choices for the day.

Over time I have developed protocols and specific characteristics of my journal. Each day begins with exact entries including the date, body weight, amount of coinage found including the number of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, and location of major finds. Other protocol entries include glass bottles retrieved and found items such as lighters, hardware, articles of clothing, etc.

After the mandatory protocols of weight and coinage, non-protocol entries include reflections, observations, and feelings about my personal responses to the world of moneywalking. These are occasional entries. If I have a thought for a blog entry theme, the idea is noted for future reference. One recurring thought involves the ethics of finding money. I record “Proustian” thoughts—that is, unsolicited memory recalls from the just completed walk. Recently, I have begun to add phrases and ideas found in blogs that I follow. For example, Twincapes, author of the frugalpirate, blog URL provided this excellent journal entry, “the ongoing search for passive income.”

By nature, the MoneyWalker is not planned and organized, or have neat legible penmanship. Over time, I have learned to be better at both. I use the journal for research and data management. How much have I gained over time? How many quarters have I found in the last six months? Where are the frequent hot spots for finding money? These questions are more easily answered if the journal is neat, the words can be read, and there is order in the entries.

The physical journal is also important. I use a field journal, the type an anthropologist might use. The book is rugged in composition and the pages are ruled with just the correct amount of white space. My current journal is black with an interesting wire binder.

In summary, keep a journal for motivation to lose or maintain weight loss, to keep track of the coinage found, and as a repository of creative thoughts that will get away unless they are captured in narrative. Journal entries are a great way to finish a healthy and invigorating walk.



  1. If you'd like a tool for managing your time and projects, you can use this application inspired by David Allen's GTD:

    You can use it to manage and prioritize your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A mobile version is available too.

  2. Am I reading that you carry the journal with you while you are walking?

    My blog is my journal. It is not nearly as detailed and thought-out as yours. Most of my posts are conceived while on the streets. That is why I often carry a camera with me.

    I dislike scales. Hopefully right after the Cadbury Eggs are gone I will once again bite the bullet and get motivated again. That will necessitate getting back to the numbers. Ugh.

  3. Hey, there is a Jiffy Lube on my Sunday route. I'll give it a try.

  4. Good luck at the Jiffy Lube. I have good luck at two independents, but not so good at Pep Boys and Auto Zone.

    We are doing Easter at Destin, Fl and we will have Cadbury Eggs for sure. I won't be able to face my scales next Monday.

    Concerning my journal, I don't take it on my walks. I weigh before the morning walk, return and have breakfast, then count the coinage and enter all data and perceptions into the journal.