Last week in the New York Times, David Leonhardt wrote an op-ed called You’re Too Busy. You Need a ‘Shultz Hour.’ A Shultz Hour is named after a former United States secretary of state who used to put aside an hour each week with a pen and paper for thoughtful reflection. This idea seems to have resonated with many people. I heard Nora Young discuss it on her CBC program Spark. Scheduling quiet time intuitively seems wise to me but what caught my attention is that he used a pen and paper as an aid to reflection. Studies have shown that handwriting activates the brain in a different way than typing.
I think this handwriting/brain connect is also behind the popularity of bullet journals even in this age of electronic devices like computers, phones, or tablets to keep track of your day. With a pen and paper you are forced to slow down and reflect on what you have done and what needs to be done. I don’t personally keep a bullet journal because I like to keep my professional and personal life separate, but I do see the appeal. Sometimes slowing down can be more efficient.
While I am a big believer in daily practice, I don’t usually spend much time on my diary, just jotting down some thoughts at the end of the day. In a similar way, I have been trying to learn Spanish by spending a few minutes a day on Duolingo. I have been wondering what I might accomplish if I put aside a full hour once a week for either journaling or Spanish study. So yesterday I did just that, I spent a whole hour doing Spanish worksheets. The time went by surprisingly fast. I don’t know how I can measure if I learned more by writing things out but I think it was a good exercise.