At the end of 2005, I realized that I was having a hard time remembering everything that had happened in the past year. I’ve always struggled with keeping a regular journal, or even remembering to make consistent notes on a calendar. That was one of the reasons I initially decided to start a blog - so I would capture more of my everyday life. Even with regular blogging, I felt like time was rushing by too quickly to truly keep track of my memories. I set a goal to sit down at the end of each month to “close it out” with a simple record of what had happened during that time frame. Thus, the monthly roundup was born.
This is my 7th year of using my roundup tool at the end of each month and I can say without any hesitation that it has been the single most useful memory keeping tool I’ve ever used! All you need to do is to answer a few questions at the end of each month. Jot down your answers on a blog, in a journal, or in a word document – whatever works for you. Don’t worry if you miss a month, you can start again at any time. Of course, the more months you do your roundup, the more you will have to refer back to. Before you know it, you will have a monthly index to help you reference your own life!
- What reading/learning did I do this month? (books, blogs, magazines, ebooks, podcasts, classes, etc.)
- What entertainment did I watch/listen to this month? (movies, tv shows, plays, music, concerts, etc.)
- What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?
- What gifts did I give and/or receive?
- What special or unusual purchases did I make?
- What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
- What were my accomplishments this month?
- What were my disappointments this month?
- How did I do on my goals for the month? (Or any current short or long term goals)
- Anything else noteworthy to include?
These are the 10 questions that I use as prompts for each roundup. I don’t always answer every single question, but I find that they help me explore and record the memories of the past month in a simple and concise way.
Sometimes I answer the roundup questions with a bullet list, and other times I may write a paragraph or even more explaining the events that occurred. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do a roundup, just try to include as much detail as you want to remember. You can add more questions if you want or you can choose to answer only a few, feel free to customize this tool to best meet your needs. You might want to explore my years of roundup archives so you can see all the ways I’ve utilized this monthly exercise to help me keep track of my own memories.
If you want a little roundup pride badge (I love badges!) to display on your own roundup post, feel free to copy and paste this one. I'd also love it if you would link back to this post or my blog when you share your roundup so people know where to find the idea.
One final note - Are you wondering what happened to the roundup task list? I have something new in mind for that. I’ve decided that it needs a separate existence from the roundup tool so stay tuned!
Some of my roundup buddies have suggested a linky party so they can share their own roundups here. It’s always inspiring to see how others use the roundup tool to document their month of memories. So if you feel like sharing, we’d love to see your roundup! Just fill in the linky tool below.