Letterman might be off air but his top ten lists provide a framework for me to highlight information I want to share with you and keep in my own brain. Today I was reflecting on the importance of record keeping and this top ten list took shape (This blog began over 10 years ago as a way for me to record keep along with the course maps I annotate to this day!)
Record keeping provides
10. Accomplishment: Record keeping gives you a sense of further accomplishment – there is a pride in the act of record keeping that is worth internalizing! Yay you!
9. Proactivity (yes I made the word up!) : Record keeping identifies gaps and holes that you can fill in – if you miss 4 contacts 5 sessions in a row you can see that and remedy it rather than worrying about contacts with no real sense of why you worry.
8. Connection: Good records let you match beliefs to facts – is your front really straighter than two months ago? Check! This connection can also be a reminder that the path in dog training is not always strictly linear – it can be circuitous and wobbly. Good records are a little like training wheels on a bike – they can keep you moving forward and reaching outwards even when you get off kilter!
7. Efficiency: When you record keep it reduces your thinking and wondering time – should you work on weaves again? How long ago did you last train them? How did it go? Planning is easier in the face of good record keeping.
6. Autonomy: You get to pick how, when and what you record keep. No judgement, no peanut gallery. There are lots of different ways – and all work just fine!
5. Creative outlet who doesn’t appreciate pretty systems, whiteboards and new pens? Again though – make it work for you – no need for fancy if a + on training days is as much as you can manage right now – the full working process that is best for you can be built gradually!
4. Motivation: Especially if persistence is your downfall keeping records can help There are three elements of motivation that have particular application to dog training – records can help with each one. (Sam needs no record of his stick management program but it amuses me so I keep them occasionally!)
3. Goal Setting help: Determining the right process or outcome goals can be tricky – good records for training and showing will help you decide when a goal is met, or needs adjustment
2. Time Management: for both extremes – the 3 minute trainers and hour and half trainers can see how time gets used which improves planning
1. Memories: You can treasure your trials, triumphs and successes as long as you want Looking back on Brody’s trial note or Wyn’s training records can always put a smile on my face or fill my heart a little.
So many great reasons to figure out a record keeping system that works for you. But right there is a KEY piece many people forget- your system has to work for you – if it’s video, paper, audio notes, a system of symbols – whatever – it’s great as long as it works for you!
If you aren’t sure about your record keeping and motivation skills my No More Excuses course runs this term at FDSA – click HERE to register (a bronze spot is only $65 which works out to a heck of deal when you know there are over 20 lectures already loaded!!)