Context clues

This first exercise has two parts; we’ll review the first part today and then complete the work tomorrow. Here’s the basic idea:

One strategy for learning to read (or improving reading skills) is looking for context clues – familiar words and sentences around an unfamiliar word that help the reader de-code the unfamiliar word.

One strategy for finding forward-looking clarity is looking through the recent past for similar kinds of clues that can lead to new insight.

Ready to start?

If you downloaded the “Your First 100 Days” workbook in yesterday’s post, then you’ve already got the worksheet for this particular exercise (see image, below). If you didn’t download the workbook (or you just want to do your own thing, your way), then just grab a sheet of paper and a pen and jump in.

Here’s how I approach this particular exercise:

  • I look through the prior year’s calendar (my Ink+Volt planner), making notes on the “Year in Review” grid about each month – goals, accomplishments, events, etc. I make these notes without interpretation or judgment.
  • I look through the prior year’s social media feed (mine only) and add details to the grid.
  • I look through my notes (variety of places – all on paper), and add anything that sticks out as relevant.
  • I set the grid aside and go for a walk (or clean the kitchen).

The work takes about 30-60 minutes, not including the walk (or kitchen cleaning).

After taking that break, I come back to the grid with a highlighter or different colored pen, and I circle/highlight the items that stand out as being most significant. More on that part of the process, tomorrow.

Your homework for today, if you’re interested:

Review your 2022, looking at it as an outside observer and making notes about the events and experiences that stand out as significant. Observe without judging or interpreting, and then walk away from your notes for a little while.

The purpose of this first exercise is to gather clues, not draw meaning from them.