Our memory is very fickle. Things that we remember vividly today can be completely forgotten tomorrow. Forgetting important events or things can sometimes result in irreplaceable loss. So, experts (from different area of expertise) always advise on maintaining a record of important things for better recollection and for keeping a track of happenings.
Maintaining a journal can be very helpful in growing healthy orchids. I will explain how to maintain and what are the beneficial uses and shortcomings of journal writing. Let me start with:
Journal: To take up journal writing it is very important to keep this in mind that you should never jot down your notes on loose paper. Always write on a diary, notebook or even spirally bound sheets. Loose sheets can be easily lost. Handwritten journals are better in two ways. One, you can arrange your thoughts in a much coherent manner. Two, if you have a bad handwriting, you can easily keep it private!
Fix a schedule: To maintain a regular journal fix a schedule. Whether writing daily or weekly, set aside a particular time of the day, when you are generally free, for journal writing. This will help you stay focussed.
Pattern/Scheme of: Think up a method of how you will note down things. This way it will be easier for you to note down and also understand your notes later on. For example, plant-wise notes can be maintained. You can also maintain a season-wise journal of orchids, as in those flowering in summers and those in winters. You can note down watering schedules, fertilizing schedules. Attacks of pests and diseases can be noted down as well as the remedial methods adopted.
Regularity: Try to write down regularly and stick to the schedule you have planned. Sometimes, rather most of the time after the initial enthusiasm fades regularity suffers. If regularity is not kept in the journal writing the whole purpose of starting the journal gets defeated.
Date: Always put dates to your notes. So that when you check upon these notes at a later date it would be easier to recall the related weather conditions etc.
Advantages in maintaining a journal
Progress report: Through a journal you can keep a record of growth. As orchids require specific care, your journal can help you in determining what you did right and where you went wrong. Previous years entries can help you avoid mistakes and guide you in giving better care to orchids in the next season.
New ideas: This is a good place to jot down any creative/experimental ideas that pop up now and then in your mind.
Disadvantages in maintaining a journal
I can only think of one:
Regularity: With time, maintaining a regular journal does get a bit tedious, so avoid repeated entries.