Journaling can have a positive impact on your life when done properly. You set aside time for yourself each day, something that we don’t always get in busy lives.
What you journal about is up to each individual, but it’s generally agreed upon that you should cover a plan for the day, how the day went (or previous day), what you are grateful for, how you are feeling, and why you are feeling that way.
The goal is to improve your life little by little through your writing. If you are seeing a negative trend in what you write, journaling can help you capture that. It’s also a place to ask yourself tough questions and gives you a chance to reflect on them, helping you to reason through them.
- Bullet journaling: write out to-do items and tasks for the day. Things are kept short. Very customizable.
- Interstitial journaling: write out what you’re currently working on. Combines notes about the day, a to-do list, and time tracking
- Use habit-forming techniques to get started and keep contributing.
- Write 2-3 sentences a day to start. Contribute only as much as you feel like; you will contribute more over time.
- Start with talking about key things that happened during the day so you can reflect back on them later.
Digital vs Physical
I have personally found that journaling in a physical notebook to me more effective for me. Because I write slower than I type, I have time to think things through while writing. Phones and computers also are distraction machines, and so without those in front of me I am able to focus better.
I have used a Rhodia Webbie Dot Grid A5 notebook, and will be trying out a Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Dotted notebook next. While you can use any kind of paper, I find that using something that’s high quality incentivizes me to journal more; this triggers the “make it fun” aspect of habit forming.
I have, at one point or another, used the following apps:
- Daylio (Android, iOS). I still use this. Local phone storage with cloud backup. Good for doing frequent check-ins with how you’re generally feeling. 1-5 scale of how you’re feeling, then you can tag that with activities. Takes me less than a minute a few times a day. I don’t use the freeform section of this.
- Day One (Android, iOS). I don’t use this any more. I learned about this app from an Ali Abdaal video. The Android version seems to not get a lot of love, as the website barely advertises it. I ran into issues when it came to tagging. Occasionally what I wrote would get removed (as of Jan 2022). I really liked how it would flash back to previous memories; this was the big selling point for me.
Sourced from the Daily Stoic Podcast, March 20 2022 (7 Ways Marcus Aurelius Will Help You Journal Like A Pro)
- Prepare in the morning. Journal in the morning. Look at what today will bring and how you will respond.
- Keep it to yourself. The content is for you and you only.
- Repeat the most important things. This doesn’t have to be original every day. Just put down what is on your mind.
- Take it out on the page. When stressed or angry, the page is where you sort
“Paper is more patient than people” — Anne Frank
- Copy down your favourite quotes.
- Ask yourself tough questions. Why am I here? Why am I afraid of death? Why did I do something?
- Review in the evening. See what I wrote, and write about the day that passed. What could I have done better?
- Why I started journaling, Herman Martinus
- How I finally get daily journaling done with a workflow on my iPhone, Michael Sliwinski
- 7 Ways Marcus Arelius Will Help You Journal Like A Pro, Daily Stoic Podcast