Journals are really great ways to keep your thoughts organized and keep you sane. It's like a great add-on to meditation. Really helps clear your mind. I love to see what others are doing with their journals, so today I'm sharing how my journal looks, what I put in it and why it's important to have one (and use it regularly).
tldr: journals are cool and you should use one regularly. Here's mine.
Some people love digital journals, I prefer the good ol fashioned paper and pen type. It has a certain mindfulness feeling to it that you just don't get from a digital one. It's just me and my thoughts there. I also like my journal to be as simple as possible. Nothing fancy.
As you can see in the image above my journal is as plain as you can get. It's a simple manilla-cardboard cover, decently flabby yet rigid enough to hold things together. The pages inside are plain lined paper. Nothing more, nothing less.
I'd tell you what company this is or where I got it, but there are no markings on the journal except my own and I don't remember where I found it. Though I can tell you it can in a set of three and was near the MoleSkin section.
I did decorate the cover though. As there were three journals to use, I use each for it's own specific purpose. The one in the picture above is for my personal thoughts and sanity. I have another journal just for my notes, thoughts and theories (and journal entries) on organizational consulting and the third one is for my internet marketing and professional career journal and notes.
What I write in my personal journal
I found it helpful to write down everything. And I do mean every. Single. Thing. Period. This helps clear my mind and lets me move past a lot of issues. It's almost as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
There is a system to my entries though, each follows a general template and most follow a set pattern. I start out by writing in big bold letters the three letter short version of the month, then the date (and year), and then day of the week in paranthesis and end with the time I'm starting to write. For example, if this post were a journal entry it would start with:
April 10th, 2013 (Thursday) – 10:04am
After that I give a list of some things that interest me and help me get a high level overview of myself. I write down my overall mood, the weather, the current music I'm listening to, where I am when writing it, my latest achievement, my latest failure (plus possible tip on how to mitigate it in the future + improve) and only then do I start writing all my thoughts. So today would look something like:
Mood: Good, but a little bit tired from lack of sun.
Weather: very cold, raining, heavy wind and no sun at all.
Music: Epic music mix (youtube)
Location: Standing desk in home office
Latest Achievement: Successfully convinced prospect to go from a money only (budget oriented) mindset to a value + quality mindset.
Latest Failure: Didn't follow through with morning work-out routine. Can possibly improve by setting work-out cloths out and ready in morning and then replacing morning bad stimulus with better more goal oriented items (such as business book instead of reddit).
After that I just start writing. Usually, I start out with my current mental state, what's causing my worry and stress and then explain myself to myself. Most of the time, by the time I'm done writing that I've helped cure my stress by figuring out a good solution and seen myself and my actions from an objective point of view and therefor created future mindsets and plans to improve. I also write about my relationship, my physical activities (or there lack of) and things I'd like to help myself improve. Sometimes I even write about solutions I've found to interesting problems.
Writing really helps me work out a lot of issues objectively and helps me understand the world around me.
Why Journal writing is important
This can be explained in two words: self help. For many people writing in a journal regularly helps them:
- alleviate stress
- work out internal issues
- clear the mind in-order to make room for more important things and creativity
- helps you forget things that shouldn't be remembered
- helps you remember and lock in the things you should remember
- serve as a reference tool for the future
- lets you see things from high perspective
- motivates you because it helps organize your thoughts
I recommend that everyone should try writing in a journal for 30 days. If after that time it really hasn't helped work out some issues, calm you down or at least sorted some things out for you then that's fine. Maybe it really isn't for you. But give it a good try. It's helped countless amounts of people, so there's a good chance it'll help you.
If you write in a journal, what does yours look like? Share a picture.