Interstitial journaling: combining notes, to-do and time tracking - Deepstash

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What is interstitial journaling?

Interstitial journaling is a productivity technique created by Tony Stubblebine. To my knowledge, it’s the simplest way to combine note-taking, tasks, and time tracking in one unique workflow.

Interstitial journaling has had an amazing impact on my productivity and creativity, and I think many people would enjoy it.

The basic idea of interstitial journaling is to write a few lines every time you take a break, and to track the exact time you are taking these notes.

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Making your breaks more mindful

I love interstitial journaling because it’s a great way to make your breaks more mindful.

  • Proactive breaks: reflect on your previous task, plan for the next one, take your own mental pulse, jot down anything else that comes to mind so as to reduce your cognitive load.
  • Procrastination breaks: become aware of these breaks and how long they actually take. When you create the habit of writing down all your breaks, it becomes easier to not open a new tab to “quickly” check Twitter.

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Keeping an interstitial journal in Roam Research

Keeping an interstitial journal in Roam Research

  • Track time. Type /time to insert the current time, then type whatever you are thinking about.
  • Track tasks. Type /todo to create to-do items.
  • Track content. 
  • Track ideas. Similarly, if you think of something else you’d like to do today, just add it as a to-do.
  • Track well-being. I like to start my work day with a quick note checking in on how I feel, anything that’s been sometimes literally keeping me up at night, any major roadblock I’m anticipating for the day.

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Ness Labs provides content, coaching, courses and community to help makers put their minds at work. Apply evidence-based strategies to your daily life, discover the latest in neuroscience research, and connect with fellow curious minds.

I genuinely feel silly writing out these instructions. It’s an incredibly simple system to make your journal more actionable—or to actually start a journaling practice. As always, it may not be for everyone, but it’s done wonders for me. I still use Plus Minus Next journaling for my weekly review, and interstitial journaling makes it even easier to go back to see what went well and what didn’t during your week.

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