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The Productive Benefits of Journaling (plus 11 ideas for getting started)

Journaling approaches

  • The Gratitude Journal: Simply write about something that you’re grateful for.
  • Morning Pages: Before starting work each day, write 3 pages, long-hand, of anything that crosses your mind, to clear your head.
  • The Goal Journal: Incorporating your goals into a daily journal is a huge step to getting them done.
  • The Values Journal: Identify the values that are important to you. Then write about how the events of your day connect back to your values.
  • The Curiosity Journal: Challenge yourself to write about one thing every day that made you stop and ask a question.

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The Productive Benefits of Journaling (plus 11 ideas for getting started)

The Productive Benefits of Journaling (plus 11 ideas for getting started)

https://doist.com/blog/benefits-of-journaling/

doist.com

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Key Ideas

What you write, you learn

The key to learning is to stop passively consuming information and start actively engaging with the ideas we encounter.

One effective way researchers have found to reinforce learning is through reflective writing: It promotes the brain’s attentive focus, boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns and gives the brain time for reflection.

What you write, you control

  • Recording your thoughts in a medium outside your own head helps your mind to become quieter: It stops returning to the same worn-out mental loops over and over. 
  • When you recount and reflect upon your thoughts and experiences you are, in effect, telling your own story. Journaling helps us clarify, edit, and find new meaning in these narratives.

Journaling and personal goals

Journaling about your goals helps you clarify what you want and encourages you to consider the why and how not just the what

It serves as a tool for identifying what you should prioritize on a daily basis, and what you should let go of. And it also gives you a record of the progress you’ve made toward your goals to keep you motivated.

Getting the most out of journaling

  • Use pen and paper, to reap the psychological and productive benefits of journaling;
  • Make it a habit: Keep your journal in the same spot where you’ll see it at the same time every day.
  • Embrace slowness. Resist the instinct to rush through it to get to the next thing.
  • Don’t edit; just write.
  • Experiment and find out which approaches work best for you.

Journaling approaches

  • The Gratitude Journal: Simply write about something that you’re grateful for.
  • Morning Pages: Before starting work each day, write 3 pages, long-hand, of anything that crosses your mind, to clear your head.
  • The Goal Journal: Incorporating your goals into a daily journal is a huge step to getting them done.
  • The Values Journal: Identify the values that are important to you. Then write about how the events of your day connect back to your values.
  • The Curiosity Journal: Challenge yourself to write about one thing every day that made you stop and ask a question.

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Journaling as self-improvement tool

The practical reason to keep a journal: To manage yourself. Most of us still see journaling as a hobby, something that we do for fun or to relax. Sure, those reasons might be true for some. Bu...

The quality of your thoughts
You truly get to know the quality of your thoughts when you write them down: how good of a thinker you are, how to make decisions and if they make sense, your goals, priorities, etc.
Things to write about in your journal
  • Write about your activities.
  • Write about what scares you.
  • Write about your decisions.

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Writing about our personal values can make us feel loving, powerful, connected and in control while increasing our sense of power and empathy. It also makes us connect them with the events in our l...

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Three-step action of working with your personal values:

  • List out and elaborate on your core values.
  • Conduct a self-assessment of how you have lived and worked by those core values in the past year.
  • Hold yourself accountable for the misses and unachieved value-targets, if any.

This self-assessment is essential towards improving your life and the ability to manage stressful events and circumstances.

Learning from old experiences
Learning from old experiences

When looking back on her previous journal entries, Virginia Woolf remarked that she often found the significance to lie where she never saw it at the time.

Reading...

Journaling sharpens your memory

Our beliefs change slowly as we gain experience. Journal entries remind you of how you once thought.

Time will change your face without you noticing, but it will also change your thoughts without you realizing it.

Journaling motivates you

There is something about knowing that your day will be recorded that makes you want to make at least one good choice before the sun sets.

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Your first notebook will be your learning notebook. Like any productivity method, it will take time to find a bullet journaling flow and structure that works for you. 

Any creative en...

The first steps

  1. Get a Journal and Writing Utensils
  2. Start an Index Page: The backbone of your BuJo system, like a table of contents in a book
  3. Create Logs - places where you can brain-dump tasks, projects, goals
  4. Pick Signifiers: Many people use bullets for lists of tasks, circles for events, and dashes for notes. 
  5. Document Items with Collections: Collections are running lists and anything you want to remember for later(like blog topics, books you want to read etc.)

The 3 common types of logs:
  • A future log helps you keep track of items that aren’t yet on your immediate radar.
  • Monthly logs include things like calendars and categorized goal lists for the next 30 days.
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Benefits of journaling
Benefits of journaling

Journaling can help with personal growth and development. By regularly recording your thoughts, you will gain insight into your behaviors and moods.

Journaling can ...

Journaling: An effective tool
  • Journaling can be used to sort through turbulent emotions and to discover hidden lessons from your experience.
  • Art journaling: using mixed media can help you express yourself in refreshing and unusual ways.
  • Journals can help you reflect. Journaling is a method of allowing the light of understanding and compassion to shine on your past.
Tips to get started with journaling
  • Start writing about where you are in your life at this moment. Describe your living situation, your work, and your relationships.
  • Don’t edit your thoughts or feelings and don’t correct your grammar. Don’t censor your thoughts.
  • If there’s something you are struggling with or an event that’s disturbing you, write about it in the third person.

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Getting Through the Hard Stuff with Journaling
  • Journaling is the act of processing the past (and even the future) in the here and now.
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Integrating journaling in your daily life
Integrating journaling in your daily life

The biggest mistake is to journal only in reaction to something that is going on, instead of letting it be part of a system.

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Benefits of a journal
  • When you keep a journal, you can look back on important life events to read about how you felt at the time. You may also be able to learn from these past experiences.
  • Writing about traumatic events results in physical and psychological health benefits. Journaling focuses on understanding traumatic events and makes people see these events with an extra level of clarity.
Schedule journaling time

Start your daily journal off on the right foot by scheduling your writing for a set time every day.

  • If you find your mind is most active in the morning, wake up 15 to 20 minutes earlier and jot down your thoughts then.
  • If you prefer to record everything after the day is over, then make it an evening activity before you go to bed.

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The journaling trap

By examining positive moments too closely, we suck the joy right out of them. 

Therefore, when seeking insights from journaling, explore the negative and not overthink the...

Discharging emotions

Using journaling solely as an outlet for discharging emotions may suck the insight right out of the experience.

The benefits of expressive writing only emerge when we write about both the factual and the emotional aspects of the events we’re describing—neither on its own is effective in producing insight.

Moderation, even in reflection

To ensure maximum benefits, it’s probably best that you don’t write every day in your journal. 

People should not write about a horrible event for more than a couple of weeks. You risk getting into a sort of cycle of self-pity. But standing back every now and then and evaluating where you are in life is really important

Bullet journal...

...is a planner system devised by Ryder Carrol.

It is a blank journal that houses a combination of certain elements, that allow you to plan for the future, track the past, and keep your sanit...

Supplies needed to get started with BuJo

You can start a bullet journal in pretty much any empty notebook that you have lying around. That’s all you need. A journal and a pen. 

However, it is much more likely to use a bullet journal every day when getting some joy from the materials you're using. That means that a nicer journal and some bright, funky pens are also a great way to get started and enjoy the process a bit more. 

Future Log

A page where you can write down any future appointments or dates for a month you haven’t set up yet

That way you can easily reference it to see if there’s a dentist appointment coming up or a deadline sneaking up on you.

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Journaling as therapy

Labeling emotions and acknowledging traumatic events, both natural outcomes of journaling, have a known positive effect on people, and are often incorporated into traditional talk therapy.

Morning Pages

3 pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-conscious, done as soon as one wakes.

They are not meant to be art. Or even writing. They need not be smart, or funny, or particularly deep. It's a form of “brain drain”, a way to expel all that angry, petty stuff that spirals through our subconscious and muddies our days.

Benefits of Journaling
  • Boost in mindfulness
  • Better memory
  • Better communication skills
  • Improves mental health
  • Better sleep
  • A stronger immune system
  • More self-confidence
  • Higher I.Q.