Have you ever met a friend who always advises you on how to journal? They run circles around you, emphasizing how and why you should journal.
But often, many who are new to this concept feel overwhelmed by it. And it’s quite understandable. So it might seem you have no time for journaling.
This article is for those people. Here I’ll first explain to you a few benefits of journaling. After that, you’ll see what you should put in a journal? Then, I share a simple hack to help you build a consistent journaling habit.
By the end of the article, you’ll have a clear action plan on how you should journal in such a way that you are more productive.
What is Journaling?
Journaling is a simple habit of noting down your thoughts, ideas, intentions, goals, etc. There are many useful purposes of it, the most important ones being – giving you clarity of thought, allowing you to destress and keep a track of your thoughts and ideas.
How to journal to improve your productivity?
Here’s how to combine journaling to boost your productivity.
Write down your goals
Research has proven that writing down your goals helps you achieve them. And when you do it daily, it acts as a powerful reminder to keep pursuing them. It also activates your subconscious mind to spot hidden patterns, opportunities that will take you a step closer to your goal.
For example, consider your goal is to become better at public speaking. When you write it down, you’ll start noticing notable public speakers and be drawn to books and courses that might allow you to reach this goal.
In a way, you are letting your subconscious mind do the work of finding these hidden opportunities.
Pro Tip: Describe your goal as vividly as you can while writing it down.
Count Your Wins And Write Them!
This applies to those who suffer hold a pessimistic view of the world. For these people, the world looks gloomy. Maybe you feel depressed, not knowing whether you could ever change your life around.
Maybe you think your actions are futile, leading to no payoff. So you wonder – why bother trying? I remember this used to be my situation.
However, not everything is as gloomy as it looks. But you have to convince your mind about it.
Believing it on a superficial level, won’t help you make too many changes. You need to hit your subconscious mind to be able to change this mindset.
And the best way to convince your mind to believe in your progress is to ‘show’ it. Noting down your wins helps you do this.
Put down your to-do list and identify your anchor tasks
Maintaining a To-do list is a no-brainer and the most straightforward productivity hack you could ever implement. It gives so much structure to the day and helps you stay organized.
Ideally, you should prepare a to-do list before starting your work. Many people also do this exercise while they journal.
Take this exercise a step further by finding out your anchor tasks and finishing them off during the day!
An anchor task is a task that will make you feel like your day was productive if you accomplish it. Choose only 1 or 2 such tasks, and finish them off.
By finishing your anchor tasks, you send a message to your mind that your day was productive.
Write your thoughts and ideas!
Human beings think roughly around 50 thoughts every minute! That stacks up to many thoughts throughout the day!
Some thoughts are negative while others are positive.
Writing them down helps you destress, clearing your mind of worries. On the other hand, even if you manage to capture 1 useful idea every day or 1 key insight, that will still help you so many things over a course of a month.
How to Journal Correctly?
Now it’s time to put what you learn into practice. I have divided this section into 3 parts – for Beginners, Regulars and Pros.
Spend no more than 2 minutes writing in your journal for 30 days. You heard it right – not a minute more!
If it’s your first time, cultivating the habit is more important! Anyone can get motivated to write a journal for a day, but I want to help you achieve long-term results.
If you want to harvest the benefits, consistency is key.
If journaling feels like another chore, you’re less likely to follow through on it. That’s why at the start, keep the time you need to journal very short.
In this much time, you choose either of the following tasks –
- Write your goals
- ‘3 Things to be grateful for’ Exercise
- Note the 3 Wins You Had During the Day.
Please choose only one, just so that you don’t overwhelm yourself in the beginning!
Avoid jotting down your thoughts and ideas because it often requires more than 2 minutes. Once journaling becomes a habit, you’ll automatically find enough time for this activity!
1 month is enough time to build a solid habit of journaling. And if you follow it for a month, you’ll start to reap a few benefits.
I am currently in this category, even though I’ve been in the realm of regulars and pros in the past.
Once you develop a consistent 2-minute habit, increase your journal time to 5 minutes.
Here you can incorporate 3 or 4 journaling activities. They could be –
- Writing your goals
- 3 Things To Be Grateful For
- Noting 3 Wins
- Putting a to-do list and identifying your anchor tasks
You can also start noting down your ideas and thoughts. Keep it natural and don’t ‘force’ yourself to come up with these.
Once you can invest 10-minutes or more of your time in journaling, you’re in the realm of pros.
I remember sometimes I used to journal for 30 minutes or even more, not just once but twice during a day!
That’s why I understand how free-flowing your thoughts can become once you put pen to paper. It is very addicting!
But also there are many benefits. I can often see my own notes of the past and realize how I have grown as a person. It helped me tremendously to deal with difficult situations when I wanted to vent out my frustrations.
Always after such sessions, my body felt lighter and improved my clarity of thought.
I hope this article has given you clarity on how to journal the right way so that you get more done and give structure to your thinking.
If you’re a beginner, begin journaling, even if it’s for 2-minutes a day.
Once you start devoting more time to journal, make the most out of other exercises mentioned in this article.
Hello! It’s Rana here. On this blog, I write about productivity and self-help. I share my personal experiences and offer solutions that you can use in your life 🙂