When I hear of people journaling, I get a quick vision of the 13 year old writing in their diary about how their crush may or may not have looked their direction that day. I don’t get a vision of something that can have a direct and immediate impact on my daily productivity. Turns out, I was super wrong.
Upon being introduced to the benefits of journaling as an adult, it quickly began to fill together in my head. It isn’t just about writing about your day, it’s about recognizing these important (or unimportant) moments when they’re happening. In recognizing them, we can adjust how we react to them in a meaningful way. That’s exactly what journaling does for us.
Finding the Right Place to Start Journaling
To start, I’m using a pre-made solution, The Five-Minute Journal (available in physical and app-based versions), that’s created with this intention. It’s nice to have something designed with this in mind, but also serves to give me time to come up with a system that will work for me in the long run.
As the name implies, it only takes five minutes to fill out each day, removing the excuse of “I don’t have the time for that” from the equation. It accomplishes this by splitting your daily journal into two sections: Day and Night.
In the morning, you fill out three sections: I am grateful for…, What would make today great?, and Daily affirmations. I am…” These are designed to get your day started on the right message. You know that there’s purpose in daily life, you set daily goals for yourself, and you hype yourself up with a little sentence about how great you are. Unsurprisingly, it works wonders, especially if you have a busy day ahead of you.
By outlining my priorities every single morning, I get a more personal and actionable idea of what my day really needs to look like to accomplish these things. This has been invaluable when it comes to increasing my productivity and seeing better results across all facets of my work.
Then, right before bed, you filled out the night section: 3 Amazing things that happened today and How could I have made today even better? These help you to reflect on your day and see how you fulfilled the daily goals that you had set for yourself. It’s not there to guilt you for missing out on them or not fulfilling what you planned for the day, it’s simply there to allow you to recognize these moments and see how they affect your daily life.
This is a massive help when I have one of those that feels so busy, but I don’t have that feeling of actually accomplishing anything. In forcing myself to outline three amazing things that happened, I can more easily recognize the small wins.
Simply making it this journal a part of my morning and evening routines has done wonder for my self-confidence and self-worth. It allows me to take pride in the little things, not just the things that you can measure visibly. Most importantly, doing this allows you to ease into the practice of setting up morning and evening rituals, which is one of the most immediate, positive changes you can make in your life. Since starting this, I have found a notable increase in my drive, focus, and productivity in completing what really matters to me.
Do yourself a favor: give journaling a shot. You can try it on your own, but I recommend The Five-Minute Journal if only because of its guidance and low barrier of entry.
It only takes five minutes a day. Use those five minutes to make yourself better. You’ll thank yourself in the end.