This is a Tidbit Tuesday post. These are meant to be quick wins for you to try out for the next week. Usually they’re little habits that can have a little impact, but today’s is a little habit with a HUGE impact. You ready?
I have read from many different sources over the years (and you probably have too) about how important journaling is for your mental health, clarity, productivity, personal growth, and creativity, to name a few.
Don’t believe me? Google “benefits of journaling” and be prepared to be buried in anecdotal evidence and scientific studies.
For example, here’s an article from the Huffington post at the top of that Google search result, a post I got today from Ryan Holiday, and a link to one of the best examples of using journaling for self improvement from good, ole Ben Franklin. (I’ll do a deeper dive on that autobiography soon because holy personal growth, Batman!)
There are many different types of journaling, so don’t think that it’s only writing about what happened to you today, especially if that bores the snot out of you. It also doesn’t have to take a lot of time or be difficult. It can be as simple as a to-do list.
For example, here are my top 3 forms of journaling from my own personal stash…
If you are interested at all in productivity, you have likely heard about Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal and if you haven’t heard about it, you’ve likely seen them around. It’s all the rage in the productivity circles and they are everywhere.
A bullet journal can be many things to many people, but for me, it’s pretty much a notebook I turn to when I need to note something about a project, brainstorm, or get some tasks out of my head. I heavily use the “daily logs” where I write down whatever comes into my head during the day in the order it comes to me. No rules other than to get it down on paper (or on your phone) before it disappears.
Sometimes I try to get fancy and add some habit trackers, but eventually those fall to the wayside and I’m back again to my daily logs.
This is the best thing that has happened to my productivity. No joke.
Ever try to concentrate and your brain won’t shut up and focus? Try morning pages.
No, they do not need to be done in the morning. That’s what Julia Cameron named them because that’s when she uses them to get creative for her morning writing session, but you can use them whenever you want. Because you’re a damn adult.
Morning pages are a stream of consciousness for 3 pages straight. A braindump to the max! You write and write and write and when your brain falls silent, you write that your brain is quiet. The key is constant writing for 3 pages straight.
Talk about curing a wandering mind.
Insider tip: Julia says that you don’t need to review your morning pages, but I do because I often have to-do items that pop up in there and I don’t want to lose track of them! Guess where I put those to-do’s? That’s right! In my bullet journal.
Ok, this may be a name I just made up, but I don’t know what else to call it. This is my mental health journal. I usually only write in it when I am overwhelmed or pissed off about something or when I’m really struggling to come to terms with something and I just can’t get over it.
This journal is not for public consumption because when I’m pissed, I’m a really big a-hole that is often wallowing in selfish, childish thoughts and I don’t want anybody else to read them. It is the cheapest form of therapy I have found.
This is the most important tool for my mental health and one that I should use more often, if I’m honest.
If you’re looking for more examples of different ways to journal, check out this post from Ryan Holiday. He lists out his favorite way to journal and lists more examples that I didn’t cover here.
(By the way, if you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge fan of Ryan. If you’re not following him, you should.)
OK, ready for a challenge?
A challenge for me…
Even though I do those forms of journaling I’ve listed above when I need them, I still feel that I could benefit more if I journaled more, added some other forms or styles of it, and did it more consistently. So, I’m going to try Ryan’s method of journaling this week and will report back on how it goes.
And a challenge for you…
Try journaling if you haven’t yet and if you are a regular journaler, try a different form of it this week. Pay attention to any shifts that may be happening in your way of thinking, habits, or happiness and let me know how it went in the comments.