An effective journaling strategy.

The benefits of journaling are well known. Many try but few make it a lasting habit. I’m not going to show you how to stick to consistent journaling because there are enough resources on that already. I’m going to show you, someone who’s already solved the problem of consistent journaling, an effective journaling strategy you can use to avoid writing in your journal but never reading your journal.. Journaling is better when you actually revisit what you write from time to time rather than putting what you write away on the shelf, collecting dust forever and ever.

Start with a physical journal

Find a notebook that’ll last you several months to a year and journal in there. I write in a journal almost daily and it took me about six months to fill a 100 page notebook.

Digitize your physical journal

When you finish the notebook copy your journal, entry by entry, to a digital medium. I keep it as simple as possible, saving each entry as a YYYY-MM-DD.txt file.

Pace yourself here. Pause and introspect as you transfer your data from ink and paper to bits and pixels. It can be an arduous process but it’s worth it for several reasons.

It forces you to go back and read what you wrote.

I experience a certain joy revisiting the forgotten experiences and emotions of my past self, reading journal entries and thinking to myself, “oh ya…. that did happen”. I often recall additional pieces of the experience that were left out in the journal.

It’s nice to compare how you acted/reacted to something back then with limited information, with how you would have acted/reacted to the same thing now given the knowledge you have from the consequences of that action.

If introspection is your thing, this journaling strategy is for you.

It puts your journal contents in a safe place.

Files on your computer or, better yet, uploaded to the cloud, are a more permanent place for keeping that precious content. You’ll have it forever… just don’t lose your physical journal before you start uploading!

Rinse and repeat

Find a new notebook and repeat the process. Happy journaling!

Written on June 20, 2020