Journaling for people who don’t like journaling

As I type this, it is March 25th, and I have kept my New Years’ Resolution. I don’t know if I’ll make it through the entire year, but I have definitely done it long enough to make it a habit.

What have I done, and what is my secret?

I have committed to writing in my journal every day. I had a little hiccup towards the end of January. But then I made a little adjustment, and things changed dramatically.

Rather than trying to carry around a paper journal, or even a computer, I have been using a great iPhone app called Day One. And instead of trying to keep a formal journal, I have been maintaining a log book. I’ve written about this before, but a log book is where you make a list of everything you did that day. It sounds rather mundane, but the amazing thing I’ve found is that when you look back at your entries, your brain sort of fills in the gaps of where you were physically, geographically, and emotionally.

Day One is a great app for this type of journal. You can add a photo to every entry, and Day One will grab the GPS info from the photo. It will even fill in the time and weather based on the photo information. But don’t worry – if you think that’s too invasive, you can turn those features off.

One thing that I have found is that the days that I don’t have time to journal are the very days that I wish I had written an entry. Good days where I was on vacation with the family and didn’t want to take the time to write. Or bad days where I just didn’t have it in me to record all the junk I had going on. By doing a log book, you take all that stuff out of the equation. You take 3 minutes and make a list of what you did, and there you go.

Of course you could do more. I still write in a traditional journal in the haphazard fashion I’ve always done. But a log book serves as a great bare bones minimum way to maintain that all important journaling habit through all the ups and downs of life.

Try it. You’ll be glad you did.

(HT: Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist. Great book btw!)