5 Ways to Make Journaling More Productive
Wait, should journaling even be productive? Isn’t the point of journaling to just let your mind wander and get some ideas on paper? Yes-absolutely it is that. But sometimes I find that I’m not journaling as often as I could because I don’t really know what I want to get out of that time, or I’m not in the right mood, or haven’t really wound down from the day. I’m working on bringing more writing into my life that’s “less perfect” - more on that in another post, but here are the few ways I’m making the time that I’m journaling feel more productive.
1 | Set an Intention
Too often, I sit down with a pen in hand because I feel like that’s just the self-care thing we’re supposed to do. Shifting my mindset slightly and giving myself a guiding thought about what I’m writing has really helped that process. I start every session with telling myself, “Today I’m writing about….” The answer can be as simple as my day, or what I’m feeling, or even a few notes on plans and ideas. Setting up that little intention, even for just a few moments with the pen makes a difference for me.
2 | Set a Timer
We’re not writing the next great American novel here friends. (Or maybe we are….a sliver at a time!) Journaling can feel overwhelming but doing it in discrete chunks of time makes a huge difference. Commit to even five minutes where you just let the pen (or keyboard) fly and see what comes of it. It’s habit that builds a self reflection muscle, so enjoy the process and consistency.
3 | Set the Space
I find keeping a journal by my bed unproductive. I almost never want to pick up a pen at the tail end of my day, so putting it somewhere else in the house I might actually get to it works better for me. Leaving it on a coffee table or even having a small notepad in my purse makes it more likely I’ll turn to it when I have a moment of inspiration strike.
4 | Use Prompts
Some days are just sticky. Writing prompts and fun questions can get the winds of self-reflection going. A number of websites have options and journals like this one have all kinds of inspiration scattered through the pages to make it a bit of a journey instead of staring at blank pages.
5 | Make it Simpler
Again, this doesn’t have to be a heavy lift. Since consistency is key with journaling leading to it feeling more like a self-care exercise than a chore, make it simple. Some days, it might simply be a single statement about your day or even one or two powerful words that came up for you. Note the date, add a little doodle, whatever comes to you. These small breadcrumbs of thought still paint a trail of your year and life if done thoughtfully and consistently.