Looking to simplify your journaling practice and make it effortlessly effective? You’re in the right place! We’ll reveal three fantastic techniques that will transform your journaling experience from daunting to delightful. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you’ll be able to streamline your journaling process and tap into the powerful benefits it offers. So, let’s dive in and uncover how to make your journaling practice mind-numbingly simple!
Three Ways to Simplify Your Journaling Practice
- The simplest way: transform journaling into a daily checklist of ten items that you want to think about or do something about. Namely: current issues, projects, networking, and so forth. Spend a few minutes thinking about each item and see what comes to mind. Write down your quick answers or updates. Done? Check it off!
- Simple: Come up with 3–5 questions you want to ask yourself or topics you think would be good prompts for journal entries.
- A little less simple: Make each entry in your notebook incredibly brief and easy. It could be as little as one sentence per day for a week just to get into it. Gradually, make your entries longer by challenging yourself to write two-three sentences or a paragraph more next time.
Create a form with the top questions and topics that are current for you in your life and work, allowing enough space for each to fill in the answers. Print out a stack of these forms and place them on your desk, bed table, or any visible spot in your home, so they’re available when inspiration hits, and make you ask yourself: “why not write an entry?” Collect your completed forms in a folder or staple them together and Voila!
Again, turn this into a game. Don’t worry about what you write about. Remember Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages advice: vent about anything that fills your mind that day. For now, it’s all about getting over your aversion to journaling.
After, say, a month of going basic, two things should start to happen:
- You realize that it’s not so hard to build a regular journaling practice. You actually start to maybe even look forward to your journal entry (whatever your cadence) and mark it as complete.
- You realize that there are things you want to write about. Maybe they’re starting to bubble up in your mind as you’re writing. You may not be quite ready to devote a whole entry to any one of them, but they’re starting to manifest themselves and become more obvious in your awareness.
If you’re feeling that this process is starting to cook, and you’re feeling more confident about how to journal, take it to the next step. Consider using one of your journaling practice sessions to really address that idea in depth. Take more time to think through your ideas, and/or use more space if the ideas are flowing. Don’t over-commit if you’re not ready! It’s OK to keep to your Simple strategy for a while and let the process grow organically.
Give It Time!
Like any habit you’re trying to develop, it has to take hold naturally. You can set yourself up for success by going slow and teasing yourself into it. Be patient and do not expect immediate results.
A great way to learn how to journal consistently and transform it into a routine you enjoy is to follow the rewarding technique James Clear suggests in his book Atomic Habits. More specifically, Clear recommends using rewards to incentivize yourself to build positive habits.
For example, you can treat yourself with something you enjoy after every time you have journaled for a certain amount of time. This way, you will associate your journaling practice with a positive experience, and you will be more likely to stick with it.
Reaping the Rewards of Your Journaling Practice
Once you get past the hesitation or aversion stage, and you start seeing: a) the value, and b) that you can actually do it, you can begin to apply it to work and your career.
Now that you’ve started to bridge the communication gap between your conscious mind and your intuition, ask for answers. You can gain insight into your professional goals and challenges and even identify patterns and habits that may be hindering your life or career progress and come up with strategies to overcome them.
To access that knowledge, set clear intentions for the answers you’re seeking and the problems or opportunities you want to clarify. Be as specific as possible and refine your ideas, intentions, and questions repeatedly if necessary, until you’re clear on what you’re looking for.
The Universe Is Listening
Amazingly, the more you keep at this, you will likely start getting answers. They may come as you’re journaling — or in the shower, or while you’re at the gym, or in a meeting.
Sometimes they may not be what you want to hear. Maybe your intuition has a better handle on what’s best for you. But it’s your choice as to what you do with those answers or whether you act on them. The key is to not be afraid to negotiate with them! Keep the dialog going. Again, this is a process of getting to know yourself on more levels. When you learn how to journal effectively, you’re creating a forum for all the parts of you to come together and learn from one another..
Bottom Line: You Are Amazing on the Inside. Take Advantage of It!
We are multidimensional beings. As we grow older and gain more life experience, those dimensions become more accessible.
Your journaling practice plays a crucial role in this process by bringing to the surface that inner insight that also helps us think more strategically and with greater perspective. This ability is invaluable in today’s fast-paced and competitive world if we want to stand out and find success.
We no longer can compete on skills alone. So, we need that insight as well as the curiosity to navigate the unknown and pursue the questions to that we have no immediate (conscious) answers. Learning how to journal efficiently can be a powerful way to help you in your journaling practice and unlock your full potential.
John Turnoff is an experienced executive and career transition coach empowering mid-career professionals to secure rewarding positions, craft purposeful careers, and tell their unique stories. He specializes in networking, resume development, online profiles, and interview preparation.