How to maintain an effective journal

Hello everyone!

I’m planning to start a new blog series based on some very common questions we face in our lives. Well I haven’t planned out the exact topics yet, but it would definitely be something based on my personal experiences.

To start with, today I’m going to outline five ways to maintain an effective journal.

When I say effective, it means it should answer the below three questions:
1. Your goals, short term and long term
2. Your plans for achieving those goals
3. Your detailed thought process

Let’s first evaluate the above questions:

There has to be a clear distinction between your daily goals and life long goals. At the same time your daily goals can be aligned in a way to achieve your life long goals.

Before jumping on to planning, learn to plan. Understand what works for you, are you someone who’s comfortable with ticking checklists or someone who likes to have flexibility in planning.

Thought process
Every mind works in it’s own peculiar manner. The point in itself deserves a different blog, but for now all you need to understand is why you make certain decisions. Why did you choose option A over option B, that’s what you need to know.

Let’s get to the point now, how to maintain an effective journal.

1. Date
Seems quite obvious but I have mentioned this point to highlight its importance. Stating a clear date allows you to draw a timeline of your ideas. Imagine yourself reading your journal after a span of let’s say three months. You would realise if you have or haven’t worked on the goals that you set for yourself. This will allow you for further analysis like why you were or were not able to achieve those goals.

2. Bullet points
Arrange your ideas as bullet points with respect to their priority. Also assign a tentative deadline for completion of those tasks. Make sure the deadline is practical. Take into account the many other mundane things you need to perform in your life whilst you are busy achieving your colossal goals.

3. Be concise
It’s your own journal, your own thoughts but it’s better if they are expressed in a concise manner. This allows you to concentrate only on the things that need to be done. Remember the human mind can easily drift away from important things towards petty unwanted distractions therefore it’s better to be concise while journaling.

4. Use a real paper based journal
Well you can always opt for an eco friendly journal, but we tend to remember things more clearly if written with our own hands. This also allows you to scribble and doodle ideas if the case maybe. I mean you could be creative in your journaling process. You can use colourful pens, sticky notes, highlighters etc. to write down your ideas. I have tried using digital journals and the one that I can recommend is called Basic Note. It’s available on Google Play Store.

I use it when I don’t have access to any paper or book around me and then later on copy those ideas on my actual paper based journal. I like it because it’s simple. It’s got very basic functions like making a note or a checklist. Basic editing functions, nothing flashy that’s all you want to expect from a journal, sticking to the point as much as possible.

5. Reading the journal
This is very important. Re-reading your own journal after a stipulated amount of time. Why?
– To keep a check on the timeline of your ideas
– To keep check on how many ideas you have actually started working
– To keep a check on the tasks completed.
– To understand how your mind works.

So this was all that I could gather based on my experience. I am sure all of us who love to maintain journals have our stories to share about journaling and the many small but impactful effects it has left on our lives.

Hope this post is helpful!!

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