How An“Experience Journal” Will Turbocharge Your Daily Writing And Ease Your Anxiety…

All You Need Is A $2.00 Notebook and 15 Minutes Before Bed

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Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Why Consistent Journaling Is So Hard

Everyone I meet talks about the virtue of keeping a journal. Only a handful of people do it. I understand the struggle to keep it up. It requires time and attention, your most precious resources. Plus, some of the journal techniques championed by guru’s are difficult and a bit cheesy. Yeah, I tried the gratitude journal. It felt forced and phony. I couldn’t sustain it.

The Tools

You don’t need a leather bound book with your family emblem monogrammed on the front. I use a cheap spiral bound notebook. You can buy them at Target for $1.99 each. A 100-page spiral notebook will last you two to three months.

What Goes In Your Journal

Where do you get the information to fill up your journal? You write about the experiences, observations and thoughts from your day. This exercise will help you build a critical skill — Observation. I don’t mean passive observation like sitting on a park bench, mindlessly watching people. I mean active observation. Keep a pen and notepad handy all day, or at least your phone. I typically take notes in my iPhone. I open up a blank email and type in any interesting observations, experiences or thoughts. I’ll then email the list to myself at night. It’s embarrassingly low tech. I know. Sorry, there’s no app. Feel free to adapt this system to your needs. Just find somewhere to record your information.

The most meaningful life experiences are realized only upon written reflection

The Process

Begin your journaling each night before you go to bed. In your journal, you will fill up an entire page of experiences, thoughts or struggles from your day.

  1. What thoughts did you obsess over throughout the day?
  2. What worries monopolized your thoughts?
  3. What idea challenged you?
  4. What question do you need answered?
  5. What did you reminisce about?
  6. What angered you today?

Potential Adversity

What happens when you sit down to write, and your mind goes blank?

Still Struggling?

Pick out the mundane events from your day. Let’s suppose you commute to work each day. Did you witness a disabled car on the side of the road? Was there a broken traffic light? Did someone cut you off? Start broad and then dial into the specifics.

My Journal — Fuel For Writing

Each morning, I put a check mark next to three to five journal entries. Then, I forget about it for an hour. I let it stew in my subconscious. Later, I sit down to write. I pick one entry that seems most interesting that I can tie in with a lesson or learning opportunity. Then I write about it.

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A sample of my daily journal. I hid personal info, but you get the idea.

A life worth living is a life worth recording — Jim Rohn

Written by

Experimenter in life, productivity, and creativity. Work in Forge | Elemental | Business Insider | GMP | Contact: barry@barry-davret dot com.

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