Journal, diary, captain’s log, whatever you call it – I used to fucking hate that shit!
What a waste of time writing about things when you could be doing them instead.
I’ve changed my view, and I now use a professional journal every day. Let me explain how it helps.
- Clearing the mind and focusing your thoughts.
- Setting goals and working towards them.
- Being able to go back in time to see what you did.
- Remembering what you decided and how you reasoned about it.
These benefits reveal a pattern – it’s like upgrading your brain.
Having a journal gives you a way to reason about ideas and then be able to reactivate those memories on request. It’s the next best thing to actually plugging a computer into the brain.
Above all, keeping a dialogue with someone, or a journal, is a great way to organize information in your brain. Humans are amazingly good at distilling fuzzy internal thoughts into comprehensive speech.
I usually stick to this structure:
- One Google Docs document per month.
- New page at end of week (ctrl+enter).
- Date and name of day.
- Goals for the day.
- Free writing: progress, decisions, reasoning, links, etc.
- At the end of the day I reflect on what I achieved.
This is all accompanied by Google Calendar for scheduled things, and Trello for tracking stories and tasks (this is a topic for another day).
Like I said, keeping a journal is like upgrading your brain. If you haven’t tried it already, create a document right now and try it for two weeks!