History is packed with many famous and successful (and unsuccessful) people who kept a journal. Visionaries like Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain and Thomas Edison are only to name some.
I don’t exactly know what those people wrote about but from my research I think they mainly wrote about their thoughts, experiences and experiments, ideas and perhaps whatever happened to them everyday. Mark Twain kept 40-50 pocket notebooks over four decades of his life. Benjamin Franklin had one about living his 13 virtues. Every time he did a task that was in content with the virtue, he would put a dot (•) in line with the virtue in his notebook
I have been keeping two kinds of journals and filling them up everyday (rarely missing a day) for 3 months now and here’s what I have learned with the experimentation which I’m very much in love with now:
My first journal was chiefly for writing anything and everything important, and a good or bad event that happened on a particular day.:
At times, about my thoughts and ideas, about the things that I learned that day and sometimes whatever came to my mind really. Simply put—this first journal records my entire day and lets me review myself and my actions for the day. I would do this 2-3 x a day. Compulsorily in the morning and night.
Second is the Five Minute Journal. I was very lucky to have found about this from one of the great videos of Tim Ferris. The Five Minute Journal is fundamentally created to make you feel more focused and self-aware. And it takes only five minutes! It has 6 questions/spaces to fill out. In the morning you write the “Quote for the day”, 3 things you are grateful for. 3 things that would make today great. And a few I am… daily affirmations. After the day is complete, at night you fill out “3 amazing things that happened today” and “how could I have made today even better?”
Only answering these six questions everyday is a game changer. It’s one of the best things to be able to focus on your important tasks for the day and review how your day went and the stuff you accomplished at night.
When I started out 3 months ago, it really felt as a burden and as something that was not that fun. But as time passed, I could see some of the effects. I started feeling good when journaling every morning and night. I know you may have heard some people tell you, “Putting your thoughts on paper, gives you clarity and makes you feel better.” I honestly didn’t believe any of that until I tried it for myself. And it’s true. It does make you feel better. I feel as though every part of my life is being recorded by me and if I ever wanted to go back and look at how I was in the past at any time, I could do just that, I just needed to find the day and date in the journal and I would know exactly how I was. Plus it even gives you some mental clarity and time to think and to some extent—a little bit of pride over yourself and the things you have accomplished each day in the short run.
To sum up, I use the two kinds of journaling mentioned above:
- To record and document everyday of my life
- To be able to review my past self in the near future
- To figure things out by writing my goals and ideas
- To gain focus on important tasks and mental clarity
- To just put my crazy monkey mind on paper
It’s a great habit and I really encourage you to give it a try and see how you feel after a while.
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