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Journaling for productivity and motivation

I think the biggest change I made in December was that I started journaling again, except that I’m using an electronic journal instead of a paper journal. The decision was a tough one to make because I love the tactile feel of a paper journal, but I also had to consider what I wanted to get out of journaling.

I wanted to do a variety of things, including logging my meals (I needed to figure out what I was eating that might be triggering some health issues) and my exercise, and recording what I did during the day for my writing and also outside my writing.

I was originally going to use the SparkPeople app for my meals and exercise, but I decided to give e-journaling a try and found that I am more likely to log my meals when I don’t have to figure out portions and calorie count. I still can see where I overeat and when I snack mindlessly, I just don’t see the calorie count. Also I have a reminder on the journal page template to exercise, and I found myself being motivated to check that box every day.

I tried out the Day One Journal app for the 7-day trial period and ending up really liking it. It lets you have several journals, so I have a journal for food and health, a journal for general activities, and a journal for writing.

What surprised me was that I started using my e-journalling to also help with my To Do list, which I had previously used a Reminder app for. I have found myself being much more productive because I am in my e-journal intermittently during the day (it’s on my phone), and so I am reminded of what I need to do that day. I found myself more likely to get those things done and check off each item in the list. During the day, I add things to the To Do list as I think of them, and I’m more likely to get to them in a timely manner.

I also took the idea from the Bullet Journal about having a month at a glance page and a year at a glance page. I use both to list different types of To Do lists, and I have been using the Month at a Glance page to list my accomplishments as well as record events. For example, I recorded when I cleaned up my office, when I cleared out my email inbox, and when I finished taking notes on some key research papers I had been meaning to read. I’ll probably condense that down to list in my Year in a Glance page.


I’ve also added photos I snap with my phone, so I have a nice visual record of things I’ve done, like the things I’ve knit or how my trees in the garden are flowering (my plum tree was budding right after the new year!).


So far, I’ve enjoyed journaling on my phone like that. It has helped with my productivity and my health, and it also helped with my writing goals and writing To Do list. I hope to continue to journal consistently to record what I do, my thoughts, my memories of events, and improve my productivity.

Do you guys journal? What do you use? I’m always curious about other people’s journaling methods, so please leave a comment.

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