How to Make Journaling Part of Your Life

Six Tools to Help You Journal

When you think of journaling, what comes to your mind? Journaling has evolved over the years. The creator of The Five Minute Journal has been journaling since he was fourteen or fifteen years old.

Coffee and Notebook

The days of the diary still exist but in different forms. Developing a journaling habit must be intentional. Over the years, I have had several journals. Most of my journals have centered around travel. I shared some of my actual handwritten travel journal entries in my 40 for 40 series.

As I have grown in my understanding of journaling, I still appreciate the beauty of a handwritten journal; however, I now use tools that fit my digital workflow.

Journals help us …

  • Process our thoughts and emotions
  • Connect our mind and heart
  • Lead to “aha” moments on a subject
  • Create an environment of growth
  • Show our progress

As leaders, we can benefit from developing a journaling habit. A leadership journal may include:

  • Our personal and corporate vision statements
  • Goals
  • Development strategies for our team and ourselves
  • Our successes and failures
  • New inventions

Six Tools To Help You Journal

  1. Day One (Mac/iOS) – this is my go-to journal. I have been using this journal app for several years and have amassed over 650 entries. I use it to collect sermon notes, capture my daily journaling and prayer thoughts. I use the iPhone app as it gives me a more intimate perspective especially as I pray through the events of the morning and for the day. I tend to write out my prayers as it focuses me in on what it is that God wants me to hear. You can use Day One to capture photos from the day or any information.

DayOne Screenshot

  1. The Five Minute Journal – this is a simple journal format that walks you through five areas of your day. It is a beautifully designed journal in hardback canvas that invites you to write in it. It is a guided journal, so you don’t have to stare at a blank page. These daily prompts guide you through morning and evening routines, and it takes no more than five minutes. I recently came across the app version of the journal and (when I have time) convert my handwriting entries to digital format for a master record; however, there is something nice about putting pen to paper.

5MinJournal Screenshots

  1. Evernote (Mac/iOS) – Each year I set goals and Evernote is one tool for helping me achieve my annual goals. As part of my morning routine, I review a simplified goal sheet. My daily goal review prompts my thoughts for using one of the other tools like DayOne to capture my thoughts around my goal progress. I also use it to collect writing prompts for my journal or ideas that I want to explore further.

Evernote Screenshots

  1. Scrivener (Mac/iOS) – Scrivener supports my writing activities – long and short form. Many of my writings including journal entries end up becoming blog posts. Scrivener is available on all my digital devices and syncs with Dropbox to always keep me in sync. I can collect research or just use the tool to capture my thoughts – it’s that flexible.

Scrivener Screenshots

  1. YouVersion – this is the foundation of my journaling behavior. I work through a series of short Bible plans as part of my daily quiet time and then send interesting snippets or verses to DayOne for exploring further. Beginning each morning in this tool helps prepare me for the day ahead.

Youversion Screenshots

  1. Nozbe (Mac/iOS) – Nozbe helps me stay on track by reminding me of my daily journal habits (Five Minute Journal, quiet time, writing, drink water, goals, etc.). I use recurring tasks so each day I set out to check them off and it helps reinforce my many habits.

Nozbe Screenshots

3 Simple Tips to Start Your Journaling Habit

  1. Choose one tool to start – if you are more of a digital native, use your iPhone to capture your journal moments. You can use a tool like DayOne or The Five Minute Journal. If you love to connect the head to the heart through pen and paper, I suggest you get The Five Minute Journal. It’s fast and easy to begin.
  1. Choose a start date – I selected January 2nd to start, but you can choose today, tomorrow or whatever works for you. The idea is to pick a date and then start.
  1. Choose a place to journal – when I am not traveling, I journal in my rocking chair that has been in the family for 45+ years. I find rest, solace and focus in this place. It helps me think and process in a familiar environment. Don’t underestimate the power of place. John Maxwell has a “thinking” chair as he puts it. It’s the place that helps his best ideas to come forth.

Journaling can unlock a masterpiece or provide a window to your soul. I encourage you to try it for five days and see how you feel.

Question: Do you practice journaling? If not, will you give it a try for five days? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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