I was reading Runner's World magazine yesterday and the May 2007 edition listed 101 ways to jump-start your running life. Right there at #62 is "Keep a log"- while I don't enjoy running, #62 hit home with me because I am an avid journal writer.
I've kept journals (not diaries, for all of you guys out there!) for about ten years and only recently did I realize why I write in the first place. I find a great deal of life-balance as a result of logging what's on my mind on a daily basis. Here are some great reasons for adding daily journal writing to your productive life:
- Journaling gets things out of your head. In the David Allen-GTD mindset, the mind can only remember so many things. Write it down each day and then your mind can do other things.
- Journaling keeps you grounded. I've found that the daily writing connects me with God and with my family- both important, grounding aspects of life.
- Journaling establishes a calming routine every day. Check out the Zen Habits article about the importance of a calming routine.
- Journaling helps you plan the day ahead. Almost every day, I'll be writing in my journal and something pops in about the day ahead. Yesterday it was "order cement delivery" for a home project but today it might be something totally different- I hope it is because I really don't need any more cement delivered.
- Journaling keeps you honest. You're only writing for yourself so be honest and share what's on your mind and heart- no one to hide from here. Journaling should be the raw truth and nothing but.
- Journaling gives you a record of life-progress. While I rarely look back at old journals, some people find that a quick look back can help to see where you were at a few months ago.
- Journaling decreases stress. Like going for a run or painting an image, journaling is a sure-fire stress reliever. Sure, it might be difficult while you're doing it but over the span of a week or two, it calms you down and sets things right internally.
When do I journal? I include it in my morning routine which includes the following: coffee, blog post, daily prayers, journaling, quiet time. It works for me and the key is to find a time that works well for you.