journal effectively

Table of Contents

Journaling is one of those things where you know it’s probably good for you but you can never find to do.

So I decided to take the plunge…

And decided I was going to try out journaling and see how it helped me.

But then came a problem to what I was actually going to journal.

So I decided to Google and it came up with a ton of options like…

  • 10 minutes to sploosh all over the journal with your thoughts…
  • A daily reflection in the morning and evening…
  • Gratitude and visualization…

And the answer I came up with to best use your journal was…

There is no one best answer. Everyone does what suits them best.

But just like a normal person I didn’t know what worked best for me so I had to experiment to see what ACTUALLY worked for me and see what wasn’t working.

So let me show you what has worked for me to achieve my goals.

How I Use My Journal To Boost My Productivity And Well-Being

Now there’s something I need to tell you…

I actually use two journals in my daily life: one for work and one for my personal life.

Here’s what my work journal looks like below (it’s a complete mess i know…)

Here’s what I mainly put down on my journal:

  • A Quarterly, monthly, and weekly goal
  • The three main tasks for the day
  • A giant list of ideas that pop up while I’m working
  • And a reflection of my results, wins, and lessons for the week.

The reason I love this setup is because before I had a journal I would never stay focused on one goal and would forget whatever I had in my mind.

So I would look at my quarterly goals everyday and decide the 3 most important tasks to work for that day.

Then I would reflect in my week if I was able to get that work done or if it wasn’t possible and adjust it.

And while I was working during my deep work I would have a list of ideas that are minor things and ideas that would popup that I would have to do later.

And this is key…

Yuu want to prioritize your list with the most important stuff to be done first.

I do this using a system of ABC’s and 123’s. Let me explain.

  • A1 would be the most important thing I would need to do.
  • A2 is the second most important thing to do
  • Anything in the B category is something pretty important but not necessary at the moment.
  • C is the stuff that isn’t that valuable but we like to do because it’s easy and there is a little value to doing it (like watching courses online…)

And what you do is you use this format to create your main tasks for the day as well as the giant list of things that you need to do.

And watch your productivity skyrocket.

Why Use A Work Journal Instead of An Online Journal or To Do List?

I really tried using those online things because it makes sense…

I’m online most of my day so it makes sense to put it on my computer… right?

Plus I wouldn’t have to carry around a physical book. Just my laptop.

Well… I noticed that despite all the journaling, Google keep entries, and online notepads I used, once I typed into it once I never looked back at it.

Which is great for if you have an idea you want to check…

Terrible if you want to keep yourself accountable for doing your main tasks.

Whereas I noticed that a physical journal made it much more likely for me to stick for my goals.

It wasn’t perfect by any means. But it was a lot stickier.
For some reason, taking the extra seconds to manually handwrite it solidifies it in my brain.

How I Currently Use My Journal In The Morning and Evening

So I have another journal I use when I wake up and go to sleep.

This one is primarily for setting up the right mindset for the day and jotting down any ideas.

Since I wasn’t making much progress on my goals I decided to make this more action-orientated.

Here you can see how I set it up in the morning…

  • 3 Things I am grateful for
  • The main task I want to achieve

Every day in the morning I Would wake up and write down 3 things I am grateful for. 


Cause it makes me feel good. And that carries over when I do my work.

I didn’t like the blurb idea where I just jot down because I would be too lazy to spend 10 minutes doing that. And although it does work by clearing your mind I just felt it not vibe with me.

Then I would take the main task I want to achieve today and write it down.

Physically manifesting your goal in handwriting everyday makes it much more likely you will take action for that goal.

Then in the evening, I would…

  • Write down 3 things I did good at
  • Three things I didn’t do well
  • And three things I could improve
  • And an overall rating for my discipline and overall day from a scale of 1-10..

Since I am action orientated it felt good to reflect on the positive things so I don’t beat myself up for not working as hard as I could on my goals.

I then take the time to see how I can improve the things that I couldn’t do well with possible fixes.

And I have an overall rating for how disciplined I was following my work and my mood the entire day with ballparking it.

The idea here is generating ideas so my subconscious can work on it the entire night to prep for my day tomorrow.

Do A Weekly Review Of Your Goals

The setup I like to do is reflect on your progress.

Because if you don’t track what you are doing well most likely you are going to repeat the same stuff.

It start out with:

  • Did I reach my 7 day goal?
  • Three things that went well
  • Ways to improve those wins
  • 3 things I struggled
  • 3 Ways to fix those problems
  • And a little chart for my Discipline and overall day.

I warned you it was super action orientated.

And just the fact that you have this sets up your week so you know EXACTLY what you need to do.

And ultimately a monthly goal.

You have to look at the bigger picture because reaching your big goals is a marathon… not a sprint.

Track Your Habits

What I do in the back of my journal which I started recently was tracking my positive habits that I did for the day.

So at the moment it includes things like…

  • My morning routine
  • How many hours I worked
  • Did I drink 3L of water
  • Singing practice
  • Guitar practice
  • Exercise
  • Reading
  • Stretching
  • And waking up

And it’s just fun to track your habits and looking actual progress for keeping up with it.

You can tell I’ve been working on it and forgetting and it mainly looks like I have been just singing and playing the guitar for the past few days.

But that’s how I set it up.

How To Start Journaling For Beginners

So you decided to try out journaling (which is great!)

You are starting to see the benefits of having a journal everyday.

But it’s a new habit so I’m going to tell you how to get started.

  1. Start Really Simple And Easy

Don’t try to do everything at once like I am.

When I first started journaling I only wrote one sentence in the morning and routine AND EVEN THEN I still skipped days.

You just want to create the habit of opening the journal and writing something for the first couple of weeks.

It’s something new where you don’t see tangible results immediately.

But it’s something that builds you up over time.

That’s it.

1 minute in the morning to write 1 thing you are grateful for and 1 minute in the evening to write 1 sentence how you felt about your day.

No more.

And once you are able to do that consistently every day bump it up to maybe three things.

But don’t do everything at once.
2. Write Naturally 

You want to be completely open to yourself in your journal.

Yeah there is always the fear that someone will read your journal and read all your deepest darkest secrets.

But at the same time you want to get the most benefits out of it,

So write however you feel like and don’t worry about being judged.

Because when you are completely open with yourself it becomes a lot easier to see what you need to improve on.


I hope you were able to find something helpful. Tell me about your journal experiences in the comments below. I’d love to hear about them.