Around the end of 2017 I started to use a journal regularly. I found an A5 notebook with a nice soft lilac cover, that cost about £1.50 and I started using it every day. Or at least most days. Before that I used a planner from Leonie Dawson, whose goals workbooks I highly recommend by the way, but I am always unhappy if I haven’t used all the sections, and filled it all out regularly and, of course, perfectly.
So I decided to try using a notebook more regularly as both a planner and journal. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the last year or so.
- It doesn’t have to be special. Using it for every meeting, for every to do list, for random notes and webinars was easier than I thought. The idea of it NOT being special made it MUCH easier to just use it and scribble or draw or make lists. Doing it daily encouraged the idea of getting it done rather than getting it perfect. This is great if you’re someone who feels a lot of worry about things having to be right
- A notebook is a good place to have bad ideas. This is a wonderful quote I read in Austin Kleon’s blog,which is another place I wholeheartedly recommend by the way. You can write any drivel you want. And if its horrible, you can tear out the page or cover it in sharpie or stick a clean piece of paper over it and use it to draw or use again! It’s yours and you can mess it up however you like!
- You’ll learn faster. When you have a lot of things on, you’re up to stuff, creating or learning or running big projects, you’ve got a place where all the planning and thinking and all the random ideas belong. Sitting down with the journal becomes a place where you think on the page and actually work on your plans.
- It’s a nice thing to keep in your bag for random moments. When you are waiting for an appointment or you are bored at work or on a train, you can use it to scribble or draw pictures or doodles. These random moments and ideas that come up when you are doing nothing more than whiling away the time can be when you come up with a cool idea. Whether it’s for a present to buy for someone or a new job to go for or an article to write. Using it in that way will develop your creativity massively.
- You can hone you goal setting skills. Once you allow that your journal will not be “perfect” you are free to write and plan anything for yourself. As you write and plan and (hopefully) take action on your goals, you have a place to review them. A place where you can see that the goal has changed and developed, that some things have been discarded and others achieved. I’m amazed sometimes by the things I realise that I’ve done and haven’t really noticed. It’s only by going back into journals and seeing that things I was working on a few months ago that I completed and didn’t really notice.
You’ll begin to improve your goals. As you realise what’s been working and what hasn’t you’ll get better at making the goals more measurable and achievable.
Having a journal and using it on a regular basis has had a massively beneficial effect on my life, in terms of focus and learning and creativity. I used to think that goals and lists had to be RIGHT. That things couldn’t be changed.They can be and a journal is an awesome place to put them.
So have an awesome day and let yourself doodle and scribble into an old notebook. You have NO IDEA!! what might come up