One of the key requirements for having great ideas, being productive, and linking the two, is to have a journal. It is the absolute essential weapon for reaching your goals. Forget your calendar, your laptop, your phone. Hell, even your yoga and your healthy diet. If you have to give away everything and only keep one thing, it is your journal. If you don’t make time to keep one, you most likely will never get far from where you are starting.
Why a journal
It will help you stay on target while relieving your busy mind. The more productive you get, the better you make and live your life, the more you have to think. The more great ideas you get. If you don’t get any of this out and try to keep it in your mind, you will never remember everything.
Progress is a critical component of your growth and improvement. A journal will help you see and keep track of the things that are truly important to you, whether goals or ideas.
Most people live their life and are fine with just getting by. They don’t come up with great ideas, and they don’t feel the need for it. Keeping a journal can only be beneficial to your thought-process, no matter how low you start.
Consistency and perseverance are the keys. The more outcome you produce, the more great content will emerge out of the chaos. Start and keep doing it. It can only have a positive impact on your life.
What to put in it?
Anything. Everything. The goal is to generate content and free your mind. Here are a couple ideas:
- Drawings, sketches
- Quotes, bits of conversations you hear
- Ideas you get from seeing things
- Things that happened to you
- Something that happened today
- Something funny that happened to you
- Something you don’t agree with
- Get mad at people in your journal
How to organize it?
There are 2 types of journals. The first kind is all over Pinterest. It is structured and organized. It has categories, pages dedicated to specific content, indexes, page numbers… The layout is flawless, the handwriting perfect, and each page takes well over an hour to complete.
Then, there is the all-over-the-place one. I would call this the more creative one. Unless you’re the super organized type, your journal really doesn’t have to be structured. In fact, quite the opposite. The purpose is to go crazy, write wherever, whenever you want. Strike through, write over, draw, draw over… Don’t erase, don’t restart, keep generating. Focus on getting things out rather than structuring them.
Once in a while when you look back on your creations, you can take some time to save the best bits. Either re-write them in another journal or scan them, tear the page off…
You can also have different journals for different categories: life goals, ideas, drawings… However, it will be harder to carry them together at all times.
Have it with you at all times
You only remember what you don’t forget. Have you ever been in a situation where you all of the sudden have a great idea, and nowhere to write it down? That feeling is extremely frustrating.
By starting to journal you will realize that you get so many ideas during the day, you most likely forgot too many amazing ones before. This needs to change.
Your journal will prevent forgetting as long as you have it with you at all times. Whenever you leave your house, take it with you. As soon as you think of something you want to write in it, do it. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and feel the urge to write in my journal. Whenever you feel like writing in there, do it.
If you don’t always leave your house with some sort of bag to carry your notebook, invest in a smaller format that will easily fit in one of your pockets.
Lastly, keep a constant stock of blank notebooks at home, to be able to start a new journal as soon as you run out of pages in one.
A lot of people need an incentive to get motivated about doing something. If they don’t spend money on it, they will most likely not commit.
You are more likely to commit to running everyday if you buy the most expensive running shoes you can find. You are more likely to cook healthy everyday if you buy the best cooking gear. You are more likely to journal everyday if you buy a really good notebook.
If you need a high quality notepad to motivate you, I highly encourage you to do so. Investing in yourself is the best way to get amazing productivity returns.
This article only covered the benefits of keeping a journal for productivity and getting ideas in general. But doing so for other reasons is great as well. Your thoughts and experiences are worthwhile. They can be a huge personal and psychological benefit to you, and possibly to other people. Many famous works of art started with sketches in a personal journal. Go create your own world.