image by blackbeltjones
If you are a beginner journal keeper, I have done an in-depth article about what to write in your journal, which I recommend you read first. The purpose of this exercise is slightly different. Whether you are new at journaling or an old hand at it, this exercise is for you to figure out what exactly you use your journal for, and how else can you use it.
Start with a free-writing list. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and quickly make a bullet-point list of how you currently use your journal. This list could include:
- To vent
- To develop ideas
- To make project notes
- To write down family history
- To write poetry
- To set goals
Whatever it is that you do with your journal, write it down. Use the free-writing format, write as fast as possible without pausing to think, until your 5 minutes or more are up, so that you can capture any uses of your journal your subconscious thinks you have.
Once you’ve made that list, review it. Now look at it analytically. Is your journal serving you as well as it could? Just sit quietly without distractions for 10 to 15 minutes, looking at it, and think about how else you could use your journal.
Then, set timer for 7 to 10 minutes. Now make another free-writing list for more uses for your journal. Don’t try to think now. Just let your pen flow, and keep writing whatever comes into your mind. Your mind will direct you as to how to use your journal more efficiently. Don’t worry if you end up repeating the same answer more than once. Just keep writing.
After your time has run out, look at your list. Read and carefully ponder over the suggestions your subconscious has made. Then consider which of these suggestions you can implement, and how they will enhance your life to include those various things in your journaling. Don’t get overzealous, but at the same time don’t be too cautious. If you are unsure about the benefit, try it. You can always stop if it doesn’t work.
I recommend a 30-day trial for any suggestion. 30 days, if used regularly and properly, is a sufficient amount of time to figure out whether something works or not.
Your journal is potentially an incredibly powerful tool, but its power comes from what you put in it. Therefore, it is essential that you are consciously thinking about how you are using this tool. That is the only way to do Kaizen Journaling, as opposed to just journaling.