Organized Journaling: Date Your Entries



image by eethompson


Journaling can be creative. It can be an expression of your creative self – in whatever way you choose. 



Use colours.

Write every day.

Write every month.

Write whenever you want.

Mix mediums and formats.

Write backwards. 

The Most Sacred Rule of Journaling: DO WHATEVER YOU WANT. 

HOWEVERAlways Date Your Entries.


5 Reasons Why You Should Date Your Entries

  1. For future reference
    When you look back at your entries, having a date gives you a marker. When did  you write this? That information alone will tell you: at what stage of life you were in; what were major circumstances at the time which might have led you to write it; how did these ideas or thoughts emerge. 
  2. To easily find information
    You remember that you wrote something down, and you might even have a vague recollection about the time. Last week, or last month. Dated entries (even better if you write days of the week) make it easier to find information. If it was something at work, you are not going to be looking at weekend, so you can skip those, and focus on the week days. You might remember other elements that will narrow down your search. Dated entries make your journals more accessible.
  3. For analysis of your past
    When you are attempting to break patterns of the past, especially in areas where you seem to make no progress, it’s important to analyse those patterns. You need to understand how those issues started, for how long you’ve been repeating the patterns, and dating your entries give you that essential information.
  4. To use as bibliography
    If you decide to use your journals for writing, whether to write your memoir or to write articles, you will need specific information as to when you wrote those entries. Depending on what you are writing, you might also need to know where you wrote the entries.
  5. For the recipients of your legacy
    If you are planning to leave your journals behind, whether for your children or for whoever’s interested, they will thank you forever if you’ve dated the entries. Just imagine how frustrating it would be to someone who attempted to study your life and had no idea what happened when. 

Dating journal entries is simply a good practice, and one that you will be grateful for, so if  you don’t already do it, start doing it now.


Do you date your journal entries? Share in the comments below.

12 Responses to “Organized Journaling: Date Your Entries”

  1. Blair October 21, 2013 at 23:15 # Reply

    I date my entries and use a # at the bottom of the page for reference. So today might be #dream or #story idea #family drama – so when I want to go back and see how I coped with that situation I can and I know I have been through it before so it takes the power out of the negative and lets me get back to growth and positivity.

    • Dolly Garland October 22, 2013 at 19:09 # Reply


      That’s cool, bringing hash tag into your journaling. I use referencing sometime (but in a more traditional header or sidenote form) depending on topics.

    • Amelia Vincent October 31, 2013 at 04:25 # Reply

      Do you keep a list/directory so that you can find the topic you want easily, or do you have to page through until you find what you are looking for?

  2. Lynn Morrissey October 22, 2013 at 00:04 # Reply

    Absolutely! I always date entries, and I’ll even go so far as to say what day of the week it is (not just date), the state of the weather, and where I am when I write. When I harvest my journal, I realize that all these things played a part in my mood and even regarding the situation about which I wrote. Great advice, Dolly!

    • Dolly Garland October 22, 2013 at 19:10 # Reply


      I almost always include day of the week as well. But always date, with day, month and year. I should make more mention of the weather, which is something I neglect quite often.

    • Amelia Vincent October 31, 2013 at 04:28 # Reply

      What a great idea! I have sometimes included the weather, but I never thought to put the day of the week. I have also kept track of my body temperature to try to figure out if there is a pattern relating my temperature to whatever is happening, making note of if I happen to be sick.

  3. Jackie Tinsley October 22, 2013 at 12:11 # Reply

    I always date my journal entries and I never thought to put the day of the week or give a description of the weather or where I am when I am when I’m writing. That is a very good idea because it helps me to have a visual of what was happening when I wrote the entry. Thank you Dolly for opening my eyes to more exciting techniques to journaling!

    • Dolly Garland October 22, 2013 at 19:10 # Reply


      Glad you found it useful. Particular details at the time of writing certainly make more interesting entries for later on.

  4. KenMc October 22, 2013 at 14:40 # Reply

    I always start an entry with day, date, time, place, and even sometimes record the temperature. I believe the best advise I received about how to “break the ice”, i.e. writing in a brand new journal on the first blank page was to start by putting the date. After that entry, your journal isn’t new any more!

    • Dolly Garland October 22, 2013 at 19:11 # Reply


      My “break the ice” happens usually by numbering the pages, or at least numbering the initial pages. Though admittedly, I don’t really suffer from new journal fear :-)

  5. Tonya November 10, 2013 at 08:25 # Reply

    I always start with the date, day of the week, and time. I will write the location if I’m traveling. I love the hashtag idea, I’m going to start doing that!


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