It can be a real challenge to find time for daily journaling. In fact, it always makes me cringe a little when I think of how many of my kids’ cute moments I haven’t documented.
How on earth is anyone supposed to find time to write in a journal, when it already feels like you’re always running and struggling to get just the most crucial chores done?
There are countless resources on how to improve the overall planning and execution of a household. No doubt I could use some input there, and perhaps that goes for you as well. But that’s not the topic here and I’m not about to get sidetracked into it.
Keeping things laser-focused: this is about squeezing in journal writing.
Regardless of how well or how poorly organized you are in general, these tips might just help you to keep a journal going. Not by solving the chaos that is life but despite said chaos.
One of these pointers should help you to stay on top of at least one tiny journal entry a day. Even if you’re generally swamped. Even if you have kids. Even if you travel across various time zones like others take the bus.
Whatever you are up to, jot something down, once a day. Or even once a week – in ten years, it’ll be a lot more interesting to read one line written every week, than… nothing at all. Heck, once a month is still better than nothing. No judgment here.
How to find time for daily journaling (or any journaling at all)
1. Add it to the schedule
We don’t want to overlook the obvious here. Adding a small-ish chunk of time for journaling to your existing schedule is, of course, a great way to get it done. Not much of a surprise here. If you are a person who makes schedules and strictly adheres to them, I admire you – also, you’re done reading. Have a nice rest of your day.
2. Set your phone alarm
Even if you’re generally frazzled and running after the facts, a phone alarm has a way of commanding respect and obedience, does it not?
The only issue is that if you have little ones tugging on your legs, you may not be able to act on this command right away. And then, it floats by… and nightfall comes, and it is the next day before you think of it again.
So perhaps this one is best for super busy people who are in charge of their own time.
If you are committed to keeping a journal but have lacked follow-through due to the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s a simple and effective tool. Phone alarm. Quick journal entry. Carry on.
4. Link a journal entry to another habit
Do it right before or right after you brush your teeth, use the restroom, get the mail, make coffee, or take out the trash. (Insert any other daily activity.)
And those are some of the less glamorous activities. But we’re by no means condemned to those alone.
Do you regularly bake cookies, or make lasagna on a weekly basis? Boom, as soon as the food is in the oven, take a minute to write in your journal. Even if it is weekly instead of daily – over time, it adds up nicely.
5. Get up earlier
Early birds and morning people, head this way…
Getting up earlier may not suit those of you for whom sleep is sacred. If you’re a parent and the best sleep of the night usually happens right before your alarm goes off, skip this one. Find another way.
But if you have it in you, there is hardly a more effective way to squeeze in an additional task than doing so in lieu of sleep!
6. No sleepy before entry
Are you a night owl and part of the evening crowd? Journal writing does not have to be a painful, early morning experience. Making it the last thing to do before going to bed has worked for me – for a while. (Then, my kids aged into different bedtime flows and it stopped working.)
7. New book + Prime location
Maybe all it takes is to be excited about something like a brand-new journal. Get one of those fancy “one line a day” journals, and put it in a prominent location.
Bonus 1: the phone’s notepad
For lack of wanting to use a journaling app of some sort, you still have a notepad on that thing we all seem to have glued to our hand a large part of the day. If you have time to send others a text message, surely you can find such a moment to yourself the same courtesy. For the sake of memory-keeping, you are at least as important of a contact to nurture as others in your social circle. Future you will be so happy that you made time!
You can, of course, use random stolen moments. However, this may be tricky since it doesn’t help to stay on track if you are at the whim of said moments arising or not. A better way is to link a quick entry to a daily occurring event, such as toothbrushing, a restroom break, waking up, loading the dishwasher… the list goes on.
Bonus 2: Shift to another medium
If remaining on top of a written journal is truly an uphill battle, then perhaps it is time to consider something different. Like this fun app (one picture a day) – and there are a few more apps that work in similar ways.
Or you could start an art journal. Whether you are the artistic type or not is completely irrelevant. Keeping an art journal doesn’t mean you need to be any good at drawing.
Say what now? You’re not good at art?
Ah, but there are ways to keep an art journal that do not even involve any drawing or painting. At least not the kind that is a somewhat accurate depiction of reality. For example:
- Make collages with meaningful cut-outs and snippets from magazines, newspapers etc.
- Go full-on scrapbook style with those movie tickets, receipts, fall leaves, baby socks, and whatnot…
- Paint a page in a single color, a gradient of colors, or random abstract strokes every day. After it dries, add one word, a few words… or no words at all.
Bonus 3: To be flexible and go with the flow
Just because one approach works for a certain time does not mean you’re bound to it until the end of time. Keeping a journal should feel more like pleasure than be something tedious.
Are you making yourself stick to a certain schedule to keep the writing going, while it feels like a complete chore? Then maybe you’re being too hard on yourself.
Keep it light, keep it fun! Try another approach. If none of the ones mentioned above work, just step away from journaling for a while. Sometimes, a break and a fresh start is needed to come back to journaling at a later time, and do it joyfully.
Journaling is a great way to connect with yourself and have a check-in moment every so often. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you gain clarity and find your voice.
Not only is writing in a journal often experienced as therapeutic on some level but doing so purely for the sake of record-keeping is just as valid a reason to keep a journal.
I mean, really – those funny, poignant, cute, or otherwise important moments that happened today, yesterday, or last week…? The only way you’ll be able to remember them years later is if they’re written down.
Amid the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, it can be a challenge to find time for pretty much anything. But journal entries don’t have to be long (or take long) to be valuable.
Hopefully one or more of the ideas mentioned here can help you commit – and stay committed – to writing in your journal.
Featured image credit pexels.com.