The Lazy Person’s Guide to Journaling

woman journaling New Year, new healthy habits. We know the drill. But as much as you want break out your watercolors and fancy pens when you see one of those elaborate bullet journals on Pinterest, you might be lacking in two vital areas: time and energy (trust us — we know you hustle). But journaling doesn’t have to be an all-consuming project . You can actually get your ideas down on paper in just a few minutes each day, and achieve that new-habit glow we’re all craving this January. Here are our best hacks to get you started.

If You Lack Motivation…

Use the Best Utensils

journaling materials There’s nothing better than the oh-so-satisfying sensation of writing with an A+ pen. You know the ones — when the ink is dark and really flows out. If you’re trying to make journaling a daily venture, don’t skimp on quality. Buy a nice pen, a bright set of colored pencils and anything else you need to get going.

Set a Timer

Can’t think of anything to write about? Here’s a trick: set a timer (it doesn’t have to last long at all — 10 minutes will do), sit down and write. Move your pen across the paper and don’t get caught up in your technique or your word choice — this is for you, after all, not an audience. Keep writing until your time is up, and do it again the next day, and the next, and the next. Soon journaling will feel like brushing your teeth. Only more creative.

Make a List and Go Minimalist

Flip to a blank page in your journal, then number each line for every day in the week or month ahead of you. You’ve just created an easy bullet journal spread, ready for your ideas. Tackle just one line every day with a brief sentence about something that inspires you or a brief summary of your day. By the end of the month, you’ll have completed an entire page — and built the motivation to do it again next month!

If You’re Tired After a Long Day…

Commit to One Word

woman journaling Think journaling requires you to write page after page about your life? Think again — committing to just one word each day is enough to get started. Simply distill the day down to one word, perhaps an emotion, color or the first name of a loved one. This is a super low-maintenance technique and can get you in the habit of journaling daily, even if you just have 10 seconds available. And I bet you do.

Find Gratitude at Night

Before you hit the hay, break out your journal and record one thing for which you’re grateful. It might be something as simple as a smooth commute home from work, or a deeper sentiment about a particular joy in your life. This practice has even been shown to boost happiness! And once you finish your journal, you’ll have an entire book about the things you appreciate the most. Talk about uplifting!

If You Need a Hack for On-The-Go…

Write It on a Post-It

You never know when an idea might strike. But since carrying around your journal all the time might not be practical, stash a stack of Post-It notes in your pocket or purse. Jot down anything that comes to mind throughout the day on a Post-It, then stick the notes in your journal when you get home. There’s something fun about having a journal that flutters with colorful squares every time you open it, and this way you can make journaling fit your busy schedule.
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14 Responses to “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Journaling”

  1. bmp66

    Some people struggle writing what they are thinking because they tend to be very private about their thoughts. They are reluctant to be honest and write “it” for anyone to see. They may find it easier to describe what they see out the window or sitting on a patio instead of their feelings or personal observations. Descriptions are a little impersonal. From there, it’s natural to begin branching out as time passes until they can write, “I was delighted when my daughter Grace dropped in. She brought some wonderful scones to share.” From there it’s easier to say what is truly on their minds. It’s a process which needs time to play out, like “getting to know” the journal before telling it everything.

    Reply
  2. Elizabeth Urbaitis

    I did a great deal of journaling at the beginning of the pandemic.
    I wanted to remember every detail.
    Even now, it is important for me to
    write things down when they happen

    Reply
  3. Richard BLANC

    As for the art of journaling? Gotta use a fountain pen. The book can be anything empty.
    You write what you think about, because it’s only for you…it doesn’t have to be a novel or a paper…just what is on your mind and how it affects your emotions. I started at 60 and have filled 15 volumes which I will hand off to my son when it’s my time. I would have loved to read what my parents were thinking 😀

    Reply
  4. Tina Patricia Dsouza

    Thank you for suggesting these easy do able steps to maintain a journal. I used to write in one and I need to get back to it. Had started a gratitude journal a while back. I am planning to get back to this the first thing.

    Reply
  5. Marc N

    I carry a pocket journal to capture thoughts throughout the work day when I normally would not be allowed to have a full sized journal. There are times I will write in a full sized one too. In fact, I have MANY journals. I even have different “topic” journals. An example of two of these topic journals are; Family Stories where I dedicate pages to each important relative I can remember and are long since gone, and the other is a journal of sorts where I documented with a hand made map of each home I have lived in and looking back through old photos (and even google maps) found picture of relevance to these homes. A photo of our living room at Christmas or our garden, the kitchen while we gathered around my mom cooking. All of these are equally as important as an ordinary diary like journal when stitching together the story of you!

    @AllThingsEpistolary

    Reply
    • JOANNE

      I have several journals….over a period of years….and thematic journals like songs that God gives me and how it was an answer to prayer. I have a dreams journal…my dreams have increased in the last 3 years and many times the message is for the one I dreamt about.
      I love to refashion old clothes and make a new “Love it” garment. Journals help me keep track of my inspirations. go for it… let the idea come to life in your future.

      Reply
      • Jacqueline Erasmus

        I have thought about it often but never really got down to it. This year I will start.
        Thank you for the tips, it certainly is motivating.

        Reply