Startup Guide #1 - How to Get Started With 3Minute Journal

3-Minute Journal is a tool to help you keep track of your inner work life, and to power your own regular reflection. Deciding on and executing a plan of improvement requires understanding what has happened in the past that you want to change (or maintain). Recording your activities enhances mindfulness, and regularly tracking and reviewing what you do is critical for self-awareness. 3MJ supports all these objectives. All you need to do is take a few minutes (literally) each day to think about and record what happened.

There are three main parts of the system: a journal entry page, a list of events (sortable/searchable) and a page of personal analytics.

Its current state is a "minimal viable product" - the design is spartan and there aren't many features. Our goal is to get feedback, see if people find value in this kind of tool, and see what can help people develop a habit to make entries at least a few times a week, with daily being a goal.

We'd love any kind of feedback: "This works well..." "This doesn't work..." "This is hard to use" "I don't understand this..." "I'd use this more often if..." "I stopped using this because..."

Here is the address to send feedback: admin@3minutejournal.com. Also, questions are welcome - I will add those to the site's FAQ page.

Here's how to get started. Go to http://3minutejournal.com or its short link http://3mj.me. You will see this page:

Select the "Sign Up" button on the top right. This page comes next:

Fill in the fields with your info. There is no need to use your real name. You will need a valid email address. You will get a notification that an email will arrive with a validation link. When you get the email, click on the link, and you'll get the main page:

This is the data entry page. The first field is where you put your journal entry. Try to pick the single most salient or memorable event that happened to you today. Then you answer the questions below the entry field based on that event. (Over time, you'll have a kind of autobiography composed of these most salient events.) The questions are what drive the analytics we'll discuss in a minute. After you hit save, you are brought to the Events page:

At first there will be only one entry, but after a little while you'll build up a history. In a future email, I'll discuss how to use the search and sort functions.

Finally, the Lab tab brings you to the personal analytics page:

It looks kind of funny with just one entry. After you have built up a little history, it will look more interesting. Here's what my page looks like:

And that's it. There are a few items in the FAQ page that you can reference if you have questions (if the answers are not there, email admin@3minutejournal.com with your question and we will get back to you).

Initially, try to set aside 3 minutes at the end of each day to make an entry. Even if it's only one sentence long, it will provide a moment to reflect on the day, process what happened, and start building the database you can use to track your progress into the future.

More to come in a week or so!