Startup Guide #2 - Developing a Daily Journaling Habit

The first required step in journaling is developing a habit to journal every day. I mean "every day" metaphorically. If you miss a day, you haven't failed. But if you journal once a week or less often, you will not get much value out of the analytics, and, even more importantly, you will miss a lot of important happenings.  For me, 4 or 5 days a week is "every day."

Developing the journaling habit isn't a breeze, but it can be done, especially if you make a conscious effort to keep going at the outset, make use of a few simple tools, and forgive yourself if you are not 100% perfect. None of us is.

Here's how I got started. I made a decision to journal every weekday, since I'm mostly concerned with tracking my work life. I decided to set my journaling time in the late afternoon, so I could reflect on what had happened from the early morning to then. I set a periodic reminder for 4:30 every afternoon. [I am a morning person. If you tend more toward the evening you may want to set the end of day time later - or much later - than this.] If the most significant event turned out to happen after 4:30, I would either journal it the next day, or add another journal entry for that day.

When the reminder comes up, it may not be convenient to journal [but remember, it only takes 3 minutes... I can often take a 3-minute break from what I am doing]. Then I postpone the reminder 15 or 30 minutes. But unless I am completely indisposed, I try to journal... and if I can't that day, I try to do it the next morning. It only takes 3 minutes!

After the journal entry is done, I feel really good. There's a cathartic feeling, and a feeling that, to some extent, I've "closed the books" on the day. I am allowed to forget about what had happened and transition out of work mode into home mode. That transition alone has made the journaling practice worth it for me. I take less emotional junk home from the office. 

I strongly recommend you consciously focus on journaling for the first month. Write sticky notes. Ask a friend to remind you. [Ask me to remind you! I'm not kidding.] Even better - buddy up with someone. You can message them after you have done your entry and ask them if they have done theirs yet. [If you discover a great way to remind yourself, email us at admin@3minutejournal.com so we can share it with everyone!]

One way to track your progress is to check out the "Entries" tab - you'll see the list of entries grow each day. You can also click "Lab" to view the graphs. The more entries you make, the more use the graphs will be to you. After a month, you'll see that the habit has become entrenched, and you will look forward to journaling. 

One quarter in, you'll be able to deeply look at yourself through your entries and the classifying questions. Ready to get started?