So, hands up who uses both a planner and a journal? Everyone I hope. And if you don’t you need to start. I don’t think you can be efficient and productive in any business or life goals unless you have both of these with you most of the time.
But this post isn’t about the planner. I am in the process of doing a post on how I use and love my Commit30 planner and I will give you a bit of a run down on that in the next couple of months. Today we are talking about the journal.
First, why do I think you need both? A planner is where you write down your goals, ideas and action steps each month, week and day once you have committed to them and are incorporating them into your life. A journal is where you write down more abstract concepts and feelings which don’t need to be linked to particular days or times. Basically, a journal is fluid and should be as free as possible and lets you dream; a planner is pretty well concrete and helps you achieve all the things in your life that were once dreams.
Now, I don’t think it matters what your journal is, as long as it has a lot of bound pages to give you a lot of room to write, scribble, plan and doodle. While I adore looking at beautiful bullet journals and sketch books whose pages contain works of art at every turn, ain’t no body got time for that. I don’t expect any prettiness in your journal unless it really adds to your routine. If you are an artist and you need to be producing pictures and designs regularly as part of your brainstorming process have another book for that, your journal is not the place. Blank pages or lined pages, doesn’t matter just something that you are comfortable writing in. Spiral or perfect binding can have a BIG influence on how easy you find it to write in your journal so think about that before the look of the cover.
What should be in your journal?
(Not exclusively in your journal, if they are important and actionable enough they may migrate into your planner in the future).
Books to read, books read, places to visit, movies to watch, blogs to read, topics for Periscope, photo shoot ideas. Literally anything can be made into a list and lists are EXTREMELY efficient in their content delivery. Give yourself space to expand lists for future use but even if you have to cram in the information no problem, better to have it crammed in than not at all.
I’d love to write a cookbook on how easy it is to live a vegan lifestyle and take all the photos for the book in an airbnb at Barbados. I should use radish in my next salad. Whatever. These aren’t even plans, they don’t even have to be specific dreams they are just thoughts. By writing any thoughts down you give them the chance to become ideas and possibly plans.
Flow charts or just the goals that you want to hit while you are brainstorming your next etsy shop you can write plans out for holidays or your next webinar. By putting thoughts into a planned process you are bringing your ideas to life and making them realistic.
Maybe a picture of the house you want to buy one day or a jewellery line that inspires you. Journals are a great place for mood boards and vision boards to inspire and motivate you.
Take track of important information that you heard during a webinar or podcast. It may not be relevant at this moment but if it sparks your interest chances are it will again in the future. You might just want to jot down a few points from the Skype call you had with your business partner about the up and coming webinar when you started talking about the book you could collaborate on and make a million sales in 30 days.
Things to Remember
While this might not be the most efficient place to put your doctor’s appointment next week as it may not get looked at you might want to remember that December was a great time to post about routines, holiday projects and personal goals for the new year. In 12 months you might be racking your brain for ideas so having a go-to time to check back on will make this process so much more streamlined. Probably a good place to mention that every entry (even when you started a list) should be dated. This is good for reflection and reference.
Insignificant Facts About Your Day
They sound insignificant now but remembering that you found a really amazing 85% dark chocolate that is 100% nut free might make you smile in the future. Or the sun is finally rising before 6am so it has become so much easier to get up early in the morning, woo hoo! The weather, the clothes you wore, how you felt all shows you a retrospective view on your year and can help you to plan your next year more efficiently. You don’t need a completely separate gratitude journal to write down something you were grateful for, you can just write it here.
Not the drawings and illustrations I mentioned as being totally time consuming and irrelevant to your journal but logo sketches, product designs, t-shirt logos, banners, ad design etc. Anything that you need to mock up quickly and get onto paper for future reference can go here.
A journal can be an extremely valuable source for reflection, idea generation and gratitude. Leaning to use one could completely re-write how you manage your ideas and make your planner much more efficient by taking insignificant pieces of information out. Your journal is personal, but it isn’t sacred. Don’t be afraid to make it messy and cross things out. The more you can get onto pages and out of your mind the better because they could lead to your next big adventure.
What do you put in your journal, or do you have trouble allowing the words to spill onto the page?