I know I’m late to the party as some of you are concerned, but I recently started journaling (again). I have dabbled with journals before, both on paper and digital. All of the previous efforts have been a simple free flow of my thoughts on a blank canvas. I didn’t ever get to a place that I found valuable with journaling. There were days that I just didn’t find motivation to write. I also had the problem of looking back on what I wrote and not seeing much value.
This time is different. I’m using a product I heard about on Tim Ferriss’ podcast on Mindfulness. It’s called the 5 Minute Journal. I will admit I was a bit skeptical about ordering it, as it seemed like a really simple concept that I could recreate on my own without buying their journal. I knew up front that it was one page per day, and each page was divided into Day and Night. I also knew what the bullet points were (they show you on their website).
Now that I have the journal and have been using it, I’m pretty comfortable in saying it’s money well spent. Right away, it’s physically a nice product. The size is nice, not too small to write in, but not so big that it’s uncomfortable to pack away in a bag. It’s a fairly rugged little book too, so I don’t worry about it being destroyed before I’m through it. It’s covered with kind of a course fabric, which makes it nice to stay put in your hand or lap (I typically journal in bed).
The biggest thing for me is the structure. For me, quickly opening the journal in the morning and having those bullet points is the key to the system. Now that I’ve been using it, I can’t see myself getting the results on my own in a blank notebook. When I write in the morning and see those 3 lines to fill in, it makes me think about it. Some days it comes easy, and I could probably keep going. Other days I really have to dig and be strategic to get the lines filled in. If I were doing this freehand, I think the inconsistency would derail the effort pretty quickly.
The method is important for me too. The items they have chosen to include force you to set short term goals each day that you can control, and face yourself each night. If you’re like me, after a few days of forced admission of falling short, you will start to be a lot more mindful about getting the things done that you set out to. Flat out, I’m getting things done for myself.
The journal also includes two fields (morning and night) that are centered around gratitude, and the last field is affirmations. While there’s no way to prove the effectiveness of these, I feel that focusing on these items has improved my mood and satisfaction within my own life. At times, I can be fairly pessimistic. I’ve noticed a drastic improvement in this area since using this journal. My wife has also commented that I seem happier since I started this.
So far, so good. The one thing I hope they will offer in the future is a different version for repeat customers. The first ~50 pages are an introduction to the journal. I can see where this is valuable to get started. However, I don’t need it next time. It’s a pretty minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the one thing I would pick on just a little bit.
Overall, I highly recommend the product. I hope some of you will try this and let me know if you agree with my evaluation. If you want to buy it, here’s a link to their website.