Two Quick Journaling Techniques and a Hack

The sound of a gel pen scratching words across the surface of a Moleskine fill the house. The scent of red chai waifs into the air and into my nostrils. And as I write, my body relaxes and releases the tension of the day out. Images of spending hours on the sofa, delicately crafting beautiful and meaningful journal entries, always seem to dance around in my brain. Reality is, there's always more stuff to be done in one day than Nature allows. And more often than naught, promises of writing in my journal or playing in the studio before bedtime, go unfulfilled; lost to the shuffle of cleaning the house and laundry.

Do you wish there was more time in a day to do more? I know I do. Between work, chores and responsibilities (and diversions like WoW) I never seem to be able to journal as much as I want. Until now. For those of us who find ourselves constantly with less time and more on their to-do list, here's two quick journaling tips and a hack that remind us all that journaling doesn't require scheduling a special time.

Idea #1: One-sentence journal entry
Last week, I stumbled across this The Happiness Projects article about keeping a one sentence journal. What a brilliant idea! It suggests that we keep a daily one sentence journal entry. Which is perfect for those of us who are feeling the time crunch but want to keep up with the practice of journaling. All you gotta do is at the end of your day, write a one sentence statement summarizing your day. Did something memorable happen that day that you want to capture down in your notebook? Think of a particularly "deep thought" you want to keep? Just write it down. Keeping track of events in the day helps improve your memory and gives you a record of your life that you can pass down.

Idea #2: Paint a card a week
For those of the artistic persuasion, why not try the mini art journal card deck. All you need is a deck of playing cards (of any size) and your imagination. Every week, you take a card and paint it, cover it with paper or collage your thoughts and write something down. By the end of the year, you'll have 52 weeks of art and journaling that you'll be proud to display on the coffee table. Combine art with the one sentence journal entry and you've got something that's shows how unique you really are.

And here's the hack: Why not incorporate one or both of these ideas into your DIY Planner? Index cards and the Circa PDA system seem like the perfect tool to jot your sentences down. They also make the perfect small card canvas for your art entries. Combining one of the techniques above with the hack of using a DIY Planner, gives you a portable and quick place to keep all your little treasured thoughts in an one spot. Better yet, your planner can even serve as an creative entry by itself. The hours you spend working, along with these one shot summaries, define your world and what you do in it. Oh and for those of you who are doing the Book of Countings idea, why not add one more sentence to your gifts and blessings-- give your day a rounded view of what went on.

Have fun with this! And remember, recording your thoughts doesn't require any special mood, or location. It doesn't even need to take hours to do! Just a second or two to jot down a thought and get it onto the page and wham, you have your entry. Got a few quick journaling techniques of your own? Let us know if you've tried these hacks and what you think by posting in the comments below. Or better yet, share a picture of your works in the DIY Planner Flickr group.

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I like this. Thank you for

I like this. Thank you for the encouragement. With two small children under three it's hard to find a spare moment for my own thoughts. I'm sure lots of people will appreciate this advice. Perhaps I'll even follow it. (-:

If you take a tea or coffee break and like to doodle on a napkin, you can do this!

Will it make a difference? I like to think so. How about picking your favourite entry for the week to inspire a painting/drawing/doddle. That would be quite a moleskine/journal collection...

You know what they say: if you don't have the time to relax, stretch or take a moment, then you probably "need" to.

This is great! I promised

This is great! I promised myself that I would write SOMETHING in my journal every day. So far, I haven't been too good at it. What I AM good at is doing a quick daily review of my hPDA. It would be great to just stick a playing card in there each morning, and anytime I refer to it every day just jot down a couple things. Very nifty.

Love this

Thanks so much for the almost "journaling on the run" approach. If I might add an idea of my own; I used to try to write a couple haikus a day. They are short, but can capture the day well. They require no talent, just some thought. And they can be done anytime you have a couple of minutes. Think I need to start doing it again.


carry it with you

Another prompt for single sentence journaling is:
1) Write someone a Thank You
2) Write yourself a you’re welcome
Put down a sentence about something you received and from who. Put down a sentence about something you've given. Sometime I find that my sentences are short but other times they spark a longer entry.

Of course, the key to everyday journaling is having the journal with you at all times. It soon becomes a one book everything. Todo list, sketch journal, project journal, etc. I carry one for work and another for everything else. Here are some examples:

great additions


Your suggestions for writing "Thank you and You're Welcome" statements were the basis for one of my articles on creating a Book of Countings: keeping count on your daily blessings and gifts. The link to the article I wrote is also linked in the article above.


One line journal entries

Hi Innowen:
I frequently find that by just writing one sentence, I accomplish writing something for the day. More often than not, one sentence turns into at least three or more. I guess for me it is really getting past what I think I "should" do. It is my journal. There are no "journal police" that are going to come and lock me up for only a one line entry! If I manage to get over preconceived notions, I tend to accomplish much more. Just a few not so random thoughts.