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Effective Journaling (And how it can help you to be a better person )


Imagine a scenario where two architects are hired to construct separate infrastructures. 

One architect, from the first day, starts the construction by taking decisions based on random thoughts, without carefully evaluating them. 

While the other one, before starting, creates a blueprint of the project, evaluates it, and then commences his work. 

Who has a better chance of delivering it well? 

Certainly, the one who uses a blueprint. 

But why not the one who doesn’t? 

How come, one additional step of a blueprint, give one a competitive edge over the other?

Each day of our lives can be equated to a mini project in itself, that sums up to our so-called “Project-Life“. 

Who amongst us, then has a better chance of delivering those mini-projects well? 

The ones, who create a blueprint for those mini-projects, or the ones who don’t?

Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, and many other great inventors, writers, leaders, composers and entrepreneurs had at least one similar daily routine.

The routine of Journaling, or making a blueprint. Regularly. 

And their contribution to the world, in itself, is a testament to the fact that they completed their “Project-Life” pretty well.

Tim Ferris, the best-selling author, entrepreneur, and podcaster, after interviewing hundreds of world-class performers, found the habit of Journaling as a common one.

Therefore, it won’t be wrong to say, that we can make the most out of our days if we have a blueprint ready for it. Right?

My Intent of writing this one

In this post, I have tried to share my understanding of the routine of journaling effectively, aka Effective Journaling, and the benefits it offers that I have experienced and come across after going through a couple of books like- The Miracle Morning, Tools of Titans and others.

My intent here is to convince you of the fact, that Effective Journaling regularly, is as crucial as exercise is, for your well being. This I have come to understand, after following this routine for the past 6 years

So trust me, it’s not just a fancy hobby that I am suggesting, but it’s one of those essential “Keystone” habits, that one must have to be more productive

A Keystone Habit is different from your other habits. 

It’s like a first domino block. You knock that off, and it takes care of the rest. Refer “Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, to know more about it.

For now, let’s dig into Effective Journaling and how to do it.

Some intrinsic Mental Roadblocks

Mind is a place to have ideas, not to store it” ~ David Allen (Best Selling Author of Getting Things Done)

It’s in our innate nature to have lots of ideas and plans during a day. But we all experience that only a few of them get fulfilled.

Many of us are bothered by the thought of lacking in other areas of life but don’t have clarity on what those areas are actually. And even if we do know it, then we are unsure about the plan of action for each of them.

Almost everyone commits a mistake. There’s nothing wrong with it. But only a few admit and learn from it. Blaming others is an instinct, but does it help to do so?

To tackle some of these roadblocks, and others, this is where the habit of Effective Journaling helps us. 

Effective Journaling – The What, When and How

What is Effective Journaling?

It is a routine during which you jot down the key takeaway’s from yesterday and create a strategy for today, by following a framework, to ensure that you are improving regularly. 

Plain and simple. No other fancy stuff like at what time you met someone. Then what you did after that. The color of dress you sported. Blah blah. Nothing like that.

The intent here is to reduce the mental tussle that happens during the day while making decisions. Eventually, helping us to get the most out of our day.

So it’s better if such fancy details are avoided.

When to do it?

It’s better if it is done in the morning. But if you struggle to do it, then consider doing it before going off to sleep. 

However if you choose the latter, it’ll be better if the same is reviewed in the morning, just to remind you of the strategy planned out for the day.

From my experience, I feel it might be hard to be consistent if the latter is adopted, due to some of the following reasons:

  • Drowsiness after having dinner
  • Overtime commitments at work, leading to procrastination

Currently, I’ve been doing it in the morning and have experienced the following benefits:

  • More mental clarity to come up with an effective strategy
  • Helps to be more organized during the day
  • Acts as a positive reinforcement for the entire day
  • Easier to recollect the plan during the day

Whichever approach helps you to be consistent and effective, adopt that one. 

How to do Effective Journaling?

If you prefer writing, consider buying a daily planner. Or if you enjoy typing, then you can choose any application of your choice.

Once you have decided on when and where to do it, divide your journal entry into three sections:

  1. Acknowledgment
  2. Areas of Improvement
  3. Plan of Action
See also  Top Startups Founded By IIM Calcutta Alumni

Under each section, record the relevant details from yesterday and plan your priorities for today, if you are doing the routine in the morning. If you are doing it at night, capture the details from today and set up a plan for tomorrow.

Now let’s dig into these three sections one by one.

1. Acknowledgment

” The Acknowledgment of our weakness is the first step in repairing our loss ” ~ Thomas Kempis

Acknowledge the mistakes that you made and the great things that you did, throughout the day. Also, record whatever emotions you had during different circumstances. 

If you wanted to yell at someone, but didn’t, which is a smart move, by the way, write that down. Try your best to capture the pronounced myriad emotions you had, during the day.

By acknowledging your:

  • Mistakes – You become more accountable for your actions which is one of the qualities, elite performers have
  • Victories – You develop a feeling of gratitude for yourself and that acts as a positive reinforcement for future feats
  • Emotions – You provide an outlet for it that helps you to increase self-awareness. Also, it helps to clear the clutter in your head 

One example of how an entry in this section might look like is:

I acknowledge, that I had devoted less time towards that marketing campaign which led to a low response from the customers

Once you are done with this section, then the next part is to introspect your overall progress so far, and identify the areas in your life, that need improvement.

2. Areas of Improvement

Capture the areas in your life, where you are lagging. 

If the intensity of your daily workout is not as per your expectations, then health is one area of improvement. If you are not learning regularly, then Learning is the area where you need to put in the efforts.

Ideally, all of us should direct efforts towards activities that help us to improve in three broad areas of Health, Wealth and Intellect, regularly. 

Once you introspect on the activities that you are doing on a regular basis, then eventually you’ll be able to spot out the areas where you are lagging.

And once you have identified the areas that need improvement, then you can devise a specific plan of action for each of those areas.

3. Plan of Action

After the areas of improvement are identified, then all you need to do is create strategies to improve in those areas.

Once the strategies are in place, implement them for a certain duration.

While doing this journaling routine regularly, you’ll be able to figure out, whether or not, the strategies are effective or not.

If some of them are, well and good for you. If not, then come up with new ones to help you out. Acknowledging the mistakes in section-1, can help you to come up with better ones.

If Learning is one area of improvement that you have identified for yourself, then one plan of action for it can be to devote half an hour daily before leaving for work towards learning a new skill.

Additionally, you can also include some other tasks that you are required to complete for the day.

Capturing these details will help you to set your priorities accordingly and also give you a reference to gauge the quality of your day.

If you carried out most of the pointers in your plan of action for that day, then you made the most out of it. If not, then acknowledge your mistakes in the first section and prepare to do better the next day.

Some Final Thoughts (And the Benefits this routine offers )

Several other frameworks for doing Effective Journaling, that you can get online, might be better than this one. The one that I have shared, I came across while going through the book – The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrold.

Whichever framework you choose, ensure that the details that are you are capturing are helping you to improve your quality of life, Period.

The objective here was to convey the benefits of the Effective Journaling routine and not to force you to adopt the particular framework that I have shared. 

So feel free to search for other frameworks of Effective Journaling, and share it with me as well, if you find some interesting ones.  

New Year is around the corner, so won’t it be better for you, if you incorporated this routine in your life ?

Think over it. Sparing 15 minutes everyday for it, is no big deal. And certainly, there’s no harm if you follow it. But definitely, there are benefits.

Then why not give it a try?

Head to your nearest stationery store, and buy a bit, expensive planner. Trust me expensive ones will ensure consistency, I am suggesting this from my experience. 😊

The reason I spend so much money for my journals is to press me to find something valuable to put in them.” –Jim Rohn

Before you leave, here are some other benefits of following this routine:

  • It helps you to boost your memory and comprehension
  • It helps you to improve your communication skills
  • It helps you to heal – emotionally, physically and psychologically
  • It helps you to avoid obesity if you record the details of the food that you ate regularly. If done regularly, this helps you to be more conscious over your eating habits
  • It increases your self confidence

That’s all from my side. Hope you enjoyed reading it. Your suggestions on this one, are highly welcomed. Thanks for reading it. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

With Respect,


P.S. This post is originally taken from authors personal blog on his/her permission.

For more of his content do visit:

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