Journaling to Enhance Productivity and Well-Being

by Tali Thomason on March 30, 2020

By: Michael L. Goldblatt


Originally Published on Blumberg Blog on December 3, 2019

Printed with the permission of and BlumbergExcelsior, Inc.


Journaling has been used since ancient times to capture thoughts, keep reminders, and record events. An early example is the journal maintained by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurielius (161-180) who kept notes of his personal meditations. More recent journalizers include George Lucas, Nelson Mandela, and Ronald Reagan. Journaling is a low-cost method for preserving history, promoting productivity and improving health. Read on for tips about journaling and resources for starting a diary or journal.


Benefits. Journaling can be used to plan cases, keep time, record events, set reminders, and track well-being (e.g. diet, exercise, sleep, etc.). They can be kept on a daily, weekly or occasional basis. Other uses include blogging, log-keeping, and expressing emotions and gratitude.


Content. Journaling can be done as a diary or journal. Diaries are a chronological record of information like activities, appointments, events, and experiences. Journals are used for sketching designs and free flow writing of ideas.


Format. Journaling can be done with notebooks, planners, smartpads, and smartphones. Use something that you can carry in your bag or pocket. Follow your own preferences for content and style. The simplest format is journal entries consisting of dates followed by notes.  Double-entry format uses two columns with details of an event or idea in one column accompanied by observations in the second column.


Other Alternatives. Journals are not for everyone. Other alternatives include doodle books, lists, scrapbooks, voice memos, video journals, word processing, and writing an e-mail or letter to oneself.


Privacy. Remember that diaries and journals can hacked or inadvertently made accessible to unintended readers. Avoid writing anything that would be hurtful or embarrassing if made public. Don’t write anything you don’t want anyone else to see.


Security. Consider locking and storing in a secure place if journaling in a diary or planner. Use a password and encryption when journaling with a digital device. Don’t leave it open when unattended.


Resources.  Start by reviewing a list of famous diaries for inspiration and examples. Then read a “how to” article at Harvard Business Review, LifeHacker or WikiHow. Focus on details by reading articles about alternatives, apps, benefits, confidentiality, format, privacy, security, and therapy. For in-depth study, read ABA books about blogging, cybersecurity, Evernote OneNote, productivity and well-being.


Conclusion. Keeping a diary or journal can help you organize information, record thoughts, and reduce anxiety. Start by selecting a notebook, planner, or device to keep your journal and then make a habit of writing in it. The benefits are well worth the modest time it takes to keep a journal.


About the Author

Mr. Goldblatt has authored numerous books and articles about marketing for lawyers.

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