Journal Ideas for People Who Hate Journaling

Posted on - in Productivity Hacks

Productivity masters have been talking about the benefits of journaling for years. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably had someone tell you to start journaling. Supposedly, there are journal ideas to help you accomplish anything, from planning your day to becoming happier.

But what do you do if you’ve tried traditional journaling and hated it? Journaling is highly customizable, so theoretically, you should be able to come up with journal ideas that work for you. But for some people, the whole concept of journaling can feel restrictive.

If you’re tired of people telling you to start a bullet journal, but still want to find a place for self-reflection and creativity in your life, this list is for you. Here are five journal ideas for people who hate journaling.

1) Geek out Over Statistics

Today, pretty much every piece of technology you own tracks data — from your iPhone to your Fitbit. If you enjoy looking at graphs exploring the correlation between your water intake and your stair-climbing speed, you’re journaling without even realizing it.

Habit-tracking apps are basically journals, and they can be useful for a lot more than making sure you complete your workout. Some people use customizable forms to track more subjective things, like how good their day was or whether they’re feeling well-rested. Then, they can analyze the data to find patterns, make improvements and just generally know themselves better.

2) Pick a Weird Theme and Roll With It

Writing a journal can feel directionless. Maybe you’re writing the same thing over and over. Or perhaps you don’t have anything interesting to say about your day. Lacking direction can make journaling feel like a drag.

When you think about it, though, I bet you probably do have something interesting to talk about —something your friends have politely asked you to stop talking about so much. It could be fantasy football, the movies you’ve seen lately, all the weird dreams you’ve been having or pretty much anything else.

Writing a journal should be fun. So write about whatever excites you! Plus, when looking through repeated entries, you might just learn a thing or two.

3) Keep It Short and Sweet

We get it. You’re busy. Not everyone has the time or desire to write gorgeous, winding diary entries like a character in a Jane Austen novel. In fact, hardly anyone does. But if you still want to journal, you might want to try micro-journaling.

Micro-journaling is a hyper-modern journaling style focused on easy completion. You can come up with a prompt, write one sentence and call it done if you want to.

It takes barely any time and still gives you pretty much all the benefits of long-form journaling. Take that, Jane Austen.

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4) Write Letters to Your Mom – Seriously

One common complaint about journaling is that it’s boring. Most of the time, you think you already understand yourself before you put it down on paper. For you, journaling becomes an exercise in talking to yourself. Some people love talking to themselves. But you might not, and that’s fine.

Instead of journaling to no one, try writing letters to someone else. It could be your cat, your mom, your future self, a sworn enemy or anyone else who needs to be informed about things happening in your life. Because you’ll be “reporting” to someone, you’ll be more likely to observe things you’re grateful for, so this could be a good method for someone trying to reduce negative thinking.

Of course, if you’re not into snail mail, you can write emails instead. Or maybe just take to Twitter.

5) Rip Stuff up and Get Creative

When you think about a journal, you probably imagine a leather-bound book with neat lines and possibly a lock and key. But journaling doesn’t have to be rigid. In fact, you don’t even have to keep a written journal.

If you’re a visual person, for example, you may find it more enjoyable to keep an art journal. It could be a place where you draw, collect photographs, tape train tickets or pages ripped out of magazines or doodle random squiggles. If you’re into collages, you could do all these and write notes in the blank space. You’ll end up with a journal and an art piece. Messy or beautiful — it doesn’t matter as long as you’re having fun.

Finally, remember there are no rules of journaling. You don’t have to do it every day. You don’t have to do it in words. You don’t have to do it at all if you don’t want to, though by now you probably do.

The point is, a journal is whatever you want it to be. Now go find it!

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Also published on Medium.

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Kayla Matthews writes Productivity Theory and is constantly seeking to provide new tips and hacks to keep you motivated and inspired! You can also find her on Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha, and follow her on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on her latest productivity posts!

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