Journaling to keep track of everything

For some reason, I just can’t keep doing it, but I really want to keep a journal. I want to keep track of things happening during the day. In 6 months time, I want to be able to look up what happened today. This is not just about day to day things, but also work related.

I feel that I’m losing valuable information, after I don’t need it right away anymore. As soon as I need that same bit of information again, I need to look it up again or do the same research as I did before.

So what is journaling?

Journaling in its basic form is so simple, so why does it not work for me? Let’s have a closer look at journaling, i mean what is it really? You just write down a couple lines each day, like a diary. The important part is that you write just for yourself – so it doesn’t have to be an epic masterpiece. You don’t write a journal for a bigger audience, the only audience is future yourself.

What I think is important about a journal, is that you do it daily as the day progresses. The best way to capture a moment is to write it down right away, as it happens. It’s easy to slack, to skip a couple days, but you probably won’t be able to fill in the blanks of those days later on. Everything that happened then, is probably lost.

Modern technology makes it easy

Modern technology makes journaling really easy. You can do it always and everywhere. Everyone has a mobile phone these days. With an app like Evernote, you can attach a photo, a pdf or a web page. Later on, you can search through your notes again and find that exact note where you captured that brilliant idea that you wanted to remember.

The reality is that I struggle with Evernote. I just can’t seem to get used to it. It’s a real love-hate relationship between Evernote and myself. But what I’ve learned over the past couple years, it’s often not about the tool… I even tried journaling with pen and paper. The reality is, it’s all about my motivation to do keep journaling, to keep recording memories. It doesn’t matter what tools you use.

Journal for sanity

Matt Medeiros wrote a blog post about how to journal for sanity and that really hit home for me. He struggles with a lot of the same things that I struggle with. I like to listen what smarter people do and Matt is definitely one of them. He does podcasts, blog posts, is all over the internet and now I’m just scratching the surface of what he does.

He does a weekly review, based on his journal entries and goes through the list of things that he did or is going to do in the next week. That’s how he stay on top of everything. The most important lesson in his blog post for me though, was that you need to keep a journal for yourself. You are the only audience, ever, for the things you write in there. So it doesn’t have to be really long and detailed article. Just record the information that’s going to be valuable for future you.

Let’s do this!

The best part of keeping a journal, is when you review your entries later on and they prove to be actually valuable. I want to collect an archive and be able to look back at what was going on.

I’m going to give it a shot – again – and start using Evernote to capture everything that’s going on. I’m not just going to use Evernote for journal entries, but also while I do research, so Evernote becomes my hub of information.

Please ask me in a week from now, or a month from now, how this journaling experiment is going, to keep me motivated. 🙂