Friday, November 11, 2016

How to Ease Into Journaling Using a Calendar or Planner

A week is an unusually long break for me to take from writing but that election...did anyone else just feel mentally and emotionally exhausted from 18 months of it? However you feel about the outcome, let's all just exhale.

Okay, now:

In my You: Sustainable series I recommended that you start journaling as an aid for personal growth but also for leaving a legacy.

If you missed my video blog about journaling, here ya go!

I've heard from several of you that writing in such a vulnerable way is intimidating and scary.

Never fear. I have a solution for you.


Start using your calendar or personal planner as a pre-journaling tool.

I get that if you aren't comfortable with writing a blank page can be super intimidating. So stop trying to get over the idea of keeping a journal and begin to tweak your calendar to help with the process. This is going to be an easier concept if you are keeping a paper calendar than if you are doing everything on your phone.

Look at what you already document. You likely have a monthly, weekly, and daily plan. You write down the urgent, the scheduled, the necessary. Your daily activities are there.

A form of this concept is promoted by Gary Vaynerchuck who says "Document, don't create." He's a master at using social media to do just that.

Think about the why. Why do you spend your time the way you do? Working. Shuttling the kids around. Working out. Posting to Instagram. Find some time to get quiet and dig around a bit. Obviously you work to support yourself and your family and drive the kids to their various activities because they have no other way to get there. But the underlying reasons to investigate might be more complex. Maybe you are living up to a work ethic established by your parents and something deep inside wants to make them proud. Or perhaps you do work you are so passionate about you would do it even if you didn't get paid.

Add notes to your agenda.  You don't have to write a letter to your younger self or a dissertation on why you have a problem with your mother.  You might, however, jot down how something makes you feel, an idea you have, or something you realize about yourself. Write down encouraging quotes you want to remember.

Take a monthly meeting with yourself. As you turn the page on your calendar reflect over the previous month. So often we flip the page and start filling up the next month without looking at all that got accomplished in the weeks before. This is a great time to step off the distraction wheel for a few minutes and process the past few weeks of your life.

Invest in a calendar that lends itself to thoughtful planning and reflection. If you really want to start documenting your life but find the blank page intimidating, maybe even terrifying, there are now several planners available to help you along the way. I use the Passion Planner. I haven't received any compensation or free products from them, I'm just sharing it because it's the one my daughter and I use and it is perfect for transitioning from a calendar to a journal!

If you want to see how my daughter, Kirsten, uses her Passion Planner and take a tour of it she has a post about that on her blog, Organized Charm:

How I Organize My Passion Planner 

And here's her post on the best planners from a couple of years ago:

Best Planners for 2014

Hopefully these tips and ideas will help you document your life if you feel that writing about it is just too overwhelming.

What's your favorite tactic for documenting your life?


  1. I had a big break after writing everyday in October. But, I'm back. I really enjoyed seeing your daughter's planner. It looks like something I've created in the past.

    1. After October I felt like someone who felt great after being on the best diet ever, but then it was over and I did whatever I wanted. Now it just feels like too much sugar and empty calories and I am ready to get back to writing more too!

      My daughter takes goals and organization to a whole new level. She didn't get it from me and it makes me a little nervous when she asks to see my planner. LOL


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