15 Reasons Why Busy People Should Start a Journal
I am going to make a case and share 15 key reasons why busy people should start a journal – today! If you think you’re too busy to start a journal then keep reading!
Do you want to start a journal, but have been procrastinating, here’s your nudge to get at it.
No more excuses, no more delays.
There are too many benefits you, the busy person, is missing out on when they don’t make time to journal. Before I started a journal, I thought I was too busy. But, I decided to do it because every successful person I’ve met, tells me they spent time journaling.
So, let me share with you the benefits I experienced adding this daily habit in my life. You’ll see 15 reasons why you, the busy person, should start a journal today! If you’re interested you can also download my 15 minute journal guide.
1) Time in Introspection
One of the first things I noticed when I made time to journal was this new time by myself.
At this period of my life, most of my time focused on work and my daily tasks. I was super busy and didn’t think I had time to journal. But, I was intentional about it and set aside time daily.
This new found time by myself and with my thoughts was so foreign to me. It was me, my journal and a pen.
In the beginning, I didn’t have a structure and I had no idea what I was doing.
It took me a while to get the hang of it – spending time by myself. Something so simple like being with myself was a challenge. I didn’t know who I was without the labels life put on me – wife, sister, daughter, friend, employee.
Daily journaling forced me to spend this dedicated time in introspection. Soon, I learned how to tap into my thoughts like it was as simple as clicking a link online.
I learned who I was without all those labels and discovered my strengths and my weaknesses. I realized my passion and my purpose in life.
Through journaling, I learned to love who I am and all I had to offer the world.
2) Increased Gratitude
Every day I write at least three things I’m grateful for in my journal. I try and make them specific each day and try and pick something I’m grateful for in the last 24 hours.
We can say we are happy for the air we breathe, and grateful we wake up each morning. That’s always good and nothing to take for granted. But, when we are more specific and target the last 24 hours, it makes it tangible and specific to our lives.
The gratitude list is how I begin my daily journal entry. It reminds me every day how lucky we are and how much of an abundant life we have.
We have so much in life – but we tend to miss it because we are so busy doing instead of “being”.
3) Better Organization & Planning
What’s great about a journal, is you can make it your own and design it how you see fit. For the busy person, a section of the journal might be a calendar of some sort to keep track of days and events.
Journal experts online call these sections a calendar “layouts” or calendar “spread”. You can create a view of your week, month or quarter. I used to do this, but now I focus on a monthly view, and then a daily view.
When you take dedicated time out each day and look at your events you can plan better.
You don’t forget things and double book things. And, you remember things like birthdays or important to do items.
Now, you might say, why use a journal for this when you can use your calendar on your phone – which is true. I have two digital calendars. One for my day job and one for my personal life – and I still don’t feel as organized as I do until I write it in my journal.
There’s something about looking at the month in a birds eye view, in my own writing. I notice right away if I’ve taken on too much or if I should say no to any future requests of my time.
4) Increased Control
You control when you journal and what you journal about. Because you’re focusing on yourself, this puts you in control of your life.
Even if you have the busiest day or week – this time spent journaling you are in control.
When your busy life pulls you in different directions, sometimes all you need is to feel you’re in control. Feeling like you have control over even the smallest thing and be a world of difference.
One of the triggers of anxiety is when we lose control of our situation. If you get overwhelmed sometimes in life – this small amount of time where you are in full control should help you.
5) Increased Accountability
People will usually list important tasks in their journal that need completing. I do this as well.
Each day I will list my important tasks – as well as reviewing the previous day’s tasks. I will mark off the tasks completed and be able to see the tasks I didn’t complete.
Always reviewing the previous days tasks is important because this is where the accountability comes in.
There are days I don’t complete a task and I’ll forward it to the next day. But, it is a cause for concern if I keep moving a task forward day after day. At this point, I’d have to be accountable to myself and ask myself why am I not completing this task?
For the busy person, we don’t have time to waste on unimportant tasks or dwell on tasks not completed. A journal would force us to question why and clear it up if not needed.
6) Being Present and Focused on the Now
Being present is by far one of the main challenges for the busy person. We are always on the move – at work, at home. Always doing something in our days.
We are busy and many times there is so much going on our heads and our lives we don’t focus on the present.
When we don’t focus on the present – we miss the simple things in life that are good and beautiful.
Immediately I found myself being present as I sat by myself staring at the empty pages of my journal.
By transferring my thoughts from mind to paper, it forced me to think in the present moment.
Living in the now, being in the present is something we don’t always get in today’s world. We are at a constant connection via technology. With emails and social media – we are so quick to respond without thinking. And, then moving on to the next thing.
7) Increased Creativity
This was a surprising benefit I discovered through journaling. One that I didn’t expect at all.
When we are busy, our minds are always thinking about what we need to do and what needs completing. We have no time to think in a creative way, our focus is on getting stuff done.
When we journal, it clears up unnecessary clutter in our minds. As the clutter removes from our minds, this generates space. Space for us to think of new ideas, discover new solutions, try new creative things.
As the saying goes – the opportunities are endless. But, often we don’t see the opportunities because of our cluttered minds. Once we create space, it becomes clear.
8) Easier to see Red Flags, Uncover Potential Issues
For the busy person, it’s easy to bury our feelings in all the stuff we have to get done. We sometimes miss red flags or potential issues arising because we were too busy to notice.
There is a section in my journal where I write down 1 specific thing that has been worrying me or distracting me. Then, at the end of the month I can review these things that are distracting me from my goals.
I can also see if there are any trends in my worrisome thoughts. Are there thoughts that are repeating? What was happening in my life to cause these worries? Do I know why I’m worried about this particular situation and s it something I can fix?
Think of the journal as the busy person’s dashboard. As they write daily in their journal, they will see trends. They will see on their dashboard if there are any challenging issues before they get out of control.
9) Better Sleep
Sleep is important for anyone – even more important if you’re busy person. The busy person needs some time to rejuvenate and recover during sleep – so they can be effective the next day.
Journaling promotes time spent in introspection, organizing, planning and accountability. When we follow this process and put our energy into this process it decreases our worries.
We can go to sleep without worry.
Some people decide to journal for a few minutes at night before bed. They will write key things they have to get done the next day so they can sleep and not worry about these tasks.
I’ve journaled in the morning and at night to see if I could tell a difference. For me, the best time to journal was in the morning. I still found the benefits of sleep improved because of this new routine in the morning.
Almost like the work I did in the morning radiated through the day into the evening.
10) Increased Productivity
Many people say if you journal daily it will increase your productivity. I must say I agree with this statement. Which means this should be very attractive to the busy person.
I spoke about the tasks list above in the accountability section. The tasks lists / to do list also promotes and increases productivity.
I will list specific things that need attention and I’ll put a star beside the priority. I’ll tackle this task first before I tackle the others.
The following day I will look at the tasks from the day before, and check off the ones I finished. This motivates me and encourages me to continue.
Anything I didn’t complete but are still important, I’ll transfer to the next day. This ensures nothing gets missed.
11) Increased Emotional Intelligence
Journaling can help increase emotional intelligence. If emotional intelligence is new to you – it consists of four main sets of skills. Daily journaling can help someone master these skills. Something that would definitely benefit the busy person.
Help you become aware of your own thoughts and feelings and be in a better position to manage and handle stress
Think of journaling as self-organizing on the page. It can help identify what you think, notice what you feel and help you decide on how you will respond
Can help you develop empathy and understanding for the people around you. family, friends, co-workers etc.
Will create awareness of how you deal with things in your life and in your relationships
12) Improved Relationships
A journal will document specific thoughts and reactions in life and in relationships. Particularly, frustrations, disappointments and one’s reactions to those feelings.
When someone writes down these thoughts, it will highlight specific patterns. They will start to be aware of how they react in certain situations with other people. They can see this and do their best to improve.
Not to mention, once anyone has their stuff organized, are productive and in control – they feel better. When they add in a good night sleep they make for better company.
They handle situations better and they have new found patience and calmness.
13) Habit Building
Many people who journal daily add in a section about forming new habits.
The journal experts would call this a “habit spread” or a “habit page”. It’s on this area of your journal you could try and add a positive habit.
I’ve created one of these spreads / pages in the past because I wanted to turn something into a habit. The idea is if I tracked it in my journal, and continued to do it daily, it would become a habit.
For example – I wanted to get in the habit of taking my daily vitamins. For some reason I never remember to take vitamins. In my journal, I would add a check mark on each day I took my vitamins.
Again, the idea is if I was intentional about it daily, soon it would become a habit.
Could be a good thing for the busy person who might forget about the simple things or tasks because they are so busy.
14) Create a Routine
Some people think a routine is boring – but for the busy person, it might be what they need to stay on target.
People can journal in the morning, they can journal at night, or some people do both.
I prefer in the morning as this is when I’m most creative. I can get all my thoughts out on paper – my gratitude, my worries, my ideas and any tasks out of my mind. This sets me up for a good fresh start to the day.
Some people prefer to journal in the evening before bed. That way, they have all their thoughts, worries, tasks and gratitude out of their head before sleep. This way they sleep better and are more rejuvenated in the morning to start their day off well.
Having this set routine – morning, evening or both – will ground that person. Especially when they feel they feel that pull in different directions.
15) A Story of Your Life
Every once in a while I’ll pull out an old journal looking for something – and spend a few moments reading what I wrote.
It’s interesting to see the things I thought of in the past, the things I worried about (and worried for nothing!).
I see the progress I’ve made over time with a little intentional living and personal growth. And, it’s very clear the things that have stayed constant over time.
This record of my life is something that I have forever. We are always moving forward, always learning with each day. It’s kind of awesome knowing that I have a documentation of my life.
A document of the various accomplishments I’ve achieved. The list of challenges I had to learn to overcome – with success. Many happy notes and gratitude lists I can look over with delight.
My unique story that one day I may want to share with the younger generation. For all you creatives out there – it could be a content for a book.
Every successful person I watch or listen to shares the benefits of writing in a journal. And, they promote this daily habit, as they live their busy lives.
The benefits of journaling are hard to ignore so I gave it a try a few years ago. I started to journal on a daily basis and over time my process has evolved.
I’m not the artistic type, so I liked the analog style of the Bullet Journal. Over the years I’ve tweaked my journal layout and process to keep it to a 15 minute time frame.
I get all the benefits of writing in a journal, but I don’t spend hours doing it. I love it so much I created a guide to share with my readers. Download the 15 minute journal guide here.
What is the difference between a diary and a journal? A diary is record of daily activities, routines and anything that needs to get done. A journal is a record of significant experiences. It is much more personal than a diary. It contains feelings, emotions, problems, and self-assurances. And, it can help to evaluate one’s life.
How do I start a journal? Starting a journal is quite simple. First, choose what you what kind of journaling you want to do. Second, buy a journal and pen you like. Third, be intentional about writing in this journal daily – set a time and stick to it.