Journaling

Britney does this, you should too!

Hi and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club! This week, I have decided to write about something I have been doing since I was laid off from my job. This activity is essential to organizing your thoughts, working on your goals, and just plain venting.

I am talking about Journaling or keeping a Diary. When most people hear the word “Diary”, they think about Britney, writing about her latest crush and which girls at school are so mean! Yes, I’m talking about you, Tiffany!

Keeping a Diary or “Journaling” has come a long way since you ladies kept one in high school. It is now a widely accepted practice among business people, who want to organize their thoughts, create fresh ideas, and figure out what steps to take next. It might even change your life!

I kept a journal on and off during my “Employable” years. Now and then, when an important life event would come up, I would make an entry. However, the morning after I was let go from my job, I fired up my PC and wrote some blistering commentary on fairness, loyalty, and the lack of both in the business world. I also wrote some choice words about the people I felt were responsible for the layoffs, and which biblical plagues should descend upon them! Like I said, venting!

Once I got all of that out of my system (mostly), I decided to start Journaling every day. This helped me to search (in vain) for a job where they would appreciate my talents, hire me on the spot, and give me a big raise! Problem solved!! Yeah, we all know how that worked out! However, Journaling has helped me to organize my thoughts and figure out my next move. I’m sure it will help you as well.

What follows are some suggestions on how to get started, based on what I have learned on my own, and what I have learned about Journaling from other sources.

Start by figuring out how you are going to Journal. “Old School”, with a spiral notebook, or joining the digital age by using Journaling Software. Being a techie guy, I use iDailyDiary to record my daily thoughts. It is a free download from Download.com. There are also many other Journaling options, such as Microsoft’s OneNote, and online Journaling sites, such as Penzu, JRNL, LiveJournal, and others. These sites give you the added benefit of being able to record your thoughts on your PC, tablet, or phone. Also, you don’t have to worry about losing all of your entries if you misplace your spiral notebook or your PC blows up. They are all safely stored online.

You may also want to consider having more than one Diary going at a time. This is very helpful if you want to have one Diary for recording daily events, writing down ideas, and venting. Plus another Diary for posterity. Sharing your infinite wisdom, thoughts about current events, and why the college football playoff system STILL sucks!!

Getting started. Most people are terrified of a blank page or screen in my case. To make it easy on yourself, just write down what you did yesterday. You may want to put a prompt at the top of each page to help you remember.

Mine says:

Weight Status (2 years ago, I lost 40 pounds so I keep close tabs on my weight)
Health / Workout Status
Morning Driving
Before / After Lunch
Evening Driving
Anything Else
Top 10 Goals
Scripture of the Day

As you write about the previous day, you may remember a task you weren’t able to check off on your to-do list. Put 3 asterisks (or any special character) at the start of that sentence. ***You see how it makes the sentence easier to spot on the page! You will appreciate that when you proceed to the next step.

Weekly Review. Writing down all your thoughts is great, but what if you need to do something with them? I suggest you take about half an hour at the end of each week, to review the entries for that week. Make special note of any sentences with special characters that will require further action.

At first, you may find you won’t be able to write down more than a few lines of text. However, as you get used to putting your thoughts down on paper or PC, you will find you eventually get into “The Flow”. The words will just start to pour out of you onto the Journal of your choice.

An example of why this is a good practice. I have been using iDailyDiary for quite a while now, but I haven’t been happy with the fact that I have to back up the entries myself. Researching this article has inspired me to start using JRNL to record my daily Journal entries. I never would have thought to do this, if I wasn’t writing this article about Journaling, and the idea to write the article came to me while writing in my Journal!

I hope this article inspires you to take up the habit of Journaling. Getting your thoughts down on paper or in digital bits is always a good thing. Whether they be good or bad, it’s always good to get them out of your system. It is cathartic. Plus, I have found that new ideas will often occur to you that you haven’t considered before. It’s a great way to tap into the universe of new ideas.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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