I’ve journaled off and on over the course of my life, but usually only during dark times, because I’ve heard it helps. But I never stuck with it for long. But some months ago, I took it up again, even though things have been going relatively well for me in recent months.

This time I’ve created a Scrivener file, and I create a new outline item each day, titled by date. I open it first thing each morning, then leave it open on my screen all day:

Now it’s become a habit—I’ve penned thousands of words over the past few months—and it’s really, really helping to keep my thoughts straight, to imbed in my mind what I need to be doing.

It’s so easy to get distracted in today’s digital world. And it’s not just distraction either, it’s derailment, because the inundation of information sparks so many new ideas that you can easily start bouncing from idea to idea and never settle on one long enough to give it a fair shake—let alone finish anything! Simply put, you get pulled in countless different directions simultaneously, simply due to the constant influx of information and stimuli.

I recently described in an article on my blog (How I Optimized Social Media For Maximum ROI, Instead of Leaving It Altogether), that one thing I’ve started doing is this:

“Rather than posting on Facebook what’s going on with me in the mornings or throughout the day, I’ve instead returned to journaling. I use Scrivener, and start a new outline point with each day, using the date as the outline point title. I leave the journal window open on my desktop, and record my thoughts, feelings, activities, and speculations throughout the day there, instead of on Facebook—and it’s working well (and, I’ve ascertained, is probably more appropriate…)”

And since then, I’ve vastly increased this habit, and it’s difficult to believe how helpful it’s been in keeping me focused!

This dovetails nicely with Daniel Pink‘s observations in his book Drive, wherein he explains how many types of input occupy the same part of our brain that we use for creative problem solving—so a busy brain produces less, and lower quality, creative work than it does if we can somehow manage to turn off a bunch of the noise.

And it’s been shown in studies that writing stuff down relieves the brain of much of this busyness, we can let go of it mentally and focus on the work before us.

This is what I’ve started to notice in my daily (hourly?) journaling; my mind seems so much calmer, and clearer, and I can focus on the work before me so much better.

Thought I’d share.


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