Who Here Keeps a Journal?

I do. I did. I used to.

This is my third attempt at keeping a journal, and so far it is going well. 

The first time was probably in 2009. The place I worked bought us all lovely hard-backed diaries for the year. We didn’t have a single meeting that year, and I was clairvoyant enough to know this on January 10. So I spent the year writing down everything that happened, instead. At the end of the year, I flicked through it with my wife. It was amazing to see what we had accomplished. I always thought that nothing happened, that life was boring- my journal proved that a lie.

But the book was full and I didn’t get another one.

The second time I tried was in 2014. My wife got me a lovely leather-bound book for our wedding anniversary. It was perfect for a journal. Then a friend got sick, and I wrote about that. Then other things turned bad, and I wrote about that. In the end, I stopped because everything was so damned depressing. The journal still sits on my desk, and I plan to pick it up again and start writing in it, but not just yet. I need it to fester for a while.

But I wanted to start again, but I didn’t want to pick up my proper journal, and it was also in the study, and most of the time I am with my wife in the living room. My phone was the obvious answer.

Here was an opportunity: I have wanted an app idea for months, and now I had one. A journal app. So I made a bare-bones app and I have been using it almost every day. So far it has been a very positive experience.

Hang on, hang on… Is this a product launch? No! For starters, the app isn’t finished and I haven’t made any changes for a month so I don’t know if I ever will.

Really, I found myself reading about the Bullet Journal, and I have seen all these pretty photos of pages next to cups of coffee and wooden tables and it is all so perfect. My handwriting is a mess, my ideas sporadic. I know it isn’t for me, as much as I would love to be the person that sits down with a spare fifteen minutes and migrates tasks month to month.

Then I started reading about gratitude journals and idea journals and collection books and a whole bunch of other things. They all sound so very pretty- you can just picture yourself sitting in a windowsill with a coffee and a beef ragu simmering on the stove. These things are for people who are already organised. Possibly also for people who never will be. That’s not what I need- I’m organised enough, at least for the most part.

But I don’t want a system that is a bunch of tasks that I need to sort. I want less tasks. I want more time. I need my own system.
However, a journal is a great way to remind yourself that life doesn’t suck. Even if nothing much has happened, something little did and if you took the time to live your life, you might as well remember it. 

So, tell me: what’s your system?

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