Journalling a habit

Book with the phrase It's about to get nostalgic in here
Keeping track of what’s happened to me is the current reason why I am journalling

Notables:

  • Got reassured by my boss that she loves the work I am putting out
    • Could be a bit more meticulous but part of it is the insane workload we all have – understanding boss is really awesome
  • Ontama curry from Hanamaru is delicious and cheap
  • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MANMARU CLOSED DOWN
  • Epic failing at writing my journal reflection this morning
  • Took a nap that almost lasted three hours

~~~~~

Ever since I started my new job, I have started listening to a lot more podcasts. As it is I am completely up to date with Welcome to Nightvale (CARLOS X CECIL 4EVA and knowing that Carlos’ actor Dylan Marron is also gay and a POC who IS as sweet outside of Nightvale as Carlos is a life goal), Our Fair City (OMG it has an end date but why), discovered the Orbiting Human Circus (Julian why you so adorbs) and have recently started listening to Productivity Alchemy and I already love it (thank you tenta!).

The Podcast habit was easy to start, because the new car has auto Bluetooth connection, so I just start it up when I get into the car. I have never been more glad to dump radio, and even if I have to drive my mom to church I now put on Spotify’s Top 40 list instead of Mix FM.

There have been other habits that I have tried and not quite succeeded though. Writing daily journal entries is one of them. This post is an example of how I’m structuring it.

The Notable section is a way for me to gather my thoughts and reflect on what has happened between the last time I wrote an entry and now. I have a tendency to oversleep, which cuts into the morning session, and by the evening I’m usually too exhausted.

I’m compensating by writing when I need some space to think at work, and by continuing the weekly habit I already had before this. It’s been almost two months since I started this journey, and while it is on its way to becoming a permanent habit, there are still enough times where I feel like I’m failing.

I can’t remember where I began the thought dump process, but I know that it required me to get over my tendency to listen to others and really just start examining my own habits. I needed to convince myself that it was alright to take 10 minutes to simply write whatever that came to mind, that it was fine to thought dump and not censor myself.

The hardest part has been to write to be forgotten, because I don’t want anyone else to read it. A pen and paper notebook, while romantic, is also impractical for this. I would rather write on the computer with the ability to edit; my fingers can keep up with the speed of my thoughts.

So what I have learnt?

I need a little structure

I was talking to Tenta about journalling and I realised that what put me off bullet journalling was the whole “oh you need to structure your day HERE IS LIMITED SPACE TO MAKE IT LOOK PRETTY WHILE GETTING SHIT DONE” and the whole productivity thing was not something I like.

The format of writing what was notable in the past few hours however, worked well to remind me of things that are memorable. They didn’t need to be things that are good, though I always want to start with that; I want to remember the happier moments and wins instead of the negative bits.

I also got myself a paper journal (thanks Rin!) that was more for those moments I didn’t want to whip out the Bluetooth keyboard and yet wanted to write. It has since been turned into an ideas book, with little snippets and practising of my penmanship.

Journalling is therapeutic

There’s plenty enough said online and in studies that highlight the benefits of journalling, but I would like to confess something it has made me realise; journalling allows me to put into words insights and ideas I have had for the longest time, but lacked the courage to say or admit. It is brutally honest, but only if I am with myself.

Writing, to me, is half an art, half a science. Perhaps the hardest part is to be gentle to yourself, especially when dealing with emotions.

Self-care is not selfish, and if it means you need to take time out to go pay your bills, have a mini mental vacation or treat yourself to a good meal, it will allow you to go back to work or whatever it is you need to do.

My habits have noticeable dip and high tendencies

Probably not going to happen to everyone, but I noticed this about myself. Journalling allowed me to record and somewhat track this. More importantly, it gave me the space to process the emotions that led or did not lead to the decision.

Another side benefit of journalling on the PC or via a service like Google Docs; it makes looking up more of the same that much easier.

Journalling has made me more empathic?

Still not too sure about this, but journalling has made me more sensitive to others. I’m learning to read between the lines with a finer sift, and there is less hesitation when it comes to reaching out. However all this extra writing on top of my current job writing has led to an unexpected (though unsurprising outcome):

I find it harder to craft stories

My brain can think up scenarios but rarely pursue it to fruition. I can attribute this somewhat to having just come out of an environment where EVERY MOMENT OF YOUR TIME MUST BE PRODUCTIVE AND YOU ARE COSTING US HOURS AND MINUTES but that is not the whole of it. The drive has been lost, and I want to find it again.

So… how was YOUR day?