When I cracked open my 4th journal – and we'll come back to that – I was a little too focused on the system behind it. I tend to operate like that, attaching systematic approaches to the things I'm involved in.
I began by researching the various page designs others had come up with for the Bullet Journal. If you've never heard of the Bullet Journal – open a new tab right here. I've since adopted a number of really low-key, minimal layouts for monthly and daily logs. Truthfully, I don't use my journal for much more than that. I have a couple pages deicated to tracking my book wishlist and a feeble attempt at biohacking but beyond that, it's a pretty cut and dry record keeper and simple task planner.
I've had a few attempts at the Bujo system – three journals started and forgotten. I think that happens to a fair amount of people. For me, I dove too deep. I went in on a number of overboard designs and the track-everything pages for habits and what have you. It became too cumbersome. I'm not the type to carry my journal everywhere, I check in with it in the morning and at night.
Since then, I'd discovered the '5-minute journal'. While a product on it's own, the system behind it is quite useful. It's a tool for practicing gratitude essentially – or, that's my take. The system rolls out like this; every morning you write three thing's your're grateful for and an actionable statement. Every evening, you write out three awesome things that happened during the day and one thing that would have made the day better.
Enter: the hacked Bujo / 5MJ, nameless system I've been using. Basically, it just mashes the two existing approaches together to be a little more action-oriented.
Start out your day by writing three things to be grateful for. Simple or not, I use this space to reflect on my situation. Family, health and the lifestyle lottery ticket I drew at birth are usual themes.
Next, write an actionable statement; "I will…" or find a meaningful quote to copy. The act of writing it out does something mentally for me, but I can't explain it very well because, you know, science.
Next, let Bujo butt the line and plug in your carried-over, scheduled or new tasks with whatever key icons you use.
Finally, finish out the 5MJ system; write about 3 awesome things that happened in your day and write one thing you could have done to make the day better. Now – that sounds pretty actionable, right? Consider putting that final item as a task the following day where appropriate.
That's about the jist of it and, in the effort to not leave the equivilant of one of those forever-blog-recipies you find where you have to scroll for three thousand characters before finding the actual methods, I'll leave it here with a nice, long, run on sentance.