The Art of Journaling

Going down the little known road to success

You all know what journaling is, don’t you? But what you might not know is the benefits that lie behind this practice or the best ways to consistently maintain a journal. This is why I have chosen journals and the art of journaling as the theme of this letter.

The first and foremost reason why I find journaling necessary in the journey of productivity is its specificity and dependence on the end goal. Whoever starts writing a journal has a goal that they want to achieve and the journal simply acts as a medium towards that end.

I am at that point in my life where my goals are much oriented towards family and fitness, I do not need to crack that exam or get that placement. For that reason, my journal witnesses entries like finished that exercise regime, or spent Sunday with family, and alike. If you are a college student who wants to get placed with a decent package, you will focus on solving a set of programs every day or improving your DS-Algo knowledge. If you are someone who wants to finish a marathon, you will concentrate and try to run a set distance every single day. And these are the tasks or chores that you will mention in your journal.

To substantiate my point, I am going to answer a few questions that will help you understand more about this habit.

Why should one do journaling?

Journaling is that one activity that will certainly improve your productivity by leaps and bounds. When you jot down the work you did on a specific day, it helps you retrospect whether you took constructive steps towards your goal. You are able to compare if you were more productive than other days. This helps to graph one’s growth and advancement towards one’s end goal.

The practice of journaling also provides motivation, if you notice that you haven’t been finishing your daily tasks for a week or so, you will pull up your socks and work harder. If you have been achieving what you set out to, you can take a day off and come back to work with a fresh and re-energized mind.

Journaling considerably helps people who are always critical of their own selves. Whenever they feel they are not working hard enough or not progressing fast, they can always look back through the previous pages and be proud of their achievements.

When should one start maintaining a journal?

I do not have many regrets in life but I do have this one: Not starting journaling during college itself. You should get into the habit of journaling as early as possible and try to maintain it consistently as you progress and inch forward in your career.

What is the best way to journal?

In all honesty, there is no strict method of journaling that works for each and every one. The art of journaling is relative to every individual and you might have to do some scouring before you find out what works best for you. I share a few tips that have worked for me and can serve as a good starting point for you.

I have a private GitHub repository wherein I write down the top 2-3 highlights (sometimes, lowlights) of the day. At the end of every month, I go through all of it again and record the main highlights of that month. So, if anyone asks me what I did this month or even year, or what goals I achieved, I have an answer ready to go. And as for GitHub, I love markdowns and that is the main reason why I maintain my journal this specific way.

One method that I had tried out initially but did not work for me in the long term was writing down all the good and bad things that happened yesterday and the goals I need to achieve today. This turned out to be time-consuming and I was not able to maintain it consistently. I mention it here because it might work out for someone else, there’s absolutely no reason that if it didn’t befit me, it won’t suit anyone at all.

Journaling has personally improved my productivity and I cannot recommend it enough if you are serious about your goals.

And I just finished a highlight of my day: wrote down the content for the next newsletter. Do make sure to subscribe to tanaypratap’s letters and add them to your journal!

P.S. Did you know that neoG is hiring?

A full-time paid job opportunity to work with me, open for final year students as well as people who have 6 months internship options available.

I believe you have already read enough for the moment, so I am leaving this link here: https://bit.ly/neog-program-associate

Take your time, read the posting and figure out whether this position is for you. All the details are in there and comments are welcome on the posting itself. If you have any doubts, I will answer.