On starting a daily journal… yet again


I have always wanted to maintain a daily dairy. I would have loved to have a handwritten diary but me being the organised self that I am, I knew that a digital journal would always be my choice.

I have tried about a hundred applications on Play Store trying to find the best diary and note taking app.

Each time I tried to start one, I kept it aside after a couple of days. Maybe I was just fascinated with the idea of having a journal without actually working on it. My highest streak of writing a daily journal was 18 days. After that, it became hard to keep up with it daily. This was back in March 2018.

Discovering Notion gave me the kick to start again

I had been using OneNote for all my notes and journaling since early 2016. I recently discovered Notion and I must say, it is the best note-taking app I’ve found till now. It not only helps me organise my stuff but also lets me construct.

I can view the pages in different modes: tables, lists, boards, calendar and gallery.

However, the feature that blew my mind and won my heart is it’s interlinking of pages feature.

Daily journal: Template or a blank page?

Coming back to journaling, with the amount of things that go in my head, writing on a blank page seems to be a good idea to put down my thoughts. But there are days when I have nothing “worthy” to write. That’s when I think I should have a journal template to help me on days when I didn’t have much to talk about.

Since I was not sure if I wanted to have a defined template for the journal or I should have a blank page, why not have them both?

The default daily journal template of Notion came up some good prompts, but I decided to add on to more stuff that concerned me.

The default template has: Intentions (a to do list?), Happenings, gratitude list, action items (I’m not sure what this one is for).

My template starts with a daily affirmation for myself. I have been focusing on self love for quite some time now and recently discovered the idea of having daily affirmations.

It is followed by a To-do list. I’m not good at making lists, but I’m trying.

Happenings of the day:
(A) Sleep record: My sleep patterns have been horrible ever since I remember. Not that I’ve improved since I started writing this journal, but just noting down when I slept and woke up makes me give a thought to improve my sleep pattern.
(B) Food tracker: I am not someone who eats consciously and keeping a track of my meals on a regular basis is not what I want to track. I added this bit to the template to check how often I skip meals (which I’ve started doing more often). It may help me check when was the last time I ate a particular food.
(C) What went well today? This captures the smallest of the things that brought a smile to my face today to the bigger accomplishments.
(D) What didn’t go well? Or can be improved? I’m usually talking about the unchecked tasks on the to-do list here.
(E) How did I feel today? Any other thoughts? This one helps me reflect on my overall mood of the day. I don’t know why but I feel it’s important for me to know.

Gratitude list: Ever since the coronavirus lockdown began (even though here in India we’re already unlocking, I’m still keeping myself locked up), I’ve become more grateful towards people and things. And acknowledging them daily is a good idea.

Thought of the day: This space allows me to give some wise ideas to myself.

Picture of the day: This has been the latest addition in the template. There have been times when I have thought of having a daily photo journal. Back in graduation, I had this ritual of posting a picture on Instagram everyday. This space also allows me to keep in touch with my love for photography.

These template entries get tagged as Daily.

On the days when I have a mind flooding with thoughts, I write on a blank page. I manually tag these entries as per the content.

My highest streak

I have completed 25 days of writing a daily journal. Ok, I won’t lie. I’ve skipped twice because I was exhausted at the end of those days but I made up for them next day in the morning to not lost the streak. I’m flexible with the streak rules 😀


Do you have a daily journal? If yes, for how long have you been maintaining it? If no, do you want to start one?

Do you prefer a physical dairy or a digital diary? Why?

What do you do on days when you don’t have much to talk about?

16 thoughts on “On starting a daily journal… yet again

    1. I tried the habit tracker template. It’s annoying to use it on the phone :/
      Since when have you been using Notion?

      Like

      1. Signed up last year. But not a religious user. The most useful thing was when i used the subscription tracker to track down all my subscriptions. It whacked me on my face by showing how much i am spending unnecessarily on subscriptions. Helped me cut down by 35%. Of course i had to change the existing template a bit to suit me

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I assume you don’t binge-watch YouTube “productivity” channels then. Notion is the rage among such channels and they generously sponsor their content as well. I got interested because Akshay Kothari, who started up Pulse and got acquired by LinkedIn and was heading LinkedIn India, moved to Notion. And then yes, a couple of videoes from productivity gurus on YouTube. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t binge watch…No productivity videos, no youtube videos, no series, nothing 😀
        It became a bad habit when I watched Friends some years ago and I decided to stop it 😀
        But yeah, I found about Notion from Ali Abdaal and the guy is pretty good. I’m wondering if I found him after you shared a video of him with on the community.
        Will check out Akshay Kothari definitely!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks Shweta! I was also introduced to it recently. Started making my study notes a couple of days ago. It’s more like an all-in-one app. You should try it!

      Liked by 1 person

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