person writing in a journal at a desk

Journaling for Productivity, Habits, and Gratitude

How journaling can help keep you grounded

Hobbies and InterestsMental health and wellbeing
By VoiceBox ·

Kyla (not her real name)

A young writer from the Philippines, who's passionate about caring for her community

3 Ways Journaling Keeps Me Grounded

I’ve been journaling since I was thirteen. I got into it trying to figure out what to do with the notebooks I made by hand. 

Then it evolved into finding something to do with my time, so I turned to elaborately drawn spreads for tracking habits and daily journaling. 

However, since college, I never really had enough time to do this anymore - at least not the elaborate spreads. I turned to more minimalist styles, but I never stopped journaling. 

Here are three things I do with my journal and how they’ve affected me: 

A to-do list directs life

I journal at night and list the things I need to accomplish the following day (including events). Not only does this help me remember them, but it also gives me a clear sense of purpose from the moment I wake up. 

I’ve found that on days I have this list in front of me, I wake up snappier and am less lethargic in the morning. The limited space in the journal also trains me to prioritize tasks. This way, I do not get overwhelmed and try to do everything in one day.

Because of this, I am able to budget my time well because I have at least some sense of what to expect from each day. 

Trackers build habits

Journalling also helps remind me of the more routine things I do in my day. Did I take my meds? Did I do my skincare? Workout? Drink enough water? 

Because journals can be retrofitted to your lifestyle and needs, you can make a tracker for any habit, project or chore so that you do not forget and more importantly, you can track your progress and see how far you’ve come. 

I’ve found that it can be especially helpful when I’m trying to get into a new habit. For example, journaling has helped me get into the habit of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. 

These days, a spending tracker has been especially helpful in allowing me to see where my money has gone and lets me reflect on the things that I may have been spending too much on. 

A diary to appreciate each day

When we’re especially busy, or even when we’re not, it’s so easy for days to blend into each other. It can be difficult to even remember what we did just a few days ago. Sometimes, such things made me feel like I did not spend my time well or that those days were worthless. 

So when I added a reflective section to my journal during the lockdown, I was able to find just a little bit more meaning in each day. 

I wrote down what I did, what went well, what could be better, and lastly, what I was thankful for that day. 

It helped develop a sense of awareness and became an avenue for emotional release, which is especially helpful on stressful days. The gratitude aspect of it, in particular, allowed me to have a more positive outlook on life because even on the worst days, there was still at least one thing to be grateful for. 

Grounding through journaling

I think the best way to sum everything up is: journaling develops self-awareness. Through it, I know what I’ve done, what I am doing, what I need to do, and most importantly, how I feel about all of it. I strongly encourage you to try it out!

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