The Art of Journaling

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve had a journal. I even remember my first one. It was baby pink with a puffy cover and came with a tiny lock and key which I promptly lost. At six or seven I wasn’t much of a writer but I still felt the power of having an outlet. Writing in my journal allowed me to give shape to the thoughts and emotions I was experiencing, and gave me a safe way of exploring my imagination and working out my problems.

Over the years I’ve continued to journal and with some exceptions it’s a practice I’ve kept up consistently. Out of all of my self-care activities I have found journaling to be the most helpful. Keep in mind I do not use this as a diary, or a record of my daily routine (although you’re certainly more than welcome to do so). I use more of a free-writing style; I jot down things that I’m feeling or experiencing, or something I want to remember. Sometimes it’s just whatever pops into my mind.

Sometimes waves of thought rage furiously through my head, one after the other, at a pace so roiling and intense that I’ve felt too overwhelmed to choose the right words, or felt that I couldn’t keep up enough to write anything down. Even then putting down something, anything, can act as a form of release. My entries then become bullet lists to organize the sea of my mind, each bullet a complete thought or feeling, without self-censoring or judgement, and with little regard to linear form. (Brains don’t really work like that, anyways.)

There are other ways of expressing yourself through journaling; I know some who use their bullet journals as both a calendar and personal diary. (Some of them are crazy amazing.) Doodle, use colour or stickers, or change up your writing or printing style (i.e., cursive, all-caps, different sizes, etc.)

If you’re a hardcore journal-writer looking to improve your journaling experience, there are entire websites, blogs and books devoted to journal prompts or ideas for list-making. Some books will even give you ideas on how to transform your journaling- for example, Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, describes this process as writing “morning pages”.

For those who are inexperienced at journaling, there are lots of fun pre-printed journals and books designed for you to destroy, draw all over and make your own. A blank page can be intimidating to even the most seasoned writer, so having your own lists of things to fill out or doodles to finish could be what you need to jumpstart your creativity.

Journaling is a great way to process thoughts and feelings, work out problems, record dreams and experiences and express yourself. It allows yourself to be creative, which helps you with your self-esteem and improves your self-knowledge. Also, journaling has been known to aid in the treatment of depression, anxiety and those suffering from PTSD. If that’s not enough to convince you to pick up a pen and start writing, I don’t know what will!

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

You, in Lists

I am the Queen of Lists. (It’s not a self-proclaimed title either; just ask anyone who knows me.) I freaking love them. I have lists for just about everything and around this time of year I like to review them (especially if I’m doing a yearly review, which I highly recommend you do as well.)

What kind of lists am I talking about? I’m talking about the lists that make up you: the things you like and dislike, the things that you think about, the dreams that you have. You have to have at least some of those written down, don’t you?

Here are some of the things that you may or may not have lists about:

  • favourite books/books to read/favourite genres
  • music to try
  • places you’ve visited
  • places to go
  • foods to try/favourite foods/restaurants
  • bucket lists/goals for week, month, year, season, vacation or life
  • movies to watch/favourite movies/TV shows
  • favourite ways of coping with stress
  • rainy day list/wish list
  • ideas for parties/birthday gifts/Christmas gifts
  • favourite board games/card games/party games
  • ideas for garden/outdoor space/home
  • favorite drinks/drinks to try
  • packing lists
  • websites to check out
  • books/items that friends have borrowed
  • savings goals
  • fitness goals
  • beauty products/treatments to try

I keep all of my “me” lists in my planner so when I’m planning a shopping trip, organizing a movie night with friends or just deciding which book to read next I have the all close at hand. It makes my daily planning more personal and purpose-driven.

Looking to try this in your own life? Here’s some examples of some of the lists I have going now:

  • This is the time of year I like to review the list of all of the items I’ve borrowed off of friends over the year. (And by items I mean books. Check out what I’m catching up on this winter here.)
  • I don’t know anything about wine so I always consult my list of favourites before I go to the store; honestly, I draw a blank every time I get there.
  • A lot of conversations with friends these days involve TV shows they’ve been binge-watching on Netflix. I try to keep track of the titles mentioned so I always have something to watch instead of scrolling through the list of Netflix recommendations for an hour. (I think my next one is Vikings. What do you guys think?)

What are some of the lists that you keep about your likes and dislikes? Where do you store them? Are there any ideas for lists that I didn’t include here? Give me a shout below or let me know at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and I’ll add your list to my list of lists!

I’m always looking for the best ways to manage my time and workflow more effectively and efficiently. If you’re looking for more ways to increase your productivity as well, click here for more strategies that I’ve developed and researched and here for more ways to stay organized. For more ways to deal with your busy lifestyle, click here.