It may seem like a challenge to keep up with maintaining a daily journal, or learning how to build the habit of doing so. Trust me, I’ve tried—and failed several times (in my almost 10 years of dear diary-ing my way into adulthood, lol). But I realized that the important thing is to block off time on some days of the week to work on your pages, and to enjoy the art of documenting, of course. Today, I’ll be sharing some tips on making time, as well as advice to keep the habit going. Read on!
1. Update at least thrice a week.
So my daily journal comes in a spread of 2 days—the main reason why I opt to just update every other day (photo below for reference). I can make it a connecting spread, or use the same elements to update the 2 pages. It saves a lot of time for me rather than updating every day.
2. Time yourself.
I know, I know—we’re all busy. As much as I treat my journaling as therapy, I give myself 30 minutes max. to work on the pages. I don’t like getting OC about it (it’s not for a client anyway!). However, if you’re lettering the whole page, maybe allot an hour max. or you may resume the next day.
The problem of taking too long to journal (like more than an hour) is you overthink about how your spreads will look or feel pressured to make it look “good”. Remember, journaling is first and foremost a personal activity, so you are ideally the only person you have to please. That, and it’s what you put into each page that matters.
3. Don’t kill time. Use it to journal.
You know how there really are episodes of “I have so much time to kill”—especially in unforeseen circumstances (delayed flight, waiting in line somewhere, stuck in traffic, or simply on break from work) in a day? Well, that’s the best time to journal rather than tinkering on your phone. Saves time and keeps you more productive!
While I don’t bring my journal with me (I have a separate one for my travels) on a regular basis, I do stay home (homebody much, haha) and keep it near my work area so I tend to write/update it during work breaks or early in the morning/late at night when work is out of the way.
4. Clean your space.
I have this tendency to want to have my table clean before working, and I guess that strongly applies when making art in general as well. Keep your little journaling nook tidy every after you get messy with your pages. Usually, I end up making a mess but eventually I clean the area after.
Another tip: if you plan to journal the next morning, keep your space tidy the night before and put out the tools you’ll be using. You won’t have any excuse to not journal!
5. Treat it as a task (and challenge yourself with prompts!)
I often get complaints about how journaling eats up sleeping time, me-time, etc. and here’s my tip: you really have to put it on your schedule. If it’s important to you, you’ll make time. It only takes a few minutes a day to sit down and write. If you have time for other things, you’ll definitely have time to update your journal.
Want more ideas on how to maintain a journal? Make sure to join our Facebook group (fb.com/groups/ABCletteringjournaling) for more!
Cover photo by Patrick Martires for The ABCs of Journaling
Written by Abbey Sy
Abbey Sy is an artist and author with a penchant for art and travel. If she’s not busy making things, she loves dabbling in creative writing and journaling. Find her online at abbey-sy.com and @abbeysy.
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