How to make sure a summer to remember ends up in your journal
With the sun shining, the waves crashing, and the grass growing, it can be hard to keep a growing journal. It’s the reality of the beautiful summer season — inspiration may be at an all-time high, but finding the time to record in your journal can be difficult.
On the other hand, inspiration could be at an all-time low due to the drawn out days of work and little time to rest or recuperate. It’s easy to fall into the second trap.
Fortunately, we’re here to help on the inspiration front. Any one of the following ten journal ideas could grow into a mammoth journal on their own. No pressure. Grab one, two, or all ten ideas and get back into your journal this summer.
1. Travel Journal
This is a no-brainer at this time of year. At least 23% of Americans planned and booked a vacation by the end of May 2017, so there should be no shortage of travel journaling going on.
The results can be breathtaking. I kept a travel journal of our trip to Europe last summer and have revisited those journal entries exactly one year after. It’s fun to sip on a cup of coffee with your significant other and reminisce about the ups and downs of taking trains and airplanes through Spain and Italy.
One day, you won’t remember where you were or how you got to each place. Storing the details in a journal can be a huge boost to your travel memory.
2. Photo Journal
Photo journals can go hand in hand with many others on this list, but it’s especially easy to develop a photo journal with Day One’s Activity Feed. If you snap a photo on your iPhone or if you add a photo to Instagram, Day One automatically picks up the photo and can quickly add it to an entry.
If, like me, you want to see where you came from as a photographer, Activity Feed can be a great tool, or, if you’re a visual person, keeping memory-jogging photos helps stir the brain.
Photos are worth a thousand words, so a thousand photos will tell you a lot about your past-self.
3. Pregnancy Journal
I’m on the wrong side of the biological fence on this one, but I know my expecting-wife wants to look back on her pregnancy and learn from her first go-around. From different foods, to different moods, to different triggers for physical symptoms, keeping some sort of pregnancy journal can help ease the load as the term goes by.
Even more so, reflecting on the amazing gift of growing life before birth can bring a tear to your eye. It does for me. I still can’t get over the dramatic shifts and changes I see in my wife each day, let alone the awe and wonder at the child growing within her.
I’m not a parent yet, but I bet most parents would look back on their pregnancies and be met with a wink and a smile. They’re worth reflecting on, even if you go through a particularly enduring set of struggles.
4. Collections Journal
I know a few numismatists who would greatly benefit from keeping a collections journal. The level of technical detail in coin and currency collecting is jaw dropping. Throwing it into a searchable journal can make it a bit more manageable.
Using Day One, collectors could snap a photo of their latest collection addition, jot down a few specifics, note the value, and store the entry away for future visits. If anyone ever asks which year, or which series, or which rating you’ve given the item in hand, a quick search can do the trick.
Collection journals may not be visited as often as a few other journals on this list, but keeping data on each individual piece can be invaluable for both collectors and those looking to learn a thing or two about your hobby.
5. Bucket List Journal
Another one of those journals you may not visit all that often, a bucket list journal would be great for living life with passion and excitement. Wanted to skydive your whole life? Keep a checklist, note your experience, shoot a photo, and add it to your journal when complete.
At the top of my bucket list is a visit to Fenway Park to watch a baseball game before the historic park closes. Whenever I get to check the item off the list, you can be sure a few photos of the old seats, the Green Monster, and the classic scoreboard will line the top of my bucket list journal entry.
6. Food/Drink/Beer/Wine Journal
This is another no-brainer journal, and one which greatly benefits from a little automation. Back in January, we published a mini-guide to using TextExpander and Day One to automate a bunch of mundane typing tasks. We highlighted film/comic/book reviews in the TextExpander guide, but it can easily be adapted to a food/drink/beer/wine journal.
Trying a new brew or a new bottle? Whip out your iPhone, snap a photo of the cuisine, and fill out a quick TextExpander survey you can reflect on in the future. I find this kind of journal takes some considerable time to develop, but can be a great resource if you’re with a group of friends aiming to try something new.
Was that India Pale Ale good the last time you tried it? Your food/drink/beer/wine journal probably has the answer.
7. Property Catalog/Asset List
Asset lists are numerous and wide-ranging in my little world.
Except that I don’t have one of my own.
Personal asset lists may sound earthly and possessive to some, but these types of lists can be exceptionally valuable under numerous circumstances. Applying for a debt product at the bank? Having a complete asset list in your journal can yield a better answer than “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” If catastrophe strikes, your property catalog/asset list can help your family ensure your estate is well taken care of.
Plus, asset lists have this inherent ability to show — in some numerical fashion — some of the fruits of your labor.
So, whether for the positive or the catastrophic, keeping an asset list updated in an accessible fashion can pay dividends in the future.
8. To-Do Lists
To-do lists can be endless for some people, so I tend to think of this inspirational journal idea more in the “productivity journal” manner.
In my little journal habit, keeping to-do lists is epitomized by getting my hair cut. Every five to six weeks, I’m ready for a haircut (this time tends to get shorter as I get older). But lazy Josh doesn’t have the foresight to schedule a haircut on the day his prior haircut is finished. Instead, the to-do item is marked down in my journal and I can refer to the correct dates in that manner.
Obviously, keeping some sort of record of your productivity can provide great benefits. You can track when you’re most productive, when you’re least productive, or how long you can stay in the zone before needing to take a break. This is tremendously effective when addressing your self care. No matter your productive capacity, recording and analyzing the results can make you that much more efficient and productive.
9. Financial Journal
Keeping a financial journal can have a broad scope. Perhaps you’re an investor who likes to track opens, highs, lows, and closes. Or perhaps you have a financial bucket list. Or, if you’re keen to have those nostalgic conversations when you’re much older, you can track each time you received a wage increase (my grandfather tells me used to work for about a nickel an hour when he was a kid).
Financial journals can also record great (or bad) entrepreneurial ideas and track the growth of a business opportunity. Maybe one rendition of the idea doesn’t work in today’s current market, but, after a few iterations and discussions with a professional, the business idea becomes more feasible. Having a record of how you built out a business idea can make you a more skilled entrepreneur in the future.
10. Prayer Journal
It’s always good to leave the best for last.
Prayer journals can be powerful, no matter your walk or faith in life. You can use the journal as a source of meditation or to provide better structure to your thoughts and prayers. Then, in reflection, you can view your struggles and high points and learn going forward.
Day One is exceptional for keeping a prayer journal.
For one, you can dictate a journal entry if you find yourself in prayer during a time where you’re unable to type.
Secondly, you can create entries late at night without stirring awake the others in your bedroom. I often find my mind to be completely empty and free for prayer after waking in the middle of the night. If it’s the type of prayer to record, it’s simple to reach over, grab the iPhone, and type out what’s needed without turning on any lights.
Everyone is different. Some will choose to ignore this idea entirely, while others will prefer to keep their prayers in a more traditional format. No matter your preference, keeping a prayer journal can have a powerful effect in times of reflection.
If you’re like me, the middle of the summer calls for a dust-off of the journal. I’d generally argue your time is better spent in the great outdoors, but keeping the journal habit flowing through the summer months can have lasting benefits.
In an ideal world, you don’t need any of the above ideas to get back into gear. Better yet, you have a plethora of other journal ideas to keep the inspiration flowing.
But for those like me who’ve had a harder time getting in front of a computer or typing out an entry on the iPhone, these ideas can get you back into the swing of things.