How I Journal: Ken Frei

From the quiet corners of Lehi, Utah, to the bustling streets of Ghana, Africa, journaling has played a pivotal role in the life of Ken Frei.

Whether as a childhood pastime, a tool of self-reflection, or a therapeutic conduit for emotions and experiences, the act of journaling has remained consistent. Today, we delve into Ken’s world of journaling and uncover the significance it holds in his life.

A Lifelong Journey

Ken Frei, a product management leader residing in Lehi, Utah, USA, has embraced the art of journaling since his early years. “My parents encouraged me to journal as a kid, so I’ve journaled on and off since I was around 8 years old,” Ken shared.

“I started out with a handwritten journal which I wrote in every month or so as a kid. I didn’t journal much in my teenage years. I picked the habit back up at 19 years old when I served a 2 year church mission to Ghana, Africa where I wrote in my journal every day. As an adult, I began using an electronic journal, using a couple different apps before settling on Day One. I’ve written in my journal 3-5 times a month now for many years.”

The Heart of Journaling

For Ken, journaling isn’t just a mere act of writing; it’s an exploration into the self. He states, “Journaling is important to me for a few reasons:

  1. It’s therapeutic to get my thoughts and feelings out onto the page.
  2. It helps clarify my thinking.
  3. It helps me remember experiences, moments, and details years later that I otherwise would have forgotten.
  4. When I review past journal entries, I get to learn from my own experience.
  5. I believe it will be interesting and valuable to my family in the future after I’m gone.”

The Contents of Ken’s Journals

His entries, while sometimes serving as a travel log, often dive deeper into introspection, capturing the emotions and nuances of daily life.

“I make an effort though, to write entries that capture thoughts and feelings I had during the day, and experiences or moments that I had that I don’t want to forget in the future.”

Building a Journaling Routine

Ken’s commitment to journaling is evident in his nightly routine. “I have a journaling reminder in my phone each night before I go to bed that reminds me to journal,” he says. This reminder isn’t just about maintaining consistency, but an opportunity for him to reflect and process the day’s happenings.

Ken’s Tips for Aspiring Journalers

For those looking to embark on a journaling journey, Ken advises simplicity: “Make it easy on yourself or you won’t be successful in building a habit.”

“Even if you just dictate a sentence or two that your phone transcribes in your journal, that’s wonderful. When you catch yourself feeling joy, excitement, sadness, worry, or really any emotion during the day, write down a brief thought about how you’re feeling. That’s really all it takes. Over time, you’ll start seeing tremendous value from doing that and you’ll start to learn what works best for you in your journaling practice.”

“When you catch yourself feeling joy, excitement, sadness, worry, or really any emotion during the day, write down a brief thought about how you’re feeling. That’s really all it takes.”

Insights Gained

Revisiting past entries has revealed patterns and insights for Ken. “I find it fascinating to re-read old journal entries describing the stress and anxiety around decisions I faced back then. Now, with hindsight, I witness how I navigated those challenges. This treasure trove of experiences increases my confidence and helps me make more informed decisions today.”

Tools of the Trade

Within the Day One app, Ken is particularly fond of the ‘On This Day‘ feature. “Each day, it resurfaces entries from the same date in previous years. This offers not only a dose of nostalgia and joy but also serves as a learning portal into past decisions.”

“I also have a reminder set to go off each day before bed that reminds me to reflect on the day and write in my journal. I have also connected Instagram to my journal so that if I post photos there it will automatically upload to my journal which makes it easy. I also love the daily prompt that Day One suggests in the app. It’s helpful to spark ideas for things to write about.

In Ken’s Words

“Journaling has made me more observant, quicker to recognize the blessings in my life and to learn the lessons from challenging experiences. Journaling is almost like my personal therapist or coach. It’s a great habit, well worth the time invested to do it.”

Unleashing Your Inner Sage

The journey of Ken Frei, through continents and decades, underpins the universality and timelessness of journaling. His insights offer both a mirror and a map for those looking to embark on their own journaling endeavors. In the words, memories, and reflections penned down, lies a universe waiting to be explored.

For more journaling insights from Ken, check out Ken’s Substack, and this article he shared on what he’s learned from journaling: The Journaling Key: Unlocking the Door to Personal Growth.

Start Your Journaling Streak
with Day One

The Day One journaling app makes it easy to build and maintain a daily journaling habit. Daily journaling reminders, daily writing prompts, and journal streaks are designed to help keep you motivated and consistently journaling.

Did you recently cross a journaling streak milestone? We’d love to hear your story! Tell us your Streak Story here.

Journal from here, there, everywhere.

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