Journaling is a great exercise for your mind. It can help you deal with emotions, record a memory, capture a lingering thought, or clear your mind for the real work of your day. Writing a journal is a highly recommended habit for artists, entrepreneurs and pretty much anyone. It is also a great way to start your day. According to several research studies, regular journaling can even make your happier and more productive.
At its most basic, journaling is the act of spending some time to write something. Journaling is moment to write anything.
For self-trackers and quantified self enthusiasts, journaling also offers an opportunity to capture some personal data too. Depending on the tool you use (more on this later), when you create an entry, you also collect various metadata on that moment like date, time, location and even the weather. You could also note your mood too. These data points can be used for data analysis and data visualization.
Along with the metadata, when you journal, you are creating a piece of text. You have the word count and frequency of word usage. This text and its words can be analyzed with more sophisticated data processing techniques. For example, natural language processing (NLP) is a branch of machine learning and artificial intelligence that is capable of gathering statistics, deriving meaning, building models and understanding the sentiment of the text.
Furthermore, if you looking to build a positive habit into the start or end of your day, then journalling is one of the best. For example, you can use a few minutes of journaling at the beginning of the day to prepare your mind and feelings. This is often referred to as “morning pages,” and this is how I journal.
You can also use journalling at the end of the day as a way to express what you did, how it went and project plans for the day to come. This kind of journaling can be a great way to close out your day and building positive feelings too.
There are tons of ways you can journal. Some people like keeping a diary of events and memories. Others like journaling while traveling or keeping a log of their children’s lives. The format of journaling is wide open and highly individualized.
In this post, I want to look briefly at journaling with a particular focus on how it can be used for self-tracking. We will look at the benefits of journaling, various tools you can use to capture your words, and how you can capture and use data you can get.