Journaling

For me there is nothing more liberating than writing out words on paper and clearing out my mind. It is something that has helped me immensely in coping with stress especially. Also I think  I am a perfectionist by nature and I definitely derive a strange sense of pleasure from the productivity journaling brings me. This journal is one of several journals, that I currently use. I have a journal for reflections and affirmations of gratitude, then I have a journal that I always keep in my purse for elusive thoughts and inspirations, then I have another journal for anything else, lists more than anything, I write a lot of lists. Essays and stories I tend to write on the computer. And although I rarely share the things I write with anyone, I write everyday. To me, writing and journaling, are a kind of mediation. I received a lot of requests to share this particular journal which is almost more like a planner I feel like. It is my journal of productivity and how I keep track of everything I want and have to do.

I will say this journal is quite a lot, I do track a lot of different things and I as I quickly discovered, looking at what other people included in their journals or planners, it is so individual what is relevant for you in your life. This works for me but it may not work for you. It definitely took me awhile to discover what worked and what didn’t, so if I could give any advide it would be not to get too attached to the idea of perfection because it usually isn’t really realistic. (This advice applies to a lot of things in life I have found)

So anyways, this is how I set out my journal every month, every month is slightly different but roughly the same:

On the first page of every month I have a monthly calendar overview. I always do two separate ones: one for general events and one for university although I usually don’t have too many events in a month I quickly discovered that it is much easier to have to two separate. On the general calendar I will write any social events, any work or whatever and on the university I will write down any meetings or deadlines.

Following the monthly calendar I have a sleep tracker for the month where I track when I go to sleep every night and when I wake up and then write out how many hours I sleep. I am fortunate enough to live a life that allows me to sleep intuitively and I always fall asleep when I am tired and wake up when I am naturally rested. I sleep a lot at the moment, as it is winter and my body is highly adjusted to the times of sunset and sunrise, also my body definitely needs the rest. I started tracking my sleep as a part of healing a sleep disorder, something I will explain more in depth soon.

Next to the sleep tracker I have a meditation tracker, I have set it up so that each square equals 5 minutes but the duration of each mediatation I do is usually 30 minutes which explains why I have it setup like I have. I initally setup the meditation tracker to inspire myself to meditate more, to meditate more everyday consistently and to meditate for longer durations of time, and it has really helped.

On the following page I have a monthly yoga tracker. I do yoga everyday and I use this to keep track of what kind of practices I do to make sure I get enough rest and I also try to write down which areas of my body I have been working on or which poses to cultivate awareness around my practice and make it easier for me to maintain balance within my body.

Next to the yoga tracker I have an exercise tracker which is for anything that isn’t yoga. I don’t necessarily do a lot of exercise apart from yoga and natural movement like walking or riding my bike although I am getting to a point in my yoga practice where it requires more strength than before, and so I want to incorporate more running and swimming into my routine. Also anytime of conscious movement for me really helps my mental clarity.

With these two trackers I do want to stress that I don’t have any strict mindset around what I need to do. I always exercise with awareness, I  listen to my body and I always exercise for the shear pleasure of exercising and not for anything else. Sometimes I do really hard yoga, sometimes I do gentle yoga classes merely stretching and meditating. Sometimes I go for a really fast run, sometimes it is a slow run that is more accurately classified as fast walking. It doesn’t preoccupy me. But I will talk about this more another time.

A tracker can be really helpful for a lot of things, but don’t let it control your life.

On the following page I have an eating and fasting tracker. To be honest I wasn’t sure whether or not I should include this as I know it can be a controversial subject. Fasting is something I have experrimented with for years both for all the right and wrong reasons. More recently I have experrimented with a particular kind of fasting and eating which has made me feel a lot better both physically and mentally and allowed me to enhance my yoga practice, and the tracker is really helpful when initially cultivating a different routine. I wanted to be transparent and share this in case it may help someoneelse as it did help me however again this is something that is extremely individual and I really don’t want to talk about it too much before I can explain it more in detail. I will talk about it at a later time.

Lastly, I have my weekly spread. I usally set it up one week at a time because I think it is easier that way. On the first page of my weekly spread I write out a small monthly overview and color in what week of the month it is. Next to that I have an overview of the tasks I do everyday, so that I don’t have to write them out on each individual day. These tasks include: Responding to emails, responding to messages (two things I will not do unless I hold myself accountable), tidying, emptying our compost container anything that I have to do everyday continously. Beneath that I have a general to do list for the week, sometimes it is long, other times, like this week, it isn’t. I then write out those tasks on the daily to do lists illustrated on the page next to it on whatever days it is convenient for me. This week is a short week since I always start my week on a Monday and this month started on a Thursday but I usually write out all the days and dates of the week, then I write two different to do lists for each day: one for anything general like paying my insurance which I have to remember to do today and one for anything in regards to university like reading a certain article. Whatever is left of the last page after sunday I use for weekly gratitude affirmations, so anything that I am grateful for that week. For me it is such a perfect way to use up the empty space and this is a practice that makes me really happy.

And that is it, that is my journal as it looks at the moment for this month. Maybe I will do another one at the end of the month to give a more visual idea of what it looks like once everything has been filled out.

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