When we look back at the journals of great men like George Washington, Abe Lincoln and General Patton we never argue about the medium they used to journal, instead we just pour over what they wrote! Today there are debates over which journal to use, what pen to use, if our journals should be electronic or on paper, which app to use and what security to use. I spent the better part of a few years jumping back and forth from electronic to paper and debating if one app was better than another. What I’ve come to realize, and appreciate, is to look at HOW others have journaled. What did they write about? How frequently did they write?
Your time is spent on journaling on anything that works instead of trivial debates on e-journaling, or what type of Moleskine you use.
I use three journals on a regular basis, two paper and one electronic. One paper journal is my everyday work and personal task related notes, one journal is a spiritual journey journal and my electronic journal (@dayoneapp) is my personal journal. Rather than debate why paper versus electronic or why a hybrid system, I’ll share what I journal in each. (I wish other leaders would share what their journals looked like…. you learn so much more!).
Everyday work & personal journal
This is my primary paper journal and one that I carry everywhere I go. I write down tasks, phone numbers that I need to temporarily remember, diagrams, thoughts, etc. I also keep this close to my bed because if I have a thought that I am processing before I fall asleep I have a place to write it down. Here are two example pages in my journal. I try to always have a date (although I don’t have one on these two pages), and try to keep my thoughts separated by a horizontal line. I usually fill 1-2 pages per day on average. I keep the last 3-4 journals before disposing of them. If I need to retain the information I can take a picture of a page I want to keep and I store it in Evernote.
Spiritual Journey Journal
This is where I write down what I notice from scripture when I read it, what I hear when I pray and notes that I write while preparing to give a message. I use this journal for prayer requests as well. I use a paper journal because it eliminates the distraction of other apps (like email) when I should be listening, and keeps me focused. Here are three examples of pages in my spiritual journey journal.
Because I know the power of journaling to recall history and share with future generations, I chose to use an electronic app (Day One App) to capture information and pictures. Most often this is personal or family information or random musings about my day. Here are a few examples