I have never been the type of journal-keeper that writes about how things make me feel or writes in my journal to work things out. Rather, journals have been a way of recording my days and emptying my brain of so many details. I have not always kept a journal, but I have for many years. When my kids were small and I was learning about homeschooling, I read several books that were more or less records of the days of others. The writers recorded what they did, what they saw, what people said, what the weather was like, books they read, etc. Somehow, this seeped into my brain and I began to record these things in the notebook I used to plan out our school days. It was such fun to look back at what was going on in our lives on any given day. My days are not quite as full of things as they were at that time, but I still find it enjoyable to read my journals and be reminded of what was going on at a certain time.
The above picture is an example of what a page in my journal might look like. I start most days by recording the date and the forecasted weather. I use my journal as a commonplace book as well as a place to record details about my day, lists and things I want to remember. Some days I don't write anything. Other days I use several pages.
Something that has made my journals much more useful is an index. Each time I start a new journal, I number the pages. Then, I designate the front cover pages and usually two more pages as my index. Above is a picture of what this looks like. I put the month at the top and then a title that will help me find what I am looking for, along with the page it is located on. Sometimes I can recall what month I recorded something, so that is helpful in narrowing down where to look. If I am writing quotes from a book I simply use the book's title. Another part of my index system includes a monthly calendar. I use a monthly/weekly planner to schedule my weeks, but the monthly calendar I include with my journal is a small pocket-sized monthly planner where I record important things that happened on the day they occurred. For example, if someone in the family was sick, I would indicate that on monthly calendar and then record the specific details of the illness in my journal on that date. I have recorded things like vacation days, large purchases, parties, functions and visitors. This is extremely helpful when trying to remember when someone visited or when a wedding occurred.
Sometimes I add pictures from magazines to my journal. I journaled in various types of notebooks in the past. I have used inexpensive spiral notebooks, large spiral sketchbooks and different types of bound journals. More recently, I have settled on a lined, bound journal measuring about 8 inches by 5 inches.
Sometimes I add washi tape to separate entries. I like to add parts of cards I receive. Sometimes I add tickets stubs or programs from events I attend. Most of the time I use black ink, but occasionally I will use a different color. It all adds interest. Most of the time my entries are logbook style, just a list of what I did or who I saw.
My journal lives on my kitchen counter alongside my planner.
Now it's your turn! Do you keep a journal? What kinds of things do you include?