Why Journaling Can Be A Waste of Time

1. Complicated organization #

The idea of doing something and the actual action are two separate things.

The same can happen when we decide to start journaling and taking notes. We bury ourselves into tasks that feel like work but aren’t taking us anywhere near our goals. We research the perfect systems. We hop between several tools and agonize over organizing structures. We switch between dark and light modes, tinker with coloring schemes and fonts. This is pointless if we never take any meaningful notes.

The one thing I’ve learned after journaling and taking notes: no system is going to last forever. And that’s a wonderful thing. It shows your growth as a person. You need to adjust your categories, add new and shred away old ones. That’s good. But you must start first.

2. Assumed memory #

We’re told to believe in ourselves, trust our instincts and follow gut feelings. That holds for life in general but can be a trap when taking productive notes. We overestimate our abilities to remember things and cause frustration down the road.

The goal should be to build an evergreen library of information that your future self can thank you for. Never assume you will remember something. Always try to add more details. Explain terminologies. Add links where possible.

3. Information hoarding #

You need to be clear about your goals when journaling. Are you doing it for mental clarity? Is productivity the goal? Or are you trying to leave a footprint in case aliens want to investigate us someday?

Instead, focus on storing meaningful information. Take notes from articles instead of dumping the whole body. Don’t burden the system with useless data. Merge notes where possible and keep them lean. You’ll feel better about it.

4. The feedback loop from hell #

Even though I had experienced this phenomenon for years, I didn’t have a name for it. James Clear’s Atomic Habits pointed out I wasn’t alone. Have you ever been stuck in an endless cycle of destructive behavior or self-talk? That’s the feedback loop from hell.

Endless talk about what’s wrong isn’t going to fix it. If you sit down on a daily basis and write about not doing enough, your priorities should change. Take action. Think about the first thing you can do to fix the problem. Do that. Then think about another thing. Move the needle further. Act on your feedback.

5. Curtained feelings #

You’re losing a massive chunk of benefits by holding back. What are you afraid of? Unleash the demons haunting your dreams. Let the shit flow out that’s clogging the pipes of your creativity. Let the pen run. Let the words out.

Journaling has benefits but only if you proceed with an awareness of bad patterns to avoid. These are some of the points you should keep in mind to keep yourself on the right track. Of course, your distractions and problems are different. What works for one person may be the worst enemy of another.



Writing about productivity, remote work, self-discoveries, and experiments -> http://sakytalks.com/

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Writing about productivity, remote work, self-discoveries, and experiments -> http://sakytalks.com/