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  • TPS2: How to Get Started with Journaling


Learn how you to get started with journaling and stick with it. We’ll also give you a list of prompts and questions you can immediately use to start journaling the right way.


Aaron’s epic journaling post
Day One
Agile Results
Text Expander
Getting Things Done by David Allen
The Progress Principle

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Last Updated: June 19, 2024

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Asian Efficiency Team

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  1. Hey guys,

    I just wanted to tell you guys that you are doing an awesome job. I’m a RN in the assisted living sector as a director and need a little extra rocket fuel to get me through the day. The topics and tips you bring up really help me navigate the day, getting more done. Picked up the book GTD by Allen by your suggestion. Keep it up guys.

    Jonathan RN

  2. Hello, thanks for the podcast. I’ve been a casual journaler since I was 10 although then it was about boys and what embarrassing thing happened at school. One of my new years resolutions is to put more consistency around it which led me to search podcasts which led me to you! My question is: how often do you journal, on average? Every day? or do you miss a day here and there? I’ve been trying to do this at the end of the day but sometimes I wait too long and get too tired, I’m journalling about 5/7 days a week…is this just part of the learning process or should it be expected to miss a day or two a week? (I am slightly OCD so I need to check if its possible to be perfect or if I should relax.)

    1. Starting at 5/7 is pretty good! Keep that going. There’s not golden rule for how often to do it, but from my experience if you can consistently do 5/7 you’re on the right side. Doing it 7/7 would be a nice bonus.

  3. Great podcast. Always used to keep a journal but more along the lines of “It was a dark and stormy night”. Already using Evernote and the basic questions to journal everyday. Very helpful insight. Thanks.

  4. thanks for the great podcast. I’ve appreciated these one so much! I hope I’ll get that started for me. Gonna try hard to set my own template at the weekend so i can start and get a use of it on monday. Keep that good podcast rolling!

  5. Subscribed to your playlist today and found it very insightful and inspiring. I now have a journal system set up in Evernote and will be using it everyday. Thanks for the tips Zach and Aaron! Will definitely be listening weekly.

  6. Having already read the Asian Efficiency articles on journalling, I have implemented a journalling system using Evernote, based on Aaron’s system. I now have over 100 ‘daily’ entries and I have found that this system really works, particularly in terms of keeping track of my goals, daily tasks and personal growth/accomplishments. This is one of the most useful habits I have picked up from Asian Efficiency, so I just wanted to say thanks! I recommend it to anyone and everyone :)

  7. @Aaron Lynn, I’m wondering if you can give more insight as to what questions you include in your weekly, monthly, yearly, etc. journal entries?

    Since I use Evernote for everything else, I’m going to start with your method of using daily templates with the four questions you discussed in the podcast. I was thinking though, that it would be worth setting up weekly, monthly, and yearly templates as well, to have a starting point for those journal entries.

    Thanks, Zachary and Aaron, for the podcast, it inspired me to start journalling!

  8. A valuable podcast on journaling. Excellent timing. I just restarted my quick journal in Evernote on Jan 1 to keep track of my little daily achievements in order to avoid a repeating feeling that I didn’t accomplish enough. Your points are valid and inspirational . I’m adding Aaron’s 4 questions to my journal. Thank you, guys.

  9. It is ironic that we all value Apple products as the holy grail of productivity and yet Apple themselves are so laughably inefficient.

    They clearly should be subscribing to Asian Efficiency! :)

  10. Thanks for that Wilson, it was helpful. And yes I agree the weekly review is probably the key to making sure everything doesn’t get forgotten and lose its value. I’ll try this approach and see how it goes over the next few months.

    thanks again!

  11. @Robert Roriguez Jr.:

    I’ve found that I like to journal on a daily basis. But all those journal entries are useless unless you review it. I usually pile up one to two weeks worth of journal entries. After a while, I like to go back to the entries and just quickly review them. I’ll write down a summary of:

    • Things that went well. What victories happened and what discoveries that improved a workflow.

    • Things that need improving. I look for friction points or problems that I have encountered. Then I look at patterns of things that have produced friction. This probably means that I need to document a workflow or system that will handle this problem if it reoccurs again in the future. I also look for tools (software, workflow articles found in a Google search, devices) that can help improve my workflow.

    I enter a new journal entry entitled “Weekly Review” that summarizes the “Things that went well” and “Things to work on”. This journal entry will mark the date that I did a summary. After a week or two, I’ll go back to to the previous weekly review and start from there and do the next weekly review.

    For example, I entered a weekly review journal entry on January 1, 2015. This journal entry summarises everything from the previous weekly review journal entry last dated December 20, 2014. On January 10, 2015, I will enter a new journal entry that summarizes my journal entries from January 1 to January 10.

    Here is something to look at from J.D. Meier’s Agile Results:


    When I look at my weekly review journal entry, I can generate ideas and projects that I want to start on. I often create new projects in OmniFocus or new workflow summaries in OmniOutliner. This is how I use the journal to improve my workflow.

  12. Hello,
    thank you for your podcast ! It’s very interresting.
    As RRjr is it possible to get the Evernote template ?
    Thank you again

  13. Very good podcast! I have never seen Journaling as a goal oriented tool that can be easily put in place to track progress on different areas. I start today in its implementation and looking forward for next Podcast

  14. Good podcast. I never thought much of journaling before but you’ve made some valid points. It could very well be an excellent tool to add to my toolbox to help measure my progress. And I like the list of questions as they will help hold me accountable for how I’m spending my time and managing my energy.

  15. Great podcast, and lots of insightful ideas. I’ve been journaling in more of a brain dump sort of way, getting thoughts and ideas into writing (habit from the Artists Way book by Julia Cameron). But it too lacks structure. What do you suggest for both structure and lots of free thought ideas? I can write 1000 words while journaling no problem…but how to make sense of it is another issue. Or are these just two separate types of writing?

    Also, any chance of getting the Evernote template you use for journaling? thanks!

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