Recently, I created my own digital journal template which has revolutionized my life. I’ve spent way too much money on planners, blank journals and bullet journals that were all supposed to help me collect my thoughts and be a better me. None of them worked. I found myself never using them and only sometimes remembering or wanting to write in them. I still had hopes of at least pretending to have my life together. At the beginning of Jewell’s spring semester, I decided to create my own template to follow.
When drafting this idea, I was realistic about what I would actually be willing to do. On my iPad, I used the note-taking app Notability to create my template. I started out by drawing some squares, used my best handwriting for the titles of each box and finally had a planner I could actually use. I kept things simple, attainable and neat.
I’ve learned that I only wanted to plan day by day, since my phone has all of my future plans. Then I tried to brainstorm how to make a to-do list less intimidating. I settled on a “Top Three” box with three things I knew I had to get done each day, then everything left on my to-do list was just extra. I had managed to keep the planner part of this project simple, but I knew that keeping track of my moods and giving myself a reason to reflect was vital too.
I decided to add two more boxes to improve my mental health – a simple mood tracker with different levels of happiness or sadness. I would circle how I felt each day and possibly write a simple phrase to explain how I had felt throughout the day. Then I made a large box for affirmations, wanting to give myself space for self-love and there’s no better place than the same page I would mark off my daily triumphs.
So far, I have used it almost every day. It helps keep my thoughts in one place, was cheaper than buying a new planner I wouldn’t use and every day I copy the template from the last day to start my next. It isn’t perfect and I don’t doodle on every page. My journal is messy like me, but it has gotten me through just fine and that’s all I need.
Planning and journaling is an individual activity – there is no one way to do things and the more specific you are with your needs, the more practical things will be. Try to think of the things you’d be willing to do and just give it a shot. You can always try something different the next day – that’s the beauty of DIY journals. Good luck!