10 easy journaling ideas that will take you 5 minutes

close up of an old fashioned typewriter, for the blog post on journaling ideas

Your daily journaling practice

Some people can’t wait to write in their journal each day.

Others of us need a little help to get our mind in gear and to be able to tap into our thoughts and be able to describe them. This is where journaling ideas can be really useful.

Either way many of us have a deep desire to get our thoughts on paper. I can hear the voices of people over the years saying, “Think on paper” and “Get it on paper” and “Get your thoughts out of your head onto paper”.

There is something calming and orderly about getting our thoughts onto paper.

As I’ve said, the only problem some of us have is getting them out there. It’s not always that straightforward is it!?

So this blog post is full of journaling ideas. They are easy ideas and will only take a few minutes.

From types of journals to keep to creative ways to journal this blog post has got you covered.

If you are new to journaling then also read the following blog posts which will help you to start your journaling practice:

What is journaling: How to get started on your journaling adventure

Seven easy prompts to help you start journaling

Easy art journal ideas for beginners

Easy journaling ideas to create a successful journal

Types of journals to create

Below is a list that contains ideas for types of journals as well as prompts to get you started.

Use the journal ideas listed out below to kick start your journaling and clear your head.

I’ve grouped the prompts into two different lists. The first is more organised, more like lists. The second is more creative. Just pick one and get going. Don’t be afraid to change it up and find the right journaling idea for you. Remember, too, over time, and in different circumstances, you can use different journal ideas to help you better connect with your thoughts.

Woman's hand seen writing in a journal. A large cup of coffee is in the foreground. Accompanies the blog post on journaling ideas.

List one – types of journal to keep

1. Write down affirmations

Each day write out your affirmations. You can have a core set of affirmations and write them out each day. Or you can have a core set and then try out a new affirmation each time you write in your journal.

Or you can have a different affirmation each time you write and just embody that affirmation for 24 hours until you write out your next affirmation.

2. Write a to-do list

I wasn’t initially sure about encouraging you to write a todo list and calling it a journal! However, I’m more convinced now I’ve thought it through. Group your lists into themes and make sure some of your lists are creative and fun and not just about food and things you need to do! You can also use your lists and organisation plans to improve your working habits especially your executive function.

3. A gratitude journal

Keep a record of what you are grateful for each day. Try and do this one in the morning, and take your gratitude with you throughout the day. You could set yourself a target of 3 things you are grateful for each day and you need to write them down in the morning. I know some people who list out 12 things each day. And then give yourself a date time to do it, for example 3 things you are grateful for each day and keep it for 30 days. I don’t want to give you too much time based/goal based work to do because it should be free and easy and come from the heart and head.

4. Problem solving journal

Write out your problem as a question (see Dean Bokhari). Then start a list of potential solutions.

5. Bullet and dot journals

Bullet journaling and dot journaling have become very popular in recent years. Basically, these techniques involve making a lot of bulleted lists that vary from functional to artistic.

Ayobi, Sonne, Marshall, & Cox, 2018

Given this is a new journaling technique, there isn’t a huge amount of research on it. But, initial and related research would suggest it likely offers at least some benefits. Anecdotal evidence would support this, with many people stating how much they have gained from the practice of bullet journaling, or bujo as it is called.

One study suggested that:

bullet journaling helps creators to gain holistic and novel views of their life, reflect on life trajectories, appreciate the imperfect world, and resist a culture of super-efficiency.

Tholander & Normark, 2020)
close up of a woman's hands writing in a journal. Accompanies the blog post on journaling ideas.

List two – Creative ways to journal

This second list addresses ways in which you might like to write your journal, the kind of style you might like to employ.

6. Free writing

Write freely. If you are ready to get going, just get going. If you are nervous about filling the space either give yourself a time limit by setting a timer, or give yourself a distance limit and fill half a page or 10 lines or whatever seems comfortable. Try to approach free writing with the idea of “giving it a go”. If it doesn’t suit you then just move on and choose a different journaling method. It’s supposed to be enjoyable.

7. Reflective journaling

Reflective journaling is writing in order to understand. You write down your problem or situation or thought. You work out what you think about it, write that down too. And then you decide what action or conclusion you are going to draw.

8. Travel journal

Keeping a journal during your travels or holiday is a great way of enjoying that time and creating memories at the same time. A travel journal can also become very creative, you can use tickets, bags, postcards, drawings and photos to decorate your travel and enhance your writing with evocative visual aids.

9. Health & weight loss journal

Tracking how you feel and/or your weight loss journey can be a great support when you are trying to lose weight or initiate a new workout regime. Our brains don’t like change, especially change that makes them feel uncomfortable. By keeping a journal around your weight loss, when you felt hungry, when you missed eating that gorgeous almond croissant, and how you felt when you could get back into your favourite skirt again, you can self encourage to meet your goals. It’s like being your own coach and chief supporter.

10. Journaling prompts

Journaling prompts are a way of initiating your journaling practice. Use them if you feel stuck, or if you want your brain to go down a different route to normal.  Here are some journaling prompt ideas:

Journaling prompt ideas

  • I feel angry when…
  • I feel sad when…
  • I feel anxious when…
  • I feel excited when…
  • I feel relaxed when…
  • I feel connected to others when…
  • I struggle when…
  • I feel ashamed when…
  • I feel awesome when…
  • I feel the most energized and happy when…

Journaling question ideas

  • How might you be more forgiving?
  • What did you do to get through the hardest times in your life?
  • What was something positive you experienced recently? 
  • What are things in your life that give your life meaning?
  • What makes you an awesome person?
  • ​What are your core values?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • What big dreams do you want to manifest?
Image of a mug and an open journal on a wooden table. Accompanies the blog post on journaling ideas.

You should have some ideas now of what kind of journal you would like to keep and how you would like to journal.

The key thing is to get started. Just get started. Then follow your intuition. And enjoy the journey!

Other blog posts on kinds of journals to keep for you to check out are:

18 journal notebook ideas to inspire your life

Create a beautiful journal with your prayer for self healing

How to create a printable manifestation journal

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