Powerful Tool Of Daily Journaling To Gain Clarity

outline of human head with gears and a key to unlock to gain clarity

Before starting a project or a task it is important to have a goal in mind. You will never get there without a roadmap. Journaling in a stream of consciousness manner will help you clarify the most important things you want to achieve. This is a real simple process. 

Stream of consciousness journaling

The beauty of stream of consciousness journaling or writing is we completely disregard the use of punctuation, proper spelling, good grammar and all the rules of writing you were ever taught. This is not you sitting down to write your number 1 best seller memoir. This is you with a head full of oft times jumbled stuff you need to get down on paper, or digitally, to gain clarity.

Gaining clarity enhances our personal growth and mental health. Journaling is especially awesome when going through difficult times. My stress levels are greatly reduced when I dump the yucky stuff on paper. The bonus is sometimes I walk away with a new perspective.

Sorting through it all

All we are doing is sorting through all the mental clutter going round and round in our heads. Until we sort through everything in our heads we won’t be able to focus on what we want. Think of this as a place to dump whatever is troubling you. Stream of consciousness writing, otherwise known as journaling, is about the here and now, this present moment.

Daily journaling

My process of daily journaling, otherwise known as stream of consciousness writing, started about 25 years ago. This is not a new idea, I wrote daily for years whether I wanted to write or not. This process of developing a journaling habit changed my life!

I used to set my alarm for 20 minutes earlier than usual so I could dump all the thoughts and grievances I woke up with on paper. By the way I no longer wake up with lists of grievances.

I encourage you to try this simple process because it will have a profound impact on your daily life, as it did mine and many others. Journaling is one of the many free mindset tools available to us.

Time & tips

I can hear some saying they don’t have the time. Neither did I! I had to be at work at 6 am and in those days I was working 2 jobs and starting my new business – melting Venetian glass. I still was able to complete my goal of daily writing because I wanted clarity in my life more than the 20 minutes of sleep I was forfeiting. A friend taught me that if I had great excuse I shouldn’t use it, and that excuse making is a form of procrastination. This is one of the best tips I ever received in my life.

Lots of thoughts

I am sure you can identify with with me when I say my mind is always filled with lots of thoughts. The simple process of writing is the greatest way to process your emotions. By writing in the morning I was able to let go of the junk I would normally haul around in my head all day. That stuff weighed me down. Today I am free!

Writing with a pen or keyboard

When I wrote things down on paper, you can type if you prefer, I could see the often pettiness of my grievances and find the desire to let these things go. I ask the question often, what is my part in this, for whatever is disturbing me. The answer usually involves people, places or things and I write until I see the truth. This action removes me from the role of victim.

Just because I prefer to write in a physical journal you may prefer to use a digital journal. This is your time, choose what works best for you.

Roadmaps

Writing has always had a profound impact on steering my day in the direction I want my day to go. I am no longer led by my overflowing emotional head and heart because I become clear of the future self I want to be. Basically I make myself a roadmap of where I want to go and be. I do this regularly because my life is about pivoting and being open to change.

Stream of consciousness writing is a great way to bring us into the present moment. It is these presents moments alone with a pen and paper or digitally that give you the freedom to be honest. I will underline – this journaling is for your eyes only.

Clutter

If you are here and it is important to you to learn how to declutter either your physical spaces or your mind this is very doable. I have never ever had a goal I was not able to achieve by following this simple process. I can’t say my goals always had the outcomes I dreamed of. None the less I have always been able to get from square 1 to square 2 because I charted a course to follow. Yes, it is this simple.

What do you want to declutter?

Write about what you want to achieve. What does your idea or goal look like? Describe this. Embrace the simplicity of writing the first things that pop into your head. Expand on this. Keep the ball rolling. My pen, I prefer writing the old fashioned way with pen and paper, can hardly keep up with the words spilling out of my head.

outline, sketch of side view using the tree of life and leaves floating by like butterflies

Mental clutter

Getting rid of the physical clutter is easy after you eliminate the mental clutter or roadblocks and obstacles. We can find so many reasons not to journal daily. Do it anyway. By stopping the mental clutter you will start to gain clarity and getting through the physical clutter and maintaining the goal of living free will be manageable. You will replace mental clutter with mental clarity.

Physical clutter

People I have helped to become clutter free were basically overwhelmed by the perceived enormity of the project. When I showed up with a new pair of eyes I could see a manageable solution. Why is that? First I had no emotional attachment to the objects causing the cluttered environment. Second in my mind I had a situation to solve absent any of the excuses or roadblocks. For me it was as simple as a,b, and c.

Complications

I have come to find in my life most things are not that complicated. I am usually the complication. Making excuses and overthinking is a common way we complicate things. There are times I, a really organized and efficient lady, can complicate the simplest of tasks.

I fret and toil then call a friend and a friend will say something like ‘why don’t you try this’, and of course problem solved! At once I can see how I complicated this. This was a valuable insight for me to learn. All it took was another pair of eyes to look at and solve the little issue I worked into a catastrophe.

Planting seeds.

I made journaling a daily habit because I caught a glimmer of hope the first time I tried this. I can’t stress enough there really is no wrong way to write in your journal. Look at this as your wellness journal because long term you will see the benefit. I used to write a minimum of 3 pages daily.

Knowing most others won’t commit to daily journaling, I say do what you can, start by writing one page, one sentence or one word. Just start! Journaling on a regular basis helps. You get out of anything what you put into it. I came to find this is a healthy way to feel really good. In the beginning some days the good feelings came from the information and insights I gained.

Some days the good feeling was manifested by just the accomplishment of doing what I was committed to do, writing 3 pages. What I did not know at the time was I was planting the seeds.

picture of hand holding a pen and writing in a journal

Habit

They say it takes 2 weeks for habits to form, whomever they are. Another tidbit I will share with you is I found that on some really tough days when I got home I would pick up my journal to write about whatever was still churning in my head from the day.

Because I had formed the daily habit of writing I had the experience of how good this felt to dump my crappy day on paper. It is like the saying ‘a problem shared is a problem cut in half.’ I shared my problem thoughts with my journal.

The small thing of writing turned into a game changer for me which is why I always set aside enough time to write in my journal. Journaling became a daily routine I would no more skip than brushing my teeth.

Why bother?

I have  helped friends and clients declutter and organize their homes and work spaces. What I will highlight for you is this. If you do not figure out how it is you got into this mess, what behaviors propelled this and why, you are doomed to repeat it. I have seen no exception to this rule.

Doesn’t it make sense to get to the source of the clutter first? Why would you bother doing the heavy lifting if it is only temporary?

Common thread

There will never be a shortage of material because each day is different and we have different stuff to journal about. What is interesting is after a couple, few weeks of daily journaling you will notice at least one common thread. You will likely notice more than one.

This common thread that keeps recurring in your journaling is the very thing that needs to be examined. Is this person, place or thing that keeps showing up on the pages of your journal your roadblock? Could be.

Present moment

Focusing on the present moment is a vital aspect of journaling to gain clarity. By being present in the moment you are able to tap into a deeper connection with yourself and your surroundings thus enabling you to make more conscious choices and decisions that are more suited to your true desires.

Mindfulness

You are creating a space for mindfulness by staying present in the moment. You are fully engaged with your writing and observing your thoughts as they come, without judgement. This will show you patterns and recurring themes and will prove helpful to reveal what is truly important to you.

By being present in the moment you will notice you are able to let go of distractions and tune into your inner voice. This is truly the best way to self discovery. Look at it as a new experience because trust me it will be all that and more!

Write and keep writing

You will never know the power of journaling unless you give it a go. It does not matter what you write with. Use a fancy journal, a cheap spiral bound notebook like I do, a few sheets of paper or digitally, which I also sometimes do. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is starting.

This is your private safe space to dump your thoughts. You will never know the numerous benefits of journaling unless you try. You never have to share this journal with anyone although some people like to share the thoughts in their journals because they find it helpful to receive input from friends and or a therapist.

Ready to give it a try!

Find a quiet comfy place to sit. Start writing. Pay no attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation and appearance. If you don’t know how to start – write the following question. If I was not afraid what would I do today? Now answer the question. By writing as close to daily as you can you will find the clarity you are looking for.

Please help yourself to free writing prompts to get you started.

FAQ

How long should I write?

If you are on a tight schedule set your timer for what time you can afford. If you can afford a half hour this is ideal. Some days you will keep writing after the timer sounds and some days you will want to stop early. It is ok. Just show up and start.

What if I have a lot of thoughts and don’t know where to start?

You can start a gratitude journal or … help yourself to my list of free writing prompts to get you started. Alternately you could ask yourself the following:
How do I feel today? 
Is there something I dread doing today?
What am I looking forward to today?
What do I hope to gain by writing? 

How can journaling help me overcome negative self-talk?

You will notice patterns of self deprecating talk. Learn to question these negative self descriptions. Question this negative self talk. Ask yourself why you are saying these things? Where is the evidence supporting that these thoughts are true?

What would the opposite belief look like? Would you allow a friend to speak to you this way? You will slowly start to flip this negative self talk a little bit each day. You are taking decisive action and this should be celebrated!

Can daily journaling have a profound impact on my mental clutter?

Yes! We are pulled in so many dizzying directions these days it is no wonder we can remember our own names let alone who we really are. We let marketers, family, friends, co workers tell us who we should be. By focusing on being present in this little special time you have given yourself to write, you will chip away at who the real you is and what you really want. 

How can I simplify the journaling process for consistent practice?

The easiest way  to write is to find a dedicated quiet place to write. My friend cleared out a closet in her home and for years wrote daily in this special place she carved out for herself in the closet. I can always find the time for the stuff that is the most important to me. I trust you can too

Again, you are not writing your memoir!

Stream of consciousness journaling is simply used because we are only concerned about writing down our present thoughts. Forget about penmanship, spelling, grammar, punctuation and all that stuff. This writing is private and for your eyes only. Whether journaling in a closet, at a desk or in a tree house, utilizing stream of consciousness journaling is a great habit to get into and a very powerful tool.

Marj pic

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutterer and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

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