24 Ways to Find Time for a Journal

“24 Ways to Find Time for a Journal,” Ensign, July 1986, 64–65

24 Ways to Find Time for a Journal

I know that I should write in my journal, and I’d like to. But I’m too busy. I just can’t find the time.” How many times have we heard—or said—those words? But no matter how busy our schedule seems, we can make time for writing in a journal if we really want to. Maybe one of these ideas will work for you:

  1. Keep a pen clipped to the cover of your journal so that it will always be there when you need it.

  2. Get up half an hour earlier than you have been waking up. Spend fifteen minutes studying the scriptures and fifteen minutes writing in your journal.

  3. Keep your journal under your pillow. Take a few minutes before or after your evening prayer to record your thoughts about the day.

  4. Write while you wait. Take your journal with you to the dentist’s office, the launderette, or soccer practices.

  5. Write while you commute on the bus or train to work.

  6. Pack your journal in your lunchbox. Write while you eat.

  7. Write while the baby takes a nap.

  8. After the children leave for school, take a few minutes to make an entry in your journal before you start your day’s work.

  9. Write while your children do their homework.

  10. Set aside half an hour each Sunday for “family journal time.” Small children can draw pictures to illustrate the things they have done that week; school-age children and adults can write in their journals.

  11. Make “family journal time” a regular part of family home evening. Have a special lesson on keeping journals to inaugurate the practice. (See Family Home Evening Resource Book, pp. 199–200, for lesson ideas.)

  12. Arrange with your spouse to read to the children while you write, or offer to play a game with them while your spouse writes.

  13. Jot a few ideas or key phrases on the calendar each day. At least once a week, use the calendar to bring your journal up to date.

  14. If you use a card filing system to help schedule your housework, add a card with “Write in Journal” to your file.

  15. Use a cassette tape recorder to keep an oral journal. Make sure to have your tapes transcribed, since audio tape will deteriorate with time.

  16. Use a word processor or home computer to keep your journal on tape or disk. Be sure to keep a back-up file or print out a hard copy occasionally; when magnetic tapes and disks deteriorate, important files can be lost.

  17. Write while the bread rises, the soup simmers, or the cake bakes.

  18. Keep carbon copies of the letters you write to family and friends in a looseleaf binder. Add an occasional page to tell about things you don’t include in the letters.

  19. Turn off the television and use the time to write in your journal.

  20. Keep a list of ideas inside the front cover of your journal for those days when you feel that you “really don’t have anything to say.”

  21. Post a reminder on your refrigerator door or on the bathroom mirror: “Have you written in your journal yet today?”

  22. Use the time you would otherwise spend in meal preparation and eating on Fast Sunday to write. Even monthly entries are a good start.

  23. Begin writing your personal history. Once you have chronicled your past, you will find it easier to keep up future installments.

  24. Persevere. Behavioral psychologists tell us that it takes about three weeks of daily effort to acquire a new habit.

You can make time to write, no matter how busy you are. If you try one of these suggestions and it doesn’t work, try another. Above all, don’t give up! Your posterity will thank you, and you will learn a great deal about yourself by writing about both your failures and your triumphs. Mary Lynn Hutchison, Fairfax, Virginia