I’ve been keeping a semi-regular journal for the past few years and every now and then I’m tweaking the way I approach it. In 2016 I posted why it’s important for me to journal regularly and who inspired me to do that. In 2018 I posted my updated workflows for journaling and planning the day with additional apps I was using - Ulysses, Bear, etc. Later I introduced the concept of intermittent journaling with updated workflows. For 2020 and iOS13 I decided to review and simplify all of this and now I write both my journal and daily planning in Bear app using only three Shortcuts in iOS - here are the details:
I still do a Morning and Evening Journal
In the morning my journal is all about being thankful for three things: what happened the day before, a new opportunity and something small… and I’m asking myself the focusing question from the book by Gary Keller “The One Thing”:
“What’s the ONE thing I can do today such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
I also like to journal in the evening as part of my “winding down” routine. I launch my Shortcut and it asks me about how my day went, which sports I did, what I could have done better and it finishes up with an ask for any other additional observations.
That’s it. In both cases it’s the same Journal Shortcut which I keep in my iOS widgets - I just choose if it’s “morning” or “evening” and then it’s asking me the questions. After I’ve answered them - these are being added to my journal, which means they’re saved in a note in the Bear app called “Journal”.
Feel free to use my Shortcut and modify it or tweak it for your liking:
Morning and Evening routines… and daily planning
Radek and I have discussed this on 109th episode of The Podcast - we both do daily planning as a separate note in Bear.
Additionally I use this note for each day to do intermittent journaling which helps me stay focused as the day goes by.
Here’s the flow:
In the Evening - plan tomorrow and create a note
My day starts in the evening on the previous day as at the end of my journaling session I run my “Evening” shortcut that pulls up my calendar for tomorrow and asks me to plan my most important things to do and eventually creates a note for tomorrow:
(As you can see in this routine, it also adds my calendar items and most important tasks to my main journal)
In the Morning - start the day right with “miracle morning”
In the morning the note for today (created the day before) gets populated with additional checklist items that are important to me, including the 30-minute intervals needed for my intermittent journaling and keeping track of the time as the day goes.
When I first start this shortcut, I choose the “Start” option and if I want to pull out the note later in the day, I also tap on the shortcut and choose the “Continue” option. Here’s the entire shortcut I use:
That’s it - 3 shortcuts and the Bear app
Naturally, I keep my daily tasks and projects in Nozbe and my team stuff in Nozbe Teams but it’s useful to have an additional place in a note for the day where I see my day’s plan and make sure that in all the overwhelm I haven’t lost my focus.
Journal regularly and create your own morning and evening routines!
I hope this was helpful and inspires you to journal more regularly and have more conscious morning and evening routines.
The best part of this system is that it’s very portable - I don’t carry around a physical journal with me. I have these shortcuts and the Bear app (which syncs via iCloud) on both my iPhone and iPad so there’s no excuse for planning the day or journaling.