Monday, January 26, 2015

2-Minute Journal

five-minute journal
By way of Instagram, I was recently introduced to the 5-Minute Journal. This is a little hardcover book with each page headed by a blank for the date and an inspirational quote, followed by 5 recurring fill-in-the-blank questions.

The first three questions, denoted by a sun symbol, are to be answered in the morning. The last two, shaded in grey and accompanied by a moon symbol, are to be answered retrospectively at the end of the day. I hadn't previously seen anything like this and was intrigued.
five-minute journal
Throughout medical school we had the occasional lecture on mindfulness and were required to submit a piece of reflective writing every now and again. Personally I've always enjoyed journalling and reflecting through writing, but, as it turned out, that was not prevailing sentiment amongst my cohort. There was an embarrassing amount of grumbling about the reflective writing requirements and more than a few last-minute half-hearted reflections submitted.

Perhaps it wasn't that my classmates weren't interested in reflecting, but that they simply didn't know where to start. Unlike the objective lab reports and papers with which they were familiar from undergrad life, reflective writing assignments in medical school were entirely unstructured. While in theory the lack of defined topics and guidelines should have inspired us to write about whatever sparked our interest, it left many students wondering where to begin. That's where I think the 5-Minute Journal would have come in handy.
five-minute journal
I like the idea of developing the habit of reflecting on a daily basis and documenting it in good old-fashioned handwritten style. I like that it's quick -- there is no way you can't spare five minutes to jot five things down. The one thing I don't particularly like is that it's divided into morning and night sections. In theory, it's great -- the more frequent reflection occurs, the better. In reality, it doubles the bother and I don't feel adds much to the practice of reflecting. I'm all for setting goals in the morning to structure a productive day, but I prefer to do that with checkboxes in my planner, rather than in my journal.

Aiming for practicality, I've simplified the 5-Minute Journal into a format that works for me:
diy 5 minute journal
I've cut out what I see as redundant questions (I don't see the need to struggle to prioritize 3 things you are grateful for and 3 great things that happened today; reviewing these things in your head and selecting the single most significant one is more efficient, while still promoting reflective thinking). In its shortened form, it becomes the 2-Minute Journal, and can be completed at any one time during the course of the day. It's brief enough to be squeezed into unused space at the bottom of each day in a planner.

I think mindfulness and reflection are important components to maintaining health and happiness, and I'll try to use this 2-Minute Journal as a reminder to do these things daily.

Do you do reflective writing or journaling -- or have you tried the 5-Minute Journal?

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts. I've always been a fan of the format on It's easy and simple to use, yet allows you to write simply and quickly, just like you mentioned.


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