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Getting Started on Your Idea Journal

Journaling lets you keep track of your ideas, boosts your creativity, and helps you reach your goals.

It’s no secret that journaling can change your life. From keeping track of your budget in a budget journal to capturing the magic of a once-in-a-lifetime trip in a travel journal, there is a journal to suit every kind of interest under the sun. 

Of all the different types of journals to keep, there’s one in particular that pretty much everyone can benefit from, no matter what your interests are. We’re talking about an idea journal.

What is an idea journal?

Quite simply, an idea journal is a place to record ideas. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the agony of coming up with a brilliant idea or having a flash of insight and then forgetting it because they didn’t write it down somewhere. Never let this happen to you again with an idea journal.

We find that the best approach to keeping an idea journal is to use the brainstorming method—just put down ideas, inspirations, and insights fast and loose as they occur to you without looking at them too closely. You can go over them later when the creative dust has settled and you have clearer eyes to see which ideas are worth keeping and which can get tossed. 

So what would this look like in practice? Let’s cover a couple of ways you can incorporate an idea journal into your life. 

If you’re a business owner, an idea journal is a place where you could:

  • Record ideas for your social media posts
  • Jot down slogans, taglines, captions, and mission statements
  • Gather ideas for promotions
  • Brainstorm new products, services, and offerings

Or, let’s say you’re thinking about making a career change. You might use your idea journal to: 

  • List the job titles you’d be looking for
  • Come up with ideas for updating your resume and cover letters
  • Think of ways to organize and present your portfolio
  • Collect inspirational quotes that keep you motivated and on track 

This is just a taste of how flexible and adaptable idea journals are. Whether you have a specific focus or you just want a place to have fun and collect your thoughts and ideas, you can make your idea journal into anything you want it to be. Your journal, your rules!

Why you need an idea journal 

Your brain is less reliable than you think

The human brain is a wondrous thing, but it’s also pretty forgetful at times. So, like we mentioned above, when you get a great idea, you should write it down immediately or risk losing it forever. 

You don’t have to be a “word nerd” to be great at idea journaling 

Gone are the days when journaling consisted of putting words to paper. In the digital age, the possibilities are literally endless for recording your ideas. 

Maybe you’re more of a visual person who prefers to snap a picture to remember a memory or an idea rather than trying to capture it in words. Or maybe you think better and more creatively when you have the ability to play with fonts, colors, emojis, and images. Journaling apps let you do all of this and more right on your smartphone. 

A secret that avid journalers already know

Here’s one of the best-kept secrets about journaling: the more you journal, the more ideas you have. There’s a kind of magic that happens when you make it a practice to record your thoughts. You start having more of them. This is likely because keeping a journal makes you a better observer, so you don’t just sharpen your writing skills, but your seeing and idea-generating skills, too.

How to get started keeping an idea journal

Keep it short when you’re starting out

There’s nothing that kills the momentum of a new project quicker than biting off more than you can chew. So when you start to keep an idea journal, keep things simple and manageable. Many people like to start with one idea per day, but you can do as much as you feel comfortable with. 

Fuel your creativity with different styles of idea journaling 

Now you have more ways to express yourself and your ideas than ever before. Get your creative juices flowing with the different features and functions on ByteLyfe:

  • Create text notes (type, swipe, or say) with no character limits
  • Add emojis
  • Pull images from your camera roll or snap a pic right then and there (same goes for videos)
  • Include links to relevant websites
  • Add a song or playlist to represent the moment 
  • Tag your locations 

Allow your idea journal to take on a life of its own and you may be surprised at how this gets you thinking and dreaming in new and exciting ways. 

Get inspired by other journalers 

When you become a journaler, you’re joining the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Oscar Wilde, Joan Didion, Courtney Love, Oprah, and so many other great thinkers and doers. 

If you are new to journaling or are having trouble getting motivated or sticking with it, it may help to know some of the ways that keeping a journal can enhance your life. Here’s an article by habit guru and journaling advocate James Clear that makes a pretty compelling case for keeping a journal

Use a journaling app to stay motivated

Helping journalers stay motivated was one of the things that inspired us to create the ByteLyfe app—we wanted to make it easier than ever to keep track of your thoughts and to journal to your heart’s content, whenever and wherever. With ByteLyfe, your journal is always at your fingertips so you don’t need to lug around a bound notebook and pens with you. Anyone with a smartphone can log in to the app and start journaling right away. 

Start my ByteLyfe idea journal 

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