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You probably have at least one, or if you’re like me, 10 journals of various types hanging around in your house.
You want to journal, you need to journal, but it just takes so much time and thought that those blank-paged books end up half used and forgotten.
Or maybe journaling became another chore that felt meaningless, and you ended up hating it and losing interest.
Don’t give it up just yet! I’ve been there and struggled to find a way to journal that didn’t require a minimum of an hour of my time to do. What busy mom has time for that?
The good news is, there are journals that can fit your busy lifestyle and still provide a great deal of value without having to commit a lot of time.
To be honest, I was never into journaling and questioned its purpose as I thought a standard blank notebook would do the trick. But when I tried journaling from a blank page, I spent more time worrying about what to write. In the end, I wouldn’t write anything and put it off for another time. That time never came.
So, I decided to try journals with prompts so I’d have a guide, a jumping off point so I wouldn’t spin my wheels trying to think of something meaningful to write.
To my surprise, I noticed small positive changes. I could see what worked and didn’t work in my daily routine. And it helped me be more grateful, everyday, not just on holidays.
Writing down what I was grateful for put my current situation in a positive perspective. If I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I am able to recalibrate my attitude and view my life more positively.
We can get so wrapped up in our own minds about our problems that we forget how good we have it.
We have more opportunity than we think, and journaling can bring you back to reality and help you to realize life isn’t all bad. But you are probably thinking, “Journaling sounds great but with my busy schedule, I don’t know if I can journal every day.”
Thankfully, there are journals designed specifically for the time strapped. Enter the 5-Second Journal and the 5-Minute Journal.
Journaling should not be a chore, and these are great at making journaling easy.
Let’s compare to see which one is right for you.
The 5-Second Journal
The 5-Second Journal was created by Mel Robbins, a motivational speaker and author. It was created as a companion to her book, The 5-Second Rule but you don’t have to read the book to use the journal.
The 5-Second Journal as described by Mel Robbins
“The 5 Second Journal was created for real people who might miss a couple days of journaling, have a desire to quit forgetting their best friend’s birthday, and want to bring out the badass within by using a simple and science-back solution proven to get the important (and real life) sh*t done.”
Who doesn’t love that? It’s for real people who want to get it done. Plain and simple.
It’s an action focused journal that gets to the nitty gritty but also sets work boundaries (for example, it helps you establish and stick to a time to stop working).
It has a dedicated page for day planning or note taking, giving you the option to expand on your project or write more about how you’re feeling that day.
Based on the progress principle, it helps you focus on one project and helps overcome procrastination by setting one priority and no more.
If you have never journaled before or have struggled to maintain journaling, The 5 Second Journal could be for you.
What’s inside – Sections
Time/Place/Date – A straightforward timestamp.
Today I feel (gas tank) – A quick way to acknowledge how you’re starting your day.
I feel this way because…
A useful section especially for moms because we tend to put our feelings last. It’s a good place to address and/or expand on those feelings. You have to be comfortable with point form writing or writing succinctly. This is not a long-form journal.
To feel more energized, I can…
Energized might not be a word that comes to mind for most stressed out moms but it’s important to look for ways to give yourself a boost.This section can help you brainstorm ways to refresh your day. It takes one small action to set your day up to be a positive one.
Today, my top project is…
I love that this section focuses only on one project. Its purpose is to prioritize and if you are a mom that has a million projects on the go, this will help cut through the overwhelm.
This project matters to me because…
For a lot of people, a project will matter for a simple reason like, it’s their job. That’s fine but try to think a bit beyond that. You are making this project a priority because…? is a good way to think of it.
In addition, instead of simply making a project a priority because it’s your job, you could add that it’s also because it will boost credibility in your field of work, or it will improve a skill you feel is important for your work, etc.
One small action I can take to move forward is…
One small action is better than no action. So, if taking action is a challenge for you, this section will help. When you start small, progress builds over time. Don’t think small is bad, small steps are better than none.
Today, I’m grateful for…
Acknowledging what we are grateful for will set a positive tone to the day. Life is full of challenges, so taking the time to appreciate what we have will impact our mindset more positively.
Today, I will stop working at …
This applies not just to working moms, but stay at home moms as well. Moms put a lot of pressure on themselves to be available 24/7 and that’s just not sustainable (or healthy). So it’s important to set a time to stop working for the day and rest. We’re not machines! Let’s be real.
You can use this section to add more detail about your priority project. Personally, I would add more detail on the notes page, so I consider this a bonus section you make whatever you want.
5-Second Journal Pros & Cons
- It’s both a journal and day planner
- It’s clean and simple. Easy to focus & read through the page
- Provides a sample page for reference
- Hard cover
- Action focused
- Easy prioritizing
- Large coil – difficult to write as a right handed person
- Not enough space to write more
- Heavy – lots of pages and hard cover so it’s not that light.
- Larger than most journals – looks more like a planner
Is the 5 Second Journal worth your time and money?
If you have a hard time focusing or get overwhelmed easily and tend to procrastinate, this is a great journal. It’s also for people who juggle a lot of projects and need to prioritize.
The big takeaway? It’s a journal that encourages less over-thinking and more action-taking.
In the end, it’s not really a 5-second journal – at least in the beginning until you get used to writing in it. When you start up any new routine like writing in a journal, it always takes a bit of time to get the hang of it.
Note: If the sections in your journal are mostly the same every day, that’s ok. You don’t have to write something different each day. Some weeks or even months you will focus on one project and your goals will be the same, and that’s ok too!
Now let’s look at another great journaling option that might be right for you.
The Five-Minute Journal
The 5-Minute Journal is more detailed with a focus on mindset and routines. Since it’s designed for journaling once in the morning and once at night, it helps you develop a routine. It’s more introspective than The 5 Second Journal and is great if you struggle with goal-setting and daily routines.
It’s a journal for moms on a tight schedule but it also has enough depth to allow you to express your thoughts. It offers just enough to get what’s on your mind on paper and get on with your day.
Notes: The Five-Minute Journal doesn’t have a lot of space or pages for extra notes for more detailed journaling. If you are looking for more writing space to write multiple pages, then a blank lined journal like Moleskine would do the trick.
Overall, the Five-Minute Journal is perfect for both stay and work at home moms who don’t have a lot of time to journal.
Before the journaling pages you’ll find loads of helpful information in how the journal works, basic principles of journaling, and tips on routines and affirmations. Few journals offer this much guidance – it’s great for those who struggle to get started with journaling.
The journal page begins with the date and a motivational quote. It’s clean, simple and doesn’t detract from the rest of the page.
Like The 5 Second Journal, it’s a one-page prompt but divided into two sections (day and night). It’s perfect for moms who want to establish morning and evening routines. It even offers a written sample page that can help get you started.
- I am grateful for…
- What would make today great?…
- Daily affirmations. I am…
- 3 Amazing things that happened today…
- How could I have made today even better…
The Five-Minute Journal Pros & Cons
- Information and tips on how to journal and set habits
- Provides examples for reference if you are unsure what to write
- Hard cover/binding
- Good size /lightweight: would fit nicely even in a small handbag
- Motivational quotes
- Focus on gratitude, mindset, affirmations, and routines
- Starts with a commitment page to help maintain journaling
- Emphasis/suggestions for accountability
- Divides morning and night journaling for each day
- Not enough space for more detailed/large writing
- Might be too small for some
- Have to journal twice in a day (morning and night routines)
- Notes: not enough pages. Would be great to have at least one lined page for notes after each page with questions.
Is The Five-Minute Journal worth your time and money?
If you want to build better habits and/or understand yourself better, this is your journal. It’s also small and lightweight, so you can carry it anywhere unlike The 5 Second Journal which is a bit large and heavy.
The Five-Minute Journal offers a nice balance for anyone who wants the benefits of complete journaling without committing too much time. It’s reflective of your mindset in more detail than The 5 Second Journal which, in my opinion, is more of a planner than a journal since it’s more project-based.
So, if you’ve been wanting to start or reignite your journaling habit, compare and ask yourself whether execution is your focus, or do you need to make your mindset more of a priority?
If you’re looking for help with execution, I recommend The 5 Second Journal as it will help you prioritize your projects and avoid procrastination.
If you want to better your mindset and your routines, The Five-Minute Journal is your go-to.
Getting started is easy but being consistent is not, especially if you have a journal that makes journaling time consuming. These journals are designed specifically to make it both easy to start and to maintain the habit so there’s no excuse.
The purpose of a journal is not to look pretty or be perfectly written. It’s to help you achieve your goals whether they be big or small.
Your goals might be to stick to a routine, be more mindful, or to motivate yourself to complete a project, are within reach and can help you make progress. It doesn’t need to be big, small progress is always better than no progress.
Who would have thought that it only takes five minutes a day to make significant improvements in your life? I think this quote by Mark Goulston resonates perfectly with journaling.
Journaling can empower you to be the best person you want to be. Journaling is a positive path you can take to make progress on your own terms. How great is that?
Show people a positive path that enables them to make progress on their own terms. Give them options and alternatives that empower them. Mark Goulston
So choose your favorite journal and start making progress toward your life’s goals today.