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Record significant daily events in the 5-Minute Journal

Every year, I aim to write at least a little something in a journal about the happenings of each day. I like the idea of looking back in time to see what I made of my life. What were the high points and even the low points? What did I learn from what went well and not so well? And what did I accomplish?

Looking back can help you see if you’re living the life you hoped for. And it gives clues to what you value.

But the days can get away from me, and I look back and realize my practice of noting a daily happening didn’t occur as often as I’d hoped. Until now.

Last month, I ran across the 5-Minute Journal app created by John Caddell.

In an e-mail Caddell sent after I signed up for his journal app, he wrote, “If you make a commitment to write down something about the day, every day (or every working day), you’ll find that you are capturing all sorts of information about what you do, what makes you happy, or annoyed, or increases your energy. You can find patterns in the mistakes you make, and the kind of work you find fulfilling. Seeing these allows you to do something about them.”

The app’s brief form has the following fields, some with drop-down menu choices:

  • What one thing happened today that you’ll remember most?
  • How long will you remember this event? (minutes; not very long; a long time; a long time, but it will fade; a lifetime)
  • How does this event make you feel? (happy, sad, encouraged, discouraged, energized, resigned, reassured, frustrated)
  • This event describes: (a mistake, accomplishment, assessment, gripe, other)
  • This event is? (commonplace, rare, occasional, never happened before, other)
  • Date

The app is basic and focused, which is why it’s so easy to log into it, type an entry, and get out.

Besides using the 5-Minute Journal to reflect on a significant daily event, I also like the idea of using it to keep a gratitude journal, document a child’s development from the day they’re born, and note daily progress on writing goals (or any other goal).

When he prepared for his annual job review, Caddell found his journal helped him look back on his accomplishments for the past year, making it much easier to complete his evaluation.

Caddell has made his online journaling app available in prototype form for free. Learn more about it on his website.

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