Journaling When You Hate Writing - Fran Excell Mindset and Productivity Mentor

Journaling When You Hate Writing

 In Brain Science, Coaching, Goals, Gratitude, Habits, Happiness, Journaling, Mindset, Motivation, Organization, Thoughts

How to Journal when you hate writing

Journaling is a BIG topic these days.  I come across so many people in my business who have a desire to use a journal but the thought of sitting there with pen and paper sends them into a tizz and they let themselves get overwhelmed and just put it to the back of their minds.

They’ve heard of all the mental and emotional benefits of journaling, and they’re bought in…but they just HATE writing!

If that’s you, does that mean you can’t benefit from all the amazing things journaling has to offer?


Here are some of the other ways you can benefit from journaling… without having to sit and pt pen to paper!

Digital Journaling

One huge benefit of using a digital journal is it’s so much faster than paper!

Obviously another is you don’t need to carry around a book or a folder if you go digital!

Here are a few ideas to get you going:

1)Automate a daily email to yourself or get a ‘buddy’ to send you an email every day just asking how your day went.  Simple as that, then reply with…how your day went! This is great for people who don’t want to feel like they’re journaling and if you go with a buddy system then you get the extra accountability. You can even set up a new email account so you always have a record to go back to.

2) Keep a ‘trello’ board using the same prompts I use in my journaling, based in positive psychology – gratitude, good things, random acts of kindness, what I want and by when.  You can re-read them at any time and for those moments you’re feeling a bit ‘Meh’ you can go read them and it’ll give you a little boost.

3) Evernote – This is great for digital journaling. You can use audio, text, video, images whatever you like and organise them into days, weeks or months.

4) is 100% customisable digital journal app.

5) Just go onto the app store and type in journal and LOADS of apps will come up for you to browse, from bullet type apps, image apps, art journaling…just find which fits you best, a really popular one to note is ‘Day One’ which is also for Mac.

Audio/Video journaling

This is a great way to journal if you hate writing.

You can do it literally anywhere (as long as you don’t mind people listening!)

You can use the voice notes app on your phone, a dicta-phone, anything that records sound then it’s up to you how you use it.

You can journal in real time throughout the day so you really don’t miss a thing.

You can store it in one of the digital places I’ve mentioned, you can delete it afterwards if you like…heck there’s people turning their journals into podcasts!

Mind maps

Mind maps are great for the creative types (you can also do these digitally!).  

I like to think of them as spider diagrams which I used to love doing at school…plus they look pretty! Bonus!

You can do anything with these and it can be a great way of organising your thoughts.

I’m a BIG fan of lists in journaling and this is a great way to bring a list to life.  

For example, Put your name in the middle or a doodle to represent you and mind map all your good qualities.

Have a decision to make?  Use mind maps to work out the pro’s and cons.

You can map out your dreams, your worries, your whole life!

It’s amazing how looking at simple diagrams help our brains process and find the way forward.

Art Journaling

For the SUPER creative types there is art journaling.

It’s hard to describe the visual aspect of this so i’m going to send you over to instagram where there are almost a million entries under the #artjournal

If I had an artistic streak I would LOVE this, I make silver jewellery so I know how therapeutic the creative process can be so if this might be right up your street then go have a look and get creating!

There are plenty of art journal ‘prompts’ out there if you feel like you’re staring at a blank page.  For example, painting or drawing quotes is a great one.

It’s also a very mindful thing to do so that’s an added bonus, don’t focus on the outcome just see what flows onto the page.

Bullet Journaling

The bullet journal is basically a to do list, diary and journal all in one.

The creators describe it as the analog system for the digital age.

As you can imagine from the title, it’s a system that uses bullet points as a central theme, so the main idea is it’s quick and you don’t have to write lots!

It kind of sits in the middle of being a planner, a diary and a to do list…all at the same time.

It’s one of those things that seems like it’s a hugely complicated system but once you get the hang of it it becomes second nature.

I’m not a fan of learning new software and anything techy ( I literally repel technology)so this falls into that bracket for me.  I know if I took the time to try it i’d get the hang of it and probably love it but I have a great system that works for me and I like to keep my to-do’s separate from my ah-has.

It can feel pretty intimidating at first but the time is in the understanding and the set up, once you’ve got it nailed you’re good to go.

List journaling


They’re quick, easy and can do wonders for your mindset.

I write bucket lists, things I want to learn lists, lists of things I like about myself, lists of places I want to go, lists of my strengths, lists of things i’ve achieved…i’ve got a list for pretty much anything and they’re amazing to look back on when you need ideas or a pick me up.

Don’t forget that journaling really doesn’t have to be reams and reams of writing.  

I spend around 5 minutes per day on it using my prompts and then longer at the end of every month when I review and reflect (my favourite part!) I’ve included a free printable of my 5 minutes to happy journal below.

So I hope this has given you some food for thought on how you can bring the benefits of journaling into your life…EVEN if you hate writing!


Fran Excell, Mindset & Productivity Coach – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at


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  • mailcybergwen

    I started a bullet journal this year, however, I’ve broken many of the rules, which are fairly basic, and I’m loving it. My schedule isn’t busy enough for a daily list and I kicked those dots, merging, and most color schemes to the curb. I glued one page for the month of January with the page next to it as a sort of total list of to-dos and needs and have used other pages to track things like mood, sleep times, lists of books read that month, a gratitude list, and brainstorming to try to and build goals, which are my bugaboo. I have kept an index on the back few pages so that I can easily find the moods, sleep, book lists, etc later.

    For February, I’m not only getting more comfortable not using pre-bought pages and my glue stick, but I know that I’m busier, so I used the dots and a ruler to make my own two-page month and one page for each week. I’m also trying to create a sort of merge of journal and planner by intermixing journaling, planning and specific journals, like yours, into the one smallish book that is easy to carry with me and find around the house. The idea of having multiple journals was bugging me and my goal is no longer to have a pour it all out journal like I had in my younger years, so I think it will work, eventually, once I get a system of sorts and really get a hold on what I need to track/journal about versus what everyone else is doing and every idea I’m seeing.

    I don’t use the “keys or legends” like you hear about or see. I let it flow as needed. While they are beautiful, I’m starting to pull away from pre-made designs that I’ve picked up on Etsy. One, because the journal I chose is from Public-Supply that gives back to schools and is in between typical sizes and cutting and pasting every page was going to create a monster and kill more trees for no reason.

    With all this, I’m trying to say that it is less technical and more creative than you might assume and a big help compared to having multiple binders/planners that I had going in the past. Admittedly, I still have binders for my various crafts stuff and herbal education things, that’s just how I file things though and aren’t accessed daily nor do I need them with me all the time.

    I was using Evernote and loved that until I could no longer afford the extra $ to have it accessible on all of my devices. I still use that to save and store recipes, craft instructions, book highlights, etc. That program is amazing for that! It’s like an idea file cabinet that is always sorted for you and easily indexed, even with the free version.

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