Journaling: Taming my monkey mind

“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” - Mina Murray, Dracula

I have often been asked by friends and listeners of The CUInsight Experience podcast about my journaling practice (yes, those are my full journals from the past couple years in the picture). I find a great benefit from starting my day by putting pen to paper and writing a minimum of three pages every morning.

Here are my three tips to start journaling (or get back in the grove):

  1. Just do it: When I started journaling a few years ago (or when I get away from journaling) I set a goal. I told myself when I started I would journal every day for the month of July. One month of three pages per day. I believe we can develop a habit in a month.
  2. Don’t think, just write: Whatever crazy sh*t is bouncing around your head, put pen to paper and get it out. Chase every squirrel. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or sentence structure. Just write.
  3. The anti-memoir: This is just for you. Don’t let anyone read your journal. Jill knows to burn mine in the case of my untimely passing. Don’t write as if someone will ever read your journal. This is not your memoir. It’s moving stuff out of your head. It’s taking the time to follow thoughts. Where you start and where you end will look completely different. 

Personally I start my day with my morning pages. Gratitude is a great way to fill pages. You’ll find from starting your day with journaling that you are more focused and more productive the rest of the day. You give yourself the space to reduce your monkey mind before tackling email, social media, or your calendar. It’s a powerful thing. Trust me.

Here is a link to a YouTube video that was helpful for me: Morning Pages – Write Daily for Clarity, Creativity, Productivity 

And if you’re really feeling crazy and want to dig deeper, there’s a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. (Full transparency… I own this book but am still yet to finish it. The video above did the trick for me.)

My two favorite journals:

Moleskine Classic Notebook (You can also find Moleskine at any bookstore, office supply store, or airport.)

Shinola Medium Hard Linen Journal (I just ordered Jill and I three each of these to restock ours last week.) 

Randall Smith

Randall Smith

Randall Smith is the co-founder of, the host of The CUInsight Experience podcast, and a bit of a wanderlust. As one of the co-founders of CUInsight he looks ... Web: Details