3 Surprising Uses for Journals and Notebooks

Da Vinci flying machine sketch

10 Classic Ideas for Modern Journal Entries

Need some ideas for filling your journal? Try these:

  • Observations on the external world
  • Introspective stream-of-consciousness
  • Sketches and designs
  • Personal and business contacts
  • Quotes, famous or otherwise
  • Personal bookkeeping
  • To-do lists
  • Poetry and prose
  • Class notes and study guides
  • Appointments and schedules


In this digital age, you can’t do everything on your phone. Sometimes nothing clears your mind and opens creative pathways like a blank paper page and a pen in your hand.

Question: What do Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Mary Shelley, Theodore Roosevelt, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Isaac Newton , Marie Curie, and Ernest Hemingway have in common?

Answer: They kept notebooks and journals. Note: Madam Curie’s notebooks are still radioactive to this day!

As part of a back-to-basics ethos gaining prominence in modern society, journaling is seeing a resurgence. Why?

1. Therapy

Perhaps it is the permanence of ink on paper that gives us pause before inscribing a thought or phrase. We are made to think before we commit, letting ideas incubate and metastasize before externalizing them via the pen. With digital technology, we easily write, edit and rewrite as often as we need to, sometimes preventing thoughts from properly maturing. Writing by hand forces us to slow down and deliberate.

2. Sanity

In a world growing exponentially complex and detailed, how do we keep it all straight? In programming our digital devices to manage our information for us, we only add to the amount of information needed in our day-to-day lives. Though it may weigh a bit more, try converting different types of data from your smart phone to a journal. We guarantee you will find it refreshing.

3. Immortality

Most historically important people kept written, autobiographical records of their lives. Is this an historical catch-22 or self-fulfilling prophecy? It can be argued that those historical figures who journaled and passed these documents on to posterity were obviously more likely to end up in history books, while other figures of perhaps equally great deeds who did not record their own endeavors faded from history. Journals can be your posthumous press release.

Do you use a journal or notebook? Leave a comment below and tell us what interesting life details you record in it.

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