Is journaling a waste of your time?

Journaling has become one of the trendiest tools in the self-love industry, and I don’t necessarily think that it’s a bad thing. However, I know that there are some people out there who don’t believe in its effectiveness, and don’t find it worthwhile. I believe that this line of thinking comes from a few misconceptions about the process. So, in today’s post we’re going to be answering the question, “Is journaling a waste of your time? “. Let’s discuss.

journalism waste time

You can journal anytime and anywhere 

A common argument that I hear is that one MUST journal in a special book at a particular time of the day. People claim that because of this ritualistic element, journaling a time-wasting process.

Don’t get me wrong, having a dedicated routine for your journal sessions does come with its benefits. However, you can technically journal anytime and anywhere. You don’t need a physical book as well, I often use the notes app on my phone when I need a quick session. I’ve journaled on the train. In the bathroom stall during my lunch park. On the park bench. The possibilities are endless.

It doesn’t have to be every day 

Another reason why people think journaling is a waste of time is that they think you MUST do it every single day for it to work.. It took a lot of trial and error on my end to realise that weekly sessions work best for me. That way, I can take the time to process my thoughts allowing me to better articulate my feelings on paper. 

My entries aren’t particularly long either. It probably takes me at most 15-20 minutes to get things out. Let’s calculate how much of the week that actually is. If we’re awake for 16 hours of the day, that’s 960 minutes. There’s 7 days in a week, so that’s 6720 minutes that we’re awake.  A 20-minute journal session is therefore about 0.3 % of the total time you spent awake in the week. If you look at this this way, there’s no way spending less than 1% of your week on journaling is a waste of time.

journalism waste time

It doesn’t have to be perfectly written

I believe that this misconception comes from the spectacular journal spreads that can be found on Pinterest, Reddit, and other online sources. People see these examples and think that they MUST journal in such a  way that uses fancy calligraphy or artwork. I’m here to tell you that this is far from the truth. 

With all the spelling errors in my journal, I’m pretty sure that no one could read it and understand what I wrote. I often start sentences only to never finish them. Sometimes I invent words because there were no other words to describe what I was feelings. This is the beauty of journaling. It’s a very personal process where only you determine the rules of the game. 

It doesn’t have to be profound 

Let’s be honest here, not every journal entry is going to a novel as it is often portrayed in the movies. Sometimes you just need the space to write the most random things. A lot of my entries are light, focusing on things like food recipes and to-do lists. However, there are others that are definitely heavy. These are the ones dealing with childhood trauma, my fear of failure and rejection, all the fun stuff.

If I want to spend time going into these deep issues during a journaling session, then I often allow myself to be ready emotionally and physically beforehand. I admit that these do take up a lot of time, but I would also say that it’s not time wasted. It’s a necessary part of working towards self-love and personal development.

Just remember, this process is entirely yours. You can journal whatever, whenever, and however you like. As long as you’re spending that time to better your mental well-being, then that’s time well spent in my book. 

If you need some prompts to get you started, here is an article that should help you out.

journalism waste time

What do you think? When was the last time you took the time to journal? Are you someone who doesn’t like journaling? If so, how come? Let me know in the comments below. I’m curious! 

11 Replies to “Is journaling a waste of your time?”

  1. Oh my god this resonates!! It has taken me foreeeever and still does cause me stress to not use a good journal or the same journal or the idea of just writing my thoughts, unedited. Continue to try and reassure myself that I don’t need it all to be perfect. And slowly I’m accepting that. But man it’s tough and it really does take away from the supposedly cathartic reasons I’d do it😅

  2. I LOVE journaling! Despite being rather organized and having a love for writing. Most would be appalled trying to read my journal. It’s basically just a catalogue of random thoughts that I felt necessary to document. But it’s a great way to visualize growth and reduce stress! Great post!!

  3. All great points. For me it’s about following your own guidance of when you have something on your mind that you need to work through, so therapeutic!

  4. Journaling for me is therapeutic! I’m able to express myself at my most vulnerable moments and the ability to look back and see growth is priceless! No, I do not do it every day or every week, only when I am led to do so. When I take the time to go back and read through my journals, it reminds me of how much I’ve been through and how far I have come!

  5. I think journaling really helps you clear your mind especially if you have a lot going on with work, home, family etc. It helps and doesn’t need to be in any rigid structure so can be as detailed or not as you want! Xxx

  6. Good article. There is that thought that it has to be perfect and pretty all wrapped up in a book. It doesn’t. I recently read about a “brain dump” for journaling. I love this concept.

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