Years ago, when I got so into Journaling, I really explored and researched some other different journaling methods and how others use them. Then, I came across a unique approach called Interstitial Journaling.
This method is mentioned in my guide on starting a journal for beginners, and some readers asked me to write a full article about this since I didn’t tackle it that much in that post.
Believe it or not, Interstitial Journaling worked well on me and made me more productive. I used to be easily overwhelmed whenever I have tons of work to finish in a day, but I quickly get into my flow since I applied this habit.
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The pandemic impacted our lives in many different ways, including our productivity. We are working from home, home-schooling, and almost everything! It became more challenging for us to focus on our daily tasks.
What you’ll learn here today is a journaling method that I personally use to focus, get into the workflow quickly, accomplish tasks mindfully and efficiently!
I’ll tell you about Interstitial Journaling, how it works and how you can start doing it today to increase your productivity. So let’s get started!
What is Interstitial Journaling
Interstitial Journaling was introduced by CEO and Productivity Coach Tony Stubblebine.
Basically, Interstitial Journaling is designed to track your work with a journal. It’s a process of writing journal entries between tasks and to help you transition from one project to another effortlessly.
It’s funny that humans are not actually used to multitasking. Yet, researchers described our generation as suffering from an “epidemic of multitasking” because we’ve already developed it just as our technology keeps improving.
Why Interstitial Journaling?
Working multiple tasks steals our focus and lowers our productivity that makes us hard to focus. This is why doing one by one project with smooth and unclogged transitions is vital to sustaining our workflow.
For instance, your tasks are; (1)research and write a reflection paper, and (2)do your homework in Physics.
The gap between those two tasks is how you will transition from another project.
That moment of a switch from another task is when we feel stuck and fuzzy, which leads to procrastination, and that’s when Interstitial Journaling comes in.
How Interstitial Journaling Works
Coach Tony said that we suffer from partial attention every time we transition from one project to another.
Meaning, our brains are still not fully recovered from the last task that we’ve done.
Although it’s a typical scenario in our day-to-day work life, we can reduce this kind of problem with Interstitial Journaling.
Using this journaling method, we reduce the possibility of mindlessly doing unnecessary things and teach our minds to be aware of what we should be working on.
So let’s say you’re researching your report for the class and saw this interesting article about “how to train your dog to sit.” Without mindfulness, you’ll read the entire blog post and forget about your report.
However, when we do our task with the habit of Interstitial Journaling, we’ll be reminded about our objective.
What to do instead?
Now, let’s redo that example above.
You have to research for your report, and you stumbled on a riveting article. But because you wrote in your journal that you would surf the web to study, your mind will be conscious and alert about your objective. Your brain now knows that reading a blog post about “how to train your dog to sit” is not what you need.
This method focuses on the interstitial moments and helps you be sensible about what you are working on.
Coach Tony says it also works as six-minute increments of a lawyer. Instead of crossing out your to-do list each time you finish a task, you will write a short sentence or two about it and what action or project you will do next.
Benefits of Interstitial Journaling
Fast is slow; slow is fast.
Before you say, “Okay, Jocelyn, I’m swamped doing my tasks, and I don’t have time to write journal entries every after task!” or “you’re just giving us additional work to do!”
I want you to know that this method is not just for you to be mindful and aware of your tasks but also to speed up your work a little more.
The benefits of Interstitial Journaling are the crucial ingredients for you to work slow but fast and smarter. These advantages are:
1. Interstitial Journaling helps you empty your brain.
Emptying your brain, not literally slurp the information inside your brain. Instead, interstitial journaling settles down your thoughts about the task you’ve done before switching to another.
2. Interstitial Journaling will lessen the weight of your tasks.
Have you ever had this one single task in your to-do list that’s been sitting there for months undone?
Or have you ever had one single task that you thought would be easy but took you a whole day to finish?
I know, because I had those two! That’s why I have this love-and-hate relationship with a to-do list.
But since I started this journaling method, I learned how to break all my tasks into smaller pieces, which helped me not become overwhelmed.
Usually, when our tasks are too daunting for us, the higher the risk of procrastinating or self-sabotage.
When I said, “break my tasks into smaller pieces,” it means splitting one task into the smallest steps, which you will write in your journal when you transition.
For instance, after you finish your research, your next task is to write the actual paper. So in your journal, your next step could be to create a new document or write the first sentence of the introduction.
I don’t know about you, but this works for me, and it helps me finish more tasks in a day than before.
This kind of tactic is a great way to make your tasks less daunting.
3. Interstitial Journaling makes you work smarter.
By simply writing down what you will work on, you’re giving yourself time to make a smart decision and a moment to think of a strategy you’ll do to finish a task.
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How to Start Interstitial Journaling
At this point, I suppose you’d fully understand the power of this method and how it can ultimately help you be super productive.
BTW, if you have no idea how to start a journal or you’ve been thinking about it for so long, but you don’t know where to start, I have a FREE printable journal worksheet that you can download here to help you get started today!
So now, here are my tips on how you can start interstitial journaling today:
Where should you write?
If you’re an active journaler, I suggest you start in the journal notebook or journaling app you use or consider where you are working.
Assuming that you are working with your computer, it’s easier to switch tabs than grabbing a physical notebook.
I like to use Notion for Interstitial Journaling, but you can use other note-taking apps like Evernote or Google Keep.
But if you’re not working digitally, use a pocket notebook or a simple paper to write your journal entries.
Even if I’m always working with my computer, I still place a mini notebook beside me to journal whenever I want to.
What to write?
Writing your interstitial journal entries doesn’t have to be pages long.
All you have to do is write 2-3 sentences summarizing what tasks you just finished, your thoughts about them, and your next action.
You can also use these questions to prompt you:
- What project did I finish? What I’m still thinking about my last project?
- What is the first action of the project I’m about to start? How should I approach getting the task done?
Use the Pomodoro Technique
If you’re not familiar with Pomodoro Technique, it’s a strategy in which you’ll alternate work intervals and break intervals. Usually, it’s 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of break.
To apply Interstitial Journaling, you will use that 5 minutes of breaks to write your journal entries.
Final Thoughts about Productivity & Interstitial Journaling
There you have it! Now that you learned what Interstitial Journaling is, how it can help you, and how you can simply make it a habit, it’s time to decide if you’ll apply this method!
But just a friendly reminder, productivity is a practice.
You can start Interstitial Journaling today and be ten times productive but let me tell you this: one day, you will be feeling tired making your productive habits, and that is OKAY. That’s why you need to practice it!
This method worked on me because it became my habit, and I’m practicing… a lot. I’m doing my best to make it work. As Abbie Emmons said, all you have to do is show up and do your best.
So if you think Interstitial Journaling will help you skyrocket your productivity as much as it did to me, then do it but, remember, show up, do your best, and keep practicing! You got this!
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Jocelyn is a coffee lover who believes that a bad day with coffee is better than a good day without it. You can find her obsessing over stationery, hanging out with her cat, or singing her favorite Taylor Swift songs.