Journaling to Process Thoughts
An important aspect of any workflow system seems to be the aspect of Journaling, which I will define here as the loose form of mental unloading without adding structure or complex organization ahead of time.
@achamess brought up a similar question in the post about the Zettelkasten boundaries. @galen mentioned using org-mode to house this kind of messiness. (In contract @sfast mentioned org-mode for cleanliness, i.e. organizing project management.) @ctietze mentioned using Day One journal to log quickly what's going on and to vent off steam. @ChrisJohnson argues for keeping it ALL in the archive no matter how messy. And even the "greats" like Cal Newport mentioned this technique for his weekly planning sessions in his post on Freestyle Productivity.
Having a space to mentally dump your thoughts and emotions is a simple enough concept to grasp, and is clearly an important part of any workflow.
But I'd be interested in exploring you all's techniques or patterns for adding structure on top, however broad it may be. For example, do you keep a personal vs. work journal? Do you add any metadata to entries? Do you run one long document, or keep each entry it's own file? Do you use digital vs. written notebook?
Also, what about the aspect of reviewing? How often do you go back and re-read these entries to pull out themes or reflect on your past? This concept is particularly interesting in understanding if it is the act of writing itself in the moment that is most useful, or if there is added value in reviewing your past. Perhaps there is argument to be made that once it is written and processed, it can be deleted as your time is better spent staying focused on the "refined" than looking back on the messiness.
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