Why You Should Start a Journal Today


Why You Should Start a Journal Today

Writing a journal can transform your life. Here's how. Friday’s Digest #93

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Table of contents

  1. Preface
  2. Main Article
  3. Readers’ Favorite
  4. Stuff


Preface

Final Month of Fellowship

It has been quite a ride.

Just two years ago, I finished my medical internship, a unique experience in itself.

My training sequence led me to medical school after I had already completed dental school and residency. So, during my internship in 2022, my fellow interns were nearly half my age.

And I followed instructions from residents born when I was in middle school 😃.

It was actually quite an enjoyable experience that still makes me smile as I’m writing this.

Anyway, back to June 2022. I had two weeks to pack up my life and move to Boston. It was stressful.

Extremely stressful.

In addition to the paperwork that never stopped, there was the packing.

Oh, the packing.

We saw it as an opportunity to declutter. To donate anything we don’t need anymore and clear up our space. We donated clothes we no longer wore, old furniture we didn't use, and toys our kids had outgrown.

I flew to Boston two months before my family joined me. Everything I had was packed into two suitcases.

Two suitcases! Minimalism at its best.

Now, as the fellowship approaches its end, we need to repeat this process. But this time, in reverse.

I will share our journey back home as this chapter of our life unfolds.

Today, we’ll talk about writing a journal.

And no, I'm not referring to a scientific journal 😀.

I mean the "Dear Diary" kind of thing.

Number 93!

Let's do this!


Main Article

Have you ever noticed how you feel after scrolling through social media or a news site?

Leaving a “like” to your friend or writing a comment in the first few minutes may make you feel better.

But after a couple of minutes, the joy fades.

You feel worse.

Social media and news sites will have a negative impact on you.

It wasn't always this way. I remember using Twitter for research, staying updated, and connecting with people worldwide. It was wonderful.

But then there was a flood of advertisements, and it became the primary focus of these platforms.

In essence, news sites and social media want to keep you browsing and viewing as many ads as possible.

How do they accomplish it?

This is where the "algorithm" comes in.

It’s a tool they use to show you content that will hold your attention. It doesn’t matter what the content is, as long as it keeps you scrolling.

So, social media and news sites have changed, and they make us feel worse.

What can you do instead?

I’ll tell you what I do. Whenever I have the urge to browse them, I do something else:

I write a journal.

And it has transformed my life.

🔵 What Is a Journal?

A journal can be whatever you want it to be, as long as you put your thoughts on paper. That’s the essence.

It can record your daily experiences, what you've learned, or your feelings on a specific topic.

Let me tell you how I keep a journal. I actually have two kinds of journals.

One is for the professional knowledge I learned as a surgeon or a scientist, and the other is for topics that have positively impacted my life.

Why is it good for you?

First, putting thoughts on paper will clear your mind. It will make you calmer and more focused on what matters to you most.

Second, your future self will thank you. The ability to go back to it will save you so much time and effort. More on that when I explain about the “Second Brain”.

🔵 How Should You Write It?

There are three main methods:

1️⃣ For the Soul:

Use pen and paper. It’s probably the most enjoyable method, but also the most inconvenient. It requires a pen and notebook, and searching for information later can be time-consuming. It's not necessarily a bad thing, just something to keep in mind.

2️⃣ For Convenience:

Use a notes app. The most popular ones include DayOne (Android and Apple) and Apple Journal (for Apple).

3️⃣ For Your Second Brain (AI):

This is the most beneficial method in the long run—more on this in the following section.

🔵 What Do You Do With It?

Can a journal benefit you on a daily basis?"

Absolutely!

I use my journal in two main ways: as my second brain and for publishing content.

First, let's discuss the concept of the second brain.

A “Second Brain” is a system that stores information for you and presents it on your screen within seconds.

For example, if I write down everything I learned during my fellowship in this system, I can quickly access all the information before surgery. If I save all the crucial manuscripts I read, they're instantly available when I prepare a presentation or write a manuscript.

Second, consider publishing your journal.

Not the whole thing, just the parts you’re comfortable sharing.

Great for social media posts (writing on social media is far more enjoyable than scrolling it).

You can also send it as an email to your colleagues or students. By the way, you’re reading parts of my journal every week in this newsletter 😉.

Happy journaling!


Readers’ Favorite

You might wonder: “How do you have time to write a journal?”.

Well, you’re right. My free time is almost non-existent.

But here's how I make time for the things that matter most to me: How I Find Time for Everything I Do


Stuff

Today’s “Stuff” is all about journaling:

📓 A pocket notebook - Many people really like Moleskine notebooks. You can probably find a similar notebook at a lower price, but there's something appealing about a high-quality notebook that encourages more writing.

📔 A fancy pocket notebook - Handmade with cotton paper, this notebook looks fantastic. It would make a nice gift.

🖊️ A cool pen - This pen has been in my pocket at work for the past five years. Its price fluctuates, but you could probably find one for around $20-$22 during a sale.

📱The app I use - Notion. This is the app I use the most, including for my journal and writing this newsletter.


Epilogue

If you received this newsletter from a friend and would like to join Friday's Digest, visit: https://newsletter.shaysharon.com

That’s it for this issue.

Hope for better times.

Shay



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Friday's Digest - The Newsletter for Doctors & Scientists

For two decades, I've been developing tools that have improved my practice in medicine, dentistry, and scientific research. Join me every Friday to discover a new tool you can integrate into your workflow as a doctor, a scientist, or both. I believe in sharing knowledge, embracing automation, boosting productivity, and finding joy in the process.

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