In this chapter, we'll talk about:
choosing a journal you love.
how to personalise your journal.
+ three tasks to complete.
GIRLBOSS.GURU RECOMMENDS A 20-POINT CHECKLIST TO REFER TO when shopping for your next favourite mindful* journal. There are so many journals for wellbeing (or journals on wellbeing) available right now, that sometimes it's easier to purchase something you can create from scratch, then personalise.
*Journaling becomes mindful when we give the activity our full attention and allow our surroundings to fade into the background.
Download your FREE 'Just A Journal' checklist before continuing (the numbers below will then make more sense!):
Ideally, a lay-flat (1) notebook of any kind is recommended to allow a comfortable and convenient experience (see binding below), with 120gsm+ paper thickness in either a lined or dotted design (2). This will ensure you are able to write in the ink of your choice without bleed (ink seeps through to the reverse side of the page) or ghosting (ink is visible, but has not bled).
Once you find a journal best-suited to its base purpose, select a size (3) to accommodate your handwriting style and travel needs, then identify if the brand offers binding (4) options. For example: ring-bound (removable disks for the easy insertion of additional pages), spiral-bound (for a 180 degree fold and flexibility) or perfect-bound options (in a paperback book style). Most ring and spiral-bound journals will lay flat, with some such as Leuchtturm or Moleskine products offering perfect-bound lay-flat styles too. The Bullet Journal Method Leuchtturm 1917 is a 206-page A5 hardcover—a great thickness and weight (5) for carrying in your handbag or using on the go.
From an aesthetic perspective, lots of popular brands sell a spectrum of colours (6); some have created replaceable, reusable laminate covers (7), easy to wipe-clean and perfect for adding personality. Others manufacture higher-quality leather, faux leather or fabric organisers with locks or clasp closures (8) rather than elastic, which will require greater care.
You may find that whilst a journal is pretty, it may not be for for purpose, and so it is important to identify whether there are page markers (9), page numbers/an index page (Girlboss.Guru recommends 2+ ribbons to mark more than one of your favourite spreads) (10) and if there is a pocket at the front, back or a removeable clear ziplocked pouch for loose sheets and sticker storage (11). It's always a pleasant surprise to find spare parts (12) for your favourite journal, too. Look for brands that offer rings (to increase/decrease the thickness, or change the colour), plus pens and other items of stationery; if you lose, over-use or damage something, it's reassuring to know replacements are one click away. Alternatively, choose a brand of journal you can use non-specific (13) inserts with, perhaps from other retailers or even your local supermarket, or would be easy to fit additional tools to, such as a pen loop.
Regarding inserts, blank perfect-bound journals (not necessarily plain paper) are unlikely to be replaceable (14) and would mean ripping pages out to remove them. Organiser or planner-style journals will likely allow for extra sheets, or guided/pre-printed packs for to-do lists, prompts, habit trackers or goals. With the right sized hole punch, printing and punching your own is also a cost-effective (15) option. When the journal itself is £40 or more, and refill packs are approximately £15 each, after international postage costs are added the whole order can get very expensive. However, companies such as The Happiness Planner offer free postage (16) when you spend £100+, so look for similar deals to save on shipping fees.
Be aware that some brands such as Moleskine produce limited edition (17) or collectable journals—which you may be too afraid to use—and may be taken off the market at any time. Be sure you can re-order a planner you love, or stock up if a certain design is coming to an end. It will be more expensive to replace a personalised, stamped or embossed (18) journal if your cover is damaged, though it may be more likely to find its way home if you misplace it.
Finally, with an emphasis on protecting our planet and recycling, research the brands you are interested in to check if their products are vegan and eco-friendly (19). Do they recycle, donate to charity, or test on animals? A company's mission and values is just as important, and choosing a brand that resonates with your core beliefs can only add to your enjoyment. As with the Rocketbook line, look for corresponding apps (20) for your phone which may work with QR codes or specialist papers (such as the Livescribe dot paper)—alongside these handy tools, it's easy to digitise, store and share your musings with others.
Find Your Next Journal
Try not to feel overwhelmed by the many journals for wellbeing (or journals on wellbeing) available right now. To ease your search, complete the following tasks before choosing your next journal:
Download the 'Just A Journal' free checklist below.
Print the Girlboss.Guru blank journal sheet for your research notes in the meantime.
Read 'Choosing Your Journal, Part 1' if you haven't already.
Download your 'Just A Journal' checklist:
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