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Interstitial journaling

Haikal Kushahrin
Haikal Kushahrin
2 min read
Interstitial journaling

We all know that we should journal, but most of us don’t do it.


I can’t get journaling to stick because nothing is prompting me to do it. And when I do remember to do it, I find it hard to put thoughts into words. I also forget about what happened in my day, and writing gets a bit intimidating.

I finally found an easy journaling method: interstitial journaling.

Interstitial journaling is a journaling method where you jot the time and write a few words. Do this when you're taking breaks between tasks.

Here’s a personal example:

11:00 - I just finished one study session. Going to read 20 pages of the Paediatrics textbook next.

11:45 - I got distracted on YouTube while researching about a disease. Let’s get back on track!

13:00 - feeling tired, going off for lunch.

14:18 - light lunch. I am feeling refreshed and motivated. Let’s get some writing done!

Interstitial journalling is simple. Write a sentence or two every time you take a break. It’s easy, and things that are easy stick.

Reflect on how the previous task went. Write down your feelings about the tasks so you can forget about them and focus on the next job. Then, write the first action for your following tasks. Instead of writing “Write an article journaling”, write down “Open Google Docs”. Your energy levels might peak and dip throughout the day, so take note of that too! If you have random ideas while doing your tasks, capture them.

Why should you practice interstitial journaling?

Interstitial journaling allows you to be aware and mindful. You reflect on your previous task, observe how you feel, and work on your next project. Sometimes you might want to get some intense work done but realise that you’re low on energy. By noticing it, you’ll switch to a task with needing less focus and attention.

Writing down your tasks between breaks also makes you aware of your tendencies for distractions and procrastination. When you have to jot it down, it feels silly to say you fell into a Twitter rabbit hole!

It also makes it easier for you to reflect on your week. That way, you’ll be able to see your victories for the week and your plans for next week.

How to make it a habit

  1. Start small. Only write a few words when starting. Don’t feel pressured to write a lot.
  2. I also find it helpful to mentally rehearse yourself taking a break, and writing down my thoughts. This way, I’ll be able to notice myself taking a break and get prompted to write my thoughts down.
  3. Have the tools you need handy at all times. If you use a notebook, keep it next to you while working. If you’re using Roam or any other note-taking app, keep it opened on your desktop. If you’re on the go, write down your thoughts in an app that loads fast, like Drafts.

Haikal Kushahrin

3rd-year medical student. buy me a coffee :)

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