Why Not Use a Paper Journal?
Journaling on paper, for me, is perfect for reflective or creative writing. It’s a treasured hobby.
But in the case of my Today I Learned journal, the level of organization I desire is just too difficult to achieve with paper, despite all my efforts to make it work.
I’ve been using Notion for nearly a year now. And in this time, I’ve created a system that works for me. A way to make daily learning, recording, and reviewing both easy and, my favorite, organized!
Here, I’ll share a free template of a Today I Learned journal for you to use,
and will go over the basics of how to start using it:
The Today I Learned Journal has 3 main tools you can use:
1. Today I Learned…
2. The Library
3. The Notebook
1. Today I Learned…
This is where you’ll be recording what you learn every day.
I personally like to keep my entries as short and comprehensive as possible. It makes it easier to review later.
Here’s an example of what an entry looks like, blank vs. completed:
THE ENTRY PROPERTIES:
Filling these in is how you keep your entries organized.
Title I title my entries with the day of the streak I’m on + the date of the entry
Topic: Adding this makes the entry searchable within the table.
Date: The date you wrote the entry (including this keeps your table organized)
Find in Library: What topic does the entry belong to?
Need to Review?: If you’d like to refresh your memory over an entry later, check this box.
Last Reviewed: Every time you revisit an entry and review it, update this property.
Backed Up?: If you’d like to export your entries as pdfs and store them somewhere else, then check the box for each entry you back up.
All Entries (Gallery and Table):
Both of these views show every entry you’ve ever entered, as long as they are dated.
1 Month View:
This shows only the entries you’ve written within the last 30 days.
Entries Needing Review:
If you’ve checked the “Needing Review?” box for an entry, you will find such entries here. They are sorted by the date they were last reviewed, so be sure to refresh that “Last Reviewed” date in the entries as you’re studying!
Entries Without Date:
When you forget to add the date for an entry, that entry will be missing from some of these views, since they’re organized by date. If that happens, then you can find it easily with this view. It shows only your date-less entries, waiting to be organized.
With this calendar view, you can easily check that your entries’ dates are entered correctly.
Entries Needing to be Backed Up:
Every entry with a “backed up” box unchecked will appear here, letting you easily see what entries are ready to be exported.
2. The Library
This linked database is what I call “The Library.”
Every single Today I Learned entry you write will end up here (as long as you tag them in the “Find in Library” property)
What you see here is my own library. In your template, I’ve started you out with some example topics, but you can add and delete as you please!
BROWSING THE LIBRARY “SHELVES”
When you click on a topic, the page it brings you to will pull up every entry you’ve tagged with that topic.
All in one page.
No sifting through pages of random entries to find ones in a particular category.
It’s just all neatly stacked here, like an organized library shelf.
And if one entry belongs in multiple categories?
That’s no problem!
You can tag an entry with as many topics as you want, and it will show up in each page.
This feature is the main reason I use Notion rather than my beloved paper journals. The level of intense organization is a dream!
3. My Notebook
This is where you can go to list all your questions.
Whatever you’re curious about (or feel embarrassed for not knowing already), write it all down!
On the days you can’t think of where to begin in learning for the next entry, this list will be there for you.
QUICK ENTRY IDEAS:
This is where you can write the questions you expect to spend the least time and effort answering.
If you really want to keep the daily learning journal consistent, it’s good to give yourself some easy options for the days you just don’t have the time or effort for studying!
The notebook is, of course, a great place to take any extra notes.
And just as with the Today I Learned journal, you can link your Notebook entries to the Library, using the “Find in The Library” property.
And that’s about it!
If you missed the link to the free template for the Today I Learned journal,
click the link here.
If you found any of this helpful, and are starting your own TIL journal, feel free to share in the comments!
Thanks for reading, and happy learning to you all!