Daily Learning Journal

Guide to the Lifelong Learner’s Journal in Notion

My desire to make learning a daily practice began in 2019.
But it wasn’t until January 2021 that I’d figure out how to make this a sustainable habit.
Notion was a big part of this.
With it, I’d create a journal that made the habit easy to keep, the entries organized, and everything easy to review.
This was the start of my Lifelong Learner’s Journal, which is available as a free template in Notion for anyone to view, duplicate, and make their own.

Here, I’ll quickly walk you through the features of the journal.


In the “Lifelong Learning Page,” you have three tools at your disposal: 

1. Lifelong Learner’s Journal
2. The Library
3. The Notebook


Lifelong Learner’s Journal


Entries

This is where you’ll be recording what you learn.

I create at least one new entry every day. You’ll want to make them as short and comprehensive as possible to make reviewing them later easier for yourself. 
Here’s an example of what one of my entries looks like:

I keep the question displayed, and the answer within the toggle. It’s more effective to review what I’ve learned later on when I have the option to use active recall rather than passively re-reading.



Entry Properties

The options you’ll see at the top of each entry.
I’ll explain how filling each one in benefits you:

Title Line: Keep track of the your daily streak + the date of entry

Topic: Makes your entry more searchable within the table.

Date: Keeps your table organized chronologically

Find in Library: Adds your entry to “The Library” (more on that below)

Need to Review?: Adds your entry to a view dedicated for subjects you’d like to review later, called “Study View”

Last Reviewed: Keeps your entries in the Study View organized by the date they were last reviewed

Backed Up?: Lets you know which entries you’ve backed up outside Notion, if you choose to do so.


View Options

The different options for viewing your entries.

ALL entries (Gallery and Table): Both of these show every entry you’ve entered into the journal (so long that they’re dated)

1 Month View: Shows only entries you’ve added within the last 30 days.

•📝Study View: Shows the entries you’ve checked in the “Need to Review” box. These are sorted by the date they were last reviewed, so be sure to refresh that “Last Reviewed” date in the entries when you study!

Missing Date: to find entries missing a date. 

Double-Check Date: to check that the dates are entered correctly.

To Back Up: Displays all the entries you haven’t yet checked as having been backed up


The Library

This is a linked database which will contain all your Lifelong Learner’s entries, organized into your custom genres.

When you click on a topic, you’ll see every entry you’ve written for that topic gathered there, organized chronologically.
No sifting through months’ worth of random entries. It’s all neatly stacked here, like an organized bookshelf. 

You’ll see in the image below what shows up when I click on the topic “Dutch Vocabulary” in my own Library.

And if one entry belongs to multiple categories, that’s no problem! You can tag it with as many topics as you want, and it will show up in each page. 


The Notebook

In the Notebook, you’ll find 3 pages: 

My Knowledge Gaps, where you can record what you’d like to learn and write about in your journal

Quick Entry Ideas, where you can record topics you know you can learn fast and easily. This is handy if you’d like to make this journal a daily habit, and will need some quick learning options for days you don’t have much time to write. 

Study Notes, where you can take notes for things you’re not quite ready to add to an entry yet.


And now you’re ready to start your own Lifelong Learner’s Journal!

What do you want to learn today, and remember tomorrow?

Daily Learning Journal

Lifelong Learner’s Journal: Remembering Life

We like to believe that we’ll naturally remember what’s important to us.

“That brilliant idea that came to me in the middle of the night? No need to take notes. I’ll remember it in the morning.”

“That mistake I made again? Surely I’ll remember and know better next time.”

“And I’ll definitely not forget that inspiring, life-changing TED Talk by tomorrow.”

And we later reach into our trusty memory vault for these precious things, only to find that they’ve vanished—slipped through the cracks and gone with the wind.

One day, I reached a point where I’d had enough of this.
In my Lifelong Learner’s Journal, I’d been recording facts about the outside world. But I realized I had even more to hold onto…
My own life.


If you’re new to this blog:
The Lifelong Learner’s Journal is a project I started to learn something new every day, and record it.
It’s a way to keep my memories safe and easily-accessible. This way, if I’m struck with forgetfulness, I have at least one memory from every day stored safely and organized by category in the journal.
I created a digital version of the Lifelong Learner’s Journal in Notion as a free template. Feel free to use it and make it your own!


“Remembering Life”

I was hesitant to add a “Remembering Life” category to my Lifelong Learner’s Journal.
After all, it would feel like cheating to write down any mundane thing I experience as something I “learn.”
So I made a rule (more what you’d call “guideline” than an actual rule).
In order for an entry to be worthy of the journal in this subject, it must be:

• Whatever matters to me
• Whatever I don’t/won’t want to forget.

That’s it.
The Lifelong Learner’s Journal isn’t just about acquiring and remembering knowledge anymore.
It’s about enriching your life and your memory with what really matters to you.


What Really Matters

Here are some examples of things you might want to include in your own Lifelong Learner’s journal:

The Good:
• a hilarious story or joke
• a pleasant moment with a loved one
• a moment you connected with a deep sense of awe, creativity, gratitude, inspiration, etc.
• a moment you were proud of yourself

The Bad
• a mistake
a moment you realized you messed up, and can admit it.
could this become a funny story later on?
could it become a mistake you learn from rather than just be humiliated by it?
• something sad
like the death of a loved one, and how you responded to it. A moment of deep observation and contemplation. Of remembering the departed and realizing what you will miss about them, and what you’re grateful to have had. Grieving not just emotionally, but thoughtfully.

The Important
• A doctor’s visit, and the advice you received
• A crucial conversation/meeting, and its most important points
• Tracking your journey through a personal struggle
For example, I’ve found it helpful to record my bumps and victories along the road of dealing with my anxiety:
– What triggered a panic attack today?
– What techniques did I use to counter it? Were they helpful or not?
– What did I do despite the terrible fear of doing it? How did I manage it, and how did it go?

The Blurry
• high stress situations
• complicated experiences
• when your ability to concentrate/comprehend/remember is difficult
“What can I write about my experience today that I might forget or get jumbled up later?”

Simply Nice to Know
You don’t always need to explain your reason for wanting to remember something.
If it matters, it matters.


How to Get Started

There is no rule for how you learn and write something here.
But here’s some questions to ask yourself if you’re feeling stuck on that blank page:

“What did I experience today?”

“Why did this catch my attention?“
“What can I learn from this?“
“How did I respond?“
“How did I feel in that moment?“
“How did others act?“
“What were my thoughts?“
“What could I have done differently, and why?“
“Why do I consider this worth remembering? Why is this important to me and my future memory?“


Check Your Lens

While writing these entries, you may find that it’s hard to grasp things you felt you knew.
And in moments that emotions were strong, the details of what happened can still be hazy.

You realize that memory isn’t the only issue here,
but also your attention from that moment.
It’s like taking a video, only to realize later that the lens had been smudged, your video blurred.

This means that we must constantly sharpen a valuable skill:
Pay attention to life
To that precious, present moment.
And pay attention well.

Ask yourself in the moment: “What am I experiencing?”


What do you want to learn today, and remember tomorrow?

Daily Learning Journal

Remembering What I’ve Learned with the Lifelong Learner’s Journal

Learning something every day has been a beloved habit of mine for the past two years. And although not every single day is worth a revisit, there are many things I’d like to upgrade from “learned once” to “long-term memory”.
Here, I’ll show you a couple things I’ve done to do this with my Lifelong Learner’s Journal in Notion.


If you’re new to this blog:
The Lifelong Learner’s Journal is a project I started to learn something new every day, and record it.
It’s a way to keep my memories safe and easily-accessible. This way, if I’m struck with forgetfulness, I have at least one memory from every day stored safely and organized by category in the journal.
I created a digital version of the Lifelong Learner’s Journal in Notion as a free template. Feel free to use it and make it your own!


How I Remember What I’ve Learned

Active Recall

Write Entries Using the Toggle Tool
This is how I set up most my entries. It’s like using flashcards.
You use the toggle to ask the question, and hide your answer within the toggle. This makes your entries look cleaner and more organized. It also makes it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for if you have a lot of information packed into one page.

Review your Entry by Thinking of the Answer Before Revealing It
This is active recall. Putting in the mental effort to find that answer in your brain, rather than passively reading it. It’s the only way I set up and review my entries, because I’ve found it to be the most effective in improving my memory!


Review Regularly

When you review your entries regularly, you’re giving yourself a better chance to refresh what you’ve learned and actually remember it. This is a vital step (in my experience) to ensure that what you’ve learned makes it to long-term memory. Otherwise, this would be a “write and forget” journal.

Use the “Study View” in Your Lifelong Learner’s Journal

If you want to review an entry for later, click on its “Need to Review?” checkbox on the top of the page.

All the entries with this checked box will end up in the “Study View”.


Here, your entries are organized by the date you last reviewed them. So when you revisit an entry, be update the “Last Reviewed” box so it can be sorted to the back of the pile.

Decide on When to Regularly Review Your Entries.
This could be:
• right when you wake up
• before you go to sleep
• while waiting in line or on the bus
• or any moment that you would ordinarily check social media, if you’re looking for a healthier substitute

Gradually, you’ll feel confident in your memory of an entry, and can uncheck the “Need to Review” checkbox, giving you more space in the “Study View” for new entries.


If you have any ideas or questions on how to make the most of the Lifelong Learning Journal, feel free to share in the comments!

What do you want to learn today, and remember tomorrow?

Daily Learning Journal

Why I Started the Lifelong Learner’s Journal

Learn something new every day. 
Don’t worry if it’s an embarrassing question to ask.
It doesn’t matter if it’s something you should have known years ago.
Just learn it, and write it down. 

Why I Started

I began the Lifelong Learner’s Journal as a way to confront my fear of failure. 
And for me, ignorance was one of the worst kinds of failure. 
It was a label I put so much of my energy into avoiding. 
To the point that—ironically—I led myself right into it.

I’ll explain:
It would start with being asked a question I didn’t have an answer for.
That’s fine, right? We all have such moments, because no one knows everything
But instead of accepting this little gap in my knowledge,
my fearful brain would default to a different response:

  • Flood self with anxiety, and let self-esteem plummet.
  • Be so distracted by the humiliation of the moment, that actually attempting to learn the answer won’t even come to mind.
  • Embrace a false sense of security as I later avoid the topic altogether. 
  • When said topic inevitably returns one day, repeat the cycle.
  • And most importantly: Never just learn the thing!

This reached its peak when I moved to a new country.
There, I tied my self-esteem directly to my ability to speak a difficult language fluently from the start.
(What could go wrong?)
Every tiny mistake brought me deeper into paralyzing anxiety. 
And as a result, my ability to actually learn anything became stunted.
It didn’t matter how encouraging everyone around me was. 
This was a self-made trap that only I could break myself out of.


The Messy Start

So I decided to just confront my ignorance a little bit at a time.
Take baby steps to becoming more comfortable with asking questions.
And after some trial and error, I finally developed this into a strict, daily commitment on January 1st, 2021.
Finally, I was consistently practicing the terrifying act of facing one of the most monstrous things I know—my own ignorance. And I chipped away at it just a little bit every day. 


Why I Still Use It

Gradually—painfully so—I saw an improvement in my relationship with ignorance. 
Rather than looking at the unknown with overwhelming anxiety, I began to approach it with curiosity, and even eagerness to learn.
I started accepting myself, ignorance and all. 
Because now I was stacking up—day by day—small pieces of proof that I can improve.
I’d learned, through experience, that imperfection isn’t as bad as I made it out to be. 
And that seeking out those knowledge gaps and filling them in doesn’t have to feel so embarrassing.

This journaling practice not only helped me learn a language, adapt to living in a different country, and expand my areas of interest.
It also helped me to treat my mistakes as lessons rather than miserable failures.
It brought me back to actually enjoying my lifelong love of learning!

This process has been so dear to me, that I’ve loyally kept at it every day, with a streak of—so far—over 700 days. 


Your Turn

This is not an article claiming “How to Eliminate All Your Anxieties with This One Crazy Trick!”. 
I still have anxieties to deal with, and so much more to learn.
But this routine has been life-changing for me. 
And there are surely people out there who can benefit from it as much as I have!

Taking on a habit of daily learning doesn’t have to be fueled by issues like mine. 
It doesn’t even have to be serious, lifelong commitment.
It’s just a journal!

Whether it’s for school, hobbies, work, or your own personal development and curiosities.. 
Really, it doesn’t matter your reason. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. 
If you want to start a journey of daily learning, you are welcome here! 


How to Start

I created a digital version of the Lifelong Learner’s Journal in Notion as a free template (You can see a small piece of it in the photo above). Feel free to use it and make it your own!
Learning a new language? Then maybe start with looking up some new words. 
Are there things you’re embarrassed to not know? There’s almost certainly an article or Youtube video out there for you. 
There are no rules for what topics or research methods you choose.
Whatever it is, just learn something, and write it down.
And good luck!


Also in this blog, I show you How to Keep a Daily Learning Journal in Notion.

If you found any of this helpful and plan to start your own habit of lifelong learning, feel free to share in the comments.
Thanks for reading, and happy learning to you all!

What do you want to learn today, and remember tomorrow?