In my talk, How to tame a hydra, I touched upon the idea of interstitial journaling.
What is interstitial journaling?
Interstitial journaling is the practice of capturing thoughts, tasks, and notes as individual items in a list. In simpler terms, interstitial journaling is about writing down your thoughts and ideas as you have them, throughout the day.
Anne-Laure called it combining note-taking, tasks, and time tracking in one unique workflow 1.
What do I use for my interstitial journaling?
I use Obsidian as my personal knowledge management tool. I use the Daily Note feature. In a daily note for any day, I have a heading titled “Notes” which contains my interstitial journal.
I update the Notes section whenever I start some new task or activity. I add a timestamp with a short note on what I was working on.
10:42 - starting JIRA:PROJA-3352 11:27 - got distracted by Steve asking about how to add a hyperlink 11:35 - Should I do a session to the team on adding hyperlinking? 11:41 - working on JIRA:PROJA-3352 again 12:03 - Coffee break 12:15 - Read Joanna's newsletter about minimalism. Add her latest book to the to-read list. 12:30 - Done with PROJA-3352 for now. Waiting for Charlie to review it. 12:42 - Updating the agenda for team meeting to include hyperlinking process.
Why do I find it useful?
- It reminds me on what I was working on throughout my day.
- It helps me deal with interruptions as
- get back on track after an interruption 2
- identify what kind of interruption and take some action.
- If it is something that I get asked the same question by multiple people, I might think of adding it to a wiki page or demo it in a meeting.
- It helps me transition between tasks easily.
- when switching between multiple tasks, the log provides info on the last known state of a task.
- It acts as a scratchpad for ideas and thoughts.
- It serves as a mindfulness practice by helping me be aware of my thoughts (positive and negative).
How do you start interstitial journaling?
Use any tool of your choice: paper-based or digital.
- Add a timestamp.
- Add a sentence or two about what you are working (in the middle of / just finished).
- Jot down thoughts you notice or ideas you get.
- Repeat at regular intervals (or at random ones) throughout the day.
- Keep practicing this journaling for a week or two.
- Tweak to suit your style. Be brief or be expansive.
Interstitial journaling is a powerful tool that can help you boost creativity, enhance self-reflection, streamline task management, and reduce stress.
Are you starting your interstitial journaling journey today?
It takes 23 mins to refocus after each interruption - 🔬 The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress ↩︎