Journaling Made Easy….Make A List!

list journal

My Mom is a big advocate of keeping a journal. Anytime something significant happens in my life, inevitably my Mom will ask me, “Have you written about that in your journal?” And, inevitably, I will reply with, “No.” (hanging head down.) But, like my Mom, I DO strongly believe in keeping some sort of record of your life that you can look back on and recall all those little things that would normally be forgotten. Not to mention leaving a legacy for our posterity. It’s just that actually sitting down and writing in a journal never seems to happen, no matter how much I believe in it.

That’s why this idea of making journal LISTS really captured my attention and imagination. I love making lists! They’re quick and easy to write (and to read!), they can be any length, and get they right to the point. Plus they challenge you to think about specific ideas rather than just rambling on about what you did that day. And I do love a challenge. :-)

There are literally thousands of journaling “list ideas” out there if you look for them. There are even websites that will regularly provide you with list ideas and journaling challenges such as 30 Days of Lists.


list journal

I decided to do my own “diy” version. I recently purchased a new journal (which is to say I purchased a blank book that I’m using as a journal.) When I bought it I wasn’t thinking about using it for “lists” per se, but I did have the intention of using it to record all different aspects of my life. Not just the written word. Sometimes I write a few pages or paragraphs, sometimes I’ll jot down key words from a conversation or a motivational quote I read, sometimes I just doodle in it. The key is to keep it with you so that when inspiration strikes you can put whatever it is in the book.

First I came up with some list ideas and decided to devote a section of my book to this new journaling challenge. Since I enjoy expressing my creativity through writing and computer graphics, I made my lists with the help of my Adobe Creative Suite. For me, this is as creative as using colored pens and pencils.


Here is just a sampling of the lists I came up with. I also have ideas for dozens more, but I will work on those over time.

list journal

list journal

I simply made them a size that would fit in my book, printed them out, and taped them with some decorative washi tape into my journal.


list journal

Mine are very simple, but you can get as elaborate (or simplistic) as you want. That’s the beauty of it! It is supposed to be a reflection of YOU.

To get YOU motivated to at least try a little “list journaling,” I made up some simple PRINTABLE list forms that you can fill out with your OWN list ideas. If you already have a journal, put them in that. If not, pick up a blank book at any office supply or craft store. I got mine at Staples for $9.99.


Journal List #1
Journal List #2
Journal List #3
Journal List #4
Journal List #5
Journal List #6
Journal List #7
Journal List #8

list journal pages

For inspiration on list ideas, here are several links to get you started:

Mrs. C’s English Lessons & Link –  250 Journal Topics
Art Journalist – List Love: 101 List Prompts For Your Art Journals
Moorea Seal – 52 Lists
Kelli Crowe – List of Lists
Ali Edwards – 13 Everyday Life Journaling Prompts
Create. Write. Now. – 10 Journal Prompts for Quick Inspiration
ScribeTime – Writing Prompts – The List of 10

Finally, remember this with regards to journaling: it doesn’t matter how you do it or how often you do it….just do it! There are many ways to go about it, but I’ve found list journaling really gets the creative juices flowing! With just a few bullet points, you can capture a moment (and keep it forever!) in a matter of minutes.

Have fun!

list journal


 Have you tried journaling with lists?


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  1. Trixie says

    Love this idea :) But, I’m sad because I saw all your sad faces on the left side of your “Ten Years Ago I Was” list. Don’t be sad, Jillee, I have a rule about nobody being sad alone. Hugs!!

  2. Tia Robertson says

    Jillee, you (and your guest post person) have just saved me again! I remember these journal lists being suggested when I was in grade school, as a way to get our creative writing tasks done in class! It never dawned on me to use them now (which is probably why I haven’t journaled since NKOTB was all the rage… the FIRST time!!LOL) Thanks so much for the links, I’m getting on this first thing in the morning!!!

  3. Rachel Loveridge says

    Make sure to make some lists in your own handwriting, too! Your children/grandchildren will value it more than you or they could imagine right now.

    Thanks so much for the lists, I’m excited to do them! :)

  4. Becka Wheeler says

    I’ve never been big on journaling, but my mom is avid about it. She told me the other day “when I’m gone, you are going to have decades of crazy things to read about.” That made me sad because I realized that I don’t have that kind of legacy to pass to my own children. So I just recently decided to do this, but the idea of just sitting down and writing is daunting. This is perfect, and I found it just in time! Thanks you!

  5. Debra says

    Do not beat yourself up! Look at what you do on your blog. You do some journaling here! And we all love it! I too am a list maker. I have lists by my bed, on my desk and in the kitchen, on my iPad and my Nook. I have Multi apps with lists. I love lists and list making. I should start putting those lists on journal pages. They defiantly tell my days adventures. Than I can add notes around the list of feelings and experiences. …..”.. Hey, this is growing on me and in my brain. Thanx again Jillie! You are awesome!

  6. says

    Thank you for these helpful suggestions, some of your lists I will try for sure, especially “I need to say NO to” :-)

    And yes, I already tried journaling with lists, my lists are:

    - books I have to read
    - movies to watch
    - recipes to cook
    - places to visit

  7. Penny says

    Over the years I’ve tried to keep a diary (that’s what we used to call it, ya know?) but, I always end up losing interest. Years later, I come across the notebooks & read them – they generally make me real sad. The ‘what was’ and the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘what might have beens’. Do I really want anyone to see these ramblings when I’m gone? Nope. I don’t even want to see them. They’ve all gone out in the trash.

    Oh- another thing – I don’t have children, so WHO would be interested in my past? No one. So, to wrap it all up, remembering the past usually makes me sad and I don’t have future generation to be interested in my boring, passe life, so journaling is just a big waste of time for me. I’d much rather spend that time painting, sewing, crafting or writing (the kind of writing I get paid for.)

    Not everyone is meant to journal – but the printouts are very cute!! Another fine post!!

  8. says

    I tried a million time to keep a journal, but I always find that I have nothing worth to write, even when smething happens, don’t know why. So this thing of a list ring a bell, its probably simpler than trying to write many things!
    I’ll surely look at yours and try to do it too, thanks for the idea :)

  9. Robin says

    I love the idea of a journal but it always seemed so overwhelming to me. Too much pressure to do it everyday possibly? lol
    I subscribe (and love!) your daily emails. So when I saw this, I was excited cause YOU were so excited about it!
    Anyways….I am a little confused….the pre-made list….do you write about the things on that list? Or do you make the list as your journal? What exactly do you DO with the list? Are they inspirations/prompts to get you to write? See? I’m a noob to this stuff…!! :-P
    I look forward to hearing back…


  10. Lora says

    I started journaling about things my grandchildren say and do. I remember as a young mother thinking I should write these things down but was either so busy or so tired I forgot to do it. Thankfully, my wonderful mother-in-law wrote things I told her down. Now I am doing it for my children.

  11. Jill says

    It’s funny that you mention this because I started “list journaling” a bit ago because I was never really good at “journaling” but I love lists. By the end of a couple of weeks I was straying from the lists and started actually journaling!

  12. Kathleen Williamson says

    I haven’t journaled but i get the pocket calendars n i write my bills n what’s happening at the time i still have my first ones…the year my husband n i got married (24 years ago) the year n following year i was pregnant with our daughter (20 years ago) they are just notes but i love looking at them.

  13. Rebecca says

    My mother kept a calendar with the highlights of her life. When one of us called her, she would make notes about what we talked about. She also kept doctor’s appointments, meetings, etc. in there. She also made notes about who she visited or visited her. We have these to keep to know what my mother did the last years of her life.

  14. CTY says

    Great Post! What a cute book! My son was given a book like this as a graduation present (Barnes & Nobles sells them). For him it was a perfect gift. These lists look like a great way to get started. I think if you never kept a journal before some of these lists could say something like 5 yrs ago or last year… then complete the list; then complete the list again with present day experiences/ideas.
    For me I think printing these & placing in a binder would be better than taping in a book. Over time the book would be too fat.

  15. Dana Kay says

    You should make in ipad app for this! I keep lists on my ipad for everything and always have it with me. I’d do it, but you are WAY more TECH savvy!!! I love all your designs and am completely jealous of your creativity!!

  16. Holly says

    I love it! BUT, I would never keep it with me. And then when I have the chance to write, I forget what was important. What’s worked best for me is to use Evernote. Then I can journal any time from any device. Plus I can keep a years worth of stuff in one long note and it makes it easy to look back (especially for milestones for my baby!)

  17. says

    Wow, Jillee! This post is really above and beyond! Great idea, great printables, great execution! Love it!!!

    By the way, I dig the new newsletter pop up. Your perks definitely convinced me to sign up!

    Oh, and I linked to this on my own blog! (Link in my name.)

    Keep up the awesome work!

  18. Rhonda says

    What a wonderful idea! I have tried journaling and it has never really stuck for me. This is great Thank you and to the person that made the date suggestion Thank You too! Jillie I love your site I just found you last month and I am in LOVE!

  19. Hush42 says

    One of my friends got me this journal- for my birthday and I love it. It has 366 pages that are dated and they each have a simple question and 5 sets of lines. So each day you answer the question (everything from what do you small right now to what is one thing you need to work on) and then on the same day the next year you answer the same question so after 5 years you can look and see how your answers have changed (or stayed the same) over the past 5 years. I really like it and the questions rarely take more than 5 minutes to answer.

  20. says

    I LOVE journaling with lists, mostly thanks to the 30 Days of Lists Challenge and the Currently journaling challenge! I actually use Sundays on my blog as “I Love” Sundays, where I share a list of what I was loving that week and your number 8 card would be a perfect template to use in my scrapbook for my “I Love” Sunday’s to help fancy it up a bit!

    Thanks for sharing!


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