Getting Stuff Done with Interstitial Journaling

Coach Tony’s post titled Replace Your To-Do List With Interstitial Journaling To Increase Productivity is a pretty interesting take on productivity.

During your day, journal every time you transition from one work project to another. Write a few sentences in your journal about what you just did, and then a few more sentences about what you’re about to do.

Rather than just working through a list of tasks in your task manager, the idea seems to be to maintain an ongoing narrative of your day. A benefit of this approach is a pretty high degree of mindfulness.

Journaling as you work produces mindfulness about your context, goals, mood, and skills.

Another aspect of this approach that appeals to me is how it incorporates elements of the GTD approach to getting your stuff done. One of those elements is clearing your mind by getting whatever is occupying it out of your mind and onto paper (digital or physical).

The Interstitial Journaling tactic solves all of these normal problems. It kills procrastination, empties our brain of the last project, and then gives us space to formulate an optimal strategy for our next project.

When you write about the task you’ve just completed, and then about the upcoming task, you’re transitioning more fully from the completed task to the next task. At least, that seems to be the idea.

I also just like the idea of maintaining a pretty deliberate account of my days. This feels like something worth attempting, at the very least.

I’ve started incorporating Evernote into my Remember the Milk workflow through a handy integration, so Evernote seems like a convenient choice for the journaling too. I’ll try it out this week and see how it goes.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash






4 responses to “Getting Stuff Done with Interstitial Journaling

  1. genghis galahad avatar

    This Article was mentioned on

  2. Nathan Jeffery avatar

    I started journalling in Evernote at the end of 2016. I set up a notebook per year with the format Journal-YYYY. I create a note per day with the name format YYYY-MM-DD DDDD. This way, all notes for a specific year are grouped and the notebook isn’t too big so it’s easy enough to scroll to the current/most recent note and the notes (if you sort by title) will be grouped in date order.

    I log what time I wake up each morning, what I do throughout the day, what I eat and drink and what time I go to sleep.

    I’ve recently added a “Tasks Completed” list/section at the bottom of each day’s note to keep track of more specific items I have completed during the day.

    At the bottom of the note, which I keep open all day, I have a list of tasks to complete and other items I’d like to remember.

    At the end of the day, when I create an empty note for the next day, I cut/paste the bottom section of the current day’s note into the new day’s note so I have an ongoing, work in progress list of things I’d like to keep in mind and I don’t need to switch to a different note or app to see it.

    it’s quite interesting to be able to search for a meal or bottle of wine and see when last you consumed it or type in the name of a restaurant to see when last you visited it. It’s also quite crazy to see how quickly the days go by as the number of notes in the current year’s notebook increases.

    1. Paul avatar

      Ok, wow, that is a pretty detailed accounting of your daily activities. The insights you get from that must be pretty interesting. I tend more to capture the stuff I do, when I remember to do it. That hasn’t been much lately, though.

      1. Nathan Jeffery avatar

        It took a while to get into the habit and it’s not always easy to stick to but it’s cool to have access to the info. 🙂

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