The 5 Minute Journal

Some of you might already know about the 5 minute journal morning ritual. It’s been popularised massively by people like Tim Ferris, who religiously do this (see video below of how Tim uses the 5 minute journal to get himself in a great state every morning) you can also see his evening ritual here.


Tim’s 5  minute journal video:


I started getting into morning writing because of this book: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

It was given to me years ago by one of my sisters and I did get into the habit of morning writing but it didn’t quite last. My problem with that particular morning journaling style is that it requires you to fill 3 pages of writing, and I often found myself thinking hard about what to write about next, so I ended up taking 30 minutes to write these pages. Sometimes I had the time, but often I didn’t, so I eventually dropped it.

Two years ago I started doing morning journaling again as a form of therapy to try and get my mind to be in a positive state at the beginning of my day, so I used it as a way to dump any negative mind stuff and get on with my day with a clean slate. And it really works, that’s the thing. It’s a lovely habit to get into. But, again, I couldn’t be as consistent because it always took me a long time to write the 3 pages.

Then I put together a more summarized version, similar to the one Tim Ferris does but with some additions and tweaks. I can now do my morning rituals, including journaling, in 15 minutes!


Some of my journals since 2014.

Every morning as soon as I wake up I write in my journal:

Today’s date

The five things I’m grateful for






The three things that would make today amazing




The one thing I could do better today

Today’s priority (just one thing that I should focus on achieving today) This can be a larger goal that involves many smaller tasks.

This one priority is the thing that would make my day move forward towards where I want to be, so it’s crucial to have a clear goal for the day.

Explain why this is important and why it would make a difference in your life if you focused on that one thing. Explain the benefits it will bring and why that should be today’s priority over other things.

Today’s affirmation.

Read it outloud a couple of times. This sets the intention for your inner state throughout the day. To learn about how to set powerful, positive affirmations, click here.

Lastly, I do a 10 minute meditation. To learn more about how to begin meditating, check out this video by buddhist monk Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu .

Many super successful people do moring rituals and they all converge at using the morning as a way to get yourself in a positive mental state before you do anything else. Certainly before you reach out for the phone to check emails or watch the news.

The morning is an incredibly creative time and when used properly it can help you be a productivity ninja! Another example is Mel Robbins, she gives a series of rules to abide by every morning:

One “Geniuses don’t sleep with their phone”

This one is about no having your phone anywhere close to your bedroom (she puts it in the bathroom) until you are ready to face the day.

Two “Geniuses let their mind wonder”

This is about letting your mind be creative during the morning. She advises using this ripe time to solve problems and go over things that have been bothering you. It’s a time for clarity and tranquility.

Three “Geniuses make daily progress, not to-do lists”

This relates to determining the day’s priority or main goal and focusing on that goal rather than writing endless to do lists.

Four “Geniuses always quit”

By this she means that we need to set a time to finish work and be disciplined about it. It’s so easy to carry on working until late and it can lead to burnout. I used to do that all the time, and belive me, it does lead to burnout! (this one is not necessarily about morning rituals but great advice nonetheless)

Hope that was a good into to morning journaling & morning rituals. There are as many morning rituals ars there are people, but I can only speak from my experience and what has worked for me.

I know that I can’t spend 30 minutes journaling. For me, its not sustainable, but for some people it is and that’s great. The point is for you to find a sequence of actions in the morning that bring you the best benefits for your day.

I’ll leave you with this video from the great man himself, Tony Robbins, talking about how he uses the mornings as a priming ritual to be in a beautiful state.


Diana Simpson Hernandez

Designers for Humanity



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