The Five Minute Journal

3 minutes reading time

Sometimes life gets the better of you. I have been aiming to write an article each week but with limited time available it’s easy to let it slip. Suddenly you realise it’s been six weeks or so since you last posted.

Limited time is one reason I’ve never really done a daily journal — or at least I’ve never kept it up beyond a day or so.

Cementing a habit is hard, especially for something such as writing each week. Writing takes time and I’ve not yet mastered writing quickly.

To start changing that, I started looking for solutions that would allow me to start journalling and build a habit slowly and carefully. I wanted to limit the amount of time it takes and have a structure or template to follow which enables me to focus and complete quickly but still have a positive impact on my life.

Five Minute Journal

I think I found the answer in the five minute journal. I’m an avid listener to the Tim Ferriss Podcast and he’s mentioned and recommended it a few times there, on his website, and he went into it in more detail in a video review.

In a nutshell, it’s a simple template of questions to ask yourself when you wake up in the morning and the last thing at night before you go to bed. The creators, Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas, created an in-depth video for how to use the journal and is what ultimately convinced me to buy1 it and start using it.

The Journal

You receive a nicely bound and finished hardcover journal. It starts out explaining the ideas and science behind the journal before inviting you to make a commitment to completing the journal for at least five days.

Most days the page starts with an inspiring quote to ponder. On random days there is a weekly challenge instead which is designed to encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and take some action. Then it moves onto the questions. There are three to answer in the morning and two at night.

Internal page of the journal

To give me the best chance of success to create and maintain the habit, I’ve anchored it with two daily habits. I answer the morning questions immediately after my daily meditation practice. I keep the journal by my bed with my headphones so that I take it downstairs with me to meditate. In the evening, just before I do my teeth I sit on my bed and answer the evening questions before doing my teeth and getting into bed.

I’ve been using it for about a week now. It’s often taking me a little longer than five minutes but it’s getting easier as I become more mindful of being appreciative throughout the day.

I’ve written before about gratitude but consistently and deliberately focusing on it daily is a great way to start and end the day in a positive way.

Thank you for reading this, and thanks to Alex and UJ for creating this, openly and actively sharing the questions without trying to make you buy the journal.

  1. You can purchase it directly from them at or, as I did, get it from their Amazon store to buy it in British pounds and save on the shipping.

Got any questions or comments? Drop me a message on Twitter (@elaptics).