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Tracking Your Progress: The Yearbook Journal

I'm a big believer in journaling as a professional and creative practice and I'm always on the lookout for how other people use writing to reflect on their lives and work. This week I ran across the idea of a "Yearbook," a strategy that Dr. Akiyo Kano uses to track her life in longer stretches and it's something that I plan to try in 2016. 

If you go to about the 4-minute mark in the video above, Akiyo walks you through how she uses the Yearbook concept for herself. She includes:

  • An index at the beginning that helps her keep track of each section of the Yearbook. This looks similar to the Index from the Bullet Journal
  • A visioning section where she creates mini vision boards related to various aspects of her life. 
  • A collection of words she wants to experience/focus on during the year. 
  • A collection of journal prompts for the year. 


What attracts me to this idea of a Yearbook is the realization that in my daily writing practice, I often have insights or come up with ideas that I end up losing when I move on to the next day of writing. I think, for example, of times that I've had insights into a situation or advice I give myself that I then seem to forget about, only to find that a few months later, I'm right back in the same issue or problem. 

I've been thinking for awhile that I should have a separate journal where I pull out these insights, ideas and advice to myself so I could more easily go back to them when I need them. The Yearbook concept seems like it could be a good way to do this. 

My Yearbook Plan for 2016

What I'm thinking for my own Yearbook, then is to include these sections:

  • The index
  • A visioning section
  • Monthly reflections where I look back over the previous month, going through my daily journals to pull out key insights, learning, etc. and synthesize that information into a monthly entry. This feels like it could be a good way for me to both think back on where I've been and to look forward to what I want for the upcoming month. In particular, I want to focus on small wins and seeing how they evolve into big progress. This is also a way for me to plan in monthly increments so I push myself to experiment more.  
  • An Ideas section to capture the various creative projects and thoughts that come to me and get lost in my daily journals. 
  • A Goals section. I'm thinking that I might have a "Yearly Goals" section and then monthly goals, possibly attached to the monthly reflection sections. 
  • An Advice/Insights section. This is where I want to pull out for myself some of the things I need to keep reminding myself about, so when I start to feel lost in certain situations, I can turn to this and remind myself that I've figured it out already and just need a reminder. 
  • A Quotes section to capture key quotes throughout the year. Again, these tend to get lost in my daily journals and this will give me a place to keep track and highlight them more. 

My plan is to use the Staples Arc Notebooks for this project because it makes it really easy for me to move pages around and to add in pages from other sources. 

I'll keep you posted on how the project goes.

In the meantime, I'm curious to hear what you think of the idea of a Yearbook and how you might use it for your own professional/personal development in 2016. Does this idea resonate for you? 


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"An Advice/Insights section.... I can turn to this and remind myself that I've figured it out already and just need a reminder."

I love that part - haha, I definitely need this too, a reminder that "I've already figured it out". I tend to worry about the same things over and over.

This whole idea of Yearbook Journaling would be excellent in a spiritual sense as well. Bible verses that speak to different situations in my life. And also the reminder that GOD has it all figured out and I just need a reminder!!

I love the idea of using this as a spiritual journal setup, April! I also think it would be really cool to do a couples version--partners setting goals together, reflecting on their year, sharing insights/quotes, etc. I think it could be really interesting and a great way to strengthen a relationship.

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