Benefits of Journaling

I admire people who are very creative when it comes to their journaling and note taking. I love how they mesh calligraphy and colorful highlights in their notes and mnemonics. It’s an eye candy for me! I wonder if the artistry is fueled by expensive coffee? Because most of the time, I see these wonderful people in coffee shops and instagrammable cafes.

But seriously, how to be you po?

I think it was January of this year when I attended a journaling workshop by OMF Literature. I realized journaling is a realm dominated by women! I beg to disagree that journaling is female-centric activity. Where are you, guys? Hahaha!

More than the colorful letterings and fancy highlights, journaling gives us awesome benefits.

First, it’s a safe space to relieve stress. I remember, the last time I was burdened with too much heartache and work-related issues, journaling helped me unload all the negative emotions stirring up within. It works the same as having a dear friend listening to your rants. Think of your paper as a friend. It will not judge you; it will not show any prejudice. Just write whatever you want to write.

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A portion from my journal, random thoughts from my Bible readings. Sorry I can’t share some of my most personal musings. Hehe

Second, journaling may also serve as your growth monitoring tool. Use a devo and prayer journal to write all your prayer concerns. Write your personal love letters to God! Jot down your thanksgivings, requests, lessons learned from the Word or from sermons you’ve heard. Watch out, for as the pages add up, your appreciation with the Lord grows as well. At times, I laugh, cry or even cringe at my journal entries, but that’s how God led me through the years, and I’m thankful for that.

Some people I know devise their own monitoring tools in their journals. They monitor their water intake, their weight, their tardiness, money saved or spent, etc. Your journal is your personal companion. Use it creatively and purposely.

Third, journaling improves my writing abilities. Nuks. I am not confident with my English writing ability, but it was said that the key to be a good writer is simply to write regularly. Consistent journal writing makes me love writing more.

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A portion from my preaching notes. I tried to add some illustrations, but that’s all my creativity can bring me hahaha!

Finally, journaling serves as a marker for me. Whenever I review past entries, it helps me recall what happened, what I learned and how I different I am (or should be) now. As George Santayana puts it, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

I’m glad that journals are no longer limited to pen and paper and digital journaling is already a thing. I have a journal in my phone where I write my reflections on my daily bible readings. I also have a separate journal for pictures of my SO. Ayieee. My blogs, this one and Hearts and Halo, doubles as my digital journal for my various musings. I also have a physical journal for preaching notes.

If you’re not yet into journaling, I encourage you to start it now! Be it physical journal or digital, purely words or one infused with colorful illustrations and calligraphy, it doesn’t matter. Fall in love with writing, especially writing for yourself.

A Nagging Tito on Time Management

I was once a student so I can relate with the (joy?) and pain of cramming. I know how “motivating” deadline is. (Oh, thesis days!) When the due date is near, we race against time. Some people thrive on it. They love the feeling of being “rushed”. Yet some would rather not embrace pressure.

While we were still students, all we care about is to meet our course requirements and we’re fine! We have huge pockets of time to spend with our friends, dates, computer games and other extra-curricular stuff. But as soon as we hit employment, reality hits us in return. Soon we regret how wasteful we are with our time back in our younger days. If we can only turn back time and save it for future use, no?

I almost feel like a nagging tito whenever I remind my small group that time should be spent wisely while they are still young. Like, hello! Learn from me, please! Time wasted can no longer be recovered.

And this time, the nagging tito in me wants to share a few lessons about time management.

Don’t procrastinate.

If you can do it now, do it. Don’t fall into the trap of “di bale nang tamad, wag lang pagod”. Of course, it’s way better to feel “accomplished” after a task, than to feel the weight being irresponsible. As an adult, you should be known for being responsible. (Self, take note please). G na G hahaha.

Be more proactive.

Work ahead of your schedule. Deadlines should serve as markers, not starting point. Personally, I challenge myself to finish my assignments ahead of due date so I still have enough time to improve my work. With this, I am confident with the quality of my output because I have invested more attention to it. Plus, it opens up more time for other stuff, like much valued rest.

Know your priorities.

Day after day we are bombarded with a lot of things that demands our attention. If we are not careful, we’ll lose focus at the expense of what’s important. Know the difference between what’s urgent from what’s important. Remember, not everything that is shoved before you must be given attention.

Rest Responsibly

I’ve learned to value rest when I pushed myself to the limit. Work must be balanced with rest. In the first place, it is God’s idea so we should give it much importance. Rest should recharge and give life to us, prepare us for more work to do. But we should do it responsibly, meaning we should not overdo it. There is a big difference between rest and plain laziness.

These things are easier said than done. Sometimes, the temptation to oversleep is stronger than facing pending tasks. Sometimes, especially when we have the luxury of time to procrastinate, we grab it without any second thoughts. It’s a constant struggle.

It’s up to us. Just remember that no matter how cliché it may sound, time wasted can no longer be recovered.

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

Starting Anew

I’m revamping this blog, and I’m starting anew.

I already lost count how many times I changed my blog. I alternately write in English, Tagalog, and Taglish. I often sound churchy and spiritual in my blogs, but sometimes I also write about love, politics and even random humorous stuff I picked somewhere. I can’t seem to find my niche. I don’t know how to focus. All I know is when I find the urge to write, I will write.

Now, I’m carried by my second wind.

Welcome to martsvalenzuela v.2.0 reloaded with a whiff of excitement and uncertainty.

Funny thing is, I’ve been in WordPress since 2008 (pre-WP, I’m a Multiply regular). It’s a tremendous effort to organize all my stuff here and migrate salvageable writings to my other blogs. While it’s easy to just delete all things and start from scratch, I feel like a parent about to lose more than a decade’s worth of musings. I started transferring stuff since June three months after, finally this space is ready to be loaded once again with my scrambled thoughts.

So, what am I planning to write in this blog?

Hmm, since I consider most of my writing as a personal ministry, I became too conscious of pleasing people with my crafted words. I became too obsessed writing to impress people of what I learned and how I fared with my personal battles. I unconsciously try to portray an image that only presents my best foot forward. While some people reach out to me and tell me how they benefit from what I am sharing, I get too comfortable writing for others and forget that I should write for myself as well, hence #NoteToSelf.

I’d like this blog to be my crucible where I write about how God purifies me to be who He wants me to be. If I feel defeated or heartbroken, feeling disgusted or angsty, then I’d be true to myself. No need to present a sanitized version where people can only read the good and not the bad.

Of course, I’ll still write some reflections and lessons I learn from time to time, with a more personal tone. Life hacks? Why not! As long as something stirred me from the inside, this blog will be the first to know. Besides, I’ve been away from WordPress for two years, and I really miss the warmth of the community here!

It is my desire that this tiny space in the blogosphere be an encouragement and a blessing. May this second wind carry me all throughout.