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Four Journaling Snippets for A Way Better Day

Wednesday October 12, 2022

Since I journal in a text editor every day, I decided some years ago to start using the editor’s snippets feature. This way I can type a little shortcut code, hit the TAB key, and it types in some text, and this saves me some time.

Along the way I had this thought: I can also make snippets that add a bunch of fun or interesting or helpful stuff. So I set about doing that.

As of this writing, I use over 100 snippets. I almost can’t believe I’m writing that.

Some of the snippets may enter some text or super-secret symbolic productivity codes for me, but a lot of them also call various scripts and programs I’ve written in at least 10 different programming languages. (By
the way, this kind of simple task is a great way to try out a new hobby programming language. “What time is it in Europe?” or “What’s the weather forecast?” or “Recommend a movie?”)

So, here are my four favorite text editor snippets, plus a little bonus or two because I love this topic.

1. The interests snippet.

For this snippet I type ‘intt’ + TAB.

Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:

  • Browsing book stacks online or off: Gutenberg, Archive.org, AZ, Google Play books, etc.
  • Inventing & extending my own shorthand
  • Drawing aircraft
  • Finding new favorite comedians
  • Writing about different worlds / cities / etc.
  • Quality local news sites (towndock.net for example)
  • Helicopter attack on Argentinian Submarine ARA Santa Fe (S-21)
  • Youtube supercuts, e.g. the Verge’s $2000 PC build, 80s or any decade supercuts, etc.
  • Norse Mythology
  • Evaluating new organizing or cleaning tools
  • Pakistani films
  • Europe (News, past, present, history)
  • Diecast aircraft toys, window shopping
  • Shortwave radio blogs like SWLing
  • Learning the JU-52 in Flightgear
  • Watching youtubers like JoeandZachSurvival going to the tent to set things up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To-8KpfxgOE
  • Books about Europe in WWII
  • Taking online self-study courses like Wikiversity courses

This snippet is especially fun because it picks randomly from a master list of over 1,000 things I’m interested in. So, like most of the snippets in this article, I get a different set of items every time I type the snippet.

For a little background, I’m a life coach (more of the kind that’s into goals, productivity & creativity than energetically pumping people up via body motions and emotive expressions, tho), and I’ve learned that having interests is like having extra health points.

If you are doing something you like today, things will be more interesting for you, and so you’ll have more energy.

And really, energy is health points, in a way. It’s fun to think about life like this, anyway! You lose and gain some during the day at different junctures, but your baseline level is higher if you’re generally interested in your life.

So, it’s pretty interesting see these fun combinations come up. Is it time to check in on the Pakistani film scene? Or find a new favorite comedian? Or watch that Verge PC build video again?

I mean, I’m up for any of that…

2. The intuitive journaling cues one. Bound to ‘up’ – tab.

This one can be really therapeutic or creatively intriguing. Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:

  • PLACES: Where does your mind’s eye take you and what do you see & do there?
  • CONTEXTUALIZING: What does this day seem to make you feel about where your life is headed?
  • PLACES: You are building a really pleasant neighborhood for yourself in a sandbox video game. What’s it like?

These items are also randomly selected. They are a very direct way to draw on the intuition, which is an excellent set of tools that can help you uncover new opportunities, or deeper concerns, or just use your imagination in a calming, comforting, or meditative way.

If you want to see more of these, please see the list of intuitive journaling cues that I posted previously.

3. The productivity-journaling cues snippet: Bound to ‘upu’ + tab.

This snippet is more about offering random questions that get to a more straightforward assessment of things.

Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:

  • What would I appreciate tomorrow, that I can do today?
  • What’s standing in the way of your work?
  • What’s irritating about the next steps?
  • What sucks about various aspects of life lately?
  • What’s a schedule that would work?

Again, these are randomly chosen. I’ve learned to make them pick out different time scopes: Today, lately, this year, and so on.

They are very straightforward and also productivity-inspiring, which means they can provide a very quick way to burn out from productivity exhaustion, a term I coined a while back. So I tend to avoid using them unless I’ve been doing lots of intuitive work and need to get focused on my schedule again.

4. The random personality archetype picker! Bound to ‘pl’ + tab.

This one is definitely a favorite snippet. I have to say I enjoy even typing in this shortcut. It’s kind of exciting.

Here’s an example of what it types into my editor:

- Johnny Worricker, ex-MI5 officer
- D.A.T.A.
- Black Widow
- Captain America
- John Russell from The Changeling
- Richard Simmons
- Cat from Red Dwarf

(Yes, that’s the Richard Simmons on that list! Why is he in my text editor??)

So, for some background: When I started studying archetype a long time ago, I realized that all these different characters—thousands of them at least—can be said to live inside each of us. They express a given set of perspectives, or what you might call tools.

And, in addition to admiring, or hating them: You can use those perspectives or tools, for growth and for understanding yourself better.

So, when someone really interests me, I add them to this list. Then when I type the snippet, the list is shuffled and some random names are spit out.

I can then use this team of characters, like a detailed extension of the “Cabinet of Invisible Counselors” concept.

I like to use their voices to answer and select the items from snippets 1, 2, and 3, above. Or in other words, I answer those questions as if I’m the character.

The result is often very different and satisfying. Sometimes it’s redundant, like if I get Richard Simmons and Cat when I don’t exactly need some encouragement or a joke and a smile. But I’d say that it this technique completely fixes my day about 1-2 times a week, because I can draw on a perspective that’s very effective, but difficult to access by definition, because it’s not my own default perspective.

5. Lists (Bonus Item!) ‘ls’ + tab.

I also have a simple snippet that starts a new list for me. It’s in Markdown, so it’s just some newlines plus a dash and a space. But it has been worth it because lists are really helpful.

Don’t forget to make lists while you journal!

  • Things you might forget about if you don’t write them down
  • Things you want to do after your hard work is done
  • Names for your new imaginary pet
  • Pictures you think Elon Musk is probably doodling right now
  • Your next snack

Conclusion

These snippets have helped me out a lot over the years. They really do make every day a little better. And they also keep me on track, while at the same time they can also help me recover my personal interests in the middle of a burnout-level, overproductive day.

This balance-focus is why I created my own productivity system called Task BATL.

You see, far too many people sacrifice their personal values for a week of checking things off lists, like they are a computer program. Then after doing that for a while, they wonder why they’re not enjoying life. It’s not cool, and I see too much of it, so I’m trying to help fix that.

If you use a text editor for writing, it’s probably worth your time to think about how the technical features can make the non-technical parts of your life easier (I admit I even have a snippet that tells me how old I am) or more enjoyable.

BTW, the Richard Simmons of my mind’s eye says hi! Good luck & enjoy your journaling everybody.

Music: Ice Choir – Designs in Rhythm

Filed in: Feeling /62/ | Energy /118/ | Interests /108/ | Thinking /69/ | Publications /44/ | Therapeutic Practice /142/ | Intuition /58/ | Productivity /118/

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