Micro Journaling

Quick journaling for busy people.

Welcome to our third installment in our series about journaling, which is going to be all about Micro Journaling.

Micro Journaling is exactly what it sounds like: small journaling.  If reading our last two journaling posts made you think things like “I don’t have time for all that” or “I never have anything to write about,” this style of journaling might be a better fit for you.  Micro Journaling is essentially all about picking one little aspect of journaling and sticking to it.  

People do this in all sorts of ways, all completely different from the next person.  In a video by author Todd Brison, he outlines his very specific method of Micro Journaling.  There are only three steps to his system.  First, write the date.  Simple enough.  Second, choose a category and write a list of ten things that fit this category.  The category can be anything from “ten things I want to accomplish in the next ten years” to “ten reasons I love winter.”  The point is simply to get your brain moving.  The final step is to write one thing that you’re grateful for.  And that’s it.  His takeaway from this method of Micro Journaling is that it has improved his focus, and by doing it every morning as part of his morning routine, he kick starts his creativity so that he can do better work throughout the day.

If this still sounds like too much of a commitment for your busy life, you could try the method adopted by Jeremy Daly, who works as a leader in the tech industry and thus has a very busy lifestyle.  Rather than finding time to sit down everyday and write in his journal, he took the label of Micro Journaling in a different direction and instead writes little snippets in his journal throughout the day.  Every time he finishes a task or starts a new project or has a significant experience, he jots down a little note about it in an app on his phone.  Now years into journaling in this manner, he has thousands of little snippets chronicling his life that he can look back on and remember moments that he might otherwise have forgotten.

Remembering seems to be a big motivator behind many people when they begin journaling.  I know for me, I often look back in hindsight and wish I could remember when I first went to that place or met that person or did that thing.  Ariel Bissett, a Canadian writer, filmmaker, and YouTuber, felt the same when she decided to pick up Micro Journaling.  Similar to Jeremy Daly, she writes down little snippets of things she does each day, but she does this by taking a few moments at the end of each day to quickly scribble a couple bullet points into a little calendar.  And that’s it.  That’s all she needs.

And maybe that’s all you’ll need, too.


Resources & Inspiration:

Micro Journaling”, video by Todd Brison on YouTube

Micro-Journaling Needs To Be A Thing” the website of Jeremy Daly

Micro Journaling!”, video by Ariel Bissett on YouTube

Bullet Journaling

Formatting your journal for aesthetics or for function.

Welcome to our second installment in our series about journaling.  In this post, we’ll be talking about Bullet Journaling.

The Bullet Journal was invented by Ryder Carroll, a digital designer, as a method of organizing his life.  The thought process went as follows:  Many of us have multiple different journals, although we might not think of them as such.  From planners and calendars to bill planners and budget spreadsheets to sticky notes with grocery lists and movies to watch – all of these in some combination of physical and digital forms – many people have the information of their life spread out everywhere, and thus can find nothing when they need it.  Carroll’s Bullet Journaling system combines all of these into one.

Now, his system for doing this is quite rigid.  On his website, the link to which you can find below, he outlines exactly how you should format your journal to match his method.  But since it’s inception, the Bullet Journaling system adopted by many people has expanded to fit the needs of the individual.  So in essence, the Bullet Journal boils down to this:

A Bullet Journal is just an empty journal, preferably dotted or grid, that you can do whatever you want with.  It sounds vague, and I hear you saying “isn’t that just any normal journal?”  But what makes Bullet Journaling special is that it is all about these things called “spreads.”  The basic concept of a spread is that it is a formatted page that you draw out for yourself.  Some spreads are calendars – yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily – that you draw out freehand and fill in with tasks, goals, events, or accomplishment.  Some are mood trackers, where you mark down how you felt each day – good for keeping on top of your mental health.  Some are habit trackers that are designed so that you can keep up with good habits or attempt to break bad ones.  To-do Lists, Finance Trackers, Expense Trackers, Gratitude Logs, Brain Dumps, Mind Maps, Bucket Lists, Book/Reading Trackers, Watch Lists, Weight Loss Trackers – all are examples of different spreads that people who keep bullet journals utilize in order to cut down their many journals into one.

There are tons of ideas floating around on the internet, from web pages listing various spread ideas to try to Pinterest photos of the most beautiful, aesthetically pleasing spreads you’ll ever see in your life.  The fun part is that all these spreads are designed by you for you.  It can be as creative or as minimalist or as practical as you want it to be.  And, even better, all of the journals that we’ll be discussing throughout this journaling series can be formatted as a spread in a Bullet Journal, if you’re up for giving it a try.


Resources & Inspiration:

Ryder Carroll’s website (the Learn page that talks about his system)

Can Bullet Journaling Save You?” from The New Yorker

Minimal bullet journal setup »  for productivity + mindfulness”, video by Pick Up Limes on YouTube

My 2019 Bullet Journal Flip Through”, video by AmandaRachLee on YouTube

Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook (Black)

Compoco Journals

Journaling Intro: Get the juices flowing!

Journaling methods for mental health.  

Welcome to the beginning of our new series on journaling!  Journaling is a practice we stereotypically associate with kids and preteens who complain about their parents and gush about their crushes and chat about school in a diary with “DO NOT READ” scribbled in all caps over the front cover – which is a perfectly valid and fun form of journaling, don’t get me wrong!  But in fact, many people from the young to the old have picked up journaling as a form of creative and personal expression, and there are studies that show the benefits of journaling for our health.  Not only that, but journaling can come in many more shapes and sizes than you might think.  Throughout this series on journaling, we will present to you some of these journaling methods in hopes that you might find one that strikes your fancy.

For this first installment, we will discuss the most basic form of journaling:  regular, old-fashioned diary journaling.  I think you probably all understand what this entails, and many of you might have even had this type of journal when you were young, but some of you might not know just how beneficial it can be for your mental and physical health.  Below, we have a couple links to resources talking about this, but to keep it short and simple:  a journal is a place where you can write down your thoughts and feelings in a safe, judgment-free space so that you can examine them and better understand them, which can help you manage stress, anxiety, and depression.  And as a consequence, lowering your stress, anxiety, and depression has been proven to have wide-ranging physical health benefits.

If this sounds appealing to you, we have a challenge for you this week…

**Take 5 minutes or less (or more!) every day for a week to just write.  You can write in a physical notebook or in a digital Word or Google doc – whatever’s easiest for you.  But don’t worry if you miss a day!  The point of this exercise is to reduce stress, not add to it.  You can write about anything, even just one sentence or one phrase will do.  What did you do today?  What did you accomplish?  What do you want to accomplish tomorrow?  If you didn’t do anything that day, that’s okay.  You are allowed to have those days.  We all have them.  Instead, write about what television shows or movies you watched, or what music you’re really into right now, or how you felt that day.  If you really, truly can’t come up with anything, go for my mother’s default in conversation:  How was the weather?**

Normally, if you can start with one sentence, it’s easier to move on to two, then three, then more.  And by the end of the week, you’ll have a record of how the week went for you.  Did you have a bad week?  Were you tired or bored or down a lot?  Looking back at this record might help you see why you had such a bad week and come up with strategies for making the next week better.  Or maybe you had a wonderful week, picking up a new hobby that you’re finding you really love, spending a lot of happy, quality time with your family, and so on.  You’ll be able to look back at those times a year from now and remember the happiness that you felt.  If you continued with the new hobby, maybe you’ll be a year into it and be able to look back and see the exact date that you started.  It’s like a mini time capsule just for you and your life.

If this method of diary journaling seems too vague or too boring to be of any use or interest to you, or maybe you find part-way through the week that it just isn’t working for you, keep an eye out for our next installments where we will be giving you some ideas for more different types of journaling.  We’ll be talking about Bullet Journaling, Mindfulness Journaling, Dream Journaling, Art Journaling, Micro Journaling, and more.  The most important thing to keep in mind throughout this whole series is:  Does this work for you?


Resources & Inspiration:  

Journaling for Mental Health” from the University of Rochester Medical Center

Journaling isn’t just good for mental health.  It might also help your physical health.” from NBC News

how i finally started journaling *and actually enjoying it*” video from ‘bestmess’ on YouTube

Nonprofit Grants and Funding Resources

Do you work for a nonprofit and are looking for funding during this uncertain time? Check out the links below to find funding opportunities at the local, state, and federal level!

The Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations gives a breakdown of the loan options available through the CARE Act here. They also created a list of funding opportunities at the federal and state level as well as foundations funding relief that can be found here.

Candid created a list of funds for Coronavirus relief that are available for a variety of areas of the country. They also have news and other information about funding during the Coronavirus for foundations as well as nonprofits found here.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has information about emergency loans for Coronavirus relief that can be used by nonprofits and small businesses. They included a checklist as well so you can see if your nonprofit is eligible.

The Chester County Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund provides flexible resources to Chester County nonprofits that are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak.

The Chester County Economic Development Council is also offering grant management for grants that stimulate job creation and economic growth within the region. For more information, click here.

Tot Chef & Me Free Cooking Class!

Staying at home? Learn fun and healthy ways to prepare meals and involve the whole family!

Coatesville Center for Community Health will be holding Tot Chef and Me classes starting on Thursday, April 9 at 4 pm on Facebook Live!

This week’s class is Snack Attack! Learn how to make DIY Microwave Popcorn, Apple “Cookies”, and DIY Granola. There will be time during and after the live class for questions. The video will also be available after the class on Coatesville Center for Community Health’s Facebook page.

The first 25 families to register will receive the ingredients needed to make the recipes. To register and learn more, email totchefandme@gmail.com with the following information: Parent’s name, phone number, name and age of each child participating, and any food allergies or diet restrictions.

Resources for Nonprofits

Looking for ways to sharpen your nonprofit’s skills while working from home? Here are a variety of resources you can use to learn many new skills or hone old ones.

Foundation Center by Candid is offering free access to their Foundation Center Essentials during this time for nonprofits to search for funding opportunities.

This valuable resource includes: 

  • 103,000+ expanded grantmaker profiles
  • 300,000+ key decision makers and leaders
  • Searchable 990s and 990-PDFs
  • FDO Workspace

If you need more in-depth information on a foundation than FDO Essential can provide, please email us at ref@ccls.org and one of our librarians can send you the full Funder Profile from Foundation Directory Online Professional.

Grantspace by Candid is a great place to find training to build your nonprofit skills as well as documents and eBooks related to non-profit topics. Whether you’re looking for help with fundraising, proposal writing, governance, or even starting a nonprofit, they have you covered! Trainings include Introduction to Finding Grants, Introduction to Proposal Writing, and much, much more!

Candid is also offering some other great resources to use that you can access here.

Pennsylvania Associations of Nonprofit Organizations are offering a website with links to webinars, funding resources, and tips for working from home or remotely.

The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University is offering free access to their Video Learning Library.

How to Access Benefits during COVID-19

If you lost a job or your hours were cut because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, cash assistance (TANF), or heating bill assistance (LIHEAP).

If you need to apply for benefits or need to apply for additional benefits, please apply online using Compass, by downloading the MyCompass mobile app, or by calling 800-692-7462. All of Pennsylvania’s County Assistance Offices are closed to the public, but they are processing applications.

If you don’t have paperwork from your job (such as pay stubs or a letter about your hours), you should explain your loss of income in your own words. You can do that in the comments section of Compass.

If any of your benefits are cut (Social Security, SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, and / or LIHEAP) or your application is denied, contact Legal Aid of Southeastern PA or call their helpline at 877-429-5994 for free legal aid.

For more information about what is needed to apply, check out this video by Maternal and Child Health Consortium.

Tour Museums Virtually!

Wish you could get out of the house but know you should stay inside? Why not take a virtual tour of a museum! Below are a few of our local museums that are offering online tours and learning!

Academy of Natural Science Online Exhibits and Science From Home

Barnes Foundation Collection and Take Out (virtual art talks)

Brandywine River Museum of Art Virtual Tours

Elmwood Park Zoo Zoo School Live

Jenkins Arboretum: Jenkins at Home

Longwood Gardens Virtual Garden Tours

National Museum of Natural History Virtual Tours

Philadelphia Zoo at 2 Facebook Live Series

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Virtual Tours

Valley Forge National Historic Park Virtual Tours

As well as a lot more across the world!

Get Book Recommendations from Novelist Plus!

Are you looking for what to read next? Need some suggestions based on your favorite books, authors, or series? Novelist Plus has you covered!

NoveList connects readers to their next book by making recommendations for what to read next. It covers non-fiction and fiction as well as book suggestions for readers of all ages, from young picture book lovers to adults in the mood for an intense historical fiction title.

One of the most popular features is read-alikes. If you have ever read a book and wanted to find another just like it, NoveList makes it a breeze to find your next great read. In addition, recommended reading and award-winning book lists are available in NoveList. It also has extra content like reviews (both professional and reader reviews), book discussion guides, curriculum guides, and other book-oriented articles.

NoveList will become your one-stop shop for all of your reading needs and wants!

Author Talk with Emily St. John Mandel (Author of “Station Eleven”)

Looking for something to do on Thursday night (March 26)? Why not tune into an author talk with Emily St. John Mandel where she will be discussing her new book, The Glass Elevator, and answering online audience questions. This event is hosted by the Free Library of Philadelphia.

To register for this event, click here.

In conversation with Beth Kephart,  the award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including Going OverHandling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir, and most recently The Great Upending.

A finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, Emily St. John Mandel’s bestselling Station 11 vacillates in time between the world that we know and the dystopic travails of a Shakespearean acting troupe in the years following a global plague. Her other novels include Last Night in Montreal, The Lola Quartet, and The Singer’s Gun, winner of the 2014 Prix Mystère de la Critique in France. She is a staff writer for art and culture magazine The Millions. In The Glass Hotel, Mandel tells a tale of a gargantuan Ponzi scheme, cryptic threats, and the clandestine landscapes that exist just below the veneer of ordinary life.