Start Journaling, Two Minutes at a Time


IT WAS CLEAR that my journaling student was reluctant to journal.

“We’ll do it for two minutes,” I said gently, when he made a face. “It is a journaling class.”

He acknowledged that was true. 

“And you can do anything for two minutes,” I said.

I gave the class a prompt. The small, light-filled corner space was silent except for the scratching of pen on paper until I called time and the three of them looked up, blinking. 

Journaling helps you understand your experiences, and it can solidify and deepen your insights about their significance. In updating my own journal recently for a course I’m taking at Queens University of Charlotte, I felt renewed appreciation for our conversations about class projects and gratitude for useful feedback. 

How you start journaling, or where, doesn’t matter, although it helps if you can avoid interruptions. Write anything, even if it’s terrible. It will be a step toward your goal. One word will lead to another, and pretty soon two minutes have gone by. You will have learned a few things about your experience, about reflecting, about writing, and probably about yourself. 

You won’t have time to go deep, but that will come. You’re likely to make increasingly effective use of your two-minute intervals over time. And eventually you will get comfortable enough that you might invest 10 minutes, or 20, or whatever you need in order to work through something that’s on your mind.

You can get a lot done two minutes at a time.

ALIX FELSING is an executive coach, teacher, editor, and former journalist. She helps people navigate change more effectively. Sometimes their biggest insights take two minutes. Reach her at

Categories: In Print, The Buzz