Most of us use a diary to track our appointments and engagements. Some of us keep journals to remember interesting events. But sometimes there are things you want to record for which you need something more bespoke. And that’s where custom journals can be useful.
My second business, ADHD Kids, provides support and learning for parents of children with ADHD, and I often hear parents say it would be useful to have a special place where they could keep track of their child’s condition, either for their own use or to present to a doctor. So I have published an ADHD & ASD Parenting Journal to help parents with this particular challenge. The journal is around 200 pages and includes space to record a child’s sleep, diet, medication and behaviour every day for three months. It’s more effective than a simple diary or notebook because each section means you remember to note down the information that’s really important, and it provides an accurate record that you can reflect back on and use to spot patterns and trends.
Why might you want to create your own custom journal?
Custom journals can be really useful in many different areas of life. For example:
- Fitness and weight loss: diet, exercise and body measurements
- Health: medication, symptoms, side effects, vital statistics
- Business: social media / blogging strategy; networking meetings; sales and marketing activities
- Hobbies: book and film reviews; recipes; fishing catches
- Travel: planning, itinerary, booking details, memories
- Coaching: gratitude, goals and achievements, life planning
Custom journals as a business tool
Whatever business you’re in, there’s an opportunity for you to use custom journals to enhance your offering or win new clients. For example, you could give away a PDF journal as a lead magnet, sell printed journals on your website or through Amazon, or even create your own bespoke journal to use with clients.
How to create a custom journal
Creating a journal is not complex but it is time consuming. There are four key stages:
- Decide on a format
- Identify the content
- Lay out the journal
- Get it printed!
Decide on a format
First you need to decide how regularly you will use the journal and how big the actual journal should be – both in trim size and page number. For example, a weight loss journal will require you to have a page or two for every day, so you probably don’t want it to cover more than three months, and you want it to be a nice manageable size, perhaps A5, so you can carry it round with you. However, a journal to keep details of people you meet at your weekly business networking meetings might be more effective if it kept a full year’s worth of information, and a marketing strategy journal might be more useful at a larger A4 size.
Identify the content
What is the purpose of your journal? Make a list of everything you’d like to record on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and put it in an order that works. Then think about any additional content you might need – monthly goals or space for a review? Motivational quotes? A page for contacts or resources? Guidance on how to use the journal? Once you have a detailed idea of the content, you can begin to design it.
Lay out the journal
It’s likely your journal will use quite a simple design, but you need to choose the right program to do the layout. Microsoft Word is tricky as it’s not easy to copy and past multiple pages. Publisher is a good basic option, or you could use more complex design / DTP software such as InDesign. Whatever you use, you need to be able to produce a print-ready PDF of the interior and cover.
Get it printed
There are several ways you could print your journal.
- Save it as an editable PDF and fill it in on screen
- Print it on your home / office printer, and keep the pages in a folder
- Take it to a local printer who will do a single or short print run of a bound book
- Upload it to a print on demand service such as Amazon’s KDP Print – the advantage is you can then make your journal available for sale, because if you find it useful, other people are bound to!
Alternatively, you could get someone else to do all the work for you! I will design your journal and upload it to Amazon for you. Drop me a line to find out more and get a quote!
So what could you use a custom journal for in your business? I’d love to hear your thoughts – do leave me a comment!