A Day in the Life Journal Collection


Some things can’t be captured in photographs.

Sometimes you need a way to remember the details of life that would get lost otherwise. They are the things that set the context, the scene of all your memories, and when you remember those tiny details, they make you feel like you are right there living it again.

Those juicy details are the kind that you take for granted because they are a regular part of your day, but eventually they won’t be. And to remember them, it helps to have a “Day in the Life” journal entry.

7:40 a.m. Wake up. It’s late. I’m thankful that Lane must have slept in after staying at Grandma’s house yesterday. I get up with Tom. Lane is sleeping on the couch instead of in her bed. Doug already left for work early this morning. The Christmas tree lights are on. Did someone turn them on already, or did I forget to turn them off last night? I open the blinds, and the lights outside look awesome against the gray morning mist.

This isn’t the kind of note-taking that you would want to do all the time. It takes considerable effort to pay attention and jot down notes during the day. I did this one day recently, and the time before that was a couple of years ago.

To make it easier, I leave my laptop on the table and keep a text file open throughout the day. I quickly type a note as I walk by, and then go on. And how detailed should it be? As much or as little as you want. Just enough to be able to remember what it felt like to be there.

12:46 p.m. Lane is singing “Chimney, chimney, chim-der-oo.”

Somehow the simple act of noticing everything so that you can write it down helps to seal it in your memory. You would think that it would be hard to get a lot of things done on a day that you write about, but you actually end up doing more since you pay such close attention. Or maybe you realize just how much you do throughout a normal day.

6:36 p.m. Dinner is over quickly, and on to the decorating! Doug gets a hammer to hang the wreaths up in the nursery. Lane is calling him Dad. “Who is Dad?” he asks, “I thought I was Daddy.”

6:43 p.m. I call my Dad to wish him Happy Birthday.

I’d like to have a collection of Day in the Life entries to look back on, one every couple of years. Not too many, so I won’t get bogged down, but enough to see how quickly life changes. Have you ever tried it? (Christmas time is a great time to try it, since there are so many fun things happening.)

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. What a great idea. I will give it a try while we are off for Christmas. Thanks!

  2. This is a great idea.

    Meg´s last post…Tree Watering Made Easy

  3. Beautiful – love this.


    steadymom´s last post…Grand Finale Giveaway: Win an iPod Nano

  4. This is such a great idea… I wish I had written down some of the great things my children have said over the years! I recall from memory some, but much has been lost. Its never to late to start a good thing.

  5. just last night, I though dinner was over so quickly for all I did to prepare it. that is what I would have wrote down as well. thanks for sharing. I just started doing a prayer journal – I can’t wait to look back at it in a few years.

  6. Love, love, love this idea! Thanks for sharing!

    Lydia´s last post…Michael Angelo’s: Free Meal Coupon

  7. When my daughter was born, I started writing in a beautiful journal and was certain I’d “capture” all those moments. But, as a mom who works full time outside the home and who soon had a 2nd child, the build up associated with writing was just too much. It became more of a hassle than a pleasure at the end of my day. About a year ago, I started a Word file on my office computer. It is easy, quick to access and type, and I can record all the little moments (that I can remember) from the day prior or that occurred between the three of us in the car on the way to daycare. It’s not pretty or bound, but I have “us remembered”. I’m grateful for that now and am sure to be 10 years from now.

  8. This is a great idea… I have done it photographically but never written it!!! There have a been a few days in the last couple of weeks that I think I would rather forget but I know in the future would be great fun to look back and laugh at – not chuckle but guffaw!!! Hindsight is so much funnier than being in the thick of it!!!

    se7en´s last post…Se7en Make Buttermilk Rusks in Se7en Steps…

  9. Great idea! Sooooo many times I wish I had done this. I highly recommend it for anyone with babies/small children…any age child really. :-) It’s amazing how many precious sayings or actions are forgotten in the hectic maze we call life.

  10. I love to journal…usually about 3 times a week. I would love to be committed enough to do it everyday, but LIFE gets in my way! GROAN!…my favorite entry this year was a conversation between my 4 yr. old and myself during a bedtime story…” Emma why are Adam and Eve not wearing clothes?” (it was cartoon picture of them behind a tree) Her reply: “Because they are garden fairies!” LOL! I think we were watching too much of her Tinkerbell movie!! :)

    Theadora´s last post…My Christmas List

  11. what a neat idea!

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  12. I did try this over a couple days on Thanksgiving break. The first day I wrote the most. I just wanted to see what we were up to, ya know? I love what you have said here about doing it every year or two. That is so realistic and doable! I love how down to earth you are. I never feel intimidated by your blog, only inspired. Thank you, Rachel!

    Mary Beth´s last post…just a few yummy thrifting finds

  13. I have one from years ago when the children were much littler. I did it at the end of the day. I like re-reading it.
    As a homeschooler I’m often writing down what we’re learning and doing but that’s not the same as the stories and emotion of our days.

    I want to do this again. Thanks for the reminder.

    (thanks for your recent comments at FIMBY).

  14. I turned 30 last week and I decided as a gift to myself, I would make a “picture-a-day” journal. I am trying to get it online, but for now, I am just taking one picture per day that is representative of that day. I always wish I could take a look back to when I turned 13 or 20 and see what I was like back then. Now, I will be able to do that when I turn 40 or 50. Its hard to know how far you’ve gone if you can’t look back to how you were before.

  15. My “day in the life” entries are in my girls’ baby books. I captured as many silly, scary, funny moments as I could. They are even in the margins. Such a great way to remember the babies, the little girls!

    mrs. e´s last post…Only Ornamental

  16. I’ve never kept a journal, but this reminds me of why it’s so hard for me to throw away my calendars. I keep every date/vacation/visit from friends, etc in there. It’s been fun to look back through the calendar and reminisce.

  17. i love doing this! i did something similar a couple weeks ago while my kids were playing. for an hour, i just sat with a word doc open and typed all the noises, crashes, bangs and dialogues i heard from those two busy boys. it was a lot of fun.

  18. I sometimes feel like that’s what Twitter updates are for me – though I often feel like tweeting something, but don’t for the sake of anybody who follows me feeling overload from my updates. There should be a private/public option on Twitter (or other social networking sites) where one can do such!

    Ashley´s last post…The Dreaded Deed is Done

  19. Fabulous idea.

    In a similar vein, I had a friend who would regularly email me funny stories about her little girl. I saved those in a Word document and look forward to sharing with them both sometime in the future.

    Juice´s last post…OCD Much?

  20. I have tried several times to keep a regular journal but am usually regular for a while then stop. I tried keeping a journal when i was engaged, but it never really started. However, having just found out I am pregnant :-) I am keeping a journal of my thoughts and feelings over the coming months.
    Your post has encouraged and reminded me that some entries can be simple one liners. Just to remember small but wonderful events :-)

  21. I love this idea! I would like to blog about it and link back to your site if that’s OK. I keep journals for each of my three sons and think this would be a fun idea to do for each of them, one day at a time.

    Jennifer Voight´s last post…eye candy: some inspiration

  22. This is another reminder that I need to get on to this!
    I recently had the opporunity to read a book which contained letters from my great-great-great aunt. It was facinating! What may seem mundane at the time, will be a wonderful legacy to pass on to our posterity.

    Juggling Motherhood´s last post…Fun Kids Activities: Christmas Bingo

  23. This is a great idea, though I’m afraid of what it might reveal about how I spend my time (how much time I’m on the computer maybe?). I’m going to try it very soon.

    Danielle´s last post…Teacher Gifts

  24. hi! i’m new to your blog, but i just spent a while reading back through entries and i love it :) i’m adding you to my google reader, hope that’s ok.

    wanted to comment on this entry in particular because i just love this idea. i am totally going to try it myself! thankyou :)

    rachel´s last post…three more sleeps!