Journaling has mainly been popular in the domain of the self-help and personal development field but is becoming increasingly popular in the business world. The process just works. While this is not the place to go on about famous journalers (Anne Frank, Benjamin Franklin, Lewis Carroll, George Washington, Harry S. Truman, C. S. Lewis, Samuel Pepys), listed below are a number of ways that journaling can and does boost your ability to succeed.
There are a number of different journaling devices on the market from books to apps. For me the word journaling refers to the process of listing goals and activities required then monitoring results with some form of self-reflection. And that is what we will look at today.
So, what can Journaling do for you?
It is a method of articulating what it is you seek and how to achieve the goal
One of the great things about journaling is how it keeps asking the “Where are you now? Where are you going? How are you going to get there?” type questions. In the flurry of day-to-day activity we often get lost and lose perspective. Journaling keeps bringing you back to the “Why?” question. Why are we doing this? What is the purpose?
It is a place to store great ideas, notes or novel concepts
It is great jotting things on Post-Its but sometimes it is better to store all those ideas in one place. Such a place can become a treasure trove of great ideas.
It is an opportunity to step back and reflect
Once a week you can review the week just gone (and preview the week ahead). This is a great discipline to get into. You can check lessons learned. As little as 15 minutes on, say, a Sunday night, can prove invaluable.
It is an opportunity to prepare yourself for the coming week, to get your ducks in a row
At the same time as reviewing the week just gone, you can preview the week ahead. One exercise morphs into the next. What did I learn? What do I need to do better? What’s the one thing I need to nail next week?
It is an opportunity to apply serious time management and prioritisation to your busy schedule -way better than any ‘to do’ list
Beware of the tyranny of ‘to do’ lists. Endless lists that become your raison d’etre. Push activities off the ‘to do’ list and into the schedule. Commit a set amount of time and only do what you want to do. Kill the ‘to do’ list!
It keeps you on the straight and narrow, reminding you of what is (and what is not) important
Blinded by our own apparent self-importance and busy-ness we often lose sight of what it is that we are actually trying to achieve. Regular use of a journal reminds you of your ambitions and goals and challenges and makes sure that your current activities are relevant to theses bigger goals.
It is like a teacher – you learn from the process
The process of reflection is a great teacher. We learn about ourselves and what does and does not work for us.
You see and hear yourself as if you were an outsider
Bizarrely, the journaling habit is that of a voyeur. Part of you acts as observer, watching your own actions and activities as if from a distance. Spooky but very informative.
It is a place to build your dreams step by step, week by week, month by month
The regular use of a journal enables you to see your small actions creating a larger whole, systematically. Progress (too fast or too slow) gets constantly monitored and evaluated and you can adjust your tactics and strategies as you feel fit.
It is a safe harbour
The journal does not judge you. It is neutral. It is a place you can visit without fear of being judged by others. It is a space that you own for yourself.