In its simplest form, journaling is about keeping a daily log or journal of what happens to you, and documenting your thoughts and feelings about this in written, visual or even video format. In today’s pressurized world, keeping a journal is a therapeutic way of dealing with our thoughts and feelings which can help us to keep a calm and effective state of mind both personally and professionally. But it can also become a powerful tool for idea generation and problem solving that helps you think better, think smarter, and become a more valuable member of the team.
“We cannot teach people anything; we can only
help them discover it within themselves.”
It may not seem like it, but there are no real barriers to starting journaling. If you are a literary person, buy a journal or download a journal app for your phone. If you are more visual, find a sketch pad. If you are a typical extrovert you might even be more drawn to the idea of keeping a video journal using your smart-phone. Or if you’re like me, you may utilize several journaling techniques the combine paper and technology as appropriate. Once you decide that you want to journal and decide what format(s) you want to keep it in, it is very easy to start journaling.
If you’re like most professionals, it is easy to wonder, How can I fit in journaling when I am working five days a week with already busy evenings?” The important thing to consider is that journaling can actually make you more efficient and productive at work and free up more time and head space for you, and be of long term benefit to your career. There are several ways that journaling can directly contribute to better performance at work. Let’s explore this a bit more.
- Journaling can help you reduce stress. Much of the stress that is in our lives comes from work and in a recent report by Regus called, ‘From Distressed to De-Stressed’, they found that 48% of 16,000 people surveyed felt that stress levels have increased in 2012. Stress can lead to sickness and under performance so anything that reduces stress is good. Journaling is an excellent way to help you reduce stress because as you write about the stressful events of the day, you can get the stressful thoughts on to paper and out of your head. Relieving stress can ultimately lead to increased productivity at work.
- Journaling can help you become a better problem solver. By documenting the pros and cons of a work related problem, you map it all out on paper, meaning you can view it from a clearer, fresher perspective. This typically makes it easier for you to view all your options more clearly and come up with a better solution and thus support you in making a better decision. It can also help you generate new ideas and more fully explore how you may be able to implement them.
- Journaling can help you grow personally and professionally. You will need to grow and develop as a person if you want to progress in your career. You have to do the inner work” related to changing thoughts, behaviors, and actions if you want to experience the outer results of accomplishment and success. Journaling can help personal growth by allowing you to better understand your work and life experiences. You can express yourself in your journal without fear of judgment. It will help you to take a step back and take more of a birds eye view of how you handle these experiences – so you can explore, understand and learn from your work experiences. Journaling is a great tool for helping you create, track, and measure your progress on annual performance goals, too. It is this overall process of personal reflection that can help you grow as a person, ultimately making you more effective in the workplace.
Finally, if you do decide to give journaling at try, then I’d like to offer some final words of wisdom on how to do it.
- Most people find they have better results when they journal daily, perhaps even at a specific time of the day. But the key is to remain flexible.
- Journaling doesn’t have to involve hours of writing, it can be as quick and simple as spending 60 seconds recording a quick video or audio, creating a list, jotting down some random thoughts, drawing a picture, or making notes so you remember to journal more on a specific topic later when you have more time. This still helps you clear your head and process information in a productive manner.
- Consider carrying a portable journal with you at all times so it’s easily accessible for making quick notes when you’re on the go. If you’re more of a technology user, use a voice recording app for your Smartphone or consider trying an app like Evernote where you can capture ideas you want to refer to again later from any computer or electronic gadget.
- If possible, retreat to a quiet place where you can be alone with your thoughts and won’t be distracted.
“Ideas are fleeting; they must be captured. I find that some of the
biggest payoffs from thinking occur when I record my thoughts.”
Following these tips will help you create a fertile and nurturing environment in which to journal. Once you get started, you’ll find journaling can be an excellent tool for helping you reduce stress, become a better problem solver, and continue to build your career in positive and productive ways.
© 2012 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.