Journaling for Life – Professionally and Personally

Journaling is something I have done periodically throughout my life. It started with a diary that my dad bought me when I was 5, and my mom would transcribe for me as I dictated. I recorded events and feelings as I grew – the big family moves, those momentous high school milestones and the emotional spewing of relationship woes. I would copy down quotes and verses that stood out to me from books I read, and notes from sermons or talks I loved. My journals were a place for me to process and reflect. It was always neat for me to read back over them and see how much I’d grown and changed over time.

As life has gotten filled with email and social media, I realized I’ve moved away from journaling…for years at a time. I’ve had feeble attempts here and there, sometimes buying a new journal and pen – Maybe this size or format will work for me this time, I’d think. But it would never materialize for the long haul.

It wasn’t until I came across Michael Hyatt’s post on journaling consistently that I have been able to reignite this old habit. This worked for him:

He made it part of his morning routine.

He followed a very simple format (yesterday, now, today).

He stuck to a rule – 15 minutes, no more, no less.

It has been perfect for myself as well.

For the first time in years, I have been writing (with pen and paper, no less!) every morning, capturing the highlights of the day before, being honest about my current emotions, and focusing on the goals for the day ahead – in both business and in my personal life.

How it has helped in business?

I have found that journaling helps me to identify and celebrate what worked. In business, you try many things to get people’s attention and offer value to peak curiosity. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Writing it down helps to recognize patterns and repeat what works.

Also, life moves so quickly. We don’t throw parties for every win, of course, but writing it down on paper is a great way to acknowledge the accomplishments in business. There will always be a next thing, a next level, a new goal. But it’s great to take time to cement those small successes as well.

When things are not working and we keep “noodling” on them, sometimes they get stuck in a mental/emotional eddy current in our minds. If I write things down, I often gain a new clarity about what’s going on and some insight about what to do differently.

Other times, when thinking about who to reach out to that day, I just start writing a list of names of people to connect with. Sometimes, a random person will come to mind, just because of the “creative writing” flow.

How has it helped me personally?

We have three teenage children. For those with teens, that’s probably all I need to say. 😉

But seriously, every single day is filled with conversations on new topics or issues that affect their growth, personality, or emotions. We did not get the book in the mail on how to handle every situation, so we try our best, and hope and pray for their best. Journaling has helped me to continue processing those conversations, seek wisdom, and also capture the things our kids say and choose to do. I imagine it will be a gem to look back on as an older parent.

I also use it as another place to record favorite quotes from current books, blogs, or podcasts. It’s the best way to really remember what I’ve read to be able to share it with others later.

Do you journal consistently? How does it help you? Do you find value in it for business?

2 thoughts on “Journaling for Life – Professionally and Personally

  1. Journaling helps us reflect, for sure. Thanks for reminding us and providing those nuggets on where to glean meaning in our work and lives. So important to our personal and professional growth.

  2. Thanks, Don! It’s always fun to share insights with each other about what we read and experience each day.

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