11 Ways Journaling Can Help You Become a More Productive Employee
Written By: Matt Mignona
Journaling has a wide range of benefits as shown by research and personal anecdotes. Writing can help you clarify goals, know your worth, and be more productive. That's useful in all areas of life—including the workplace. This is how journaling can help you become a better, more productive employee.
Develop a Positive Habit
Dedicating yourself to writing in a journal each day is a good practice in discipline. It teaches you that yes, you do have time for 10 minutes of writing in the morning and at night—and if you can make time for that, what else can you make time for? It reinforces the idea that you are a person who follows through with your intentions, and it serves as a demonstration of your own ability to develop a habit—which you can apply to anything work-related: answering emails between certain hours of the day, working on a project without taking Facebook breaks, preparing for meetings, or anything else.
Clarify Your Feelings
Tensions can run high in the workplace with deadlines, expectations, competition, client dissatisfaction, and water cooler gossip. Writing your feelings about your situation at work can bring a much-needed perspective to the issue at hand. In a situation concerning a co-worker competing for the same position or task, for example, writing can help you sort out whether you really want the job (or simply want to "win") if there's potential for collaboration if you're feeling any (unfounded) doubt, and more.
Resolve Conflicts and Solve Problems
Understanding someone else's perspective goes a long way in helping you resolve a conflict. Write down your own feelings on the subject, and explore why the other person might see it the way he or she does. Whether you're having an issue with the project, a co-worker, or a client, you can brainstorm possible solutions and practice ways of approaching the other person with those solutions. Working through conflicts quickly and efficiently is a powerful skill: not only does it leave you free to work on your projects, but it's also a leadership quality that will help you advance in your career.
Identify Goals and Create an Action Plan
Knowing what you want from your career is essential. Setting short- and long-term goals are important, but it's equally important to create actionable steps that will lead you toward those goals. Your journal is a place not only to outline your goals but to make daily to-do lists. At the end of the day, you can see which tasks you accomplished and cross them off your list.
Record Your Progress
If you feel like you're not making progress, your journal serves as a log of exactly what you've been doing—or not doing. If you look back over the month and realize you never actually completed any of your action steps, it's easy to see why you're not advancing. Without that written record, we often have a faulty recollection of what we did and didn't do and it's hard to identify what's working.
Organize Your Tasks
Feelings of overwhelm can paralyze us. Keeping track of your to-do list and prioritizing your assignments gives you control over your workday. You can work confidently knowing you've made time for everything and you're not forgetting about any tasks or projects. Journaling is an easy way to keep track of what's important and hold yourself accountable for getting it done.
Take Note of What You're Doing Right
Sometimes, it feels like we can't do anything right, and it's easy to get down on ourselves if we let that type of thinking take over. Recording your successes at work helps you stay confident—you can look back at your journal and see how much great stuff you've accomplished! That boosts your productivity because you don't waste any time wallowing: instead, you can press forward with confidence.
Inspiration and creativity may strike at any moment—even if you're not in a position to act on the idea. Whether it's an idea for a blog post, a marketing plan, or a client interaction, don't assume you're going to remember it when you're ready to work on it. Write it down so you remember to talk to your boss or co-workers about it when the time is right.
Balance Your Life
Writing about personal relationships, home life, and hobbies can help you bring perspective to your whole life. A damaged romantic relationship, for example, can start to affect your work. If you're not eating well and exercising, you're not going to have the energy to power through your work days, and you may get sick and have to miss work. Being successful in life means finding balance and success in all areas. Write about what you eat and how it makes you feel; look back and see if you're truly eating healthy every day, or if you just think you are. Did you really make it to the gym five times this week? Are you having meaningful conversations with your family? Are you making dates with your friends? Your journal tells your story, and when you know the story, you may see areas that need improvement.
A journal is a great place to keep track of helpful advice, lessons learned, motivational quotes, and passages from books and articles you've read. Write about why you're doing what you're doing, what driving force inspires you to set the goals you're reaching for. You can also take note of anything you want to look into later: maybe you saw a headline on a topic that interested you, but you had no time to explore it. Make that one of your tasks to complete tomorrow.
Focus on the Good
Along with your successes, record any happy events and good memories from the day. Write down what you're grateful for. Use your journal to maintain a positive outlook on work and the challenges that may present themselves.
The Happier Mind Journal takes the guesswork out of journaling by giving you a proven plan to help you work toward your career and personal goals with gratitude and positivity. To get started, download some of our planner printables, like the One Week Health Challenge or the Plan on a Page, and see if journaling can help you become more productive.
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