I was recently asked for advice on journaling – something I do every day and which I realise can be somewhat daunting if you have never done it before.
This is such a powerful way to crystallize your thoughts and feelings and to prompt new thoughts and actions that would never have occurred to you in your normal working day.
Think of it as a download and organisation of your ‘mind clutter’ into useful data that can be turned into profitable productivity.
- Journal when your brain is fresh – ideally 1st thing in the morning before looking at any screens.
- Make sure you are somewhere you will not be interrupted.
- Use pen and paper – you are much less likely to be distracted than you will be online.
- Go with the flow of how you are feeling on the day – There are no rules-it doesn’t have to be perfect ‘Queen’s’ English’ or be punctuated 100% correctly.
- You can write longhand or in bullet points or lists or mind-maps – whatever works best for you or a combination of all.
- If you can’t get started – ask yourself some questions like – how am I feeling today? What am I anxious about? What worked well yesterday? What am I looking forward to today?
- Ask ‘WHY’ to the above questions – analyse your thoughts and what’s making you feel the way you do.
- Treat this as an unbridled conversation with yourself – no rules and no holds barred.
- Write at least 2-3 pages every day – more if you can.
My own experience of Journaling –
Basically, I just go with the flow of how I am feeling on the day and it is a brain dump of my thoughts which gets them out of my head. This is also referred to as writing from our ‘stream of consciousness’.
I do this immediately after writing my gratitude diary so there is a little repetition and I often start with something like ‘good day yesterday’ then go on to expand on why it was a good day or who I met or what I learned or how I challenged myself.
I also analyse any negative thoughts or fears and try to explain why I feel that way. This helps to put any lower emotions into perspective and almost helps me to see them from the outside in.
I often come up with new ideas as my creative juices start to flow so I keep a separate notebook for actions I want to take.
If I am feeling anxious about something that is coming up, I will analyse what is causing that anxiety by just dumping all my thoughts on the subject in my journal – it’s like having an in-depth conversation with myself.
I don’t read what I have written as Journaling is like a download and re-reading what I have written is like uploading all the thoughts back into my head. I do sometimes read it a year later to see how I dealt with the highs and lows of the year and how far I have come.
Also it’s totally private so no-one else is ever going to read it unless you want them to.
“Journal writing gives us insights into who we are, who we were, and who we can become.”
― Sandra Marinella