How to Journal Your Way to a Better Career

You may think that journaling is a practise reserved for aspiring novelists and teenage girls, but keeping a journal is beneficial for anyone’s emotional wellbeing. However, that’s not all; keeping a daily record of your experiences and observations, particularly at work, can help you to sort out your corporate wellness. A journal can be a great tool for sorting out those stressful office situations, analysing where you’re at in your job and even advancing in your career. We’ve found five reasons why starting a journal can improve your work life, but I bet you’ll discover even more.


1. Remember your good ideas: Whether you’re an inventor, writer or just great at coming up with new ideas and creative solutions, inspiration doesn’t always strike when you’re ready for it. Even if you set aside special time for thinking of new ideas, you know you’ll only come up with something when you’re cooking dinner, taking a shower or trying to get to sleep. However, with your trusty journal on hand (or a nice note-taking app on your smartphone) you don’t have to let that brilliance go to waste just because you were busy with real life! Plus, jotting ideas down tends to generate more ideas, so who knows what genius thoughts you might access?


2. Learn from your experiences: There’s no such thing as a bad experience, at least as long as you learn from each event. If you totally stumble through a presentation, write it all down and note what went wrong. If you completely nail a meeting, jot down where it went right! Either way, you can always learn and be better next time, which will set you up for much greater professional success in the future.


3. Log good advice: Whether a colleague makes an offhand comment that sticks with you or your mentor sits you down for a good, long chat, there’s always invaluable feedback and advice that you need to hold on to, and so writing it down can help you to remember. This is especially helpful if you’re new to the job, and don’t like asking people the same questions over and over again. If you ask once and write it down, you can refer back to your trusty journal instead of bugging your co-workers. Plus, looking back over all the advice can pick you up and inspire you when you’re feeling down, and give you a great wealth of wisdom to pass on to your own mentee one day.


4. Have a safe space to vent: If your boss is breathing down your neck or you keep getting nagging emails from irritating colleagues, the perfect place to put your pent-up anger is in the privacy of your own journal. While it is important to talk to someone about the big workplace issues you face, the daily little annoyances are best kept within the safety of the pages. After all, if you’re looking to get promoted you don’t want to be that person who complains about everything, you want to be a team player. Get your dissatisfaction off your chest, as well as the response you really wanted to send to that colleague or client. Then take a deep breath and let it go.


5. Look to the future: Writing down what you’re doing know can help you envision what you want to do in the future. According to author of The How of Happiness Sonja Lyubomirsky, a  researcher and professor of psychology, spending 20 minutes each day writing a narrative description of your “best possible future self” can help you to be more optimistic and happy, and build a road map to a brighter future. As Sonja writes, ‘considering your most important, deeply held goals and picturing that they will be achieved’ will help you to plan your next steps as you grow in your career.

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