How Journaling Can Boost Your Career
By Karin Eldor
What if I told you that blocking off five minutes in the morning for writing in a journal can lead to a productive day and help boost your career?
You’d likely brush it off and tell me that you’d rather press the “snooze” button three more times and sneak in 15 more minutes of sleep. Right?
Well although the benefits of sleep and how it can sharpen your mind is undisputed, the five minutes you dedicate and block off for “journaling” will set your intention for the day, keep you focused and make you a happier person overall.
I have to admit: I was sceptical at first. For starters, I really didn’t see the benefits of writing in a journal. After all, this is something I reserved for my high school days and major vacations! But after reading all the news about journaling and having started doing it myself, I believe the hype.
So take note and find out why adding journaling to your morning routine can set you -- and your day -- up for success.
What is Journaling About?
There’s nothing new with the concept of keeping a career journal. Let’s expand on this idea and consider this an “outlook of positivity” journal.
The idea here is rooted in the psychology and power of gratitude. There are many articles, books and TED Talks about the direct correlation between gratitude and happiness.
All it takes is a notebook, a pen or pencil, and five minutes.
The idea is really to keep this as a “pen to paper” practice rather than digital -- if you do this on a screen, you’re more likely to get distracted by notifications, emails and text messages. It has also been proven that writing things down manually tends to help you remember them more and make more of an impact, which is likely why people still like to write out their to-do lists on Post-it notes and agendas.
Designate a fresh new notebook as your journal. (If you’re anything like me, a fresh new book will make you excited to jump in and get started, as it feels like a new beginning and turning over a brand new leaf.)
There’s also a trending book called the Five Minute Journal, a fill-in-the blank journal that instructs you to start your day by listing the three things you are grateful for, what would make today great, and what your daily affirmation is. And then it prompts you to end your day with these two questions: “What are 3 amazing things that happened today?” and “How could I have made today even better?”
The tagline for the Five Minute Journal says it all: “Grow. Get grateful. Start focusing on the good.”
Starting and ending your day with gratitude is a way to become more optimistic, cultivate relationships, and deal with your day-to-day.
Here are four reasons to start engaging in this practice:
Helps you engage in mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness have been popular for years now -- we even did a story about it back in 2014 -- and of course, it’s still highly relevant as a way to live in the present and cope with stress.
Tim Frriss, author of the best-selling book The 4-Hour Workweek, also practices this journaling routine, by spending five minutes every morning writing down what he’s grateful for and what he’s looking forward to.
After all, as mentioned, taking the time to recognize the things we are most grateful for is more likely to lead to a happier and more optimistic attitude, which is a form of mindfulness.
Helps establish a morning routine
There’s something to be said about waking up 10 minutes earlier. So I don’t want to hear excuses like “I don’t have time in the morning” or “There’s no way I can add another task to my morning routine.” Make the time, even if it means forcing yourself to get out of bed five minutes earlier.
It’s said that the most successful people wake up early and get a headstart on their day. (Again not to worry, if an extra 15 minutes in the morning seems too daunting and unrealistic, then even five or 10 minutes earlier can help you accomplish this.)
Establishing a morning routine is a common habit of highly successful people, as mentioned in an Inc. article called 14 Things Successful People Do First Thing in the Morning. From Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Arianna Huffington, the executives listed in the article all swear by their morning routine.
Sets your intention for the day
When you know the Top 3 things you need to accomplish for the day ahead, you’re more likely to stick to them and stay focused. This way when unexpected distractions are thrown your way, you can more easily go back to your to-do list and prioritize accordingly.
Starts your day with a proactive approach
One of the worst things you can do first thing in the morning is roll over and grab your phone or email, even if this is your first instinct. This kind of screen time can be enough to make you scream! Taking those five or 10 minutes in the morning to write in in your journal helps you put the coming day in sync and can help you prioritize and clarify your thoughts.
Starting your day by writing in your journal makes you poised to tackle the day with a sense of calm and most importantly, control. It ensures that YOU are the boss of you and YOU are in control of your day.
You’ll start to see that five minutes spent scribbling in a journal rather than scrolling your social media feeds can have a great impact on your productivity and happiness, and as a result, your career.
The worst thing that happens? You’ll enjoy the power of gratitude and being thankful for the little things in life. And that’s huge.