People have been keeping journals for thousands of years in one form or another. Google journaling and you'll find tons of articles on how keeping a journal is good for your soul, reduces anxiety - how it can help you through tough times. Scientifically, journaling has been shown to lower stress and benefit your overall physical, as well as mental health.
But, have you ever considered using a journal to make you more mindful, creative and innovative in your business? There are so many benefits, I'm not sure why every entrepreneur doesn't buy a nice leather journal, sharpen their pencil and get writing!
Journaling is about reflection in its rawest sense - it's an unedited stream of consciousness that no one else need ever read. And, it's all the more powerful for it.
Here are three exercises to get you started. Do these every day and you will be amazed at not only how good it feels but how valuable your journal will be to your business.
CALM - think about when you felt calm today. Did you ever get an opportunity to just sit and quietly reflect on your business, or your life? Or, was the day one long stress bomb? Try to think about when you were truly calm and write it down. If you can't think of anytime you felt calm, what is that telling you about your business life. Use this as a wake-up call to carve a minute or two out of your busyness and make time for yourself - take time to just be, not do. This can be as easy as stopping at a coffee shop for a quiet coffee, without checking your emails or making notes. Doing nothing and smelling the roses is a powerful thing.
GRATEFUL - sometimes running a business feels like an uphill battle, an exercise in constant firefighting. It can be so challenging we forget, or overlook, all the good stuff that happens. So, when you get to your journal at the end of the day, or just before you turn off your bedside light at night, ask yourself what were you truly grateful for today? This simple exercise allows you to sideline the challenges and focus on the big picture. It doesn't have to be business oriented, just consider why life is pretty darn good at the moment. We have a lot to be grateful for, but often the good stuff gets swept away by the rest of the hassle we go through on a daily basis.
3 HIGHLIGHTS - what three things happened today that really pleased you? Perhaps you got a big sale, or an employee used their initiative to benefit a company. It could simply be that you overheard a staff member delivering exceptional customer service. Maybe, you just felt really good about your business or your performance. Write it down, however small. What made you smile, what gave you a good feeling? What made your day? Writing down what was good about the day, prevents you from dwelling on what didn't go so well. Too often we feel the world is against us and let the stressful things in our life overshadow the good things. As with CALM, this exercise may be tough for the first few days until you get used to recognizing the highlights.
Remember, don't edit yourself - write whatever comes to mind. Add ideas, thoughts, musings, absolutely anything. No one need ever read what you write, it's an exercise not an academic treatise. It doesn't need to be good; you can even write something like, "I can't think of what to write, this is a stupid idea" because by doing this you beat the blank page syndrome and what you write next might be worth reading in the future. After several weeks, read past entries and you will discover gold dust amongst the bare rock.