Recruitment | Executive Search

The benefits of keeping a work journal

What is one of the best ways to make sure you’re regularly reflecting on your career? Keeping a work journal. A work journal is a document that keeps track of your progress at work. You can use it to document projects, goals, ideas and reminders. Keeping a work journal can provide clarity, structure, focus, motivation, and other work-related benefits.

Structure and clarity

It’s important to be in the driver’s seat of our careers – which means proactive planning and creating structure wherever possible. It doesn’t mean that things will always go as planned – it means having enough structure that you can be flexible when needed without losing your whole day. In order to be more proactive, start your day with an organised plan that you document. What do you hope to accomplish today and why? What’s on your to-do list for the day and the week? Spend some time organising your calendar so you can plan where and when you might get these things done.

Find areas to improve

With a work journal, you can identify not only your successes, but areas for growth. For example, you may find that your most productive days are the days on which you start work early. You could then implement new practices to help you get started earlier in the day, such as planning out the following day’s schedule the night before. A work journal can also show you if you have any common mistakes so that you can work to eliminate them.

Negotiate a raise better

Your work journal will help you negotiate that next raise, promotion, or lucrative opportunity with ease. One of the most challenging and anxiety-provoking things about preparing for your annual review is the effort it takes to reflect on your past year and gather all relevant evidence before the meeting. But with a daily diary chock-a-block full of the projects you’ve worked on, the people you’ve trained, or the times when you went above and beyond the scope of your essential job duties, you’ve just cut your time preparing in half.

Another great bonus of keeping a work journal – you’ll never stress about forgetting a project, a detail, or an accomplishment. If you’ve kept detailed notes and a steady record, you’ll find everything you will want to discuss with your boss in between the cover of your diary.

Manage your negative emotions

There’s a reason why so many people find journaling therapeutic. It really works! And putting your emotions into words – especially if you’re having a hard time with something—can help you work through them faster. Using a work journal to write about your interpersonal challenges at work, unpleasant feelings like impostor syndrome, and recognising patterns that lead to negative self-talk can help you cope with them.

Record creative ideas

Sometimes a work-related idea comes to you, but you don’t have time at the moment to explore it. Rather than losing your new creative idea, write it down in your work journal. This allows you to return to all your creative ideas at a later point when you have more time to think about them.

Over time, keeping a work journal will be like having your own career coach combined with a personal assistant. It can help you stay organised with your daily and weekly tasks, recap meetings, help with time and project management, and ensure you stay focused on your goals.

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