It can seem odd to have a journal these days.
Think about it. Most of the time, it’s the sort of thing that isn’t done past a certain age. You keep a diary or journal when you’re young and stupid but grow out of it. That’s how things are, right?
Even if you do stop the practice, you have better things to do than to write it down on actual paper. There are a few dozen different, more digital ways to do it. Who needs to buy a journal when you have a smartphone or some other gadget?
For that matter, doesn’t it seem strange to write your thoughts down instead of making it easier on yourself by recording your voice?
So why would you keep your business notes and personal insights in a journal? Surprisingly, there are a few psychological benefits to writing things down and keeping a journal at work.
Studies conducted by the Harvard Business School have found that people who take 15 minutes out of their work day to reflect on things experience a boost in productivity. These were folks who stopped at the end of the day to do some thinking about their work.
What does that have to do with keeping a journal? Consider what you do when you write in a journal: you reflect on what’s happened to you over the course of the day.
According to the data, people who take the time to reflect by, say, writing in a journal, codify the day so the brain can better process it. This quirk means that if you learned something, the simple act of writing it down can help you remember it, retain it even if you’re not actively trying to do so.
Yes, it does kind of go against the conventional wisdom of “getting busy” to remember things. However, more and more, science is telling us that just thinking leads to better retention of important details.
Sometimes, keeping track of good points in a journal helps improve your performance more directly. If you write down changes you made that improved productivity, you can more easily fold those in the next time you do a task.
Writing in a journal is also a nice, cathartic release valve.
Admit it, at least once in your life; you’ve been so stressed out that you’ve had less than pleasant ideas about how to deal with it. Well, writing a journal can help you release that in a safe venue, letting you get back to being productive.
Journal-keeping is even more valuable for folks who are in the creative fields!
Nothing keeps the brain going more than a creative endeavour. A journal is a great way to keep the juices flowing and to refresh your creativity. Data also shows that regular writing helps you flesh out ideas and express them better.
Plus there are all of the small practical benefits.
A work journal can keep track of any mistakes you’ve made, allowing you to avoid them.
You can also keep track of what you did right. Never underestimate how good that can be if you’re feeling down and need a quick way to get your confidence back up!
Of course, that written record of all the good you’ve done can be useful as a bargaining tool when the time comes to ask for a raise!
EcoJarrah.com.au use a journal to back up all their sales of Mulch, just in case their system goes down
If you’re looking to start keeping a journal at work for all the benefits, buying a quality notebook is a good start.
An ordinary pad might work, but there’s something more satisfying about an actual notebook.