Today, is the last installment of our Get Productive Series. I hope you have been putting into practice the principles, systems and ideas that have been presented here. If you are just learning about the Get Productive Series, you can get started here: Get Productive Challenge.
I want to share with you an important tool that really helps make me more productive. It is the art of journaling at the end of the day. There is nothing more valuable than taking 5-10 minutes at the end of your day to take an assessment. A few good questions to ask at the end of the day might be:
- Did I spend the majority of my day working in my areas of focus?
- Distractions are inevitable, but how well did I handle them?
- What one behavior do I still want to change in the next week?
- What worked well today?
- How can I improve?
- What did not work so well today?
- What should I do differently?
I’ll be honest with you. I have never been consistent with keeping a journal until recently. I will say, that every time that I start journaling again I kick myself for stopping. There are so many benefits of keeping a journal on a regular basis. Oh, and just for the guys out there, I’m not talking about keeping a diary and journaling is not just for the ladies. Below I want to share with you 6 benefits of keeping a journal.
Before I do, I want to share with you two simple online journal applications that you can use. If you are just getting started with journaling then use ohlife.com. It is just about the simplest journaling program available. After you sign up for a free account, you can write a simple journal entry.
Then, once a day the system will send out an email to you as a reminder to journal. All you have to do is reply to the email in order to add your journaling entry. Just hit reply and describe your day. You can write about what went right, what went wrong, and any thing else that you want to write about. It is a great, simple program.
Another online journal program is called Penzu.com. I have been using it for the past year and I really like it. The free version is all you need but for $19 a year you can get access to many more features. One in particular is being able to use the iPad and iPhone app. I will either journal first thing in the morning or at night before going to bed. That is why I lille to use the iPad version.
6 Benefits of Keeping a Journal
1. It can reduce the stress in your life.
Journaling is a great way to get stuff out of your head. It is a known fact that stress levels increase when we keep too much stuff inside our own two ears. You were not built to carry your own burdens. Journaling allows you to get those thoughts down on paper. I always feel better after journaling out my thoughts.
2. It can help you to focus on what is important in your life
Once a week, I like to quick review my journal entries for that week. Whenever I do this, I am able to clearly see what is important to me and where my focus needs to be. Journaling in the morning compounds that effect for me. I am really able to get in touch with what it is I want to focus on for the day.
3. It can make you aware of potential repeatable problems
Reviewing your journal can also magnify the repeating problems in your life. You begin to see a theme of areas that you must change in. It causes active listening in your life. When we do not write these things down, we just overlook our bad habits and keep moving forward as usual.
4. it can improve your concentration
It is also a proven fact that your concentration levels can increase by keeping a journal. In fact, NC State University psychologist, Dr. Kitty Klein, has proven from a recent study that concentration increased in just about every case. If you are easily distracted and a bit all over the place, then you might want to try journaling.
5. It can help you to lose weight
The Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research did a lot of research in this area. Dr. Jack Hollis’ conclusion was that “Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.” There are several IPad and iPhone apps that make recording your food a cinch. If you need to lose some weight, then maybe your journaling experience starts by recording your eating and exercise.
6. It can improve your spiritual life
This is probably one of the biggest benefits Of keeping a journal. In fact, the whole book of Psalms reads like a journal. The authors express their feelings, emotions, and insights from real life experiences. Journaling is a great way to talk to God, pray, and meditate on the things going on in your life. Journaling causes you to slow down, see what you are writing, and engage in active listening.
If you are just getting started with journaling then my recommendation to you would be to just start with small steps. Write a few sentences a day, and just get in the habit. Build upon that as you begin to see the benefits in your own life. Also, set a designated time that makes the most sense in your day. Some of you may prefer the evening while others have more peace and quiet in the morning. As you can see there are many benefits of keeping a journal, so just get started. Find out more at Penzu.com.
- Journal Your Way to Stress Relief (everydayhealth.com)
- The Joy of Journaling (counselingatheritage.wordpress.com)
- The Power of Journaling (ilsewatson.com)