a-to-z HEADER [2015] - april

J is for Journal (for Productivity!)

Do you keep a productivity journal? I started doing this about a year ago and it’s been a helpful part of  keeping me mentally organized.

What is a Productivity Journal?

I don’t know if productivity journaling is a thing out in the world, but basically, it is a place where you keep your thoughts and notes as they pertain to the things you’re working on. I do this inside Evernote. Since this is where I track my projects and goals, it makes sense to keep my journaling about those things in the same place. But sometimes I use the weekly by-day pages inside my paper month-at-a-glance calendar when I feel like handwriting them out. (I’ll even sometimes transcribe them into Evernote later.) The location of these journals isn’t as important as the act of doing it.

Why Should You Journal About Your Work?

I used to struggle with being overwhelmed *all* the time. On the outside, I got most things done, but inside, I was a stress case. If you’ve ever found yourself in that place where you feel like you’re one misstep away from dropping all those spinning plates, you get what I mean.

As far as journaling goes, if you’ve ever kept a personal journal, you’ve likely experienced the benefits of writing out the things that are on your mind. Well, the same holds true for journaling about your projects and goals.

What Does A Productivity Journal Include?

I tend to keep my productivity journal on a weekly basis, mostly during my weekly goals check-in. I realize this sounds so incredibly structured. It’s not. Let me assure you that following any productivity plan doesn’t mean you’re snapping your life into a grid. That simply isn’t sustainable or fun.

My days are still full of running and catching up, and last minute changes. And I still get overwhelmed. But it does help to be mindful of the need to check-in with yourself, and while you’re at it, journal about what’s going on work-wise.

Things that I write about in my productivity journal might include:

  • progress to date and next steps
  • an unexpected snag that slowed things down
  • mistakes I made and how they happened
  • what I have learned so far
  • what’s working, what’s not, and how I can aim toward more of what works
  • how I am feeling about the people I’m working with
  • the end goal, and how my vision of that is getting clearer, or not, and how to adjust
  • worries, insecurities, etc.

I don’t write about all of these things all the time, and I don’t journal about all of my goals every week. There tends to be a cyclical nature about what’s bubbling on the top, and I let my focus go where it wants to go naturally. But all of these things serve to get TONS of the junk that’s keeping my mind racing out of my head.  And that keeps me focused so I can use my time much more productively.

Do you do journal about your work?


About the Author Corinne

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