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Why You Should Keep a Business Journal


Robby

Whether you’re an executive or you’re a temp, consider keeping a business journal. It’s a little bit like a diary for your daily workplace activities. Why on earth would you want to write down what you’re doing on the job? About a zillion reasons!

Journal at Work
© Flickr User Next TwentyEight

Before I cover the benefits of business journaling, let’s be clear about what this is: it’s just a log of activity and some reflections on your work. Don’t think of it as a teenage diary with your innermost secrets. The log is really more about clarity than it is about soul searching. Here are a few of the upsides:

A Way to Close the Day

These days, it’s hard to say when the workday begins and ends. We can access our jobs from anywhere, checking email in the middle of the night or logging on from the beach over a long weekend. Making your business journal the last thing you do in the day is a great way to bookmark your work experience. It’s a way to say “I’m done.” So, open up that book (or that document in your word processor) and take some notes.

What should you write?

A Record of Accomplishment

“There are a million ways to waste a work day,” write Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister, “but not a single way to get one back.” One of the most demoralizing parts about working can be feeling like you didn’t get anything done.

That’s why you should take a couple of minutes to write down what you actually did accomplish. Note any meetings that you participated in, any reports you completed, any projects where you made significant progress.

A Place to Organize Your Thoughts

Another life lesson is this: if you want to truly understand something, try explaining it to someone else. The process of writing requires that we put our ideas into a format that someone else could read.

Sure, that does mean that someone else might read your business journal later. But how great would that be—they would understand what you were thinking at the time and how you were getting ready for the future? Which reminds me…

A Tool for Follow-Up

A huge component of professional success is the art of follow-up. People get busy. They forget to do what they said they would do, or what you need them to do. Follow-up is so important that we’ve written about here on IndyAtWork again and again and again.

You can use your journal to see who you need to follow up with by checking what you wrote in the past. And the best time to do that? The next morning.

Keep a business journal, and put it to work for you!

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Tue, July 21 2015 » Career Planning and Goal Setting, Personal Organization, Self Development

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