10 Journaling Tips for Executives
Executives, when was the last time you journaled? It may have been weeks, months, or even years — perhaps you have never journaled in your entire life! Whatever your familiarity with journaling is, there are numerous benefits of journaling you should know about. The benefits of journaling are especially useful for leaders, executives and company heads: journaling is great for planning, de-stressing, gaining clarity, working through problems, finding inspiration and more.
Keep reading to learn how to start journaling, the best ways to journal, and journaling tips that you’ll want to use upon starting.
How to start journaling
Keeping a journal is as easy as it sounds — but before you do, you should know about the different ways in which you can journal. For instance, you could simply buy a notebook and pen and start writing out your thoughts. But for executives and leaders committed to tracking progress and achieving goals, that may not be the best way to go about keeping a journal.
Our recommendation for how to start journaling? Use an online journaling platform. Online journaling platforms offer a variety of benefits that other methods don’t — for instance, keeping a journal online allows you to track your mood, daily schedule, habits, journaling frequency and more. By maintaining a record of your journals on a digital platform, you’ll be able to gather information more accurately about your own life and use it to your advantage.
The other benefit of journaling online is that you can share your journals directly with an executive coach who will read and assess your writing. Together, you can work to make the most of your journaling so that you can advance in your career and get the results you want.
1. Journal every day
This might sound like a no-brainer, but many leaders don't journal every day. They take a day off for any number of reasons: they’re far too busy, they have other commitments, they’re not feeling inspired… the list goes on. Soon one day off turns into many, and the whole process of keeping a journal gets sidelined.
Unfortunately, journaling infrequently won’t give you the same results as consistent journaling. So, if you’re looking to keep a journal as a means to achieve your goals and find greater success, you’ll want to get in the habit of journaling daily.
2. Engage in goal-oriented journaling
Keeping a journal is a great way to start listing out your goals and aspirations. Try goal-oriented journaling by asking yourself important questions, such as:
- What do I want to achieve today?
- What are my most important priorities this week?
- What happens if I fail?
- What happens if I succeed?
- Can I realistically get done everything I have planned?
- How will I achieve my goals while still paying attention to my personal life?
3. Try different journaling setups
Here’s an important journaling tip for you: different types of journaling work best for different leaders. When it comes to how to start journaling, you might want to set up your journal in a unique way that works best for you. That could mean splitting the page in half and creating a pros and cons list, making charts and graphs, or creating a visual journal.
4. Make journaling easy
Try to make journaling as easy possible, and avoid things that makes you want to stop journaling! For instance, when you sit down to write, don’t limit your thoughts or emotions. If you’re journaling on an online platform, bookmark the website and keep it open whenever possible. And if you’re a habit-forming person, create a habit of journaling at the same time every day so that you get into a solid journaling routine.
5. Share your journal with others
Thoughts are no good in a vacuum. While there are some things you can absolutely keep to yourself while journaling, consider sharing your biggest ideas, goals and priorities with trusted partners. We’ll talk more in a moment about journaling with an executive coach — for now, just remember that journaling doesn’t have to be a solo sport.
6. Don’t limit yourself
Ideas are like wasps: if one shows up, there’s a good chance more will swarm. The problem is, if you limit what you’re allowed to write about, that first idea won’t show up. So, when you sit down to journal, if you’re feeling stuck, just write. Don’t think too much about what you’re writing about. The point is to get into a great flow first and worry about being profound later.
7. Ask yourself hard questions
If you’re looking for a journaling prompt, one idea is to ask yourself difficult questions. Consider the following questions and see where they take you:
- What aspect of my leadership is strongest?
- How can I challenge myself to be an even better executive?
- What is one small thing I can do that could improve my day immediately?
- What’s the best, most “fun” idea I’ve had today?
- What made me happy this week?
- What roadblocks got in the way of my happiness this week?
8. Consult the journaling habits of great leaders
Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson… what do these disparate individuals have in common? All of them kept or currently keep a journal. There is much to learn from other successful journal-keepers, and it pays to look into their journaling habits for valuable advice.
9. Use art as journaling inspiration
Art is a great inspirational tool. Try looking at a favorite painting, listening to an album you enjoy, or reading a book you enjoy. Then journal about how experiencing that art made you feel — whether that was good, bad, or somewhere in between.
10. Journal with an executive coach
Starting a journal can be daunting. If you’re new to the process, working with an executive coach is one of the best ways to achieve what you want through journaling. An executive coach can show you the benefits of journaling while also working with you to enhance your executive skills, leadership strategy and more. Between journaling and coaching, you’ll find yourself gaining greater clarity and purpose in both your career and personal life.
Hopefully this crash course in executive journaling was helpful to you. If you want more actionable insights on how to take your journaling to the next level, reach out!