The benefits of journaling for executives
You’ve read that Winston Churchill kept one. So did Teddy Roosevelt. Barack Obama, too, along with Richard Branson, Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Leonardo da Vinci, Mark Twain… alright, almost anyone who was anyone has done it.
So, you know what that means: if you’re trying to be the best executive you can be, it’s time you started keeping a journal. The benefits of journaling for executives are numerous and well-proven: from greater physical wellness to improved mental health to relationship benefits and more, there are few reasons not to start journaling as the leader of a major organization.
Let’s look at some of the advantages of journaling as an executive — and how you can start implementing them into your routine for immediate results.
1. Leadership benefits
First and foremost, journaling offers great leadership benefits for executives running organizations. Great leaders often prepare their schedules ahead of time, which is why journaling in the morning can be the key to a more productive workday. Some of the leadership benefits of journaling right when you wake up include:
- Allowing you to sift through top priorities and lower order concerns
- Providing you with a tool for writing out tasks and reframing challenges
- Helping you generate ideas
- Letting you vent to dispose of rambling thoughts and “mind-clutter”
- Starting your day with a clear representation of everything that needs to get done
- Providing you with a personal place to test ideas before bringing them to a larger audience
- Giving you space to write out weighty decisions and explain them
- Helping you dig deep to understand problems and their potential solutions
- Keeping you on track in case you’re addressing the wrong issues
- Offering you a platform to process your challenges
Need journaling strategies to improve your leadership skills? Try addressing some of these questions when you journal next:
- What are my top three priorities today?
- What will happen if I don’t get everything done that needs to get done?
- What’s one thing I can do better than I did yesterday?
- Which members of my team can I rely on for my most ambitious projects?
- What rambling thoughts do I want to get rid of before I start the day?
- What’s a hard decision I’m going to have to make today, and how can I explain it to those who need to know about it?
2. Health benefits
Journaling doesn’t just make you a better executive. It also improves your health and wellness (which, in turn, does improve your ability to lead). As it turns out, people who journal experience a range of health benefits that non-diarists don’t.
Those who journal are less likely to experience chronic stress, which can cause depression, anxiety, heart disease, headaches, insomnia, irritability and more. Engaging in journaling for just 15-20 minutes helped those who wrote daily experience fewer symptoms of chronic stress and improved their overall mental health outcomes in the long term.
That’s ideal for executives looking to take their leadership game to the next level. After all, running a business is taxing work, and anything that decreases your physical or mental clarity is going to make it harder for you to stay on top of your organization’s needs.
3. Personal benefits
In addition to the public and health benefits of journaling, executives who journal experience personal benefits, too. Mental health and personal wellness are two key contributors to successful leadership, and journaling can improve these aspects of your personal life. Journaling has been found to:
- Help you find the things in life to be grateful for
- Provide you with space and time to focus on everything that’s going well in life
- Allow you to think back on previous achievements and reward yourself for them
- Give you new perspectives that help you see problems as opportunities
- Help you remember to stay optimistic even during difficult times
Looking for journaling strategies that can boost your personal wellness? Try answering some of these questions the next time you’re going through a turbulent patch in your executive career:
- What was the most difficult challenge I’ve helped my business overcome as a leader?
- Why do people look up to me?
- What unique leadership skills do I bring to the table?
- What am I grateful for about my position?
- What was once a challenge that I turned into a business opportunity?
- What do I have to be thankful for right now?
4. Relationship benefits
Healthy relationships are key to experiencing success as an executive. After all, any executive worth their salt will tell you it’s not what you know, but who you know that makes a difference. So: how can you improve your relationships with others as a leader?
You guessed it: journaling. Yes, journaling can improve your ability to connect to and relate with others. While you can always invest in journaling strategies that help you improve your ability to communicate with others, there’s an even more potent form of journaling that can supercharge your ability to increase your networking skills: journaling with others.
Find a platform that allows you to journal back and forth with a coaching professional who can help you develop your relationship skills in no time. Certified coaches know that leaders like fast action — not slow results — and so programs like these are designed to quickly train executives in the art of team building, relationship improvement and more.
Those benefits extend to personal relationships, too: coaches can help you maintain healthy, positive connections with your friends and family as well. That’s especially useful considering many executives tend to sacrifice time with friends and family to keep their businesses running smoothly.
If you’re an executive, try journaling
Leaders don’t sit back and let the world wash over them. Leaders lead. That’s why, if you’re reading this article right now, it’s time to stop thinking about journaling and actually start doing it. From improvements in your mental health to greater personal wellness and more, the benefits of journaling are clear.
Whether you end up journaling by yourself or with a reputable coach who’ll take your executive skills to the next level, you’re sure to gain something out of journaling. So: what are you waiting for? Pick up your journal and get writing!
Looking for more?
Here are the benefits of executive coaching.