Why do successful people tend to use work journals? It turns out that journaling at work can have a powerful and positive effect on your professional (and personal) life, including improving creativity, reducing stress and boosting productivity!
One study published in the Harvard Business Review asked hundreds of employees across seven different companies to keep a simple work diary to record emotions, stress and goals. After studying thousands of work diary entries, can you guess what the researchers found?
“Keeping regular work diaries, which took no more than ten minutes a day, gave many of our research participants a new perspective on themselves as professionals and what they needed to improve.” –Professor Teresa Amabile, Harvard Business Review
The Benefits of Journaling at Work
Journal writing is one of the best self-care techniques out there. A designated work journal can be an excellent place to write your career goals, mark your successes, grow personally and professionally, manage day-to-day stress and more!
1. Journaling at work can improve your focus & help you reach your goals!
Writing about work in your journal helps you mark career goals & record your wins—as they happen. Writing in a journal adds a daily dose of positivity, and this simple activity can have long-lasting benefits. Experts say that people who write down goals in journals are “significantly” more likely to reach them.
2. Journaling can reduce high blood pressure.
One study explored how writing in a journal could impact the lives of people with high blood pressure. Then researchers discovered that writing down your emotions can reduce blood pressure and have long-term benefits for circulation. So add a little lunch-hour journaling to your day. It is a quick way to maintain stress-free productivity!
3. Journaling can help you capture more creative ideas.
Whether you are writing a screenplay or balancing spreadsheets, a journal Carry a journal with you at work to collect the good ideas that pop into your head throughout the day. Dare to capture your brightest thoughts!
4. Visual journaling, with doodles & drawings, can improve your memory!
Researchers have found that drawing or doodling in a journal offers significant benefits as well, enhancing memory and helping you calm down during trying situations. Journals aren’t just for handwriting, you can fill a visual journal with your own art. Open your journal at the office and let loose! You’ll find it relaxing and inspiring.
5. Journaling about challenges at work can reduce related stress.
Decades of research discovered that writing down your struggles can ease negative physical and mental effects of stressful events. Expressing your frustrations and fears on paper actually helps you release the trauma on the page. Let yourself unwind and be free on the page, a perfect way to let go before your afternoon meetings.
6. Journaling between jobs can help you find a new job more quickly.
In an experiment with 63 recently unemployed professionals, those assigned to write about the thoughts and emotions surrounding their job loss were reemployed more quickly than those who wrote about non-traumatic topics or who did not write at all. Expressive writing appeared to influence individuals’ attitudes about their old jobs and about finding new employment rather than their motivation to seek employment.
7. Journaling can help you minimize bad habits and stay productive.
If you are in a job that has busy times and slow times, there is always a temptation to scroll through social media or give in to other digital distractions. To stay productive, experts suggest creating a “productivity journal” for work, tracking your habits & focus during the workday.
Ready to begin your work journal or work diary? Start by choosing a journal or notebook, or even journal in your LifePlanner™, with the page layout and cover design that is both functional and fun so you’re more likely to stick with it and get the most out of journaling.
5 Simple Work Journal Prompts
Now that you understand how journaling at work can directly, positively and significantly, impact you, the next step is adding journaling time to your workday routine.
To help you get started, try these prompts designed by productivity experts to help you successfully manage stress at work & meet your career goals.
(These are just prompts, but we encourage you to be as creative and free as you want with your work journal.)
1. Who are the five people you admire most in the world?
Journaling about those you look up to can give you a renewed boost of inspiration. As you’re writing, ask yourself what you have learned from their life stories. Read more about this prompt at Writing Cooperative.
2. What are five things you’re proud to have accomplished so far?
Journaling about your accomplishments is a great confidence booster and valuable reminder that you are capable of accomplishing more! Consider actionable steps you need to take to find more opportunities in your life and career. Learn more about goal-oriented work journal prompts at HuffPost Life.
3. What are the five things that are stressing you out at work right now?
Journaling about work stress and anxiety can help you focus on solutions while calming your mind. Write about any anxious thoughts you have while at work or even after work when you’re trying to sleep. Most importantly, ask yourself what steps can you take to reduce work stress & anxiety. Find more prompts related to this topic at Forbes.
4. What are the five things you want to achieve at work in the next few years?
Journaling about your goals can offer fresh insight into how to reach them. Ask yourself: If you could be anywhere five years from now, where would you be? What would you be doing in your career? And what can you do now to make it happen down the line? Discover more goal-oriented prompts at Life Goals Mag.
5. What are the five things that make you happy at work?
Taking stock of your happiness can put things into perspective, trigger gratitude and help you identify and overcome obstacles. Make two side-by-side lists (what makes you happy vs what makes you unhappy) and ask yourself: Could another job or a different approach to your current job improve your situation? Try more prompts for evaluating personal happiness at Monster.com.
Make Your Work Journal a Life-Long Habit
Once you start journaling at work, be sure to carry the practice with you as you advance your career!
Bonus tip: Journal regularly at work so when opportunities are presented, you’re ready with a powerful collection of all your career goals, proud achievements, day-to-day workplace wins, lessons learned and more!
If you are looking for a new job, remember that a successful job search begins (and ends) with organization! Read our tips for keeping your job search organized.