Dear Diary

Today it rained. I had a meeting with my boss and had to cut my budget by 4%. I don’t know how I am going to tell Julian that he can’t buy biscuits for the tea room anymore. For lunch, I ate a sandwich from the café and then I talked to Georgina about a new idea for a training video….

Okay, so you may have kept a journal when you were 13 years old but now you have better things to do with your time right?

Stop right there! Journaling isn’t as childish as you may first think. ‘Dear Diary’ has significant benefits for leaders too.

Journaling is a physical process, not just a mental one, which provides leaders with a way to look at their decisions, their actions, thoughts and reactions through a lens of critical analysis. We learn when we reflect and the bonus is, our emotional intelligence grows along with it. Writing down what happened, things that were good and bad, what you observed in others and how you feel about it now not only provides an opportunity to embrace the benefits of hindsight and learn from it, but also provides a scaffold to work through difficult emotional situations. This is extremely beneficial for emergency workers, and the long term support of their mental health too.

It is very simple to get started. Buy a journal or exercise book (typing on a keyboard doesn’t have the same effect), block out 15 or so minutes at the end of your day and dedicate yourself to writing about whatever comes to mind. There is no ‘wrong’ way to journal. All you have to do is start.

Here are 8 journal prompts to get you started:

  1. The most important thing that happened to me today was…
  2. Write a detailed description of your boss (or another person’s face) you observed in a meeting today.
  3. I really wish others knew this about me…
  4. Write about a time when you felt really satisfied at work.
  5. Which 12 words best describe you?
  6. What is your brand? (Remember brand is different to reputation)
  7. If you won the lottery, what would you do?
  8. What is a mistake/assumption people often make about you?

Nancy J. Adler has some excellent tips to help you embrace journaling and begin to see the benefits of it as a leader. You can find her article, “Want to be an Outstanding Leader? Keep a Journal” at:

https://hbr.org/2016/01/want-to-be-an-outstanding-leader-keep-a-journal

2 thoughts on “Dear Diary

Add yours

  1. Although not specifically “journaling” the act of writing stuff down imposes a rigour to mythoughts. When I succinctly record an idea, with the expectation that others will read the idea, it usually ends up much clearer.
    The same could be said for the act of journaling with the audience being our self.

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