Sometimes with so many tasks on my todo list, responsibilities, and want to do’s my head starts to spin at how many things I am trying to juggle, how many emotions I am trying to manage, and not to mention all of the dizzying random personal thoughts that run through my head. Although its not a daily practice (even though I feel like it should be) I mostly journal when there is an spillover of thoughts into my life and it starts to affect my ability to be present during my day to day responsibilities (e.g. being an accurate and efficient supervisor, making decisions for my start-up, etc.)
When I journal, I let loose my inhibitions, I don’t hold back what my anxieties and fears hold–no matter how insane it might sound to my friends or colleagues if they were to read it. This is my sanctuary, my almost free therapist (sans cost of paper and pen). I actually title my journals “mind spills” because that is what they are. I write down all of the things that are troubling me or that I am ruminating over. Once it is written down, its almost like I no longer need to worry about it anymore because I’ve expressed my feelings and if it is truly out of my control, there is nothing else to do.
Applying This To My Work
I’m sure you can read a million blogs about how important it is to plan out your life. But I think its just as crucial to review what you have worked on in the previous day, week, month, and/or even year. Sometimes we’ll start to just autopilot and complete tasks as they are assigned to us with no evaluation of how effective each task was. For example, have you ever spent 2 hours sitting at your desk just shuffling paper and being busy but then you leave your office for lunch and you think “wow, I just spent the entire morning working and I got nothing done”?. Journaling is a my way of reviewing which tasks I’ve completed that make me a more effective boss, engineer, coworker, and person. Effectiveness is really the goal when we are working–not efficiency. You can have a really efficient way of going through all of your emails and getting to inbox zero, but if your work isn’t effective or benefiting your project productivity, then you’re really not benefiting anyone, let alone yourself.
Personal Life Benefits
I noticed this year that when I am tired or not in a great mood I tend to be more reactive and less careful with my words. I spend time journaling out my feelings towards people to re-evaluate how real my feelings actually are. This has helped save a lot of my personal relationships and professional relationships. It helps gives me space to be empathetic and understanding towards the people in my life. Sometimes after writing it all down, I can reread my feelings and then re-asses the situation or conflict I am having with my partner or friend. I can see more clearly if the insult was intentionally hurtful or if I assessed what they were saying in a negative or hurtful way.
Some people meditate, some people talk to friends and therapists, I do all of the above. This is just another tool in my toolbox to help me clear my head and help me live a better more effecitve life.