I have been journaling for more years than I can remember, and I can share that self-awareness and emotional intelligence are critical drivers of my success as an IT leader, which are reinforced with my daily writing practice. I learned to see the power of reflection at the end of each day and week and how it prepared me for the day ahead. Some of you probably know that a job in Tech comes with many stressors that include the insanely fast pace of change and the constant need to stay up to date. As a leader, I need to see what’s happening around me with a clear perspective to respond, not react, with greater agility.
Research shows that keeping a journal strengthens your immune system and can help with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Over the years, my journaling practice helped me have a more positive outlook and attitude towards life’s challenges and become aware of the thoughts in my head I wasn’t paying attention to. I know that I make better decisions today because of the time I spend reflecting each morning and evening before bed. I also know that I probably would’ve taken more sick days when the pandemic started if I didn’t already have a daily writing habit.
Each day, it is essential for me to ask myself the following questions:
- How am I feeling?
- What is going well?
- What needs my attention right now?
- What was my biggest lesson today?
- How can I have more happiness in my life?
- What is my intention today?
- Who needs my help this week?
There are a ton of benefits to journaling, but I want to focus on the three I appreciate the most as a leader:
Better Decision Making
My journal provides me with a safe, private, non-judgmental space to work through issues without pressure from others. I take my time thinking about my challenges at work, and I try to separate the symptom and focus my attention on the causes instead. I usually translate these to action items that get added to my to-do or not-do-to lists (you need both!).
Improved Organization Skills
When I wake up in the morning, I mustn’t look at my cell phone for the first hour of my day. Writing early in the morning always gets the juices flowing before my mind starts to put filters in place. It helps me formulate tasks and organize my thoughts with a clear mind.
My intention sets the pace of the day. One of the first questions I ask myself is, “how do I want to show up in the world today?” and create an intention from it. It helps me respond to what happens because I have a clear picture of the qualities I want to share with others. My answers range from “I want to be more compassionate today” to “I want to be a better listener and speak less today.” Over the years, I realized that when I focus on what I want to happen, it increases the chances of it happening.
My Final Recommendations:
- Start early in the morning
- Use an actual pen and paper
- Don’t overthink your answers
- You aren’t writing an article, just write
- Write again before bed for better sleep
- Don’t believe everything you think
- It is ok to miss a day, start again
Not sure where to start?
One of my intentions for my birthday each year is to give away something for free. This year, I created a free 5-minute daily journal, and it can be a good start if you are unsure this is right for you. This is my way of saying “Thank You for all your support!”
If this is your first time, I am delighted to help you get started on this journey. You can download my free journal with no strings attached here: