How can you use journals and planners to make sure that you achieve the big career goals you set, before everything falls apart by the time week two is over? We know by now you’ve categorically decided that 2017 is the year you are going to be larger than life in your career and out of work pursuits.
There is no question about it, if you have big goals; you have to become more productive, more organised and quick to learn from your mistakes. In order to become more organised you will need to become better at clearing the clutter in your head, setting out what needs to be done, breaking down tasks into smaller more manageable daily activities. Writing down what needs to be done is not enough on its own. You need to take action, stay motivated and disciplined so you can consistently complete the activities and deliver the results that contribute to your big goal. When your thought process is more organised you will find it easier to reflect on what works and what doesn’t.
This year I started using a planner and a journal for content creation and for business planning. So far I’ve enjoyed the using both. I love having the foresight of what needs to be done from day to day, week to week to the entire quarter and even the whole year. I get to design exactly how I how I want my weeks to turn out. This allows me to confidently take on new challenges or see clearly when I’m about to miss some important goals. There is a planner for almost anything you want to achieve. In the process of writing this blog I discovered niche planners for yoga, video planning and multiple productivity planners.
When you think of it there really is no reason to not get organised this year. At the end of your year when you want to reflect on the year you’ve had and the specifics of what worked well and what didn’t your planner or journal will be a very insightful place to start.
I caught up with three different professionals to discuss their tips, journal and planner use and recommendations. They all had very different insights that can help you decide what will work for you or how to chose the right planner or journal for yourself.
1. Freedom to be organised with the Bullet Journal
Lorraine gives her personal account of using a Bullet Journal below.
I first discovered the Bullet Journal method in my second year of university. One thing I will say is that it is not for everyone but for me it was the perfect method of keeping organised.
Firstly, I have always liked the idea of keeping a diary however I found that most of the diaries on the market were restrictive in their design e.g. they are usually laid out in a weekly view but without extra space for notes or drawings etc. With this method I was able to choose my desired layout as all you need to start is a blank notebook. This was ideal since I am quite a creative person, it allowed me to also keep up a creative hobby in a way which meant that organising my time wasn’t a chore.
As an undergrad, being able to sit down and creatively plan out my week in advance proved therapeutic. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed and I always knew what I needed to be doing and where I had to be rather than taking each day as it came. For me, it definitely improved my efficiency and productivity and contributed to my final grades as I was able to maintain a balanced schedule.
The method taught me how important it is to actively manage your commitments but to also reflect. Now that I have graduated, I still use the method and it is satisfying to look back on my journals over the years and to see how I progressed and how I actively did my best to stay organised and meet deadlines.
Lorraine Chimbga is a law graduate from UCL who now works for a startup in the financial sector. She writes about life in London and life as a law student at www.lifeofalondonlawstudent.com.
2. Getting things done with the Productivity Planner
Emily’s top tip for getting things done is – ‘just start it’. She says we waste so much time procrastinating and worrying we’ll get things wrong or they won’t be done in the right way. When we organise or plan something we forget to allow ourselves to play – because we have constraints on our time and our emotions, but we don’t realise that those constraints are often put on by ourselves in many cases and that we can give ourselves a little more slack for just trying stuff out. So if you’ve not used a journal or a planner just try it – start that diary, take that action and see how it feels.
Emily’s recommendation is the 5 Minute Journal because of its uncomplicated way for reviewing your day and night.
For daily efficiency she recommends the Productivity Planner, which helps you to keep focused on your outcomes and sticking to your end goal.
Emily Hodge is a health psychology specialist and coach helping people move forward from challenges and change in their live with a specialty in cancer. You can read her full review of journals and planners on www.coachingemily.com.
3. Practising gratitude with the Gratitude Journal
Last thoughts were from Natalie who believes practising gratitude can definitely help you in your career and talks about the use of the Gratitude Journal.
Natalie says when you create daily positive thinking habits such as gratitude and positive affirmations, you start to use the part of your brain, which is able to focus better, assess situations correctly and come up with excellent solutions to problems! This is the ‘intellectual mind’.
When you think negatively, you sink down into your primitive, emotional mind and usually you will create anxiety, unnecessary stress and emotional responses such as anger or apathy. This is not helpful if you are trying to get ahead in your career. So, practising gratitude will start to strengthen the neural connections in the part of the brain that bypasses the primitive emotional mind and make you feel good too.
Being more positive will help you with your relationships with other people. You’ll start to see things change in the way that people respond to you. Positive people have positive body language too! Excellent if you want to appear confident and capable! By purposely focusing on the positive aspects of your life you really can start to change your mindset around to attract new people and opportunities into your life.
The Gratitude Journal gets you to choose your favourite aspect and then write out why it is the best. This really stretches those feelings of gratitude for you. There’s also room to write either a list or a paragraph of more things to be grateful for. There’s room to write the names of people you want to thank and space to write an affirmation for the day to keep in your mind. The journal also gets you to consider how you want to feel that day, so you can write out beautiful words such as loving, kind, abundant, peaceful etc.
Natalie’s top tip for getting organised is to set a time for using your journal every day and make it a ritual, so that you can allocate a special time daily for some inner reflection, positivity and mindfulness.
Natalie Louise Fox is the Creator of the Gratitude Journal: 100 Days Of Gratitude Will Change Your Life and a range of Affirmation Journals. She helps people overcome their limiting beliefs and to figure out their strengths in order to bring positive transformation to their lives. You can find out more about her work on www.natalielouisefox.com.