… to be documented in the journal you should keep.
Where did my eyes linger today?
Where was I blind?
Where was I hurt without anyone noticing?
What did I learn today?
What did I read?
What new thoughts visited me?
What differences did I notice in those closest to me?
Whom did I neglect?
Where did I neglect myself?
What did I begin today that might endure?
How were my conversations?
What did I do today for the poor and excluded?
Did I remember the dead today?
Where could I have exposed myself to the risk of something different?
Where did I allow myself to receive love?
With whom did I feel most myself?
What reached me today? How deep did it imprint?
Who saw me today?
What visitations had I from the past and from the future?
What did I avoid today?
From the evidence – why was I given this day?
– John O’Donoghue, To Bless the Space Between Us
I am a fan of keeping a journal. I keep one myself and I encourage the leaders I work with to do the same.
The format does not really matter (what you thought, what you did, what you said, how you felt, etc.) as long as you record it. By recording it you’re acknowledging that it mattered at the time and you’re making it matter now.
You don’t keep a journal to revisit it. You keep a journal to make a record, to state that your day mattered.
I’m reminded of this by a recent post I read on keeping a Good Times list:
to notice and record the moments and experiences in life that bring you joy, or that energise and fulfil you. This one thing will help you appreciate what really matters, and to do more of them. It’s simple to do, and you need nothing more than a pen and paper.
It’s another form of “counting your blessings”. And it will help you keep track of what really matters.
[photo by Dina Spencer]
Research has documented that outstanding leaders take time to reflect. Their success depends on the ability to access their unique perspective and bring it to their decisions and sense-making every day.
Extraordinary leadership is rooted in several capabilities: seeing before others see, understanding before others understand, and acting before others act. A leader’s unique perspective is an important source of creativity and competitive advantage. But the reality is that most of us live such fast-paced, frenzied lives that we fail to leave time to actually listen to ourselves.
Gaining access to your own insight isn’t difficult; you simply need to commit to reflecting on a daily basis. Based on research (my own and others’) and many years of work with global business leaders as a consultant and international management professor, I recommend the simple act of regularly writing in a journal.
Source: “Want to Be an Outstanding Leader? Keep a Journal.” Harvard Business Review, 13 Jan. 2016.
I carry mine everywhere and jot down EVERYTHING in it: ideas, meeting notes, phone call notes, appointments, etc. I also use it to outline and draft articles, correspondence, and any other writing I do.
As things get done or transferred to permanent platforms, I cross them off. As all items on one page get done, I draw a big X on a page. When both sides of a page have Xs, I tear the page out. When all notes have been filed and all tasks completed, I throw away the notebook and start a new one.
I don’t keep my notebooks. I have no sentimental attachment to them. They help me keep all my notes in one place and get things done.