One of the ways I approach finding effective strategies for building my business has come from very targeted research. This research involves looking to those who are farther along the entrepreneurial journey than me, then identifying what they define as contributing to their success.
One standout trend across industries was the use of journaling, in many different capacities. ‘Journaling’ is a term used (in this article) to define an individual who is taking time in their day as a part of a regular routine to physically write/record personal information, ideas, experiences and reflections.
You may have heard recent studies of science backing up the benefits of putting ‘pen to paper’ (ie: Mueller and Oppenheimer’s research found individuals had increased ‘conceptual understanding’ and consequent success in applying it to their work). Or you may have a personal practice of journaling for creative expression but not thought of it as a business tool. Even if you haven’t had any experience with journaling at all, I wanted to bring to you some of the methods (and benefits) that research has shown can contribute to success in business, so you can create a system that will work for you.
- Problem solving
Using journaling is actually a way to see solutions that may otherwise not have been seen, as ‘Fast Company’ (online) reveals. This process can include: asking questions, brainstorming solutions or writing from different perspectives. All of which can provide an alternative way to process complex information, beyond typing.
Once you have written on a regular basis, it gives you an opportunity to review what has been written and find patterns and changes in momentum across a defined period of time. Using this type of reflection after the journaling has occurred was key in Julia Galef’s (President of the Center for Applied Rationality) work with her clients. She uses this strategy (along with her signature system) to help others change long-standing (often not helpful) opinions about themselves to create new patterns of behavior after this type of process.
One downfall to using technology (widely known) is the abundance of distraction. Quick processing and easily found information make it easy to change activities with a click of a button. Using pen and paper gives you the opportunity to literally only have ‘one thing open’, no need to resist clicking on a new tab. Once your journaling is done, it is encouraged that you then simply ‘put it away’ and not disrupt the rest of your work that is not related.
A recent Harvard Business School study actually found that using ‘journaling’ (by reflecting at the end of the day) could increase productivity by up to 25%. This is based on the participants in the study being able to ‘visualize’ what is important and therefore make more progress towards a particular goal.
I can appreciate that all of these strategies (and subsequent benefits) can be integrated into your workday; no matter what business you are building. We live in a very abundant time in our lives, because technology is advancing and becoming very accessible to all. The great thing is, so is paper. By using journaling strategies in conjunction with digital tools you have an opportunity to create a system that can produce the results you want in your growing business.
Tamara is the owner and designer at ‘Your Pretty Pages’ where she provides templates, planners, guides and resources for creative entrepreneurs to get and stay organized. To support your successful planning, Tamara has just released the ‘Entrepreneur’s Journal’ which you can find here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/YourPrettyPages