Discussion Information: This week is an introduction to keeping a professional journal. Starting in Week 3 make sure you have at least two (2) entries in your journal each week using the templates provided as a guide. For Weeks 3 through 6 – You will be contributing to your own professional journal with entries that are being reported on by you as you participate in your internship and business courses and will be shared in Week 6. The journal can be kept in the manner you choose and will be summarized in the class discussion in week 6. Information for the journal keeping assignment is provided in the internship course Resource under Supplementary Material in this GAP course including articles and a suggested journal template to follow. Students are to make at least two (2) entries in their professional journal each week for Weeks 3-6 to be reported about in the Discussion in Week 6. While Journaling is not a requirement in Weeks 7 and 8, we encourage you to continue the practice, and to use the information to help with your CLA1.
Discussion Question: CLO 1, CLO 2, CLO 3
About Journaling: Whether you want to be able to look back at where you started, set a future goal for yourself and seek a new path, or just deal with present issues, journaling helps you do that in a reflective way. You need not write every day. Journaling gives you a place to better understand yourself, to plan your goals, and to follow-up on goals. One pitfall of journaling is that it can become part of a log of your feelings for any one day, try to keep these types of emotional responses from being included in your business journal. (Journal writing tips are provided in the Internship Course Resources under Supplementary Material in this GAP course).
Jul 18, 2012, 11:23am
6 Ways Keeping a Journal Can Help Your Career Keeping a journal is a great idea—and not just for aspiring novelists and 15-year-old girls. And I’m not referring to the public online journals that many of us (myself included) keep—though there’s value in those, too. I’m talking about a private, intimate journal; a daily record of your experiences and observations, particularly at work.
This type of journal is an unexpectedly great way to help you work through issues, analyze where you’re at in your job, and grow in your career. In fact, consider it the easiest (and cheapest) form of professional development you can find!
So, go pick out a new notebook or journal, and get started writing—for these six reasons and more.
1. Log Good Ideas
Brilliance doesn’t always strike when it’s most convenient. In fact, your next great workplace idea might occur before bed, as you’re cooking dinner, or—as mine often do—when you’re in the shower (like I said, not convenient).
But don’t let those ideas fall by the wayside simply because you didn’t think of them between 9 and 5. With a journal on hand, you can write thoughts down when they come to you and make a note to share them with your boss or team. You might also find that, when you jot down one idea, a few more come to you.
2. Learn Your Lessons
There’s little value in going through experiences, both good and bad, if you can’t learn from them. So, whether you totally nailed a client meeting or totally stumbled through a presentation, don’t forget to take note of the lesson. By writing down what you’ve been through, noting what worked and what didn’t, and analyzing what might help you in the future, you’ll set yourself up for much greater professional success.
3. List Good Advice From Mentors
There are undoubtedly people in your career, both inside and outside your office, who provide you with invaluable feedback and advice. And you know what’s even more valuable than getting that advice? Remembering it when you need it most.
So, when you get great guidance from a mentor, manager, or peer, write it down and use it as a resource when you’re struggling or looking for a bit of inspiration. It’s likely you’ll want to remember their words of wisdom for the rest of your career—and maybe even pass it on to your own mentee one day.
4. Vent (in a Safe Space)
Did you get a passive-aggressive, condescending, or downright hostile email today? Did a client yell at you for something that was out of your control? There’s no more perfect place to vent your workplace frustrations than in the privacy of your own journal. (In fact, sometimes that’s the only place you should be venting your frustrations!) I don’t mean to say that you should keep all negative feelings and experiences bottled up inside, but getting some of the little, day-to-day stuff off your chest, privately, is often the most therapeutic and safe way to move past your dissatisfaction.
In your journal, jot down the response you really wanted to send to that colleague or client. Read it a few more times if you want, then let it go.
5. Collect Compliments
It may feel a little self-absorbed, but there’s no better place to keep track of the compliments and praise you’ve received than in your personal journal. The value of this is twofold: First, it allows you to quickly remember the great things people have said about you when you need to provide a testimonial of your work, and second, it also acts as a quick and easy morale boost on days that seem harder than others. If you’re being praised at work, it’s likely because you did something right. It’s okay to relish that!
6. Envision the Future
Use the work you’re doing now to envision what you want to do (and can do!) in the future. In The How of Happiness, researcher and professor of psychology Sonja Lyubomirsky says that spending 20 minutes each day writing a narrative description of your “best possible future self” can help cultivate optimism and an overall sense of happiness. This exercise, which involves “considering your most important, deeply held goals and picturing that they will be achieved” is a valuable workplace exercise as well.
Instead of becoming stuck in your routine, think (and write) about opportunities you see for growth. Then use this narrative to help build a roadmap. Now that you know where you want to go, how can you get there?
We’ve all gotten good at sharing publicly—we post our thoughts on public forums, share them at lunch across from our favorite co-workers, and tweet them out to the world. But by sharing your career experiences and your thoughts in a private space, you’re in a better position to analyze
your profession, reflect upon your experiences and goals, and plan for next steps as you grow in your career. I hope you’ll start writing today!
This article was originally published on The Daily Muse. For more on professional (and personal) development, check out:
Jenna Britton is a public relations professional at Sparkpr in Los Angeles. She is also an avid reader and writer, particularly of personal essays. Most recently, her work was published on Salon.com. Jenna is a proud graduate of UC Berkeley, and just received her Masters in Education from Loyola Marymount University. She teaches classes on blogging, social media, and building your brand through both at Writing Pad LA. You can follow Jenna on Twitter at @jennanicole or find her occasionally musing at SplendidReally.com.
Photo of woman writing courtesy of Shutterstock.
How to keep a work diary: 3 simple methods
Written on September 9, 2019
Of all the time management tools, work diaries or activity logs are perhaps the most overlooked. Keeping a work journal isn’t just good for mental health; it’s a pragmatic way of documenting your performance in detail – highlighting successes, setbacks and new opportunities.
Done well, a work diary can become an invaluable resource for managing your productivity and professional development. Thankfully, there are several ways of keeping one – depending on what you want to record and how much time you want to spend on it.
The benefits of keeping a work diary Before jumping into how to keep a work diary, it’s worth laying out why you should bother in the first place. The three methods outlined in the next section offer different types of detail, so it’s worth understanding exactly what you want from your work diary in order to choose the right one.
1. Processing setbacks
There’s something about putting frustrations and concerns into words that makes them easier to manage. Breaking down your thoughts and identifying what’s troubling you, why it’s happening and how often it occurs is essential for finding an effective solution.
2. Learning important lessons
If you’ve nailed a client meeting or found yourself panicking during a presentation, remember to write it down to recognize what worked well, or why you weren’t prepared enough. Learning from your own mistakes is the best way to avoid future ones.
3. Unlocking great ideas
Ever had one of those moments where you’re writing a note down and a totally unrelated, brilliant thought comes into your mind? Work journals are an excellent way of composing, building and refining them. You can also take a note of which particular moods contribute to these great ideas and why.
4. Gauging performance
Keeping a consistent work diary helps you assess what’s driving you and what’s holding you back. Reviewing your activity regularly to see which days you were most engaged – and if those days correspond with greater wins – is a good way to track progress against your KPIs.
5. Recognizing achievement
For one reason or another, many of us are programmed to criticize ourselves for getting things wrong, and not taking the time out to celebrate wins – however small. But recognizing achievement motivates us to carry on, especially during stressful periods where a little boost goes a long way.
6. Improving planning and scheduling
Good planning begins with solid self-knowledge, both in terms of how long tasks take you and what behaviors, routine work or distractions threaten your progress. Knowing what’s coming up and how you’re addressing ongoing tasks is vital to staying on track with priorities.
How to keep a work diary There are three main ways of keeping a work diary, which vary in terms of type of detail and effort required. On one end of the scale, there are long- form analogue methods for those who like to write at length; on the other, there are automatic digital options for those who want to track their work with as little effort as possible.
1. The list This is the short-hand analogue approach. A list-form work diary is essentially a breakdown of what you achieve in a week or day. It’s as simple as bullet- pointing the main things you do each day.
You can list what you want to achieve in a week or by the end of the week, and compare notes on what you actually managed to do. This method is most
useful if you just want a high-level overview of your progress or want to make sure you are working to your priorities.
Tools needed: To reduce carbon and access your list from anywhere, try using a neat digital tool like Grid Diary or Day One.
Best for: benefits 4 and 5
2. The work journal For those who prefer the feel of pen to paper, writing a detailed log of what you achieved in your week is a traditional, but efficient way of keeping yourself in check. It’s a long-form stream of consciousness where you write down what worked, what didn’t and how you felt. It’s a great way of processing events, noting feedback and surfacing personal development goals.
Work journals also allow you the freedom to vent any workplace frustrations privately, which can later be refined into actions – such as process improvements, resource recommendations and training opportunities. Make sure you also note down those important wins and celebrate when you can.
Tools needed: For an organized digital journal, try OneNote, or simply use Google Docs or Dropbox Paper.
Best for: benefits 1, 2 and 3
3. The activity log An activity log is a record of everything you worked on in minute detail, from the time you spend on different tasks, to the low-value work that hogs your attention. It shows the sheer number of things you’ve achieved – which is great for visualizing all the value you contribute each day and gauging progress.
Activity logs are one of the best tools going for managing your productivity – they effectively hold up a mirror to the way you work, laying out inefficiencies and distractions so you can learn how to build a more effective work schedule and improve your focus. There’s no way a human can keep an
accurate activity log by hand, but thankfully automatic tracking tools can record and display a timeline of all your activities for you.
Five Benefits of Reflective Journal Writing Everyone can learn something about themselves and their habits when forced to write about them. That's why journal writing is a critical activity when seeking personal development. Let's take a look at five benefits of journal writing.
1. It allows students to advance from passive learners to active learners. Through the process of journaling, students begin to problem-solve on their own. From this, self- esteem begins to blossom.
2. Journaling also provides a place for dreams and ideas to grow. A proper learning environment allows students to feel safe, free from judgment, and encouraged. Whether students are journaling about academic goals or personal goals, a journal is a perfect place to watch these seeds grow.
3. Reflective journaling, with its lack of strict rules, motivates students to write. Some students feel they don't have a knack for writing. Journaling breaks down some of those walls. Teachers can provide prompts for students to choose from or allow them to reflect on a certain quote.
4. Reflective journals foster a greater understanding of new ideas. Students can use this opportunity to think deeper about new discoveries, recording personal observations and added research on the topic.
5. Reflective journaling allows students to acquire knowledge more authentically. Due to the critical thinking skills that are a natural outcome of journaling, knowledge isn't acquired simply because students were told something was true. Through journaling, knowledge is acquired and maintained because students spent some time contemplating new ideas.
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