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Why and How to Work-Journal Effectively

Non-profits
Jennifer Lockemeyer
June 29, 2022
(3 min.)
Why and How to Work-Journal Effectively

Do you have a morning ritual? Do you start your day off with coffee or by reading the News? It may seem like a mere habit or a routine to you, but considering defining your morning ritual. Scientific American defines rituals as, “the symbolic behaviors we perform before, during, and after meaningful events…with the intention of achieving a wide set of desired outcomes, from reducing their anxiety to boosting their confidence… .” The truth is that there is often more power behind our habits and routines than we realize– we perform rituals to imbue our days with purpose.

One ritual that may help you set the tone for your work day is work journaling. Create a template to follow each day or week. Here’s one outline that we suggest– we hope it helps you create a new cadence in your day:

Gratitude and hope: What are you thankful for today? What are you looking forward to today? What do you hope to accomplish or feel by the end of the day? Beginning your day with this mentality prevents you from beginning your day reactively. Before diving into your inbox and feeling your attention pulled by multiple asks and to-dos, set intentions for yourself. You can help reduce anxiety beginning your morning with positive thinking and hopeful expectation.

Goals*: Use bullet points to identify core things you’d like to accomplish.  Also add some phrasing about what you visualize this work will look like when it’s completed. In her book “Dare to Lead,” Brene Brown uses a phrase for this kind of goal setting: “paint done.” She uses the metaphor of envisioning a painted room before beginning the project to be sure you have ample resources and aren’t working aimlessly. Research shows there is power in positive visualization.

* use a symbol next to each goal or color-code. This way, if one of your ideas is more complex, you can begin the next page with that symbol or color and write out a more step-by-step outline. If you return to your notes later, you will visually associate the main goal with the parcel out thoughts on the next page. Alternately, you can use a sticky note on top of the goal that outlines the multi-faceted thoughts.

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