Nothing prepares you to become an entrepreneur. Once you start working for yourself you’re dealing with a whole thunderstorm of things you couldn’t even imagine before. It’s hard to stay on top of things, project- and emotion-wise. But I’ve found something which helped me to get in control and even be more intentional. And that’s journaling.
What kind of journaling
You might be thinking journaling is not for you. You did it as a kid maybe. But journaling doesn’t have to be this “dear journal, today we had ice cream…” kind of thing. There are several ways you can journal. I do a form that’s called braindump journal. Essentially it’s writing stream-of-consciousness style. You get everything which is cluttering up your brain out and onto paper. There are no prompts considering what you should write about. And you’re definitely not going to edit yourself while writing. The goal is to declutter your brain to have enough brain space to focus on the tasks infant of you.
I got immediately hooked on this journaling method because I could see results after a couple of days already. There are many challenges you have to pass when starting your entrepreneurial journey. Constant ups and downs. The sheer workload you have to deal with. Decisions you have to make. Or the scary part of starting something new you have to come to terms with. But the biggest problem I had to deal with was myself. Self-doubt, frustration, overwhelm, to name a few. Journaling has become a tool for me to deal with all of this.
How does journaling help to improve your mindset
Journaling is like a swiss knife because it has so many functions and ways it can help you. All while being so simple. You only need a pen and paper.
Clarity and focus
First and foremost, journaling helps you to find clarity and focus on the important stuff. As I said above, once you get everything down on paper it doesn’t occupy your mind any longer. All the ideas you have, new things you want to try, problems you’ve stumbled across won’t keep you from the work you have to do. This triggers an instant feeling of calmness. You don’t have to deal with these distractions during your day.
But this isn’t all. Writing these things down is a completely different way of dealing with it. Your thoughts might be chaotic and unorganized. Writing takes up the task of organizing and processing them. Even if you write stream-of-consciousness style, you still have to formulate your thoughts. Further, it forces you to deal with problems and elaborate ideas. When you do this you’ll gain clarity. You’ll know which ideas are actually worth undertaking and you can get down to the core of problems. In the long run, it becomes easier to prioritize tasks, be more intentional with what you put on your list and skip doing what doesn’t move you forward.
Disconnect to connect with yourself
Journaling will teach you a lot about yourself. Even if it’s only 10 minutes a day. It’s a time when you disconnect from everything around you and focus on yourself and your thoughts. Freeing your mind from the constant input we get every day isn’t only a much-needed break. It’ll also give you a chance to be your true self. You can be really open about your feelings because nobody will read what you write. Nobody will criticize you.
Journaling is therapeutic. When you stop hiding behind common etiquette and start listening to your inner voice you will discover what’s holding you back. The most shocking experience I’ve made was when I realized how much negative stuff I am telling myself and how this influences me and my work. Stop and listen to your inner critic. I bet he’s telling you things you would never ever say to anybody else. A journal isn’t only a place to write this self-talk down and see it black on white in front of you. It’s also great to find new, positive phrases to replace this negativity.
Through the process of journaling, I’ve become more self-aware. I know what’s holding me back and I can work on improving it.
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Refining your process
One thing I always write about in my journal is my work process. Since I started to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, I have been able to tweak my process. Having a process in place which is custom-tailored to you will make life/ work easier.
While you get to know yourself better, you also get a clearer image of the work routine which works for you. You’ll find out which times during the day you’re most alert and concentrated. If you’re a morning person or a night owl. The kind of environment you work best in or how often you need to take breaks.
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Free writing cultivates creativity. Your journal can be a place for brainstorming creative ideas and visualizing your future. At times, you can get lost in writing. I journal first thing in the morning when my brain is fresh and relaxed after a good night’s sleep. Let’s be honest, most days we only get input. Often more than we need. From social media, emails, newspapers, radio. But how often do we actually put something out? Journaling provides a place to practice writing and to generate ideas.
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Try it out yourself. You’ll discover even more advantages and become hooked like me.