February 5, 2013

Journaling for Work

Do you keep a journal or daily work log? I know a few managers who are required to do so, but there is a heap of benefit that comes from setting a little time aside each day to the practice as an employee. 

Journaling encourages resiliency, something I posted about last month. A daily (or near daily) practice of self-reflection helps in a multitude of ways, including balancing your priorities with those of others, processing challenging situations after they occur, tracking patterns in your behavior, managing stress and maintaining a sense of control in a crazy work environment. 

Ultimate Youth Worker provides a great template for the first-time journaler:
  1. Identify and describe the experience/issue/decision/incident
  2. Identify your strengths as a practitioner
  3. Identify your feelings and values, then the feelings and values of others involved
  4. Identify external and internal factors, including structural and oppressive factors
  5. Identify factors you have influence or control over and those you don't
  6. Identify knowledge used, including factual, theoretical and practice
  7. Develop an action plan: what do I need to do first, second, third and so on
  8. Implement your action plan, then do it all over again. 
Don't worry about writing for an audience and certainly don't write for posterity. I think I would be horrified to go back and re-read the diaries of my youth, but that doesn't stop me from continuing the habit today. In her book, A Writer's Diary, Virginia Wolfe wrote that "[T]he habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments. Nevermind the misses and the stumbles. Going at such a pace as I do I must make the most direct and instant shots at my object, and thus have to lay hands on words, choose them and shoot them with no more pause than is needed to put my pen in the ink." 

Interested in a peak at some famous journals?  Flip through the pages here. Frida Kahlo's is my favorite.  Charlotte Bronte's is intense!

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