For Greater Productivity, Try Journaling

I’ve recently started a new process that I’ve found very useful, and I wanted to share it with other folks who may be having difficulty getting a jump-start on their day.

Journaling.

Now, I’m not talking about a touchy-feely diary (if that’s your thing, no offense, it’s just not mine), I’m talking about a serious reflection on your previous day, and a look ahead to the day at hand.

Set aside a few minutes at the beginning of each day to ask yourself the following six questions:

1. What did I accomplish Yesterday?
This doesn’t need to cover every aspect of your day, just the major highlights. List any milestones hit, goals accomplished, etc.

2. What went right?
List what worked for you. Maybe you had a good interaction with an employee or a vendor, or maybe an educated guess panned out.

3. What went wrong?
This might be more important than what went right. A mentor of mine once said “If you don’t fall down every once in a while, you aren’t moving fast enough!” Take a moment to jot down all the times you fell down yesterday.

4. What did I learn?
Every great entrepreneur has had an equally great failure. It’s what they learned from those failures that made them great. If you embrace this philosophy, you’ll begin see some some great hidden truths.

5. What’s scheduled for today?
Again, no need to list every meeting on your calendar, just highlight the major points.

6. What is the single most important task for me to complete today?
If you could only accomplish one thing today, what would it be? What is the most effective use of your time? Take this moment to prioritize your list and focus your thinking.

If you spend more than 15 minutes doing this exercise then you’re probably over-thinking it. Again, we’re just looking for the broad strokes here; the things that really matter.

I think you’ll find over time that you begin to really focus on what truly matters, that you’re more honest with yourself regarding your successes and failures, and that you learn from your mistakes and incorporate those learnings back into your daily routine. Give this a try for seven days and let me know in the comments if this has worked for you as well as it has for me.

photo credit: incurable_hippie via photopin cc

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