Leading people is a responsibility to take seriously. And with all the tasks that we need to juggle, chances are, we rely more and more on electronics to keep tabs on everything. Or, perhaps a better way of putting it is that all our gadgets are keeping tabs on us.
With 24/7 e-mail and instant messaging, leaders may easily become caught up in the urgent and not have time for deeper thought. In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport compares the quality of thinking and work done in the context of undistracted time versus that with so many things simultaneously vying for our attention.
This is where journaling comes in. Journaling is the process of writing down your thoughts, allowing you to process them as you write.
Note the keyword, “write.” We’re talking about literally holding your fingers around a pen and putting pen to paper. While we’ve seen plenty of Notes or Journal apps crop up, nothing beats good old pen and paper. Studies show that writing by hand engages the mind more than typing.
Why is Reflection Important in Leadership?
Leading people requires you to carve time out for yourself for reflection and self-evaluation. These are crucial for your development as a leader: they help you identify areas of weaknesses, and plot ways to improve them, which improves your overall relationship with other people.
The Benefits of Journaling for Leaders
Journaling has many more benefits especially for you as a leader. Check out some of these below:
1. Journaling helps you process emotions.
Let’s face it. Leaders aren’t immune to emotions: we feel them just as everybody else does. But one big difference is that leaders know how to handle these emotions by prioritizing self-awareness.
Journaling is one way of processing these emotions as they come, especially since you will not always have someone to talk to about them. They say that leadership can be a lonely road, but having your own outlet will help you stay at full potential!
2. You become more effective when you journal.
When problems come to you from all sides, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and pressured to do everything at once. (Which is hardly possible!) But when you get some time out to yourself, you can write down everything that’s hankering for your attention. From that posture, you can see them more clearly and choose which ones are most important.
In fact, as you journal, you can start to categorize them according to the quadrants in Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle, helping you be more effective as a leader:
3. When you journal, you can reflect on your big “why.”
In the midst of all the demands around you, sometimes it’s easy to forget why you’re even where you are! When that happens, it’s time to get out your trusty journal and lock the door for a few minutes. Take some deep breaths and start to write down your questions, doubts, and start reminding yourself of your purpose and motivations.
Leaders who regularly remind themselves of their vision are more likely to reach them.
4. When you journal, you can appreciate the little degrees of progress.
As a leader, it’s easy to get frustrated when goals aren’t met as fast as you would like. Daily taking some time off to write down what you appreciate about your team can help keep this frustration at bay.
Journal to Grow As a Leader
Set aside some time regularly to write down your thoughts and realizations, and you will grow in your skills as a leader.
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