Wednesday Inspiration: Keeping a Work Diary

I’m always on the lookout for journaling inspiration, and I think I’ve found an idea that just might work for me. Here’s Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile on tracking your small wins to motivate big accomplishments:

Amabile and her colleagues conducted research in which 238 creative professionals sent in daily diary reports during the course of a creative project they were working on; in total they analyzed nearly 12,000 diary entries.

One of the things they discovered were these benefits of keeping a work diary:

  1. Celebrate small wins
  2. Plan next steps
  3. Nurture personal growth
  4. Cultivate patience

And her tips for keeping a work diary? Start small. Don’t make a big commitment to it. Just tell yourself you’ll do it for a month, five to ten minutes a day. Focus on just one project or issue you want to work on. Pick a time when you won’t be interrupted, and if you can make this the same time every day, even better. Use a medium you enjoy. Then reflect on your day. See what stands out for you from your work day, and capture it in your diary.

And from this article at 99u on keeping a diary:

It turns out that jotting down your thoughts—before they change—makes your feelings of progress stick.

I figure I could do with some of that—having my feelings of progress stick. And if that can be done by keeping track of my small wins, I’m all for giving it a try. And most of you know how I’m always pining for a way to finally–finally!–develop a journaling habit.

5 thoughts on “Wednesday Inspiration: Keeping a Work Diary

  1. Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll)

    Perfect timing. I’ve been inspired by Syllabus by Lynda Barry to pick up a composition journal, but I’m headed into a very business-y time, so Barry’s more artistic prompts aren’t as appropriate as these. I’m going to try a mash-up!

    Reply
  2. Ti

    A work diary would be good for performance appraisal time too. I am always asked about my accomplishments for the year and I come up blank even though I know I had plenty.

    Reply
  3. Heidenkind

    That sounds very beneficial. But I’m with Candace, I’ve never been able to make journaling stick. Sometimes you just have accept things about yourself. HOWEVER, I might give this a try when I’m feeling discouraged/overwhelmed at freelancing.

    Reply

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