You probably hear all the time how important it is to keep a journal and what it can do for you.  I am going to weed out the truth behind journal entries and what they can and can’t do.  As a reader reading this post, I would be very skeptical of the title I placed for this post.  I am going to explain why this title holds truth if you apply what I am going to give you in the correct manner.


why to write a journal

Why you should be skeptical

If you just grab a piece of paper and start writing, that will not change your career in any way shape or form.  If you have no purpose behind writing in your journal it will do nothing for you.

What is the Purpose of Writing in a Journal

Some of the most common stressors in the work place are conflicts that arise outside of the workplace that interfere with your career.  When it comes down to it, the amount of work and the quality of work that you produce will directly coincide with the quality of career that you will have.  Stressors are things that stress you out during the day when you should be busy doing something else.  Some common stressors are finances, lack of health, familial conflicts, etc.  You constantly hear the phrase “don’t bring work home with you”, or “don’t bring your family to work with you”.  This point seems valid but also impossible.  I don’t think this should be entirely carried out.  I don’t think that a robotical worker that never takes a break is something that is realistic.  So what is the point of writing in a journal?

The point of writing in a journal is to give you a sense of control.  Writing in a journal decreases the little mosquitos of thoughts that are constantly biting at you during the day.  What are the most common important areas in people’s lives?

  • Spirituality
  • Physical Health
  • Family
  • Work
  • Purpose/Aspirations
  • Mental Health/Self Esteem

Journaling helps you review all of these areas in your life to take more control of your life.  When you know what you’re doing and have a sense of control you can put the energy you have towards where it needs to be placed instead of wasting energy by bringing worries and stresses from outside the work into work.

How should you journal?

When you journal, you should review each one of the areas above, or the most important areas in your life.  Each day, morning and night, write about what you are feeling and what will be hard in trying to commit yourself to work on the most important areas of your life.  Commit yourself to spend at least 5 minutes during the day on everything that you feel is necessary to change.  

What are you actually doing when you write in a journal?

What two journal entries a day allows you to do is it allows you to know where you are at with all of these areas in your life.  When you know where you are at with the most important areas in your life you will feel in control and less stressed out because you know exactly what you need to do and you are constantly in contact with what you need or with what those around you need.  By journaling twice a day you are making time to stress out so that you don’t need to stress out on the job.  If you journaled correctly, you know what you need to know and have committed 5 minutes towards that task that you will accomplish sometime during that day.  You no longer have to worry about that thing on the job because you have created a space for that problem to exist outside of work.  You also know that you will review everything during the night which helps you to relax.  By doing this, you can put work energy towards work and family energy towards family instead of getting caught in the trap of putting worrying energy against work and worrying energy against family.  

So what can’t journaling do?

Journaling can’t instantly make everything better.  Journaling can’t make some tragic experience go away.  Journaling can’t solve all of your problems.

What can journaling do for you?

Journaling can give you the habits necessary to make little changes in your life that will eventually make big changes.  Journaling will help you know where you are at in your life so that you don’t have to spend time worrying about everything during the day.  Journaling helps you put your energy where it needs to go.  Journaling creates a time and a place for you to put your tragic experiences in perspective in how it applies in your life.


About the guest author:

Tyler Dahl is a freelance writer who dedicates his time to finding solutions for people who feel they can’t go anymore.  He specializes in writing about self-motivation and chronic pain.  If you would like to contact him you can do so on his LinkedIn.