People who keep journals swear by its benefits. Once someone begins the practice of keeping a journal, they rarely abandon it. That's because it's an incredible tool for helping you to define and set goals, express your emotions both positive and negative, and remind yourself of things that inspire you. It's also a way for you to record progress so you can celebrate your successes and be accountable for things you weren't able to accomplish yet. A journal is a place where you can gather your thoughts, set intentions, express emotions, and ultimately record your progress as you move through life. There's no doubt that journaling can help you be more productive. Journaling is essentially a practice in planning, strategizing, expressing, and reflecting. Here are some ways in which journaling can help you improve your productivity:

A Place to Keep Track of Your Goals

Writing down goals can have an incredible impact on your ability to accomplish them. A study at Dominican University revealed that students who wrote down their goals had a drastically higher rate of reaching them than students who didn't write their goals down. The act of writing them down causes you to consider what your goals are in the first place. It's also a way for you to make a pact with yourself — you can think of your goal list as a written contract you make with yourself. This is what you want to accomplish. Now it's written down. Writing your goals in your journal also serves as a reminder every time you open it to write in it again.

A Place for Making To-Do Lists

A journal is a great place for you to also keep lists of more immediate tasks. Maybe you're applying to college or graduate school and you have a list of essays and recommendations you have to write. Maybe you're looking for a new job and you're writing your resume. Or you're planning to start a blog and you're making a list of things you need to do in order to get started. Whatever you have on your plate, writing these things down in a journal can be an ideal way for you to organize yourself to accomplish these tasks.

A Place for Analyzing Yourself

You can write down your thoughts on your own productivity. Consider the following questions:
  • What tasks did you accomplish?
  • How long did it take?
  • What tasks are still on your list?
  • What's slowing your productivity?
  • What increases it?
  • What part of the day are you most productive?
  • What part of the day are you least productive?
  • Are you getting enough sleep?
  • Are you eating well?
  • Are you stressed? What's causing your stress?
  • How can you organize things so that you can work more efficiently and happily?
By setting aside time where you can consider and analyze the different parts that make up your day, you can eliminate or minimize habits that don't work for you and take advantage of ones that do.

A Place for You to Vent

We all have bad days. And more often than not, a bad day also means lack of concentration and low productivity. But what if you're having a bad day and you have a looming deadline? Sometimes, just writing things down can help you work through your negative feelings. If you're sad or frustrated or feeling overwhelmed, allowing yourself the time to express yourself can be therapeutic. It's important to have an outlet to express our feelings. Writing them down could also prevent you from accidentally unleashing some of your pent-up feelings on someone else. Once you've written them down, you may find that it's easier for you to leave your feelings behind and move on with your day.

A Place for You to Write Down Inspiring Phrases

Everyone needs inspiration. You could reserve a space in your journal to write down words or phrases that inspire you. Some people like to write down intentions or affirmations such as:
  • I am an intelligent and capable person.
  • I am a lovable person.
  • I live my life in peace and harmony.
  • I am a positive force in my professional environment.
Whether it's writing down quotes from people you admire or writing affirmations or any other type of writing exercise that makes you feel good, a journal can be a fantastic springboard for setting the tone for an awesome day.

Journal Provides a Reference

One particularly enjoyable part about keeping a journal is going back and reading it after some time has passed. Here you have a chance to see how you've evolved, what problems still persist for you, and what problems you've solved. Hopefully it can give you a sense of pride for having accomplished some of the goals you wrote down. It's also a place where you can hold yourself accountable for goals you didn't meet. It can allow you to reflect on why you weren't able to meet that goal: was it unrealistic or did you get sidetracked? What can you differently in order to make that dream a reality? Convinced yet? Don't take our word for it. Start your own journal practice and see where it leads you!
Author Bio: Megan Hicks is a productivity and self-development geek, constantly searching for the new ways to improve her performance. She currently works as a content writer at WriteThisEssay company.
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