When you think of the word journal you may picture a high school assignment you hated or a 12-year-old girl writing with a fuzzy pen but keeping a daily work journal may be one of the best things you can ever do for your career. Why? This frequent reflection can help you in various situations throughout your career. Here are just a few:
1. Preparing for a Raise: When you have a recorded list of your workplace milestones you’ll be able to share these accomplishments more easily with your boss when you’re having a conversation about getting a raise. The best way to present this conversation is always by approaching it from the value you bring to the company. Using your daily journal to record specific scenarios where you create value, exceed expectations, and achieve great things in the workplace will help you when it’s time for you to have a conversation about a raise with your boss.
2. Self Evaluation: Whether or not you work at a company that does end of year reviews, doing frequent self reviews or self evaluations can help you see what you’re accomplishing and which areas you can improve in at work. This information will help you determine which skills to learn next, which areas to focus on, and what your strengths truly are and it’s easier to perform a self evaluation when you have this information written down each day.
3. Venting in Written Form Rather than Out Loud: Sometimes there are frustrating situations or interpersonal issues on the job. Would you rather burden your friends, family, or coworkers by venting your negativity and frustration or write it down, let it out, and then let it go? The healthier and more professional way of doing it is by writing it down and your daily work journal is a great place to record this information. Remember, if you write anything particularly negative in the heat of the moment you may want to tear out that page at a later date or, if venting becomes a regular part of your work journal, it may be time to move on to a new opportunity.
4. Keep Track of Your Mistakes: We all make mistakes but, when we don’t learn from them, it becomes an issue at work. Just like tracking your accomplishments, tracking your mistakes can help you evaluate where you need to improve, if you’re doing the best you can in your job, and what skills you may need to learn so you can be better equipped to succeed in the future.
5. Knowing When to Move On: Sometimes we stay in a job for far too long because we don’t realize that we’ve stopped learning new things or we don’t notice how negative the environment really is on a day to day basis. It’s so much easier to know when it’s time to move on to a new opportunity if you keep a daily work journal!
Daily work journals may not be a common practice but they should be. For the aforementioned five reasons and more, a daily work journal can help you succeed, get raises, know what to learn, and know when to move on. Try it for yourself!