The Finance Leader Podcast

072: Leaders Keep a Daily Journal

January 11, 2022 Stephen McLain Season 9 Episode 2
The Finance Leader Podcast
072: Leaders Keep a Daily Journal
Show Notes Transcript

As a leader, taking time to capture your thoughts and ideas is critical to developing a better work-flow for yourself and your team, and to explore your entire life. Keeping a journal is a great way to deep dive some ideas or other areas of your leadership and life to find areas that need to be improved. I recommend setting aside time to think and to write down those thoughts to help you gain clarity. Not only will you be able to capture your best ideas but keeping a journal can be a critical component to your overall self-care plan. 

Episode outline:

  1. Capture your best ideas at the ideal time,
  2. Helps your long-term focus and goal accomplishment,
  3. A critical part of a robust self-care plan, and
  4. How to maintain momentum in 2022.

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Stephen McLain:

This week I am talking about the benefits of keeping a journal. As a leader, taking time to capture their thoughts and ideas is critical to developing a better workflow for yourself and your team and to explore your entire life. Keeping a journal is a great way to deep dive some ideas on other areas of your leadership, and life to find areas that need to be improved. I recommend setting aside time to think and to write down those thoughts. To help you gain clarity. Not only we will be able to capture your best ideas, but keeping a journal can be a critical component to your overall self care plan. Please enjoy the episode. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host Stephen McLain. This is the podcast for developing leaders in finance and accounting. Please consider following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. My usernames and the links are in this episode's show notes. And also please join the Facebook group I have for this podcast community. Thank you. This is episode number 72. And now we'll be talking about the benefits of keeping a journal and I will highlight the following topics number one, capture your best ideas at the ideal time. Number two, helps your long term focus and goal accomplishment. Number three, a critical part of a robust self care plan and for how to maintain momentum in 2022. Author Jack London said keep a notebook travel with it. Eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and led the pencil markings and door longer than memory. We are now over a week into 2022. And how do you feel the year started for you? Of course, for many of you, you have monthly clothes to deal with as we get started on a fresh perspective. But that is what we do. Do you have clarity around your goals? Were you able to write out a plan of action that makes sense for you this year? Have you considered the important milestones in the lives of the special people in your life? Last week in Episode 71, I outlined a plan to make this year 2022 Your best year ever. It helped to address and capture the events and milestones, and 2022 that are important. These are events like birthdays and other personal milestones that are important to the people around you. And that should take priority. This helps to improve personal relationships. And since they are so much more important, they should be part of your plan for the year so that we never missed them. You have to believe me that this is important and you need to take your personal life seriously. Your close and personal relationships should never be taken for granted. Don't live with regrets if you chose a work project over your child's birthday, or other special event. This week, I am talking about the benefits of keeping a journal. Do you keep a journal or some other method to capture your ideas and to work through a problem? I have not been consistent over the years and keeping a journal at journal can definitely help you capture the great ideas or any thought that will help you out later. memory can be tricky, but when you write down your thoughts you capture it to be considered later. It may be an idea that will change everything and maybe some analysis around how you mishandled an adverse situation, or how you can be better at prioritizing your team's effort. For me, I have thoughts throughout the day, and I can't often write them down each time so they may be lost forever. Sometimes I will record audio where I describe what I am thinking so I can listen to it later. I believe that leaders should set a time aside every day where they can think and reflect. I wrote about this in a blog post a few years ago on Stephen McLain calm, I will put a link in the show notes to that post so you can read it. Journaling can be your time to build your focus and to help in your overall self care plan. The act of keeping a journal is setting aside time every day, where you commit yourself to writing out what you may be thinking. It's a time of exploration to figure out what you may need to work on and maybe to capture some important ideas around your mindset and leadership performance or a life goal. It's a time to recognize your bias and where you may need to alter how you lead and see yourself. Additionally, you need to celebrate your wins in your writing. We don't do that enough for ourselves. taking down notes has always been a part of my leadership style. Hi Have randomly kept a journal. For me, I was never consistent, and I had hangups with the art of keeping a journal. But I am more than convinced that a journal is truly beneficial to our personal growth, and our overall health. And I continue to carry a notebook to capture quick thoughts. But this episode is about committing ourselves to the act of keeping a written record of our daily thoughts, our struggles, our wins, and where we want to go. We need to address the very purpose for why we get up in the morning, and how we perceive the world and even how we believe the world perceives us. And that is the biggest reason to be keeping a daily journal. Now let's talk about a few key points about the benefits of keeping a journal. Number one, capture your best ideas at the ideal time. When is your best time to set aside to commit to writing? This must be a time where you can think and reflect on interrupted, but also what you are inspired. What drives your ability to think what environment helps you to find clarity. I know that at times during the day, I have ideas that I need to capture at the moment or they may be lost forever, which is a good reminder to keep away to capture them. But also you need to have set aside time dedicated to writing. Do you have hang ups about keeping a journal, I'm not asking you to keep a teenage type of diary, I am asking you to reflect on your mindset, how you are doing as a leader, how you can make the people around you better to think about how to make your team and your organization better. So determine your ideal time and environment to help you find clarity and focus. Number two, help your long term focus and goal accomplishment. Keeping a journal can help us identify what is holding us back. And where we are letting a challenge or obstacle get in our way. You have to be honest with yourself, write it down, what is holding you back and why is it happening? Address your challenges in your journal, and where you want to go in your life and in your career. Write about your goal progress, so you see it on the page. I like seeing the words on the page. So I organize my thoughts and develop a plan of action. We have goals because we know where we are today. But want to get to a new level in the future. A written goal helps us achieve that. One additional way to communicate your thoughts is that you can also draw diagrams and charts in your journal. I do this often as I write out ideas flowcharts and Venn diagrams helped me to shape the relationships within my thoughts and ideas. So I also want to encourage you to draw if you'd like to do that. Don't create more rules than you need to just start writing, start diagramming and start communicating with yourself. So you can grow as a leader and as a person. Number three, a critical part of a robust self care plan. I am an advocate for a well thought out and action self care plan. We need to avoid burnout over the long term and to be realistic on what we can accomplish each day. And each week. You need to sleep you need to get nourishment and you need to have breaks away from your tasks, to gather your thoughts and to refresh yourself. Keeping a daily journal helps you to address your mental health needs. And to work through any challenges to your mindset. Write it out. So you see it, then write it out as you overcome it, address the problem. Write out the solution and then journalize your progress towards a better you. Number four, how to maintain momentum in 2022. I'm asking you to be deliberate about your actions this year. We want to do the right things not just be busy, but to focus on where to place our effort and energy to make this year our best year ever. I asked you a few weeks ago about your life vision or purpose. When you live to see your vision or purpose fulfilled. This helps to keep you on track. Tie your goals to your vision so that as you tick off completed goals on your checklist, you are actually fulfilling that vision. Commit yourself to see that through and change your behaviors and habits to see it through. Continue to focus on the important aspects of your life. To do this, you need a self care plan or keeping a journal addresses how you're progressing. As a dedicated part of your life. Don't forget your goals. Don't forget your vision and purpose for your life. Keep driving towards that end state. This year, I'm asking you to do something different to focus on the right tasks and prioritize your effort in that direction. Keeping a daily journal can help you do that. So that is why I added this topic to be right after the goal setting episode. I didn't address this last year but this year this is a must do. So we write about where we are and where we want to be leaders should be thinking and then writing. It is a critical investment of your time to reflect on your thoughts. Now for action today, consider keeping a journal to capture your ideas and help you find clarity. Here are a few considerations to help you plan out your journaling. Do you want to keep a handwritten journal or type it out on your device? Set a dedicated time every day to write be committed to it? Where will you write? What is your ideal environment for writing, try to find some place that gives you inspiration, where you can be comfortable, where you can really focus on the act of writing. I want you to not only capture ideas, but capture your challenges and also celebrate your wins. Another key part of keeping a journal is that you are writing for yourself, no one will read your journal. Don't worry about proper punctuation or proper word usage. This is your journal no one else's. These are your thoughts for you only right away freely free yourself from your own hangups and obstacles. Don't create extra rules around your writing, get the thoughts on the page, right and keep writing, evaluate, look at the words on the page, and continue to write right away freely. Continue to free yourself from these hang ups. And this may very well help you with your own mindset. And then finally, develop a personal call to action for what you're writing about. What should you do with the ideas that you wrote down? Today I talked about the benefits of journaling and highlighted the following points. Number one, capture your best ideas at the ideal time. Number two, helps your long term focus and goal accomplishment. Number three, a critical part of a robust self care plan and for how to maintain momentum in 2022. The great leaders will use a journal to capture key ideas and thoughts about who they are and where they want to go. It's essential for addressing what your state of mind is and what may be holding you back, you can create a personal call to action in your journal to overcome your challenges and to address any leadership performance issue you may have. And also to address the goal you want to tackle in the future. I have tended to write down my thoughts on random pieces of paper, and even to make an audio recording, which I mentioned earlier, but the key is to get your thoughts on the page. So you see it, you see the words and then you can develop an action, your personal call to action to fulfill your purpose. Keeping a journal can help you do that. I am sure that a few of you may feel uncomfortable keeping a journal due to a fear of it being discovered. But please weigh the risk against what it can do to free your mind of thoughts and issues. So you gain clarity. Try to overcome that fear by freeing your own personal expression that is in fact for you to use for self improvement, and critical self care. I believe that in the long term keeping a journal has many more benefits than thinking about your fear of being found by someone just right. If you need to write about less invasive topics first, to get yourself in the habit and to feel okay about putting words on the page. Keeping a journal can help all of us to overcome many fears and many issues that may be holding us back. I want to leave you with one more journaling, quote, but it's from a fictional character. But I liked it so much. I wanted to share it anyway. It's from Mina Murray, from the book Dracula. And she said, journaling is like whispering to oneself and listening. At the same time. I really liked that concept. That's really the heart of keeping a journal. It's writing to yourself, and then listening at the same time to what you're writing. You're really trying to figure it out yourself so that you can continue to grow. Next week, I will be sharing an episode around finance and accounting career trends and I can't wait to share. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast I am dedicated to help you grow your leadership skills to change your mindset and to clarify your goals so you advance your career. If you find this episode wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, you can go to Finance leader to download the leadership growth blueprint for finance and accounting managers. The link is also in the show notes for this episode. And now the lead your team and I'll see you next time. Thank you