It’s amazing how helpful journaling can be to jot down some of your ideas, thoughts and even how you’re feeling.

One of the things I find gets in people’s way is knowing what to write and where to start.

And really there is no ‘best’ way to do it, you literally just write down what ever is on your mind.

I think when you put pressure on yourself to come up to a certain standard it can put you off before you even get going.

Grab a notebook, stick the date at the top and just… write!

I’ve been doing a lot more of this recently and it’s really been helping me process my thoughts.

I also find that when I start writing, new thoughts spring out of nowhere which in turn lead to more new ideas.

This hasn’t been limited to written journaling either.

Every day this year I’ve recorded a short video with thoughts and observations on my journey towards my motivational speaking goals.

And quite often I find that I have new ideas and make sense of things right there in the middle of the video.

Something to do with articulating thoughts I expect… taking them from the jumbled mess inside your head and putting them into some semblance of order and sense.

In yesterday’s video for example I was talking about how I had yet again failed to do any kind of meaningful work for this goal.

Understandable as it was a) a Sunday and b) I spent most of my day working on a DIY project (I’m putting in a new bathroom lol!).

But I found myself trying to make sense of this as I pointed the camera at my face, having said the day before that I was going to do at least an hour of productive work.

The realisation was that there are three categories of ‘useful work’ in this respect.

1) Following up with leads and developing business

2) Sharing who I am and what I do with the world (for example in these blogs and emails and social media posts)

3) Creating content (for example new talks, workshops and seminars)

I thought that was them all, but half way through the video I realised there’s actually a 4th, which I broadly categorised as ‘research and development’.

This is all the TED talks and presentation videos I watch, books that I read and listen to on my subject matter, and even the skills development of activities such as Toastmasters.

Even the daily videos I upload onto my YouTube channel.

The thing is, it’s #1, #2 and #3 that make me feel like I’ve ‘been productive’.

But #4 is just as important, and possibly more suited to the change of pace of a weekend.

That key insight might seem really obvious, but it was a revelation to me yesterday.

It took me from a feeling of guilt from getting behind on my promises, to one of control and empowerment that I am already doing a good job of balancing my personal and business goals, with my role as a father, husband and DIY-unenthusiast.

The insight was the result of 5 minutes of ‘journalling’, and has a real world value in terms of my effectiveness and happiness.

If you don’t already do any form of journalling, why not give it a go this week.

No expectations… no pressure… just 5-10 minutes of jotting down a few of your thoughts.

See what you come up with, and don’t forget to let me know if you uncover any gold!