By Melissa Sweat, Online Community Manager
Among the world’s most productive people, Benjamin Franklin still stands as tough competition for the top. This uncannily-industrious Founding Father was not only a politician, but an inventor, musician, printer, postmaster, scientist, author, and—not surprisingly—a chronic journal writer. “What good shall I do this day?” wrote Franklin in the wee morning hours of his “scheme,” where he charted his daily goals and schedule. And at day’s end, he posed another question of reconciliation: “What good have I done today?”
One of the reasons why Franklin was so productive is that he held himself accountable to his goals and ambitions—and his chief method for doing so was the daily journal. Let’s explore four reasons why using a paper journal—yes, paper!—can help accelerate your accomplishments and make you more productive in the digital world.
The Power of Paper. “It takes just a few seconds, literally 5 to 10 seconds, to capture an important note in the paper journal,” writes People-OnTheGo Founder Pierre Khawand in his Accomplishing More With Less Workbook. “In the electronic world, it may take that much time, and usually much more, just to get to the application where we capture the information.” A paper journal, in this case, is actually faster and more efficient than an electronic device; it’s quieter, easily portable, and requires no batteries or charge, so it’s always going to be there and ready to use. The paper journal can be inspiring, too, like these handmade, recycled journals from Recover Your Thoughts, and a good change of pace from our digitally-dominated world.
Reflecting & Reconciling. Like Ben Franklin’s good example, reflecting on what we intend to accomplish at the start of the day and reconciling what changes have occurred at the end of the day—seeing if goals were met, what needs to followed up on, etc. helps “put a stake in the ground," as Pierre says. This way we cannot avoid or escape our goals and ambitions; the journal holds us accountable on a daily basis.
Write it, then let it rest. If we have a sudden burst of inspiration, an idea or strategy to jot down, or some item relating to our daily tasks that needs to be attended to later, the journal allows us to write it down quickly, then get back to the job at hand. Instead of analyzing the importance of that information in the moment, the journal enables us to quickly capture it and gives us the distance to process it at a later time—instead of interrupting our focus.
Intend. Affirm. Act. So many times in life and at work, we beging a project only to lose our intention and commitment to follow through with action. Just as we hold ourselves and our goals accountable in a journal on a daily basis, journaling in the long-term helps us keep on the path of our greater mission. If we want to make a change in our lives, journaling about it daily for a week or two can also help bring clarity to the change, and we may find our commitment level increases, as well. We may even discover more insight surrounding this intention than we would have simply by letting our thoughts wander.
In short: Capture your intentions. Hold yourself accountable. “Dare to journal!” as Pierre encourages. “The results can be beyond your imagination.”