I used to think that the most useful tool that has helped me be productive over time was task managers. I used Franklin Covey products for years until they did not become easy to use digitally. I still love them despite that I have moved onto other products (Look for other posts in the future). However, I realized recently that it was journaling which is the key. I came to this thought recently when I had a chance to go back to the University in which I received my graduate degree (www.kennesaw.edu) a decade ago. One of the key components of the new student’s goal setting tasks through their MBA program is around journaling. I probably journaled before this, but I believe this is when it became very formal. I believe this is a foundation for any attempt to accelerate productivity. It has helped me personally balance the three or eight hats I wear in life.
I combine my journaling into several components. Part stream of consciousness, part gratitude, part spirituality, part action mandate. I believe that the major focus is to create journaling as an important habit, daily. What I am proposing sounds difficult to most if journaling is not part of your habit today. Most of us have a regimented day that has very little wiggle room. You probably have heard this before, but sometimes we can begin sometime new by taking a new activity in small -bite sizes. From my perspective it gives me a moment to open my thoughts and my mind to the possibilities of the day. Those thoughts should link to my mission and my goals (paying homage to Franklin Covey).
Sometimes my journals allow me to think about a specific thing that is important to me, service. I can’t recall where I heard this but there should be a moment in each day where we do something for others. The cool thing is that we can decided who. It could be family, someone at work, or someone in the community. I believe before this, my task lists and my thoughts were more inward looking each day. Not intentionally but we can sometimes become so focused on checking boxes, and proving ourselves to other we may forget that there are others that need us. I usually start my journal thinking about this, which can set the foundational mindset for the day. Start thinking about this and place a five-minute timer to gather your thoughts. I am going to share some of my personal favorite tools for journaling in this space in the coming days. Some will be digital and some will be analog. I will share my opinion on each of these and I hope you will share some of yours as well.
It’s a question I have been asking myself for some time. The things that have been accomplished in my life, does it end? How will I know when I have achieved the finale of something? How will I know if I have achieved anything? I don’t know sometimes. There are some days when I feel like I haven’t done a thing in my decades wandering this planet. Other days I feel victorious! It's like I have taken some tangible steps toward “winning”. Recently I had this realization after the run of my first play that I had every hand in production . I took a breath and asked myself “What happened?” A young man came to me after the premiere and he said he felt inspired to pursue his personal creativity. I looked away because there was a real feeling of being emotional. At that moment I realized the real reason why it was important. Not because of me, but of what it could create later from somewhere else. That gave some temporary solace but the next step began to nag. I started to feel myself being drawn to the “comfort” realm. There was the activity around making spreadsheets and creating plans for some big empire. I was keeping busy. That is not the reason why all those people came to see the show. It was not the reason why we garnered so much support in such a short time.
The vision of creating something that is potentially compelling is the reason. Each person I have ever met has a creative trigger within them. Some use it all the time and some use it in desperation tactic or as a contingency. That tells us that sometimes being reflective is the first step to answer what happens next. I have taken account of the things I did wrong. More importantly thinking about what went well is critical. That has made the process of getting back to the next steps slow. Stop making spreadsheets and really thinking about the future is the first step. Some people make vision boards to help with seeing the future. I like to dramatize or actually visualizing the goal (Like a scene:)). That requires some thought but definitely helps to propel the focus in the right direction. Also giving enough time for it to be real is another consideration. My natural tendency is to be impatient, but this important. It may be life changing. The next step in this series will be “Options” I hope you can join me and share your thoughts on “What happens next”. Life is a blast!
Welcome to Inspiration Corner. Here, you will find an abundance of motivational articles, stories, and quotes that touched I hope will touch your heart and ignite their spirits.