It is said that the average person has approximately 50,000 thoughts per day. This constant inner-chatter means that our brains often struggle to determine which thoughts we need to take note of and which aren’t of any real importance. We speak less than we think but most of us still talk a lot so it makes sense that the things to penetrate our subconscious mind the most, are those we write down.
Setting goals, planning for the future and analyzing the past are all useful exercises in both your business and personal life. When setting up a business, we often make business plans but forget that these documents should be an ongoing process of planning, taking stock and making projections for the future.
Maybe Bridget Jones was on to something…
Journaling is an activity that few of us find time to do but can be hugely beneficial in many ways. Taking just 5-10 minutes a day to put pen to paper can help us gain clarity around certain areas in our lives and capture ideas.
Success coach and author Hal Elrod talks about the importance of journaling in his book The Miracle Morning: “By getting your thoughts out of your head and putting them in writing, you gain valuable insights you’d otherwise never see…you can document your insights, ideas, breakthroughs, realizations, successes, and lessons learned, as well as any areas of opportunity, personal growth or improvement.”
Writing down what we want in life can take us one step closer to achieving those things. From that we can begin to map out a path of what we need to do, step-by-step to achieve our goals and create the lives we want. Otherwise they are just ideas floating round in our head, along with the other several thousand.
In the workplace…
How many times have you kicked yourself for not writing something down and later forgetting it, whether it was a new idea or something you had to do? We are all accustomed to writing down to-do lists and scribbling notes whilst we are on the phone but if we spent 5 minutes at the beginning and end of each day to set out in writing the things we want to achieve that day, planning for meetings, setting objectives, reflecting on what we thought went well, could have gone better, areas for improvement etc., we could really gain some clarity around our achievements and areas for improvement in the workplace.
We all have a book in us…
Many people I know want to write a book of some kind but most find it almost impossible to get started or make any real progress. Realistically, how many of us will go on to become published authors? Very few, but that doesn’t mean the process of writing is a lost task. It can be used as an outlet of creativity, which is brilliant for boosting creativity in other areas of your life too, including the workplace. Why not start writing that book you’ve been thinking about for so many years and who knows what will emerge.
Writing as therapy…
When we are feeling such intense emotions, sometimes it can be hard to think straight. Our thoughts are muddled and we often end up going round and round in negative thought patterns. Writing can help us identify the important parts of our stories and share them somewhere, even if we’re not ready to share them with another human being. Getting something down on paper can help us deal with it, whether it was something traumatic that happened or a difficult situation at work.
Gillie Bolton, a researcher at King’s College London suggests chucking the rules of writing out of the window. Begin with what she calls a ‘mind dump’. Just write for six minutes, whatever comes into your head, don’t edit, don’t worry about grammar, spelling or style and don’t stop writing. If you get into the habit of doing this regularly, the benefits will become obvious.
The amazing thing about writing is that it’s available to anyone, anywhere. All you need is a pen and a piece of paper or your laptop and you’re away. You can write at home, on the train, in your favourite coffee shop, in the park, the options are endless. Escape the overwhelming noise of everyday life and take a few moments to get back to basics and put pen to paper.
About the author
Mel Hales is the Director of Rush Talent Corporate: www.rushcorporate.co.uk