Leaders in a hurry can benefit from a fast daily journal process. Daily journaling is the process of getting our thoughts down on paper as we prepare to face the day or review the day’s end.
The men’s group I attend is working through a book study, and we discussed the benefits of keeping a daily journal. All of us have busy schedules, and someone suggested creating a brief template to follow.
I have found that when I have a journal template to follow, I am more productive and satisfied with the result.
We will look at three types of daily journals: gratitude, productivity, and feelings. We will discuss their respective benefits, include a personal example and a blank template for you to use.
Gratitude, a daily journal for leaders in a hurry to express thankfulness.
The gratitude journal is the most popular and easiest journal to do daily. It can be done in under a minute.
The benefit. Expressing gratitude can lead to better self-care, sleep, willpower, mental outlook, and better interactions with others.
What it is. The gratitude journal usually consists of one line. For example, List three things I am grateful for today.
Optional elements to include. A list of tangible ways to express gratitude by helping others.
Bonus. Name one thing you are grateful for each day alphabetically. A is for apples. I am grateful for the varieties of apples that are available for me to eat. B is for belief. I am grateful for the people who believed and invested in my life.
Productivity, a journal for leaders in a hurry to measure productivity and progress.
There are over 23 million entries in Bing on the phrase “Productivity Journal.” Many leaders have bought books and attended workshops in the pursuit of the perfect productivity template. Some keep their entries in a physical journal, while others use a digital method for collection.
The Benefit. Focus leads to clarity, self-awareness leads to energy, and a daily plan leads to productivity.
What it is. The productivity journal focuses on getting things done. It may include a prioritized task list for the day, unfinished tasks from yesterday, and a progress status for both. It typically will end with an action plan for the day.
Optional elements to include. A brain dump of everything on our minds, followed by identifying the top three tasks for the day. An action plan for unfinished tasks. Progress made, no matter how small, should be celebrated.
We often focus on what is incomplete or to be done without recognizing and celebrating our progress. I have found this PROGRESS MADE, NO MATTER HOW SMALL section, to be indispensable.
Bonus. What do I need from others today? Jack Warren addresses our reluctance as leaders to share our neediness.
A servant leader focuses on the needs of the individuals they lead. But an effective servant leader is willing to express what they need from the people they lead.
Feelings, a daily journal for leaders in a hurry to know themselves.
Feelings? Are you really going to talk about feelings? As leaders, we may associate emotions with an unwanted vulnerability. But the reality is that we all have emotions, affecting how we lead ourselves and others.
The benefit. Knowing what we are feeling and why is the first step to knowing ourselves and effectively managing our emotions. If we cannot manage our emotions, we are ill-equipped to manage the people we lead.
What it is. The feelings journal consists of two questions concerning our emotions. How do I feel this morning/evening? Why? How do I want to feel about the day? Carefree and spontaneous or laser-focused and productive?
Optional elements to include. What am I looking forward to today? Why? What am I dreading, or afraid of, today? Why? Inspiration. Thought of the day.
Bonus Tip: Here are the eight basic emotional categories and descriptive words for each. Select one of the descriptive words for the best results to help you verbalize what you might be feeling on a given day.
- ANGER: resentment, irritation, frustration.
- FEAR: apprehensive, overwhelmed, threatened.
- PAIN: hurt, pity, sad, lonely,
- JOY: hopeful, elated, happy,
- PASSION: enthusiasm, desire, zest,
- LOVE: affection, tenderness, compassion, warmth,
- SHAME: embarrassed, humble,
- GUILT: regretful, contrite, remorseful
My Expanded Personal Journal.
THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR TODAY: My family, health, and cooler weather. BIBLE VERSE: Psalms 51:1-2 Have mercy on me o God, according to your unfailing love. MY TAKEAWAY: God’s unfailing love for me drives his mercy. How can I express that love to others today?
HOW DO I FEEL TODAY? Eager, I have a lot to accomplish, but I anticipate success. What am I looking forward to today? Lunch with my wife. How do I want to feel about the day? Carefree and spontaneous or laser-focused and productive? Lazer focused. What do I need from others today? Encouragement from my friends.
PRODUCTIVITY: MY TOP 3 TASKS for today in order of importance. 1. Finish overdue surveys, 2.write Life Map, and 3. schedule a visit with my best friend. Celebrate progress, no matter how small: 1st draft of the blog complete. I began my LifeMap, PRAYER: God, thank you for your unfailing love for me and others. Please help me to complete the work joyfully. Amen.
I hope this will be useful to you. I include the full blank template below the call to action for you. It is highlighted in red.
Writing a daily journal can impact our outlook on life through an expression of gratitude. It can bring clarity and fuel productivity. It can lead to self-mastery by identifying and effectively communicating our feelings.
Call to Action.
If this was helpful to you, please consider sharing this article with someone who might benefit from it.
As promised, here is the blank template of my daily journal. Please feel free to copy, alter, and use the following template.
- Things I am grateful for today.
- Verse of the day:
- My takeaway:
- What are my top three priorities today?
- Any unfinished tasks?
- What progress, no matter how small, have I made?
- How do I feel today?
- How do I want to feel?
- What do I need from others, and do I have the courage to ask for it?
- My prayer for today.