I can’t remember when I first started using a business journal. I can’t even remember who I heard it from as I’ve been using them for so long. Some of my journals have been plain, and some have been “non-plain” as the picture proves.
Hands down my business journals have been my secret weapon over the years because when I use them, I am unstoppable. When I get lazy and ignore them, I fail.
It isn’t an easy habit to get into, but once you do, ideas open up to you. It may not seem like it at first, but a business journal is one of the most important parts of your business, and you should make it a priority.
I know what you are probably thinking right now; “Writing things down is just a huge waste of time. I’m a doer.” Yeah, sure you are. I used to think like you too, and I couldn’t figure out why I kept failing over and over. Oh yeah, because I wasn’t tracking what I was doing, writing down my ideas, listing my stresses and figuring out how to solve my biggest problems.
That’s important stuff right there. So if you don’t have the time, I have an easy solution for you: Make Time.
Get a business journal you can take with you. Handheld. Durable. It doesn’t need to be expensive; it just needs to work for you. And if you think you can use an app for your business journal, that will get a big “Nope” from me. It has to be physical. It’s important. There is something about a pen to paper that makes this process work.
The best uses of your business journal:
1. Writing Down Your Ideas.
We’ve all been there, you have a killer idea while you are out at lunch, race back to the office, and you struggle to remember the details. The killer idea is gone. One of the best ideas I had in my career was with a snowboard strapped to my feet. I found a nice soft place to sit, took out my business journal, and wrote down the full detail of my idea. That was more than ten years ago, and I still earn revenue from that idea.
Years from now, you will find an old business journal, and you may run across an old idea you had forgotten about which wasn’t doable, but today, with new technology, more available cash, and a stronger staff, the impossible idea can now be possible.
2. To-Do List.
Many swear by iPhone apps or Cloud services to track their to-do lists. Not me. I write them out by hand every night before I go to bed. Why before bed? I get all the stuff out of me so it isn’t on my mind and I can sleep. There is just something magical when pen meets paper that your brain opens up, dumps stuff out, so you can rest.
3. Track Your Time.
Have issues with your productivity? Write down your daily routine for 2-3 days and look for patterns or “time stealers” during the day.
4. Problem Solving.
Did you find a solution to a problem? Write down what you did, as you may run into it again weeks or months in the future. When you do, you will have a step-by-step plan of action to solve it.
5. Goal Setting.
Forget about where you want to be in five years. No one knows that with how technology changes. My goals are by the week and by the month. This way I can plan and prioritize correctly to meet my goals.
So get out and get a business journal and start the process. Every person I have shared this with who has implemented it has come back to me months or years later to say it was the turning point in their career.