Home Articles Journalling: Work it out with a pencil

    Journalling: Work it out with a pencil


    “The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.” — Thomas J. Watson, President of IBM (1914-52)
    OK, so business is great, but that wonderful burst of ideas you had in those early planning days has been replaced by a to-do list as long as both your arms – and you’ve lost your zest.
    Where can you go to rekindle that river of dreams? To the pages of your journal!
    No, I’m not going crazy – set yourself a goal to find a ‘Momentum Moment’ every day (preferably more) and journal, journal, journal.
    Everybody has their own ideas on journalling. To some it is an outpouring of their soul, others use them to catch ideas, some people journal to record their achievements or set goals.
    The great part about journalling is that you can do it anywhere, anytime in anything. There are no rules and no mistakes, only the mistake of not beginning.
    Write about your day. But rather than simply complaining about work, try to delve into the root of the problem. What exactly don’t you like? What would you rather be doing? Journalling allows you to express and acknowledge your frustrations and can help you to discover why you are feeling a certain way and what you can do about it.
    University of Texas psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journalling strengthens immune cells. Other research indicates that journalling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, reducing their impact on your physical health.
    Tools: find a nice blank book, preferably one that you cannot sneakily rip pages out if they don’t turn out the way you like them. Remember that there are no such things as mistakes, only opportunities to be explored. Also get some bright coloured pens – they spark the page and encourage creative thoughts.
    Time: first thing in the morning, last thing at night, lunchtime, waiting for your coffee… anytime you are alone is the right time to journal.
    A Momentum Moment is a quick creative burst that is designed to put your mind to work on your business again. It helps you rekindle that creative spark that inspired you in the first place.
    The most useful skill when journalling is a basic attitude, a willingness to start not with the question, "What do I want to do?" but with the question, "What needs to be done?" Think about the challenges in your business.
    Write a few words that sum up what needs to be done to move your business forward smack bang in the centre of the pages – for example, “Cheaper wood source” or “On demand supply” – really simplify it.
    Doodle, squiggle, write random words and think about your problem in its simplest form. Then, when your time is up, stop. Close the book and move on with your day.
    A few hours later revisit that page and add some more words, ideas, and doodles. You will probably find that your subconscious has been hard at work thinking about your problem and you have plenty to write when you re-focus your attention on it. Stop. Close the book and move on.
    The third time, review what you have already written, start a new page, write your problem at the top and fill the lines with solutions. Write quickly, without thinking and without criticism. Let the words flow. Write big, small, off the lines, use colours, drop capitals, anything to juice up your page.
    Review what you have written and think laterally to see if there is a workable solution within your ramblings. Nine times out of ten, embedded in there is a gem of an idea. Your job as an entrepreneur is to dig it out and polish it into a business benefit.
    If you’re not getting the answers you need, keep going, but ask a better question. When you’ve solved one problem, don’t stop. You’re on a roll.
    Nicky Tillyer is a creativity advocate who helps unleash creative souls.  Email [email protected] to join the revolution.