The Benefits of Keeping a Work Journal

The Benefits of Keeping a Work Journal

Journaling isn’t just for teens. Here’s why keeping a career journal can help you get ahead at the office.
We’ve probably all fallen into this trap. We are so concerned with accomplishing the many tasks on our to-do lists that we forget to stop and look at the big picture. We forget to think about how we can go above and beyond, consider what we’ve accomplished, or even check-in with how we’re feeling at work.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re regularly reflecting on your career? Keeping a work journal.
In a Harvard Business Review article, “The Power of Small Wins,” Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer discuss the concept of what they’ve termed the “power principle”. The authors asked professionals to keep diaries at work and, after studying these diaries, they identified the power principle, which states:

“Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run.”

The authors wrote about how managers could effectively use work journals and the power principle to motivate employees, but I think that you can use their findings to motivate yourself by making sure that you’re regularly reflecting and celebrating your progress and small wins at work.
Keeping a daily journal on office life and career progress is imperative to keeping track of just that.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Sitting down and staring at a blank page at the end of a long workday can seem like just another thing to cross off of your to-do list unless you come prepared. Instead, it may be helpful to write the answers to these five questions daily (or weekly, if you prefer):
  • What is one lesson (or lessons, if you have many!) that I learned today?
  • Did anyone compliment or comment on my work today? What did they say? (Bonus: This makes it easier to remember your accomplishments when you want to ask for a raise or promotion!)
  • What is one big thing that I accomplished today?
  • Did I do anything above and beyond my basic job description today?
  • What is one way that I can go above and beyond tomorrow?
Even if you can only fit this in once a week, this exercise will help you reflect, focus, and consider the big picture of your career., #writeitalldown, #lessonslearned, #keepingtrack, #journaling, written by: Elana Lyn Gross/ Photo by Joe&Kathrina


  1. This is a really awesome idea!

    • Thanks! It does come in handy at appraisal time. 🙂

      • Oh yes! I can totally see that being useful.

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