Clever journal prompts are every entrepreneur’s secret weapon. Journaling is the art of asking and answering burning questions that might otherwise go round and round in your head.
I’m not just saying this because I’m a coach, but we should all have a coach. I do. But I only speak to her once a month.
As a business owner, I need to prioritise and make decisions every day. I need to coach myself on the things I find hard. Procrastination or distraction, and overwhelm are things I wrestle with, as do so many of my clients.
Yet, as Adam Grant, Professor of Organisational Psychology at the Wharton Business School, says:
“Procrastination isn’t laziness. You don’t put off tasks to avoid work. You do it to avoid unpleasant emotions – self-doubt, boredom, confusion, frustration. The task you’re avoiding isn’t always the one you hate. Sometimes it’s the one you fear. The one that’s most worth pursuing.”
Can you see why I encourage you to re-read your journaling focusing on emotions?
Learn why and how journaling helps and use journaling questions to kick start your morning routine.
Top journal prompts to journal like a boss
How am I now at this moment; what am I thinking, how am I feeling?
Set a timer for three minutes and write without pausing. Don’t edit or critique. Get everything that’s front of mind out on your page. Take a pause and a stretch (maybe sip that coffee) and then re-read and note your emotions.
What – if anything – does this mean for my day?
You do NOT have to take any action or draw conclusions from your three minutes of free writing. Learn to free yourself from writing for a specific outcome. However, there may be things bubbling up due to your writing and spending a minute or two – no longer – can be worthwhile.
How do I feel about the day ahead? How will those feelings help and hinder me?
This taps into what Adam Grant is talking about – our feelings get in the way of our actions – so let’s surface our feelings and deal with them so that we can take action. You could brainstorm your sentiments first and then consider help and hinder each emotion. Always take time to consider both the shadow and the light behind each feeling.
What’s the one thing I need to do today above all others?
Getting things done is about priorities. Asking yourself this question can help reduce the overwhelm of that never-ending to-do list. If you struggle with answering this question, set a timer for three minutes again and use freewriting to explore your options.
What resources do I need to call on today to be successful?
Try to link your resources to the one thing you need to do, alongside the other items on your to-do list.
Starting your journalling practice
The answers to your prompts might be very similar every day. Still, it’s worth reminding ourselves of our own inner resources – persistence, creativity, courage, intellect, etc. As well as people we know that might help us.
As business owners, we often think we need to do it all ourselves, so reminding ourselves who can emotionally support us or practically help.
Moyra Mackie is an expert in journaling for wellbeing and self-expression. Find out about her book on how to journal and her guided journaling community.