At Talentedly, we are on a mission to bring technology + people together to help them grow from good to great at work. Lately, we’ve been exploring the science behind the habits of successful people. While there are many great habits you could pour your energy into, the one we love the most (because it is so simple) is keeping a job journal.
Professionally successful and happy people keep a job journal. Journaling is a habit that anyone who is serious about building a successful career should do every single day. Click here to download a simple framework we put together, and find out why you should prioritize this activity to the top of your daily “To Do” list.
Once you’ve reviewed our framework, it’s time to bring some technology into your work life that will get you started. Paper by Fifty Three is one of our favorite apps for capturing it all. From prose to doodles, this is the app you want to keep all your journals in.
Now that you’ve got the tools, it’s time to get to work! We’ve designed the perfect project that gets you started on building your journaling muscle by focusing one of your most important work assets: your brand. Follow these five simple steps and we promise: you’ll start to grow from good to great at work.
Secure a spot where you won’t be interrupted for at least 30 to 60 minutes — or however long you think it will take you to answer the following question, “What special/unique talents do I have that I feel benefit my team, co-workers, manager and/or company?” Write, sketch or doodle your way to the answer.
If you asked your colleagues to describe you, what would they say? Are there three descriptive words you hope would come to mind? Write them down in your journal. Over the course of the next five days, spend 15 minutes at the end of each day thinking about what you did (your actions, your words) that actively promoted the image that you want your co-workers to have of you. Did you embody those three descriptive words throughout the day? Write it down.
What about your brand in team interactions? Go through your calendar and select two projects that you feel were successful and two that didn’t go so well. Now, reflect on why you believe each project went well or was derailed. Was the client too demanding? Was the internal team prepared? Were there enough resources to meet the deadline? How did your actions contribute to the outcome? Were you acting in a manner consistent with how you want people to perceive you? Be honest, be bold and be brave when you write it all down.
You’re almost there! Just like you did in Step 1, you will need to find 30 to 60 minutes where you won’t be interrupted — it’s time to bring it all together. Go back and re-read your entries and notes. What are the common “themes” that have come up over the course of the last week? When do you embody the brand you want people to have of you? What are the circumstances when you are acting in a manner that is consistent with your brand? When are you out of sync? Boil it down into simple situational work statements like, “I am at my best when I am working with Tom, Jane and Sall,y” or “I do not embody my brand when I feel like I am doing all the work.” Don’t worry if there are more negative than positive situational work statements. Self-awareness is neither good nor bad; it just is.
Now that you know your situational work statements, take a look at your calendar and plan ahead. Identify potential “bad” situations and actively think about how you can engage with others in a way that reflects — and builds — your brand. Make sure that you actively journal about your interactions (and actions) so that you can reflect about what has changed and what has stayed the same. Above all, remember that by actively writing in, and reviewing, your journal you will begin to see the progress you are making toward embodying your brand at work in every situation.