5 Ways You Can Use a Journal for Professional Development

Professional DevelopmentJournals are not just for recording your innermost thoughts, your dreams or the events of the day. Using a journal can be a powerful way to ignite your professional development. You probably already have a work notebook for things like task lists or meeting notes. Consider using journaling as part of your everyday work life for professional development as well. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

1. Self-evaluation
You can use your work journal as a way of assessing your performance. Take regular pulse checks of your achievements, the times you hit your targets or brought on new clients. Make a note of any feedback you receive. Reflect on how projects went, what went well, what you would change. By the time your annual performance review comes around, you’ll be well prepared.

2. Analyze your current job
Sometimes jobs can evolve. It can be a useful exercise to sit down with your position description and see how the current reality matches up. Are you doing things that aren’t listed? Are there things you should be doing but aren’t? If your position has grown beyond its official description, maybe it’s time to ask for a re-evaluation of your job.

3. Do some blue sky thinking
You are more than your current job. Use your journal to scope your future career options. What motivates you? Are you satisfied with where you are going? Where do you want to be in five years? In ten years? Is this an industry where you want to get to the top, or would you like a change? Are you motivated by money or by wanting to do good in the world? Maybe you would prefer a better life/work balance, or you want to travel.

4. Build a strategy
Once you’ve worked out where you want to go, you can use your journal to help plot a future that’s right for you. This can form your career map, strategic plan, and Gantt chart. Think of all the steps you need to take to achieve your goal, from scoping the corporate ladder for opportunities to researching your chosen sector.

5. Do a skills audit to see what you need to learn. What other resources do you need? You might need a savings or investment plan to back your idea. Consider searching out appropriate mentors. Have a look at what you can start to do right now to kick start you on your journey.

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