Keep a Business Journal for Clarity and Momentum - Christine Kane

The thing about the word “solo” in front of the words “business owner” is that you’re often alone.

You’re the one who leads your business. You’re the one who guides your team. You’re the one who makes the decisions about next steps — who to hire, what to write, what products or services to market next, what to budget, how to deal with an unruly customer.

This doesn’t mean you need to have a pity party for your poor lonesome self.

It DOES mean that you must create habits that consistently build your focus, ignite your clarity, amplify your trust in yourself and Uplevel your momentum.

One of the best practices for achieving this high level of energy is to keep a business journal.  From Benjamin Franklin to Richard Branson, the entrepreneurs who swear (and have sworn) by this practice are numerous.

Why is that?

Well, for one, the act of uninterrupted writing teaches you how to focus. As a business owner in a massively distracted time (reality check: how many tabs are open in your browser right now?), you must protect and build your focus.  You can complain about the noise, or you can do the hard work of rising above the noise.  Choose wisely.

Writing also forces you to get clear.  That stream of voices that constantly drones on in your brain is NOT thinking.  It is noise.  When you write, you slow your mind down enough to acknowledge where you are, recognize what you’ve accomplished and see what’s challenging you.  This level of clarity is crucial.

Writing in a business journal builds self-trust.  It creates confidence in your ability to make quick decisions — a requirement in business.    Indecision is an energy stealer and momentum stopper.  Most of us make decisions on a daily basis – but sometimes, when faced with a decision that’s painful or scary, we’ll put off deciding.  We’ll unconsciously live in the land of “maybe” for weeks (sometimes months), never recognizing that we are robbing our precious energy in the non-process.

When you trust in yourself and live at a high level of awareness, you no longer fear or put off decisions.  Keeping a business journal keeps you on track, reminding you of what issues you need to deal with and what decisions are on deck.

Writing Uplevels your experiences.  Most entrepreneurs have experience after experience – racking up a lifetime of successes and failures – but they never consciously grow or learn from those experiences.

Or, if they do, there’s a vague recollection of unpleasantness or happiness – but no awareness of why.  When you keep a business journal, you Uplevel your experiences by deliberately recounting the lessons learned and the perspective gained.

So, how do you keep a business journal?

These days, I keep my business journal in my iPad, using an app called NoteShelf.  I use the world’s coolest stylus – the AluPen –  and write by hand into a digital notebook titled “Uplevel YOU.”

I use my iPad because I travel a lot – and this way I can have my journals all at my fingertips at any given moment.

With that said, I’ve also used, yes, actual pens with paper journals.   I still love writing by hand on a piece of paper the best.  Studies have proven that writing by hand improves memory, cognitive ability and goal achievement.

You will need to determine the best business journal methodology for you and your lifestyle. The most important thing is to have ONE place where you write or type your journal.

Next, you will need to determine a schedule for keeping your business journal. Daily, weekly or monthly.  It depends on your needs. I stick with a weekly ritual, making time on Friday afternoons to assess the week.

Final Question:  What exactly do you write?

If you’re a little lost when it comes to sitting down and doing the writing, you’re not alone. It can be daunting to begin this practice!

Well, never fear.

I created a tool that gives you seven Business Journal Power Prompts (with helpful explanations) just for you.  You can download it instantly here. Use these to help you get started.

Soon, you’ll discover your own structure and rhythm to the ritual of keeping a business journal.

The important thing is not about “getting it right.” Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity.  The important thing is to create this ritual and see for yourself how your clarity increases and the momentum in your business builds massively.

——

SHARE YOUR WISDOM:   In the comments below, tell your fellow Uplevelers if you currently keep a business journal and how it has helped you.  If you don’t keep a business journal, tell me why or ask me a question about this practice…

33 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • theexecutivereview.co.uk

    Thank you for writing this good article

  • Vinod Poyilath

    Journals are just awesome tools for bringing clarity to your thoughts.

    I’m guilty of not being consistent with it.. I’m an on-off writer 🙁

    Gotta work on it!

    Thank you Christine..

  • Katie Bagby

    Ohhh, do I need this! This will be my new practice. Off to buy a business journal today! Thank you, Christine!

  • Stephanie C

    Thanks for the tip about Noteshelf. I am a big “scribbler” among other things, and have always had too many notebooks, intending to keep my worlds compartmentalized, which never happens because I don’t always have ALL of them nearby when I want to write something down so all of my notes end up in random notebooks and then, well, you know what happens from there. BUT, I always have my iPad mini, and after researching several different notebook/note taking apps this one is AWESOME, and will suit my scribbler/planner/journaling needs perfectly no matter where I am! I’ve downloaded it and stolen a temporary stylus from my DS3d using 8 year old (who hopefully won’t notice lol) and I’m far more excited than I should be about it…

    And, yes, the daily business journaling is a great idea, too – helping you stay accountable to yourself when you only have yourself to be accountable to, can be tough. Clarity through writing and assessment through review are great tips to help keep you on track. Thanks again!

    ~Stephanie C
    BOLD

  • Nancy

    I appreciate the prompts and the info on the Ipad app. That will be so helpful. I’ll be downloading that promptly. I also like the idea of having a set time for journaling.

    Thanks!
    Nancy

  • Clara Bellino

    Hello Christine,

    Loving the idea, had not thought of doing this but so relate to the zapper of energy that living in the “maybe someday” brings.

    I’m bummed cause when I enter my e-mail and then click on the download link it takes me to a blank page 🙁

    Any ideas?

    Thank you for all your inspiration!

    Clara

    • Christine Kane

      Hi Clara –

      If you go back to the thank you page (which came up after you opted in to the link provided) – there’s a link to download it there. But my webguy will check on the link in your email. Should be available soon. Thanks! (sorry bout that!)

  • Karen Kelly-Brown

    Wow – I just discovered you and I’m sooooo glad I did! I downloaded the noteshelf to my iPad, created several notebooks, headin to the store to buy a stylus and I am on my way! Your blogs have helped me logically put my business thoughts in order while helping me hang on to my creative “outside the box” self. I am a fan of vison boards (and of Ashville) – and now a fan of yours. Thank you very much for all you offer – your light is shining brightly for all to see – and you are willing to share it with others – how blessed are we?
    {{HUGS}}
    Karen

  • Joan Leotta

    I like your practical approach–may I (with appropriate credit given) post this segment of your blog on my blog this Friday?So, how do you keep a business journal?

    These days, I keep my business journal in my iPad, using an app called NoteShelf. I use the world’s coolest stylus – the AluPen – and write by hand into a digital notebook titled “Uplevel YOU.”

    I use my iPad because I travel a lot – and this way I can have my journals all at my fingertips at any given moment.

    With that said, I’ve also used, yes, actual pens with paper journals. I still love writing by hand on a piece of paper the best. Studies have proven that writing by hand improves memory, cognitive ability and goal achievement.

    You will need to determine the best business journal methodology for you and your lifestyle. The most important thing is to have ONE place where you write or type your journal.

    Next, you will need to determine a schedule for keeping your business journal. Daily, weekly or monthly. It depends on your needs. I stick with a weekly ritual, making time on Friday afternoons to assess the week.

    Final Question: What exactly do you write?

    If you’re a little lost when it comes to sitting down and doing the writing, you’re not alone. It can be daunting to begin this practice!

    Well, never fear.

    I created a tool that gives you seven Business Journal Power Prompts (with helpful explanations) just for you. You can download it instantly here. Use these to help you get started.

    Soon, you’ll discover your own structure and rhythm to the ritual of keeping a business journal.

    The important thing is not about “getting it right.” Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity. The important thing is to create this ritual and see for yourself how your clarity increases and the momentum in your business builds massively.

    ——

    SHARE YOUR WISDOM: In the comments below, tell your fellow Uplevelers if you currently keep a business journal and how it has helped you. If you don’t keep a business journal, tell me why or ask me a question about this practice
    I look forward to your reply. Joan

    • Christine Kane

      Joan, Feel free to use the whole article – or a section of it. If you write to info at uplevelyou dot com — Katie will give you the blurb we ask that you use. (If you get my ezine, it’s in there, too!)

      Thanks!

  • Jessica

    Thank you! This came at the perfect time; I am feeling so lost, confused and overwhelmed by all the ideas that I have swirling in my head. I keep a daily, weekly, monthy, yearly to-do list and have a brain dump list where I put things as they come up, however I think this journaling will help me keep much more organized and on top of things.

  • Patricia Burgess-Southerland

    What a great idea! I do write – a lot, but my notes are scattered in different spiral notebooks. I’m getting a journal tomorrow that I can carry with me to retreats, conferences, etc. and keep notes, a-ha’s and contacts organized. And of course having a scheduled time to do this is good too. Thanks, Christine!

  • wisdom

    Hie
    Thanks for the post. Funny I used to do this a long time ago I had my weekly ritual where I would grab a coffee and empty my thoughts and plans etc. I’ m picking this up again. Strange that I used to do it before I started my business, however, I stopped for some reason.
    All the same, I am getting back into it. Its time to Uplevel Me, yeah!! Loving the great work you are doing Christine, and the dvd on ways to make more money is absolutely fantastic.Rock on, you are a legend!!!

    Regards, Wisdom Mupudzi, Award Winning Author ( Melbourne, Australia)

  • Marina

    I’ve always wanted to keep a business journal, but when I sit down to write – my thoughts and ideas waft away and my writing becomes pretty bland and uninspiring.
    I’ll be picking up one of those discarded books and giving it another try 🙂
    Thanks for the great tips Christine 🙂

  • Marilee

    Love, love, love this article. Thank you for a beautifully brilliant tool in the business journal prompts! This is exactly the next step I needed. 🙂

  • Christine Springer

    Thanks for this suggestion! I can see what a valuable tool this will be, both from a learning and a “growing” perspective. Its very easy to lose sight of the small action steps that lead to big progress…writing them down makes them impossible to forget! The suggestion on the pen is also very handy…was wondering where to get one of those 🙂

  • Alyson B. Stanfield

    Thank you for the mention of NoteShelf and the AluPen. I hadn’t yet ventured into using a stylus with my iPad, but now I’m inspired. I just ordered the “pen.”

    • Christine Kane

      Alyson – So many people have approached me at events to ask me about my AluPen. It’s like a “cool” magnet. Enjoy! 🙂

  • Fiona

    Interesting – last week I bought a new notebook and started a business journal! To me it represents a start to getting serious about my side business. So far my writing is kind of stream of consciousness but I’ve started writing “Action” in the margin everywhere I write “I should…” or “I want to…” and then gathering those statements into a to-do list.

    I’ve printed the journal prompts and taped them to the inside front cover of my notebook – I think they will really help take it to the next level – thank you!

    • Christine Kane

      Glad to see this Fiona! Keep me posted on how it works for you!

  • Thea van Dijk

    Good question in this yournal. When I read your article, I ask my self why shood I do more work? When I read the questions, I became enthousiastic. This is very helpful.

    • Christine Kane

      That’s great, Thea! Use those prompts – and it doesn’t have to take a lot more time. It’s time well spent if it creates clarity!

  • Nneka, Working Mystic

    Great tip! I’m finding that my ideas are all over the place, in my head and in storage. I have some in notepad files on my computer, some in Google docs, some in emails, some on my phone, some are bookmarked in feed readers, others bookmarked on the browser. I’ve yet to have one place for all those business thoughts that I pick up.

    Might be worth trying to collect them in a physical notebook that I can keep with me…hmmm.

    • Christine Kane

      Nneka – Yes. It will really pay off to have a central location for all of those “open loops” that are out there. It helps you think clearer – and be more creative too!

    • Stacey

      Hi Nneka,
      I was having the same issue in that my ideas were everywhere and that was adding to my overwhelm. I finally picked out a beautiful journal in which I enter all of that nightly (or at least aim to do so nightly!). I find it really helps me focus.

  • Alice Osborn

    Hi Christine,

    Thank you again for your wonderful, specific tips on keeping a business journal–I keep my journal in the blank pages of my At-A-Glance monthly appointment calendar. I write specific notes during and after mastermind meetings and then transfer these notes to my “let’s get it done for the week” list on Sunday nights. Writing makes those dreams happen!

    ~Alice

    • Christine Kane

      Great Alice! (And all the work you do really shows in your website! Love what you’re doing!)

  • Andrea

    Thank you Christine! I have a creativity journal, an art journal and NOW a business journal! I love your article so much. When I am writing I start to SEE and FEEL the path! I will now print out the prompts. Thank you very much for leading this amazing Gold- Group!

    • Christine Kane

      Rock on Andrea! (And congrats again on all of the success you created in just 30 days!)

  • Alexandre L’Eveille

    Like the journaling prompts tool. I am revamping/getting back on track with rituals right now and that will be a good addition.

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