When you’re an entrepreneur, you oftentimes feel like your life is a constant rollercoaster. From funding rounds to hiring staff to guerilla marketing your way around town, every day is a new adventure — which could be described by one word only, “hectic.”
If you’re a normal person, this type of lifestyle is not sustainable without immense time-management skills and a reasonable chunk of downtime — even achieving that is a task in itself. That’s why you need to use any and all the tools available to you. An underrated example? The journal. Here are eight ways a journal can be useful to you and your growing business.
1. A Flexible Planner
When your life is balancing a million tasks at once, it can be very difficult to keep track of everything. When you have numerous systems for managing your emails, jobs, social media, calendars, contacts, and more, having one central hub can be an absolute lifesaver.
“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have a busy schedule, a wealth of ideas, multiple goals, new contacts to make and track, leads to follow up on, emails to send, finances to manage, social accounts to populate, a website to update, marketing initiatives to manage, a home, mind, and body that need to be tended to as well,” writes Inc.
A journal can be a portable and tangible system that allows you to spin all those plates at once. You can just slip one into your bag or pocket if you don’t have space for a laptop, so you can keep all your different internet involvements organized.
2. Have Some You Time
Believe it or not, monitoring your mental and emotional health is as important as monitoring your meetings when it comes to starting a new business. Entrepreneurs are notoriously overworked and stressed out, a prevailing issue that the journal can mitigate to an extent.
In addition to using it to organize your business thoughts, use it as an outlet for any personal or emotional struggles you’re facing. Sometimes something as simple as writing things down can purge those negative or complicated emotions. Make sure you are looking after yourself, and invest in yourself by taking some time each day to focus on you and only you.
3. Your Idea Book
Let’s face it, ideas come at the most inopportune times. It can be when you’re waiting for the train and you hear a song; when you’re walking your dog and you see a funny-shaped plant; when you’re having a conversation with a stranger. Literally anything can get those creative juices flowing. For example, Cash Cow founder, Kat Quinzel, says she has all her best ideas when she’s cooking.
It’s a blessing and a curse, because sometimes you don’t have the proper resources with you to capture the idea, and then it’s gone forever. The solution is simple: carry a journal with you. Then you can write down every little thing that pops into your head, and maybe one of those ideas will be a winner.
4. Better for your Memory
You’ll hear professors in college saying it over and over again, but it’s really true: you remember much more of what you write down than what you type out.
When it comes to your own business, you really don’t want to be in the dark. It’s vital for you to be able to pull up any fact at any given time when talking about your business, and you’re much more likely to remember your appointments, ideas, and events if you’re keeping note of them by hand.
Why waste time writing or reading the same information over and over again when you can internalize it much more easily by journaling?
Entrepreneurship can be a surprisingly visual profession. When it comes to ideas, you never know whether words will fail you, and you have to turn to a visual representation: a chart, diagram, sketch.
Carrying around a journal will allow you to easily have those resources with you at any time, so you can explain — or express — your brilliant idea at the drop of a hat. Or if you see something that sparks your inspiration, you can replicate it in your journal.
6. Your Progress at Your Fingertips
It’s important to track the progress of your business and keep that information on hand. You could be at an event and randomly bump into a potential investor who wants to know your revenue from the past few years.
Maybe your brain isn’t a computer and you don’t just have that information floating in the back of your head. That’s why it’s useful to keep a physical representation of your business’s progress which you can reference at any time. You never know who you are going to run into and you don’t want to be caught off guard.
7. A Daily Log
When you’re an entrepreneur, you never know when will be the moment — or the accumulation of moments — that will take you from one level to the next; your make or break moment. If you’re not careful, you might miss it: the connection, the place, the source of inspiration.
Using your journal to keep a relatively detailed log of your daily life as an entrepreneur — what you did, when you did it, who you spoke to — could prove extremely useful if you ever need to go back and reconnect with someone or find that location you visited where you want to shoot your next commercial.
8. For Your Memoir
Ok, so maybe we’re being optimistic, but a little optimism doesn’t hurt sometimes. One day, when you’re rich and famous, you’re going to need the details of your daily life from back when you were starting out — when all you had were a few hundred dollars and a brilliant idea.
It’s worth taking a little bit of time out of your day to collect these memories because genuinely, one day you’ll want to remember: your ideas, your thoughts, how you were feeling. If you won’t do it for your present day self, do it for your future self.