Journaling: A Tool to be More Productive, Focused and Motivated! | By Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC

Coach at Desk Journaling for Productivity Focus and Motivation

I love this time of year. September is my birthday month, and yes I'm a Virgo! It's a great time of year to be both reflective and forward looking in order to end the last quarter of the year feeling productive, focused and motivated.

When I was a kid, every September I was excited to go back-to-school shopping with my Mom. I always wanted fresh new pencil crayons, even if I had lots of them leftover from previous school years. There was something about new supplies that always helped me feel motivated and excited to start back at school.

All these years later I enjoy the routine of back-to-school shopping with my two sons. And to this day, one of my favourite places to shop is a stationery store; I love getting a new journal, pens and Post-It-Notes. I have more organizing systems than any one person should probably have!

Did you know that journaling is a powerful productivity and motivational tool?

Would you agree that tools, supplies and systems can help us be more productive, focused and motivated? If so, what about journaling?

Journaling is a nourishing and positive self-care practice that is fun, creative and always uniquely your own. With journaling, whatever you write is right!

And, one of my favourite tools and practices for organizing my thoughts and gaining clarity on my priorities and action steps is my regular journal writing practice. Journaling can also be a powerful productivity and motivation tool, supporting us to achieve clarity and success in our coaching businesses. I share 3 ways journaling can help below.

Here are 3 Ways Journaling can Help You Be More Productive, Focused and Motivated

1) Use Journaling to Process Your Thoughts, Feelings - and Blocks!

Journal writing offers you a place to vent, release stress and process emotions that might cause procrastination and resistance. In fact, your journal can be a place to explore your thoughts on both your productivity and procrastination.

"The daily journal is like a mirror. When we first look into it, the blank pages stare back with ominous emptiness. But if we keep looking… gradually we begin to see the face that is looking back at us." Marion Woodman

Try this Journaling Activity

Set a timer for 10 minutes and write your thoughts and feelings about productivity and/or procrastination. These journaling prompts might help you get started:

  • I am most productive when…
  • I sometimes find myself procrastinating when…
  • The key areas in my life where I would like to be more productive at this time include…

2) Use Journaling to Gain Clarity

There are many journaling methods to help gain clarity and focus.

When it comes to clarity and productivity, it's important to focus on what you're doing and why you're doing it. Also consider what you might like to stop doing.

"It's not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less." Nathan W. Morris

Try this Journaling Activity

Make a list of the Top 10 Goals in your business at this time. Then take a look at each goal and make a list of the action steps you need to take to reach this goal.

Here is a sample of this exercise from the pages of my journal:

Goal: Double my Museletter subscribers/readers by March 31st 2020

Action Steps:

  • Write guest articles and offer a free gift to readers
  • Host a Spotcast interview series (like a Telesummit only smaller) as a joint venture list building event
  • Create another free opt-in gift (39 Journaling Prompts for Healthy & Inspired Living, coming October 2019)
  • Continue with Facebook ads promoting my current free journaling gift and track results

3) Create a Journaling Habit Pathway

Journal writing can become a healthy habit. And this habit of journaling can become a 'keystone habit', helping us create other habits that increase our productivity and motivation.

Over the years I have explored my life habits (both positive and negative) in the pages of my journal. This reflective awareness practice has helped me cultivate more of the positive habits. And it has also helped me to break 'bad' habits - or those that don't serve me at this time.

"Some habits matter more than others in remaking businesses and lives. These are keystone habits, and they can influence how people work, eat, play, live, spend and communicate. Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything." Paul O'Neill

Try this Journaling Activity

Make a list of your 'keystone' productivity habits - the things you do on a regular basis that make a positive difference in your life and/or business. These might include habits such as journal writing, setting goals, taking daily inspired action towards your goals etc. Take time to write these down, and notice how you feel as you do this.

Also consider, "What is one new keystone habit you might like to cultivate at this time?"

PS. Remember to have self-compassion when you journal; simply write, reflect and notice without judgement and with compassion for whatever might emerge in your writing, and within yourself.


I wonder how journaling might help you be more productive, focused and motivated in your own life and work?

As coaches, we know that positive habits can make our days and lives better. How we start our day can contribute to our having a good - or a bad - morning.

And we already know that a journal writing habit can help deepen our mindful presence, process emotions and nourish our balance and well-being. In this article I hope you've seen that journal writing can also help you pause and plan, increase your productivity, and increase motivation in all areas of your life.

It's never too late to start journaling, or to take your current journal writing to a next level of creative self-expression in service to your goals and well-being.

"I totally feel - and am - more productive, focussed and motivated through journaling. It's like the act of writing (even typing) without any rehearsal or preparation can reach those parts that other ways (conversation, drawing etc.) can't! ... From the 'raw' uncensored stuff come my action points, my alternative perspectives, my confidence boosts. And for me it's not just the getting it all down that necessarily makes me more productive, it's the re-reading the journal entry to extract the learnings for my to-do list." Nicky Torode, IAJW (International Association for Journal Writing) Member

Editor's Note: The best time to start journaling? 20 years ago. The second best time to start journaling? Now 😉

If you liked this article on using Journaling to be more Productive, you may also like:

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Contributing Author:

Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC is the Director of the International Association for Journal Writing. Lynda regularly writes, speaks, and teaches about the transformational and healing power of writing. She is the co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journalling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection (2014), and co-editor of Transformational Journaling for Coaches, Therapists, and Clients: A Complete Guide to the Benefits of Personal Writing (2021). Lynda is also co-editor of The Great Book of Journaling (2022). You can find her FREE gift for coaches here: Gratitude Journaling for Coaches & Clients Workbook.

Learn more about Lynda & see all their articles here >>

Image of Coach Journal Writing for Focus & Productivity by LightField Studios via Shutterstock

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