In this blog post, I will talk about the benefits of keeping a project journal. While I have kept a personal journal for years, only recently have I kept a project journal. I will share my practice and provide tips.
Whether you have been journaling for years or have never journaled, I trust this post will provide insights, motivation, and practical aids.
Benefits of Project Journaling
Here are seven ways I benefit from my project journal:
- Gain Perspective. Provides perspective in my current stage and experience of the project compared to the larger context of the project.
- Clarity Thoughts. Aids me in refining my thoughts so I can express them more clearly verbally and in writing.
- Solve Problems. Aids me in analyzing and solving problems.
- Plan Next Steps. Aids me in planning.
- Identify Lessons Learned. Aids me in identifying lessons learned.
- Grow Personally. Helps me to grow personally.
- Ask Questions. Allows me to ask questions, some of which I don’t have answers immediately.
“Being willing to give up some of the things you love in order to focus on what has the greatest impact isn’t an easy lesson to learn.” -John Maxwell
What Kinds of Projects Do I Journal
I do not journal about every project. Rather, I journal about my more challenging projects. I particularly find value in journaling about projects unlike any project I have managed before.
When and Where to Journal
The key to consistent journaling is committing to a time. You also need a place where there are minimal distractions.
How Often and How Much Time
I write project journal posts about 2-3 times per week. It normally takes me about 5-8 minutes to complete each journal post.
Tools for Project Journaling
For years, I wrote my personal journal with paper and pen. About a year ago, I started journaling digitally with an Apple app called Day One. My journal synched to DropBox. For most days, I journal using my I-Mac. If I am out of town, I use my i-Pad. Another great application for journaling is the web-based tool EverNote.
Using Journal Tags
I tag project posts with project tags such as “Membership Marketing Project”. Using the project tags, I can easily retrieve all the journal posts for a single project.
Not only do I tag the posts with project tags, I add process tags such as requirements management or communications management. This allows me to retrieve all the post across different projects related to a process.
Questions for Project Journaling
When I create a project post, I address one or two of the following questions:
- What am I learning?
- What are the greatest risks?
- If I had to do this part of the project again, what would I do different?
- What can I do to improve my communications?
- What do I enjoy most about this project?
Give journaling a try for 21 days? Let me know about your experience. Happy journaling!
Question: Have you ever kept a project journal? How have you benefited?
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