7 Benefits of Keeping a Project Journal

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.

man journaling

Benefits of Project Journaling 

Here are seven ways I benefit from my project journal:

  1. Gain Perspective. Provides perspective on my current stage and experience of the project compared to the larger context of the project.
  2. Clarity Thoughts. Aids me in refining my thoughts so I can express them more clearly verbally and in writing.
  3. Solve Problems. Aids me in analyzing and solving problems.
  4. Plan Next Steps. Aids me in planning.
  5. Identify Lessons Learned. Aids me in identifying lessons learned.
  6. Grow Personally. Helps me to grow personally.
  7. 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 iPad. 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 differently?
  • 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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