Why Men’s Journaling Can Boost your output
If you are an avid fan of journal writing then you will already know the reasons to journal but if you’re new to the topic, you’ll soon discover that men’s journaling can be a powerful tool to boost productivity and improve your mental health.
Any younger men who are reading could be forgiven in thinking that bullet journaling is a bit old fashioned and reserved for older men or women with too much time on their hands. In fact, quite the opposite is true!
Great men throughout history have kept a physical journal; Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Theodore Rosoevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Ernest Hemingway and Ralph Waldo Emerson are to name just a handful.
Whilst I’m not going to profess that expressive writing is the sole reason for their success (that would be a bridge too far!), it is a habit that they adhered to on a daily basis.
Using the Bullet Journal Method
Keeping a traditional journal can be a time consuming business and for those of you who are busy trying to conquer the world, it may not be the ideal method of getting your thoughts on paper.
Thanks to Ryder Carroll, who coined the concept of bullet journaling, it is now easier than ever to make a journal entry part of your daily routine.
A bullet journal is essentially a slimline, no BS version of a traditional paper journal whereby the pages are pre-populated with bullet points for you to fill in.
These keep your daily journal entries focussed and on point, there are different versions including a gratitude journal which helps you list the things you are thankful for each day.
Each kind of journal brings its own benefits so for the purpose of this article I’ll be talking about the recognised productivity and health benefits in the general act of journaling.
1. Improves Short-Term Memory
A recent study by Queen’s University found that on average, an adult human has around 6,200 thoughts per day.
With all of those thoughts going on in your mind it is easy to see why you can forget things quickly or not put your finger on that million dollar idea that you thought you had.
Another study from the University of Los Angeles , United States found that students who wrote out their notes (instead of typing them) had a better ability to recollect what they had learned. The act of writing had improved both their factual memory and comprehension of relevant topics.
Putting your thoughts down on paper will not only improve your short memory recall and help keep you sharp, but by having them in a physical format they will always be there as a point of reference should you need to come back to them.
2. Helps Time Management
The quickest way to let daily life get in the way of your goals is to be lazy with your time.
The first step towards getting yourself on track should be setting yourself a weekly schedule, the next step should be using a journal to make sure that you’re adhering to it.
If this seems a little bit militant then I apologize but the truth is that becoming a better man means that you have to make changes to your current daily activities and that involves getting organized.
Something as loose as a 5 point bullet journal each day setting yourself tasks is a great way to get started with this.
By writing the tasks down and ticking them off, you’re not only increasing your productivity but you’re actually stimulating your brain’s reward centre by completing tasks.
Feel good chemicals are released into your bloodstream and you become more compelled to keep completing tasks, in effect this is perpetual motion.
3. Can Increase Testosterone Levels
If I told you that keeping a men’s journal could improve your sex life, reduce sexual problems and boost low testosterone thus increasing sexual function and semen quality, you’d say I was crazy right?
The truth is that those are some bold claims and whilst journaling isn’t an academic version of viagra, there is some science behind what’s been written.
It is a well known fact that a large proportion of men’s sexual performance issues such as premature ejaculation are down to stress related issues.
Taking the time to express your mind every day is a great way of releasing stress, slowing down your chaotic mind and relaxing.
Your body will naturally produce testosterone as you sleep so journaling first thing in the morning is the best way to ensure that you start the next day without an immediate stress hit to your hormones.
4. Gives a focus for your Professional Life
Achieving their career goals is perhaps one of the most prominent things that young men worry about as they go through life.
I have found that simplicity is the key when it comes to goal setting. Check out our growth mindset article for a comprehensive guide to gaining your success.
Keeping your own bullet journal is a great place to start. Setting yourself yearly, monthly, weekly and daily tasks will give you a step by step guide to where you want to be and prevent you from veering off track.
Having the important things written down in a list style format will stop those cold sweats in the middle of the night when you start to panic that your life isn’t going in the direction that you planned.
Even when you do have bad days, you’ll be reassured by the fact that you have a plan in place and all you have to do is focus on it.
5. Helps streamline your physical health
Similar to the point above, trying to find the time and energy to keep yourself in shape and eating well can be tough.
A food and exercise specific diary will allow you to set goals about how much exercise you do each week and plan your meals properly.
If, like me, this seems like another additional thing to remember then you could do what I do and incorporate your food and exercise into your daily journal.
I’ve found that as a result of noting down when I’m exercising and eating properly, it compels me to keep doing it. I also set weekly exercise challenges so that I can see my improvement over a period of time.
Since keeping this info in my journal I’ve noticed my energy levels are much more stable throughout the week.
6. Allows you to reflect on your past self
Delving deeper into our own lives can help in a number of ways. It helps us to see where we’ve come from, what we were thinking at a particular point in time and the actions that we took.
Having this information and being able to view it objectively is a great gift when it comes to laying out a future for ourselves.
We can see where our strengths lie and in other cases where there may have been a better way to have dealt with something.
The great thing is that by keeping a daily journal, you will always have this information to hand, effectively writing your own history book.
What you choose to do with the information is up to you. Have a look at our Growth Mindset Quiz to see how you view the world.
7. Encourages you to compartmentalize your problems
It can be a great sense of relief for many men to put their thoughts and challenges down on paper.
The art of expending worries or challenges into a journal is very cathartic and can help you to see much more clearly.
There are many possible reasons why men carry their thoughts inside their head instead of expressing them. Perhaps it is inbuilt in us or perhaps it is the perceived pressure from society that makes us men opt to bury our issues.
Talking to others can sometimes be a tough ask, but the physical act or writing will allow you to unburden yourself in a safe space whilst still remaining private.
A problem shared is a problem halved and what better to share it with than something that won’t make you feel awkward or ask uncomfortable questions?
8. Improves sleep quality
Getting a good night’s sleep is universally recognized as one of the main ways of making yourself more productive.
Ask anyone with a new born baby or small child how productive their days are when they’ve only had a few hours sleep…I can guarantee they won’t be changing the world.
Sitting down at the end of the day to jot down the day’s events or plan for tomorrow is a wonderful way of unburdening yourself and a far better alternative that to scroll through your social media accounts.
Let the paper absorb your thoughts and challenges whilst you drift off into an uninterrupted, nightmare free sleep.
A fresh start to the next day will give you a clear mind to go after your goals.
As well as productivity benefits, having a good night’s sleep reduces the risk of a range of medical conditions and health problems.
9. You Hold Yourself Accountable
Accountability is a huge factor in getting yourself motivated to see something through to completion.
Either telling somebody out loud or writing down your goals are the two biggest ways to kick start your path to success.
Without taking the step to confront your challenges head on, you will always keep burying them under the carpet.
Get a journal, write down your challenges, tell someone about them and then work towards completing them.
10. You can live forever
Ok so not literally live forever, but in a LITERARY sense you can.
I’m not sure exactly how much this point increases productivity but if your motivating factor is to be remembered long after you’re gone or leave a legacy for your descendents then I guess journal writing is the way to go.
It is crazy to think that we can read the words of Julius Caesar over 2000 years after he lived. Thanks to Samuel Pepys’ diary we have in depth knowledge about the great plague in 1665 and the great fire of London the year after.
Without these men taking the time to write things down, Pepys would probably have been long forgotten and Caesar’s motivations would be left to the opinion of historians.
I hope you realise that the first thing you need to do after reading this article is to go out and buy a journal or at the very least make your own.
Check out our article on the best men’s journals to buy from Amazon.
A lot of people think that they understand the benefits of writing a journal and how it can help them but very few actually bother.
Yes it can be a tough habit to get into, but once you become part of the bullet journal community I promise that it’ll be one of the best things that you do.
Thank me in a year’s time when your productivity is through the roof!