“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” ― Christina Baldwin
While I was filling up the last few pages of my 2016 journal, I couldn’t help but take some time to revisit the 365+ pages I’ve scribbled on (or skipped). For the previous years, I have only skimmed through the journal at the end of the year but this year I wanted to take a closer look – as the saying goes “the devil is always in the details”.
I hope to reflect on the story told from reading between the lines of all of these past pages that are frozen in time – somewhat like a scripture awaiting to be translated. By the end of it, I hope to have drawn some conclusions and insights to take into my 2017 journal – which is already eagerly sitting on my bookshelf.
Reviewing January 2016 Entries
Reflecting to my first month’s journal entries it became clear that they were the most detailed – with color coding, quotes, and even some end of day reflections. I could attribute some of the effort to the excitement (or fear) of the new year but I believe the true reason was because it was the month in which I was working to not let our startup failI was working to not let our startup fail – which the eventually closed later that month.
Insight from January 2016’s Journal entries;
- Challenges (or opportunity) certainly impact how carefully I journal and articulate that day.
Reviewing February 2016 (my birthday month) Entries
Having made the critical decision of shutting down the company in January, my daily journal entry decreased in quantity as I no longer was working towards growing or scaling it. It seems like I spent a significant portion of February meeting people, reading, and self-reflecting (friends, mentors, and family) seeking advice on what should I do next. Perhaps the journal entry that summarizes it best, is the entry I made on my 23rd birthday;
Note: From my entry above, I revisited the “8 different areas of my life” and realized that career and work, living environment, and planning were the lowest. Therefore, I’m not surprised that these areas became my focus in the journal entries that followed.
Insight from February 2016’s Journal Entries
- Like my lonely birthday post, birthdays are a good reminder to pause and reflection – as you have one less year to live and enjoy.
Reviewing March to June 2016 Entries
The significant theme for these five months was career-hunting (yes, not job hunting). Now that I was no longer self-employed, I wanted to seek a career in which I can practice and build similar skills that I enjoyed working on for myself. These months were a bit of “soul searching” because I began with the list of careers I may be interested in – digital marketing, outbound sales, business development, and product management.
Insight from March to June 2016’s Journal Entries
- Spending the time to find work that you will truly enjoy is worth the effort. The five months I spent career hunting eventually led me to learn that I enjoy product management and I am happy to be working in that today.
- Article on Finding a Career after Entrepreneurship: I have finished the draft which gathers the learning from “career hunting”, I will be posting it on the blog shortly.
Reviewing July to December 2016 Entries
With the career hunting concluded, significant portion of my journal entries for the six months are along the lines of getting good at my new job, readjusting my schedule with worth taking 9-5, and accumulating a handful of draft blog posts which I hope to publish throughout the new year.
Other Reflections from my 2016’s Journal
While flipping through the pages of my journal, I also gathered information for other year-end blogs posts I have done;
- My Year in Review 2016 – with score card and improvements
- Analyzing How I spent my time in 2016 – and how to save some in 2017
- How I am going to cut down time spent on email in 2017
Journaling Insights to Take into 2017
- Empty Journal Pages – it is okay (and even better sometimes) to have some blank pages as long as you are focused on a very specific goal. For example, I had the most blank or partial entries when I was career hunting (June) or disconnecting to meditate (August).
- Discipline – however, it is NOT okay to skip the Journal entries when you are “busy”. Time and time again I have realized that journaling to articulate the busiest of days (personal or professional) have always amplified the outcomes that they.
- Changing Structure of Journal Entries – I noticed that over the year, I changed what I write / journal about. For example, I no longer do my weekly planning in the journal and now do that in OneNote.
It’s been an amazing year in which I not only journaled alone but had many of you join the journaling journey! It is truly humbling to know that what began as my hobby alone is helping many more people than just me – an infinite gift! I hope to have all of you around so we can learn and grow together for many years to come! – Jawwad Siddiqui