Why Every Entrepreneur Should Keep a Journal

Journal-keeping adds value at every stage of entrepreneurship.  Paradoxically, the busier and bigger a startup becomes, the more essential it is for founders to allocate time to journaling and reflection.  Why?  In my personal experience as a social entrepreneur and business professor, keeping a journal enables you to:

ANCHOR daily decisions and the inevitable course corrections in your original purpose and vision.  Students in my Entrepreneurship course at #BostonCollege start their Discovery & Reflection Journal by defining their purpose and composing a personal mission statement. Founders who do this ahead of their launch can return to their early, aspirational journal entries at critical turning points to renew their motivation and keep on course.

DISCOVER more of the non-obvious options, solutions, and blue-sky opportunities that will grow your company.  Most founders spend their days navigating a constant flow of deadlines, urgent problems, new ideas, and untested opportunities. There’s little time for reflection. Jotting down daily events will trigger an internal discovery loop.  Instead of forgetting half-formed ideas, your mind continues working on them in the background. Best case, an innovative option will pop into your head weeks later.  At the least, potential opportunities are preserved for future consideration.

STRETCH your perspective over time, space, and context.  Entrepreneurs tend to be future-focused because thinking ahead is an essential survival skill.  By your company’s first anniversary, it’s challenging to recall the details of those first hectic months.  Writing down insights from ad hoc discussions and meetings builds the ability to see things sideways, and to look around corners.  Reviewing past decisions and outcomes over time provides a clearer lens on recurring issues and your own role in the organization.

INCREASE your entrepreneurial staying power AND your personal well-being. Every founder tells me that launching and leading a new venture is hard, demanding work. To stay the course, entrepreneurs need to balance their personal life path with work demands.  Keeping a journal stimulates healthy reflection about that balance by reminding you what matters most in the long run.