Most of us struggle to think or plan effectively in an organized manner and it leads us to act haphazardly without following a plan that is laid out. If you are like me then I hope this post helps you with a few tips on what you might try out to be a better thinker and execute your plans wisely.

I would like to share with you the importance of writing your thoughts down in a journal. I have been accustomed to the idea of writing my thoughts and plans on paper to help me think better for a while now. It does not mean everything goes as I plan, but if it doesn’t I still have a written account to trace back and see why it didn’t go well.

This is not exclusive to writers but it applies to everyone who wants to be a better problem solver.

So what is a journal and how is it different from a diary?

A journal is a book that is used to capture ideas on paper. Its purpose is to figure out ideas, dilemmas, people, life but most importantly to figure out yourself. I believe there is a thin line between a diary and a journal and some people might confuse the two.

A diary is a book that you can record events, routines and plan what you need to get done on a daily basis. On the other hand, a journal is a book you can write your thoughts, feelings, reflections and you can use it to help evaluate your life.

You can write in a diary every day because it comes with dates and times in 30 minutes or hourly intervals for 365 days of the year. A journal is more of a feelings book, you write it when you feel the need to in a topic-centric manner.

Your next question is properly, so what? where is this going? why are you telling us all this?.

The reason why I felt that it’s important to write about thinking on paper is because most people go about life with problems in their heads that they have never taken time to figure out and analyze in an organized manner.

When you have thoughts in your head and you never take the time to put them on paper you can end up forgetting them with time. If it’s a problem you will probably exaggerate it in your mind and stress about it or you can take it for granted and not act quickly to address it.

Why should we write our thoughts down?

Writing down your thoughts helps you clarify the situation you are struggling with. Writing down things has always been my way of avoiding stressing and pondering about things in my head. The more you keep things in your head the more you get a false impression of the situation.

When you put your situation on paper you get to see it as it is. This helps you know what you are up against and the best way to approach it. I pretty much write everything in my mind on paper whether it’s a financial, family, career or relationship issue. Capturing an issue in its truest form has helped me in being creative in trying to solve it because when I write it down I write down all the facts of the problem.

When you keep things in your head you can end up having a distorted image of the situation and this can be misleading in the solution you might come up with.

Writing down your thoughts gives you a chance to analyze the facts.  As humans, we have a tendency to blame other people as the cause of our problems and we don’t realize how we play a part. Writing things down will help you see your blueprint in the situation. How your weaknesses have led you to be where you are and also how to avoid the repeat errors in judgment going forth.

Most people question what they did or are doing wrong but never get that ‘thing’ that leads things to turn out the way they do. I believe that writing stuff down will never get you to a point of ‘why did things happen this way?’ because you can retrace exactly why it  happened that way.

Ok, so you don’t only need to write your situations and problems down. We all have thoughts light bulb moments that bring great ideas but if that idea is not recorded somewhere it’s gone forever.

On a daily basis, we come across ideas that we really want to remember later, it could be a business idea, a goal you might want to pursue, book title, song or a romantic trick to use on your loved one. All that can never be kept in our heads for long and hence we need to write it down to use in the future.

As a writer, I get inspiration for my articles through what I come across. When I get an idea I write it down and polish up later. Don’t let good ideas slipway, always be ready to take notes for the future.

Most of us don’t take the time to communicate to ourselves, to just talk and listen to the inner person let alone listen to others. When you have a journal you have a place to talk to yourself and express the deepest of emotions.

Whatever goes on inside of you shows on the outside be it positive or negative emotions. When you express them on paper you are able to communicate them to yourself and have a better situational awareness.

Jim Rohn said, “Our task as humans is to effectively translate what’s going on around us so that we can comprehend it”. We must learn to effectively express what’s within us so that the rest of the world can understand. As you become better at expressing yourself to life, you become better at expressing life to yourself.

When you are able to better express your feelings to yourself, you are able to translate that to easily communicate them to others. In return, it makes it easier for you to understand and listen when other people communicate their feelings.

Then what?

So you have written things down, what next?. The reason I write is because I want to be able to track down my progress on that particular idea, plan, goal, problem or dilemma.  You just don’t write things and leave them there. You write to take certain actions based on your discoveries moving forward.

Writing down your plans or goals and reviewing them gives you a chance to reflect on where you were, where you said you wanted to go and what happened.

The reason why I keep a journal is because after all is said and done it’s a legacy I will give to my kids. PS I don’t have any at the moment. I believe it will help them understand me, my thoughts, choices and how I ended up where I ended up good or bad in the hope that they learn from my mistakes.

So go ahead, buy a journal and start writing your thoughts, problems, plans and tracking your progress. As they say, “It’s not going to be easy at first but in the end, it will be worth it”.

The Art of War says, “To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common is not the acme of excellence”.