Monday, November 4, 2013

Journaling - A Tool for Reflection

Ever since I became a principal I've kept a journal. I find it useful to take notes at meeting, to remind me of things I need to do and projects I need to finish. But most importantly I find that journaling is a way for me to quietly reflect about my life and my work. I'm often struck by the insights that emerge when I put pen to paper. Occasionally I'll share something that I've written but most of the time I value the privacy that the journal provides.

I recently came across some suggestions about journaling developed by Kathleen Coudle-King, a senior lecturer at the University of North Dakota and an active journaler for more than twenty years. These tips resonated with me and I hope you'll find them helpful.

  • Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can write in private.
  • Pick a certain amount of time and focus on you writing rather than worrying about wasting time.
  • Don't stick to words. Doodle, sketch or create a collage, if you prefer. Feel free to express yourself in various ways.
  • Pick a topic and focus on that. If you're having trouble thinking of something, pick a quote or something you worked on that day.
  • Don't force it. Not everyone needs to journal, and not every day. If you have other outlets for expressing yourself, use those instead of, or in addition, to journaling.
  • Use whatever tools make you comfortable. Use a journal that fits you and helps you reflect.

I've used an inexpensive composition book for my journaling. I've got a whole collection in a closet near by home office and surprise myself with how often I pick one up, read the entries, and recall the way my life has unfolded.

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