(Re)introducing Journaling (with perks) – Part 2/3

In the previous entry of this series I began to discuss the practice of journaling. I shared some of my best practices and some examples of journals, with context. Today we are going to learn a somewhat “cooperative” possibility – for creatives, businesses and families.

I created a short survey about journaling experience. You can open and complete it in one minute, through this link.

Enter the Multi-Player Option

Journaling is considered a one-person activity. Who writes the journal tries to keep it secret, and sometimes unreadable for others. This way, information can be decoded only by those who created the code used or manage to crack it. This is the era of social media and people tend to share about anything at any time. But there was a time when memories were mostly handwritten; and shared thoughts jealously guarded.

However, there is also a practice called shared journaling, where the content is shared with some people, or even open to the public. We may even say that blogs enter this category, especially if the content has a lot of personal and intimate views. Back in the MSN Messenger era, I recall using Live Space to share my poems on the internet. I wasn’t aware of any art circle in my town, nor I did know anybody with such interests: so, the idea of sharing my writings to the world was surely appealing because I could get feedback without my geographical limitations.

That was my first of two experience of shared journal: regularly posting my thoughts and my poems. (Don’t bother to look around: there is no trace of that corner of Live Space anymore; and my poems are, once again, safe in the paper, where they belong).

For those who do not remember or got to use MSN Spaces, here is an example. Source: creationguide.com

Two examples of shared journals

Few years ago, a performance coach I had invited me to explore the idea of starting a shared journal. The purpose was to write down about my actions toward some goals and the progression of my projects. This way, I could exercise reflection on my actions as I was journaling. The difference was that my coach and my mentor had access to it. Depending on the topic or the challenge, they could reach me for ad-hoc sessions or simply share feedback. That would happen especially when I got stuck somewhere.

A shared journal for personal development and in businesses is effective if you follow few principles.

#1 – Agree on the roles: who / what / how.

The suggestion of starting a journal can come from either party in the relationship. Based on my experience, I think that is something that can really work in two circumstances. The first is the one that I have already described: your goal is your personal development and the journal is a helpful tool. In this case, your coach or your mentor is supposed to use the material to better support you. That is because the only person that is accountable for actions is you.

Another context is the one of the work in pair, where two or more people share the same project and have different actions. In such a situations, the participants can either keep the same role or change over time. This is a context where the journal is a form of shared learning, and to keep track of the overall progression. It is something that in Agile teams is replaced by Stand Up meetings and Retrospectives.

#2 – Understand the degree of active participation from all parties.

Depending on the roles you decide to adopt, composing the journal may become a shared task, too. The fact that there is a designed owner for the journal does not represent an absolute constrain to all the others. In fact, feedback and comments should be added if that is part of the initial agreement. That should ensure the equal participation on the journaling experience.

A mentor may decide to highlight or reflect on specific content of the journal. Pair-workers can tackle different areas and also review each other’s work. Iterating, sharing feedback and course-correct can bring up major learning points through sustainable, gradual experience learning. In software development, a similar principle is adopted with pair programming methods, but in that case everything happens in real time.

If you adopt a shared journal, remember that the right degree of inclusion should be given to all participants, to foster communication and teamwork. Not doing that you will bring disengagement, frustration and a bad sense of competition.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash
#2 – Understand the degree of active participation from all parties.

The good, old Vegas rule works well when no records are left at hand of everyone. Before you decide to share sensitive information, make sure that your journal is stored in a safe environment. That is more than a matter of cybersecurity. There is need of mutual trust between people, especially in case of virtual and distance relationships.

Those who engage in a shared journal should not use the material for personal scope. In big organizations, a wrong use of data is regulated and severely sanctioned. If you feel unsafe to start a shared journal with another person, maybe it’s the case you sort out that problem, first.

… And what else?

Besides professional and personal reasons, a shared journal can also be an enjoyable practice to do with your family. An example is the concept of art journaling with kids and teens, of which you can read more on this blog (a more detailed one can be found here). This is a home activity that engage mutual understanding and empathy.

A common pitfall for people starting a journal is consistency. Suddenly you can feel frustrated if you have nothing to write or share. An option could be to write journal on special occasions, such as travels and celebrations.

As usual, the first step to know if that is a fit is to start it. There are several applications for a shared journal, that depends on your goal:

  • Personal Development journal, to share with your coach or mentor;
  • Business journal, compiled by you and your workmate on the same project;
  • Family and Kids journal, where to record happy moment together;
  • … and any other application I do not even know.

Meanwhile, I would appreciate if you can complete this anonymous survey. Here you can share your experience (or lack of) about recording for yourself.

That will help me to know better my readers! Click here to start the survey.

Published by Andrea Paviglianiti

I practice coaching, I love reading, and I work as a data scientist. I also recharge my batteries with meditation, martial arts, and video games. I perform career and skills coaching – thus I define myself as a “cognitive” coach: I help people improve their learning experience to succeed where they want. My method is based on behavioral analysis, psychology of learning, philosophy of dialogue, and classic literature. I write about how to get better at learning, the best books I read, and my personal philosophy of coaching. And I will not lie to you – I can get verbose at times! I’d be happy if you stick around and read more of what I have to share!

3 thoughts on “(Re)introducing Journaling (with perks) – Part 2/3

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