Away from the office or the video analysis room I rarely have any call for writing so keeping the blog has provided me with a great platform for practicing this skill. It's certainly a talent that I feel we should all work on, there is no excuse for shoddy English and sharing your written thoughts through social media is a great way of generating feedback on your writing style. Interestingly I've found that writing is a great way of accessing a flow state - where you lose track of time, completely absorbed in a task. Flow is very relaxing and I've been able to use this method to unwind after tough days and improve my sleep.
I've also used the blog somewhat selfishly, as a repository for my thoughts on various topics. Through my interest in health and performance I consume a lot of content and it can be difficult to commit all of this to long term memory. Keeping brief notes and then pulling those together into more coherent posts is a great way of ensuring my thinking on a topic continues to develop, rather than taking 2 steps forward and 1 back as it is so easy to do when trying to learn new things.
Through some of this wider research I have encountered several other ways that it is possible to use writing to improve your day if you don't fancy blogging. I am yet to try most of them but certainly intend to road test them soon. If any of you do try then please keep me in the loop with your experiences.
- Reflective exercises - this is something that I commonly advise if I am working with anyone who is struggling with confidence or is trying to improve certain behavioural patterns. The idea is simple, at the end of each day you reflect on 3 things you did well that day, you can briefly explore why those things went well, what your thought patterns were and how it made you feel. Making notes in this way helps solidify new ways of thinking, keeping you in tune with the process.
- Goal setting - It is something that all successful people have in common - a clear idea of their goals. If you have anything that you want to achieve I recommend this: start each day by writing down your goal(s) for the day. Make notes for each on how you plan to achieve that. This daily process engages you with your goals, encouraging deliberate action towards them as opposed to vague thrashing in the general direction.
- Managing thoughts - If you are the type that is prone to worry or over analysis then this technique may prove effective for you. It is really simple even if it feels a little awkward and clunky at first. When you wake every morning take 5 minutes to write down your immediate thoughts, you don't have to review them or refer back, they don't even have to be coherent, the important thing is that you are committing them to paper. This process can help to clear your mind and tackle troublesome thought patterns. It is a great way to start the day afresh in much the same way that meditation can work, gaining perspective on your thoughts.
- Health journals - Your level of commitment to this may depend on your geekiness or desire to make certain changes, regardless keeping a journal on your nutrition, sleep, activity, stress etc. is a great way of understanding how your body works and keeping you on track towards goals. There is also loads of great tech nowadays to assist you such as fitbit/jawbone/nike+/myfitnesspal/sleep cycle and so on.
- Lucid dreaming - This is perhaps one of the more weird and wonderful ways to use journaling but can be effective and a lot of fun. Lucid dreaming is the process of dreaming whilst being consciously aware of it. Through patient mastery of this you can use this time to practice certain skills or just indulge your imagination. Whatever your intentions an important first step is to make notes each morning of your dreams. If you are interested in this area I recommend some of the content that Tim Ferriss has shared on the topic.
I hope that the above has given you a little insight into how you can incorporate writing into your life for your benefit. If you use it in any other way then please share in the comments or via social media....