How to get a deep understanding of what you enjoy at work with a Daily Journal

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In this video, I want to show you how to use a daily journal to identify what you love doing. By doing this exercise, you will understand what you really love doing. And you'll avoid making a decision or judgment based on one or two standout incidents that really sticks in your memory. But before we get to the psychology of why you should do this, I want to show you an example of the result. Because I don't want you to be put off by thinking that this is a huge amount of work. This is an example of a journal for one day.

Don't stop the video and dwell on it, because I'll go through an example in detail later on. For now, I just wanted to reassure you that the work needed to record a single day isn't actually very much. And my suggestion is that you do this at the end of each day. Or of course, you could do it If you're really diligent as you go through the day, but certainly don't leave it more than a couple of days, because as we'll see shortly, our memories are very fallible. Okay, so why a daily journal? Why not just have a session where you sit down and have a long hard think about what you really enjoy in a job?

Well, the key reason is that our memories are inherently unreliable. And this manifests itself in something that psychologists call the peak end rule. To illustrate this, let's think about how you remember your vacations. And let's assume that you go on a two week vacation. And now let's say you were able to record the level of happiness that you experience during the course of that vacation. And let's say you measure happiness on a scale of zero to 10 with zero is completely miserable, and 10 is ecstatic.

And five is somewhere in between. Now, let's say that we plot happiness over time. And the holiday starts out pleasant. We have some good experiences, there's less good experiences. And this continues until we get to about the beginning of week two. And then we go whitewater rafting and have the most fantastic experience.

And then the holidays drops back. We have some less good experiences, some good experiences, and then eventually we go home. Now what the research shows is that when we look back on this vacation, we'll remember it very fondly. Because we give disproportionate weight to the memory at the peak. we disregard the low points and we disregard them. Those that are kind of just kind of may pleasant but not memorable.

Or let's say you're having a holiday, that's really good. You score it as a seven or eight, most of the time. However, at the end of the holiday, you're having a meal in a bar, and there's a fine. The whole thing is just a really upsetting experience. And when you look back on the holiday, you'd say, how was the holiday it was fine, but it was ruined how often you've had heard people say that it was ruined by what happened at the end. For actually, when you look back, there were 13 really good, happy days.

But what we really remember is that it was ruined by this one incident. Now, in actual fact, it turns out that our memories are not shaped by just one instance. In the middle or the end, it's shaped by both. And memory is shaped by what happens at the peak. Together with what happens at the end. And when we say peak, we really mean experience of biggest intensity.

So that peak could be the equivalent of a very deep trough. Let me tell you about a really interesting experiment, which illustrates the influence of the endpoint of the memory. researchers asked volunteers to undergo three trials. In the first trial, the volunteer put their hand into a tank of water, whose temperature was 14 degrees Celsius for 60 seconds, the temperature might not sound that low. But if you try out, you'll soon find that it's quite painful. Now in the second trial, Without the volunteer realizing it, warmer water was injected into the tank such that for the last 30 seconds, the temperature was raised to 15 degrees Celsius.

Volunteers were then told that they had to do a third trial. But in the third trial, they had a choice. They could either repeat the first trial or repeat the second trial, the vast majority of volunteers opted to repeat the second trial. Now stop and think about that for a moment, because the second trial includes the first trial. So their memory was shaped by what happened towards the end. Their memory was that the second trial was a better experience, even though it included all of the experience that they regarded as bad from the first trial plus another segment, which was slightly less bad.

And the researchers went on to validate their findings, in particular, looking at the experience of patients undergoing a colonoscopy, which as I understand it is not a particularly pleasant experience. So what's the relevance of all of this for you? Well, your experience at work over time varies. Sometimes it's enjoyable, sometimes it's not enjoyable. And then there'll be one or two incidents, perhaps that you remember more than most. And the problem is that if you reflect back, without monitoring what happens day to day, you'll miss all of the good stuff that you're really enjoying.

And you just remember that you really hate doing this, or you really love doing that. By monitoring, day by day, you get a genuine picture. what your experience is really like. And that's where the daily journal comes in. Here's a template that I suggest you use, you can download it as a PDF or as a Word file underneath this video. Now, if you're watching this on a mobile phone, this is going to be pretty difficult to read.

So I'll talk through it, and I'll zoom in where appropriate. This page represents one day. Let's say that it's a Tuesday. And it's got five activities 12345 activities on the page. Doesn't have to be that number, but it works pretty well. And the format for each activity is the same.

So let's zoom in on the first one, and take a closer look. Now let's say that you're doing a job where your client is in a Different timezone. And every morning you come in, and there's a pile of emails from the client. So the first activity of the morning might be something like reading overnight. emails, your observation might be that it took morning and the activity was joyless. Often I suggest that you annotate those with a smiley face or not.

So you've got a quick reference. And then is here's a structure that I also like to use for feedback. Do I want to stop doing that? But I want to keep doing that. What do I want to start doing something else completely. And in this instance, I'm going to say yes, I do want to stop doing it.

Do I want to keep doing it now? I certainly don't. Does it trigger in my mind anything that I want to start doing? Well, I'll leave that blank for the time being. Now, let's say it took me all morning to do that. But after that, I've got lunch with a colleague called Catherine and I'm going to explain to her some of my ideas about design thinking, something I'm very keen on.

And my observation on that is that it's so good to talk to someone like minded. Make sure you're able to read your own writing. That's something that I want to keep doing. But also, I want to start doing some real design, thinking work. And to emphasize that, here's a big red smiley. Let's do one more to make sure that you've got the idea.

Let's say the next activity is to present and discuss workshop ideas for an upcoming workshop and let's say my observation is that I love love Working in a creative group teams, that's my thing. So guess what, I'm gonna put a big heart here. Want to keep doing that? Hell yes. But you know why also trade is something else in my mind. something I'd really like to do, I don't really do too much in my current job, I want to start something.

I want to start facili tasting great groups, solving problems in groups. Because I really, that's something I'm really genuinely love doing. So I think that's enough examples to talk through. What I'll do is I'll create a neater version of this and you can download it below to help Have a look at it. So if you haven't been able to read this on the screen, then after you finish the video, go and have a look at it, download the template and have a go. And if you want to change the template, then that's fine.

All we're trying to do is to get a record of not the end or the peak, but the activity that you do in your day to day work. Now, how long do you need to do this for? Well, I would suggest that you need to do it for a minimum of two weeks to get a decent variation of activities. Ideally, I would do it for four to six weeks. But you don't have to wait until you've completed this before you start the next exercise. The other exercises in this section you can do in parallel with your daily journal.

But I wanted to do the daily journal first because one is the most important of the activities. And second, you can get robbed While you do the other exercises in parallel So download the template and start completing your daily journal straight away. And I suggest that you do at least two or three days before moving on to the next exercise

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