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Leadership coach Dan Rockwell joined the trend to gratitude journaling last November. People do it differently, of course, some taking time to record everything they feel gratitude for at the beginning or end of the day and others even setting a minimum number of gratitudes they must record before putting the journal away.

He committed to record one point of gratitude a day on a simple notepad – no fancy journal – every day for a month. “I’m still journaling,” he writes a few months later in his blog. “But I’m dangerously close to turning joyful simplicity into overcommitment.”

He says he has the ability to improve something until it stops working – adding, and adding, and adding until joy turns into pressure. He’s not alone, of course. It’s easy to get too fancy with journaling.

“This morning I recorded one point of gratitude. I should have stopped there, but I’m a high achiever! After a point of gratitude, I recorded an intention for the day. But there’s more. I also recorded a positive memory. Then I chose to send an encouraging e-mail to someone. And by the way, I also added a short journaling practice at the end of the day. I can’t leave good enough alone,” he notes.

So he is now restraining himself to chronicling one point of gratitude every morning, but with the option of further reflection by asking himself three questions:

  • Would you like to spend time reflecting on a positive memory?
  • Would you like to reflect on the reason you’re thankful?
  • Would you like to set an intention for the day?

Another approach is shared by author Neil Pasricha in Harvard Business Review. It takes two minutes in the morning and he guarantees it will make your day better.

It started as he was fighting workaholic tendencies. “My to-do list was a mile high! So in an act of desperation, I began writing down a couple things I would focus on each day on a blank 4×6 index card,” he writes. So that’s step one: “I will focus on…”

That helped reduce decision fatigue but he was still wrapped up on the negatives too much throughout the rest of his day. He came across a study comparing people who wrote down gratitudes to people who wrote down hassles or events and found catching gratitudes would make him happier and physically healthier. So step two, on the back of the index card, is to write: “I am grateful for…”

But he found he was still holding too much stress. So he added one final line to the card: “I will let go of…”

He now has replaced the cards with a journal on his night table, which he sees when he wakes up. “The difference this little practice made in my life has been incredible. Because the truth is, we’re only awake for around 1,000 minutes a day on average. If we can invest just two of them to prime our brains for positivity, then we’ll be helping ensure the other 998 minutes of our days are happier,” he says.

The Rules for Office Romances

Many long-term relationships begin at the office. They can be delightful but there are also pitfalls. With Valentine’s Day approaching, HR consultant Tim Sackett captured some with these rules in his blog:

  • Don’t fall for anyone you supervise.
  • Don’t mess around in the office or on office grounds.
  • Don’t send explicit e-mail to each other at work.
  • Don’t pick a married one.
  • Inform the appropriate parties as soon as possible.
  • If it seems wrong, it probably is.
  • If you find yourself hiding your relationship at work, it might be time to talk to HR.
  • Everyone already knows about your relationship.

Quick hits

  • Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad recommended dividing your life into 10-minute units and infusing each with meaningful activity: “You can do so much in 10 minutes time.”
  • If you’re working from home try this quick test of your desk set-up: If you’re at the computer, the b and h keys on the keyboard should be aligned with your midline for the best ergonomics. You shouldn’t need to tilt your head up or down to see what you are working on in your monitor, ThriveGlobal reports.
  • If you’re not getting interviews for jobs, executive recruiter Gerald Walsh suggests considering that you aren’t giving enough information. For most people, a one-page resume isn’t sufficient – two or three pages may be required to properly explain your background. But beware: Another reason for not getting interviews can be burying your relevant experience so it is hard to find in the resume.
  • And if you get the interview, ask this question if the interviewer talks about corporate values, advises Sean Byrnes, CEO of Outlier business analytics: “Has the company ever made a decision that prioritized its values over revenue?”

Entrepreneur Seth Godin says the first favour is when you ask a friend or colleague to do something for you. The second favour is when you ask them to do it precisely the way you would. The second favour is more costly.

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