How writing can make you more productive

What image comes to your mind when you read the phrase “goal achiever”? I bet it isn’t a person sitting in bed, with a notebook, journaling. When we think of achievement and success, we usually think of action, movement and being busy. Someone who is busy crushing it, doesn’t have time to write or journal. Well, that’s not quite true. Writing might be exactly the tool we need to be more productive, and scientists agree.*

There is a specific form of writing called expressive writing. It is a form of self exploration, where you put inner thoughts on paper. Just as they are. Just as they come to you. An uncensored stream of consciousness. You don’t have to be a writer, nor even good at writing in order to try it. All you need is a pen, paper and a little time for yourself. This is a method that can be useful for anyone who needs a sharper focus on the things they truly want to achieve.

Benefits of expressive writing:

1. Declutter your mind. You know the feeling you get when you clean up your desktop of all the unnecessary files and weird downloads? Writing can do that for your brain. It gives you an opportunity to make sense of the chaos that is sometimes going on in our heads. Transferring confusion and messy thoughts on paper, brings a sense of order and clarity.

2. Working through issues. Writing about hurdles and difficult experiences can also have a therapeutic effect. It will help you face the problems and ultimately overcome them.

3. Get better insight about yourself. You might start writing about one thing, but then end up on a completely different, seemingly unrelated subject. You never know where your thoughts will take you. Follow them. Go with the flow. You might get to the root of what is causing you anxiety or better understand the things that bring you joy.

4. Improved health. Some of the physical and emotional changes that have been observed in the long run are improved immune system, reduced blood pressure and a feeling of better psychological well being.

So, take some time off during the week for writing and introspection. It is an opportunity to express and evaluate yourself. And don’t feel guilty about it. You are slowing down in order to accelerate.

*If you are interested in taking a deeper dive into the research about expressive writing, check out these resources.

The Health Benefits of Writing about Life Goals - Laura A. King, Southern Methodist University 

Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing - Karen A. Baikie, Kay Wilhelm; Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (2005), vol. 11, 338–346