How to Turn Your “Someday” Plans into Action Right NOW

Career Journal of Walter Iooss, Jr. on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Recently, on a visit to the Newseum in Washington, D.C., I caught an exhibit of iconic photos starring some of the greatest athletes of our time. Many of the images where taken by famed sports photographer Walter Iooss, Jr. and in the center of the room, under glass, I discovered something that captured my attention far more than the shots of Jordan in mid-air.

It was a series of handwritten journals from Iooss himself.

But they weren’t personal journals… they were career journals that Iooss used to archive past work and plan for future assignments. And as I stood there, captivated by the detail and care Iooss put into each of them, I decided to create a journal of my own.

In fact, we should all be creating career journals to help us move faster and more strategically from where we are now to where we want to be in our lives.

Think about it. If you’re struggling to figure out what’s next in your career OR you have a vision of a future you’d like to achieve but no idea how to get there, a journal could be just the thing to turn your daydreams into solid planning.

Getting Started

In Effective Immediately, my coauthor and I recommend creating a Friday Update for your boss each week. Friday Updates are a bulleted list of your…


…areas of challenge or where input is needed, and

…goals for the week ahead.

It’s a fairly simple exercise that requires less than 15 minutes per week to complete, yet the benefits in communication and overall productivity are immeasurable. So think about your career journal as a Friday Update to yourself.

Each week, set aside a small chunk of time (20-30 minutes) to really analyze what you’ve done and what you need to do in pursuit of your goals. To begin, create a checklist of five things you want to complete this week. I keep my career journal in a binder because I like to add photos from magazines, etc. for visual inspiration, but it doesn’t matter whether you use a notebook or an app… just do whatever works best for you. (If you want to use an app though, Evernote or Momento are good starting points.)

Next, pull out your journal on Friday and evaluate your progress. Commit to doing this for one month and see what happens. Yes, it will take some discipline to keep your journal current, but I guarantee that if you do this consistently each week, you WILL achieve far more progress on the road to your goals than you would by just hoping things in your life will change, but taking no action to make it happen.

And who knows? Maybe one day your journal will end up on display somewhere, too.

{Note: This article was written as a guest post for the career blog of Sodexo, a food and facilities management company with 380,000 employees worldwide. For more information, visit}

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