Journaling for ideas: how to use writing to capture your best thoughts 

Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative on

I never realised the power of my thoughts until I started writing them down. Journaling helps me set and achieve my goals in a way that simply thinking about them never could. By journaling, I gain clarity and a new perspective on my work.

I have started to carry a notepad again. I use it to make lists of high-value tasks, write goals, draw diagrams, write copy, calculate plans, envision my future, track thoughts and ideas, and mark milestones. I have been amazed by the insights and self-discoveries that came to me by writing them down and revisiting them regularly.

My Tools

My favourite notepad brand is Rhodia, they are reasonably priced, and the paper quality is excellent. For 2023 and the Entrepreneur Revolution challenge, I am using a simple and light Rhodia A5 Notebook with dotted paper. However, on my desk, I have kept a less portable A4 stapled notepad with squared paper for the last few years. As for pens, I lose them regularly, so I don’t use anything expensive; I currently use a pen borrowed from the City of London Club when I stayed there a few months back. I have heard the Lamy Swift is an idea journaling pen.

How to keep it up

I’m not too fond of linear journaling (a page per day) as I don’t want to do it daily. Keep it simple, and don’t give yourself too much to do and set yourself up to feel guilty about not doing it. Keep it non-linear so you never miss a day, a week, or a month; you use it when you have something to write. Use it how you want, use your headings and categories for pages that make sense to you, and keep the index up to date – this will make it invaluable in the future. Apart from that, use it any time you have a thought you want to explore.

Sections I am using

  1. Index – table of contents for my notebook – 2 page spread
  2. Future Log – my year at a glance – 4 pages
  3. Big Moments – memories, milestones and wins record – 1 page
  4. My Routine/Habits – 1 page
  5. SBA from Iman Gadzhi – 1 page each
    1. Life’s Vision
    2. 2023 Goals
    3. My future Wikipedia entry
    4. Affirmations
  6. Entrepreneur Revolution pages – 1 page each
    1. What am I most grateful for in my life so far?
    2. Who has helped me recently that I have not acknowledged?
    3. What do I want to achieve in the coming three years?
    4. What would I do if I had £100K to invest in my business?
    5. Who can I take out to lunch?
    6. What have I noticed since carrying £500 in my pocket?
    7. What problems can I solve for my clients?
    8. Where would I like to go on holiday in the next 12 months?
  7. Weekly planning – 2 page spread per week
  8. I will add new sections as I come up with them.


  1. Get an A5 notebook and carry it around with you.
  2. Create an index page and use the notepad for all your notes and ideas to plan out your thoughts.
  3. Let me know how you get on.

Ten challenges to wake up your entrepreneur brain from Daniel Priestley

Photo by SHVETS production on

Happy New Year!

Are you ready to face the challenges of entrepreneurship head-on this year? Let’s make 2023 the year of moving from consumers to producers. Whether social media or physical products, I challenge you to start something new. After 20 years of working for educational institutions, I am ready to start building something with everything I have learned. But what problem do I fix, who do I help, and what do I create to fix it? 

In this post, I want to explore Daniel Priestley’s ’10 challenges to wake up your entrepreneur brain’ from the book Entrepreneur Revolution. Get out a pen and paper, buy the ebook, and get ready to join me in tackling some tough obstacles – because the reward of entrepreneurship is worth it.

The ten challenges are:

  1. Make three calls
  2. Put 10% of everything you make into a savings account, and don’t touch it
  3. Stop spending time with people who bring you down
  4. Carry £1000 cash
  5. Take someone new to lunch each week
  6. Tune out from the news
  7. Keep a journal
  8. Plan your holidays first
  9. Get structured
  10. Get an entrepreneurial team

Challenge one might be the hardest, but it is about taking action. It requires you to get started before you fully know what you are doing by making three phone calls and seeing what happens. You need to pick a bold idea and begin making phone calls, sending emails, and booking meetings with people who could help. Just start the conversation without knowing where it will lead. 

Challenge two requires you to start building your wealth and make your brain ok with taking risks by creating a wealth-building account. The idea is that having money will open your brain to a bigger vision. Spending less than you earn to build wealth is not new, but it is simple. Any additional money you can save above the 10% can be invested into your business or in gaining skills. The only rule is not to touch the money.

Make a list of everyone you spend time with and start to curate this list. Challenge three is to make friends and spend time with people who inspire you and less time with those that don’t. Challenge six is similar in its impact on your mental state. Cut out the news as a regular part of your input and only seek specific stories that relate to your goals.

£1000 in cash is a big chunk of paper to keep in your pocket for challenge four. Like most people, I have been almost entirely cashless for the last few years, so this is a big one for me. The aim is to tackle some mental barriers people have regarding money, such as dealing with impulse spending or making you comfortable asking for large amounts of money from people.  

Challenge five is to take out two people to lunch each week and pick up the bill. Have no agenda; ask interesting people to share a meal and talk about life. There should be nothing work-related about these lunches, but they will quickly pay for themselves through the opportunities they provide. 

Challenge seven is to keep a journal. The journal should be used to keep track of high-value tasks, goals, diagrams of ideas, marketing copy and future visions. You should always keep the journal at hand and use it to record your thoughts and ideas about your business and jot down plans, calculations and resource requirements as you work out these ideas. I use a Rhodia pad for the high-quality paper and the bullet journal method as a structure.

Keep your energy and excitement by planning your holidays at the start of the year and then fit work around them for challenge eight. You should block our 6-8 weeks for holidays and relax. Scheduling your year this way does two things. First, it allows you to work harder knowing that you will have a break at the end, and second, it will keep you doing exciting things and make you a more interesting and vibrant person.

Challenge nine is to meet with business advisors such as an accountant and a lawyer (they will probably provide a free introductory meeting) to discuss your business and wealth-building plans. These experts will give you options for the best way to move forward with any ideas you have. This is to set yourself and your business up correctly so you can take advantage of any tax breaks and government initiatives for new companies and avoid any legal or financial problems.

Finally, challenge ten requires you to identify people around you who can help you implement your ideas. My MBA suggested the first two people you need are a data analyst and a sales closure. The book proposes a team including a graphic designer, a technical expert in your business’s field, a ‘swiss army knife’ person who can do anything that is required and a mentor.

So there are ten challenges to get stuck into this year to awaken your enterprising brain and get you started as an entrepreneur. I suggest you pick up a copy of the book if you are interested in joining me this year in creating something new. Leave me a comment if you are interested in this journey too.