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The Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast 99: How to create an effective journaling workflow that will not only impact your business, but your life using The Growth Journal Method!

Did you know that journaling is a powerful tool for personal growth and self-reflection? Today’s guest, Abby Martinez, knows it and she’s here today to talk all about how you can get the most out of journaling using her Growth Journal Method.

Check out the Growth Journal here (my affiliate link) 

The Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast is brought to you by Dolly DeLong Education. This podcast is for creative business owners who want to learn tangible steps to automate their business through workflows, systems, tools, and strategies to go from scattered to streamlined with purpose because even muggles can become automated wizards!

Meet Abby Martinez

Abby is a multi-passionate entrepreneur with an overarching goal of moving in the direction of progress & growth, both personally and in her business. She’s a coach, agency owner, and founder of The Growth Journal. She was inspired by her desire to have a simple yet powerful journaling practice that allowed her to focus on the present while also building evidence of all the growth in her life. On the days when she feels like she’s not making progress, or not growing, all she has to do is pull out her journal and remind herself of how far she’s come and of the goodness revealed in the evidence she’s building. This helps her celebrate every little step as well as gives her confidence whenever she has a new idea she wants to pursue.

Want to hear another podcast episode featuring Abby Martinez?

32: How to Use ClickUp and Dubsado Together (with Abby Martinez) (The Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast)

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Review the Show Notes







Read The Shownotes + Transcript Here

Dolly DeLong: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Systems and Workflow Magic podcast. I am your Systems and Workflow BFF and guide, Dolly DeLong. And I, I’ve been thinking about this lately. So I have a quick question for you, the listener. Are you one of those business owners who thrive on journaling, meaning you can sit down and journal for hours and hours and you buy a new journal every other week because you fill them up so fast?

You just have to get your thoughts out. Or are you like. Person B who you’re gifted with a new journal from friends and you have every intention of journaling and then you always drop the ball so your journals end up collecting dust through the years or are you person C the hybrid of the two you start off pretty strong and then you forget to journal and then you dabble at it again and then you let it go in a couple weeks and so like you’re between A and B.

So personally, I fall into category C. I sincerely want to journal, myself. And I literally, sometimes when I listen to other people’s podcasts, or if I read, stories and posts, I am moved and inspired by people’s stories of how transformational journaling can be for their lives and businesses.

but I literally have no idea how to do this for my own life. Mostly because for me and the stage sitting down to write feels like a luxury to me because, at this stage of life, the only time I have is like right before I go to bed. And the last thing I want to do is write because I’m usually falling asleep or, scrolling Instagram, watching all those really ridiculous reels, or if I write too much, my hands start hurting, which is very sad. I don’t know what that means, but it’s just maybe because I type too much, I don’t know. But seriously, the point I’m trying to make is I want to be person A so badly. I want to be the person who is in love with journaling. So I shared this question and I shared this, story about me because it is a treat for me and my listeners because we have Abby Martinez on the podcast today.

And she developed a new system and a new way to journal with her growth journal. So, of course, I had to invite her on the podcast to showcase this type of journaling and maybe it could encourage if you are the type of person like me you want to get into journaling, want to incorporate that into your workflow of life you may want to listen to this episode.

So for those of you who don’t know Abby, she is a multi-passionate entrepreneur with an overarching goal of moving in the direction of progress And growth. for both her life personally and in her business. She’s a coach. She’s an agency owner and the founder of the growth journal.

She was inspired by her desire to have a simple yet powerful practice that allowed her to focus on the. present while also building evidence of all the growth in her life.

On the days when she feels like she’s not making any progress or not growing. All she has to do is pull out her journal and remind herself of how far she’s come in all the goodness revealed in the evidence she’s building.

Also A little bit about Abby. She was a past contributor to the systems and workflow magic bundle earlier in 2023. And her contribution was a hit. And she also is a lady who understands the power of systems and workflows. And so it’s always nice to have somebody else on the podcast who nerds out on all these things.

But Without further ado, I wanted to welcome Abby to the podcast. Welcome Abby.

Abby Martinez: Hi, Dolly. Thank you so much for that generous introduction. I love it so much. I’m so glad to be here and to be back. And yes, I also totally agree with the journaling story that you told.

Yeah, like being in the mix of, one of those people. And I think that’s really. Why the growth journal was made. Yeah.

Dolly DeLong: I know I just did a little Oh, okay. A long introduction about you, but do you mind sharing more about why you started the growth journal and what inspired you to take action, to do this specific thing, you may answer this question later, but especially since you have that agency side and you do like you, you live in systems and workflows.

that is your life. So what inspired it? The growth journal?

Abby Martinez: such a great question. like you said, I have an agency, I have another company and really, I just felt like things were going so fast in my life. as like you’re wearing so many hats as an entrepreneur, especially since my business was just started in 2020.

I just really felt okay, things are moving so quickly. I need to slow down. And that was like a theme that started to come through for me. And that’s like the birth of the growth journal. and so as an entrepreneur, because we’re wearing so many hats and things can be overwhelming and we’re moving very quickly and we’re being stretched to new lengths, and being expanded, it can feel really ungrounding.

And so I felt like things were just like unmanageable things We’re speeding along way too quickly. And so I desired to really know if I was actually growing as a person. And I was working with a coach at the time and I was doing the inner work and all the external growth work in my business.

And a lot of the days I was like, Oh, nothing is actually changing for me. Things are staying the same. And I think if you’re listening, maybe you can relate to this. And so I realized that, yeah, if I’m feeling this way, then probably other entrepreneurs, maybe not even entrepreneurs, Or feeling this way too, in our busy-paced world.

And so insert the growth journal. I decided I wanted to create a physical space to get intentional about tracking my growth and also getting intentional about being in the moment. So one of the things that I have learned lately, is that nothing actually happens outside of the present moment. Like no worrying about the future, no wondering about the past is going to help anything else, right?

Because right now in the present moment is all we have. And this is actually from the book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. And I just really had this desire to get intentional. And I really needed to learn to embrace the power of now. And so rooting myself in this practice of the growth journal really allowed me to get clear on where I am through the prompts that I created.

I really had to think about what would be intentional. What are the prompts, that would allow me to be in the present moment while also looking at, okay, this is the evidence of, yeah, like how am I growing as a person? It could be the smallest thing. Like I chose a healthier meal today, or I sent an email to my email list because I’m trying to, nurture my community more.

It can be the smallest thing to the biggest thing. I had a 50K launch or whatever it is, Or, I spent 20 extra minutes being really present with my kids and playing with blocks on the floor, It can be, like I said, the smallest to the biggest thing. And so really that’s how the growth journal was created.

Just need that space to be able to document that. and to have that space to look at the evidence. And so the second part of this really is about building evidence. And so I love to talk about this whole key, concept around building evidence. So as an entrepreneur, when you’re going after big, scary goals.

Like it feels so exhilarating. Like the brain gets super excited. But then as soon as the brain gets excited, like the next thought, the very next thought is usually a wait-a-minute. I can’t do that. Or who am I to do that thing? Right? Like your brain that is a natural response. So if you’ve ever had that and you’re like, Oh, my gosh, something’s wrong with me.

How are all these other people creating all of these things? Actually, it’s like scientific. Your brain just wants you to be in a safe comfort zone. So it’s going to try to put you back there by all of these limiting beliefs and subconscious things that are running the show. They’re going to show up and they’re going to show up loudly, right?

So it’s normal. Your brain just wants you to stay safe. But I have learned that when you build evidence of how you’re growing and all of the things that you’re doing, you can actually lean on that evidence when you go after the next big, scary goal, right? You can say. Wow. Like I’ve actually, I’ve done this before.

I’ve been in this energy in this space before I had an idea. I ran with the idea. I learned a lot from it. I was successful or I learned this and I tried it again. And if you have that evidence, if you have a physical space to go back and look at, wow, this is what I tried and this is how I grew. And you use that to lean on as you go for your next goal.

I found that it’s easier to trust yourself. To go after your next goal. And so that is really like the twofold part of the growth journal is you’re going to look at what is the intention for now? And also like, how can I use this space of evidence of my growth to help propel me forward?

Dolly DeLong: Wow. Abby, thank you so much for sharing the genesis of the growth journal. that’s an awesome story. Thank you so much for sharing that. okay. I’m going to ask you a different type of question. How do you believe this journal is set apart from your experiences using other journals?

Because you said that you wanted to structure it in a certain way, so why did you choose the specific questions you chose? like, how did you distill that? Because I’m sure we’re going to get into it, like the layout and everything, but it’s like literally just one page and you go down one page and that’s what makes it so consumable and easy for somebody like me to do, and participate in.

And so I’m just like, curious, like what, what sets it apart?

Abby Martinez: Yeah. Such a great question. So I. I love journals and I love like opening up journals that have like prompts in them, but I find that when I’m like at a bookstore or like at Target and going through the journaling aisle, I’m like, okay, like opening these journals with all of these prompts.

And I just there’s a few good ones. And it just doesn’t always resonate with me. And I was like, I really want a spot where it makes sense for me and hopefully it will make sense for other people. And that’s the feedback I’ve gotten. and so I really just had to slow down and ask myself, what is it that is important?

For me to know, how, and what questions will help me feel more grounded in the moment and in this present moment. and how can I make this as simple as possible? Something that I will show up for 90 percent of the time, because, doing something a hundred percent of the time, it’s just not going to happen.

as an entrepreneur and a mom, like it’s just not going to happen. So showing up for this 90 percent of the time. And that was my inspiration. the layout and creating the questions that I did, and I’m happy to share what questions are in the journal. If that would feel aligned.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah, that would be awesome.

Abby Martinez: Yeah. Amazing. Okay. and as Dolly stated, each page is the same, right? So it’s just a repetitive practice every day, which I also think really helps build the habit. Of journaling, you’re going to sit down. It’s going to have, it’s going to take a place. It’s going to, form as a habit in your life.

That’s going to root you in today. So the questions are, how am I feeling at this moment? And I think so often when life is going so quickly, it’s really easy to just be like feelings like we’re just moving on. we’re just going to make it through the day. But like when you present yourself, like, gosh, how am I actually feeling in this moment?

How do I feel in my body? Then you can respond to yourself in a different way. So the intention behind that was if I’m feeling excited and happy, great. Like I am, I can move on with my day. And if I’m feeling slow and sluggish or like sadness, how can I actually meet myself where I’m at with what I need at this moment?

Do I need to meditate? Do I need to call a friend? Do I need to pray? Do I need to go for a walk? what do I need at this moment? and for me, I’m like, I physically feel things in my body. So it’s like, what am I feeling in my body? So that was really important to me. expressing gratitude. Was really important.

So the next question is I am grateful for and then there are three lines for that. so we’ve all, we’ve all shared gratitude. We’ve all seen the gratitude journals. and there’s a reason for that, right? Like it’s scientifically backed like it’s very important. And so reading myself and gratefulness for the day.

Things that I’m grateful for focusing on that positive. and then the third question is my intention for the day. So what is it that I want to set as my intention? And that could be something that you physically want to accomplish. My intention is to set up a workflow for whatever my podcast is or, it could be anything like that.

And it could also be like a theme of the day, like my intention for today. Is to slow down. My intention for today is to be more present with my Children. my intention for the day is love, right? So that can be either a theme or a physical thing that you’re doing. the fourth question is my top three for the day, and there are boxes for that.

So you can write in here the top three things you want to focus on that day. So it could be tasks again. It could be. cook a nourishing meal for myself. like I said, spend more time with my kids, and play blocks with my daughter. and then the fifth question is what is the evidence of growth in my life today?

And that’s the spot where you get to document. How are you growing as a person? Whether it’s in your business, your personal life, your relationships, your finances, whatever it is, it’s you have a nice little spot here to share that. And then the last one is to close it out is my daily affirmation.

So when you walk away from your journaling practice, what is it that you really want to take with you? What is the affirmation, the thought that you want to keep with you? And like I said, there was an intention behind each of these questions to really set up the day. Okay. For success, and how you’re feeling and also like the productivity side of it, too.

Dolly DeLong: love it so much. Thank you so much for sharing that.

Abby Martinez: Yes. Thank you for asking the question. I think sometimes it’s easy to just be like, Oh, like there, here’s a journal, and here’s how it was created. And these are the prompts. But I think when you actually understand the intention behind it, yeah, it’s easier.

Like you get more buy it’s Oh, like these questions actually mean something. There’s something here for me. And I want to slow down in that.

Dolly DeLong: I’m really glad you brought up the point of it, it’s either the first or second question, like, how do I feel at this moment?

Cause to be completely transparent with the listeners and with you, I’m usually doing this journaling first thing in the morning. So of course my brain is like, well, of course I’m feeling tired. Duh. So I always have been putting, I feel tired, but. It is good for that reminder for me, like, okay, Dolly, take a layer back, take a step back because some mornings I do wake up even yes, I’m tired, but there might be like an underlying feeling of dread about something I have to do, or an underlying feeling of excitement because I get to do X, Y, Z, or I get to go hiking with my family.

I don’t know, go to a national park for the day. I don’t know, but. It’s always, it has been like since I started, I’ve always put, I am tired. And maybe there’s a different meaning to this. So I’m very glad you brought that up. Yeah.

Abby Martinez: And I love that share Dolly too because it’s okay. It’s so okay. That every day in your journal right now says that you’re tired because like, you’re in a season of motherhood. You have little kids. I can relate. I have little kids. And so Most of the time mine also says I’m tired, but then there’s sometimes, something else to go along with that.

And I think the power in that is okay, I’m tired. what do I need right now in this moment to be able to move on to the next part of my day? Because the more that we just don’t acknowledge our feelings, the more that we’re like, okay, I’m tired. And I have to push through like the worst that can become for us physically and mentally.

And so if we can say, wow, I’m really tired, Okay. What can I do for myself today to be able to meet where I’m at? Do I need, do I need. a 20-minute power nap. Do I need a 10-minute meditation? Like how can I meet myself? Do I need to move meetings off of my calendar? Because sometimes that’s the important thing to do.

So I love that you shared that. And it’s totally a season of life of the littles and being tired and it’s it’s so okay too.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah, thank you again for like sharing it point by point that really inspired me. So, the next question I have is just the practice of consistency and creating a routine like we as business owners know, consistency is really important in growing our business, and showing up is really important in growing our business and having some sort yeah, Routine, like an SOP, a workflow is really important for our business.

So how can you relate that in terms of a journaling routine?

Abby Martinez: Yeah, such a good question. And I think a lot of people are hesitant to even start journaling because of this consistency key. And as you said, we know in business, it’s so important to have those things, have that consistency. And sometimes it can feel restrictive to be like, Oh my gosh, okay, if I start this and I have to do it every day, a hundred percent, and so I think that, yeah, building your own practice, your own routine is really, it’s personalized.

It’s personal to you. And so I think you should consider having one because it’s really healthy for you. Actually. Journaling is scientifically backed. It’s not just some woo thing where it’s writing down your feelings and all your problems are going to be solved. It’s not that like it, but it is scientifically backed.

There are actual studies that have been done. On the benefits of journaling. so I think it’s really important to add it to your routine, right? it’s also really helpful for you to get grounded. As I said, like earlier on, As a business owner and as a busy mom of littles, things were going so fast.

So just, ground having that moment for yourself and grounding. I think that is also really important. And then, like I said, build a journaling routine that actually works for you. That’s going to be key. And so for me, one of the things that I love to do, and I don’t know if this is like really habit stacking, probably not, but It’s more about creating the atmosphere.

Like what, if I’m excited about it, I’m going to show up, I’m going to be there for it. So for me, like I love to make myself a warm cup of coffee in the morning. So I journal in the morning, with a warm cup of coffee. And I have a, like a corner in my living room, like a cozy chair and a big blanket. And I’ve got like my cute little table with plants or whatever on it.

And it’s just like a vibe, right? I turn on lo-fi music and I’m like, okay, I’m gonna sit here and do my thing. And for the longest time, I would like not to allow myself to do it. Cause I’m like, no, my kids are awake. And like, to make this successful, I have to get up before my kids. But like, that’s not where I was in life.

My kids are the ones who wake me up most days because they get up so early. And so I’m like, no, I’m going to turn on this chill music. My kids can be as chaotic as they need to be, but I’m going to give myself this five minutes right where I’m at. I’m going to meet myself where I am and I’m going to get into it.

And so I’ve built this habit of just like romanticizing it, like making it, you’ve seen the romanticize your life, stuff on Instagram, but yeah, just like making it like a really special practice for me to show up. And like I said, it’s not 100 percent of the time because that’s not realistic, but 90%, 80%, I’m still showing up for it.

So I think that’s really powerful too, is creating it. In a way that feels really good to you.

Dolly DeLong: Awesome. if you guys want to know what my habit is with the journal if you need a more tangible example. So like Abby shared, I also journal in the mornings because that’s usually, when I used to also think, Oh, I need to wake up before my kids, but my kids wake up at five in the morning.

So, I don’t want to wake up any earlier than that if I have to. So what have I been doing? Okay. I have to think through, cause some days are different than others, but most days, if I’m able to, I will wake up, feed Jack of course, and then go and go for a quick run or walk, do something like active with my body.

And then listen to the Bible And for those of you who are wondering, like I like to listen to the Bible, because if I sit down to read, I will fall asleep. I’m just letting you know, I’ve been known to fall asleep with the word on me. And so I will listen and then listen to a podcast or whatever, then go with it.

But then at the end of that, I’m like, okay, let me, how do I like tie this up? and having this journal has been like a good little button-up for me to end this little. I guess like routine or our morning workflow for me. And then I go straight into my day, like helping Blaise, get ready, helping Jack get ready, getting ready myself. But it’s been really good. Just like a fun little piece to add to my routine.

Abby Martinez: love that. I can relate to one of the things that I feel like after I do this journaling practice I just feel a sense of calm. Like I feel like my brain, like when I wake up, sometimes it’s like, well, like all these things I have to do.

It’s just so much chaos. But if I really give myself those five minutes to be like, okay, and away from a screen too, because of course I use like ClickUp and have all of that in my computer. But having this okay, I’m actually writing this out. As I’m looking at this, I’m thinking about what is the most important for today.

yeah, it’s just like really powerful and really helps me feel less chaotic in my mind.

Dolly DeLong: That is so good. Abby, I just want to say thank you so much again for coming on the podcast. And I know this was a little different. Like we weren’t sharing necessarily like a strategic SOP and system and workflow, but in a way, like building this habit, building this journaling routine is like building a workflow for your personal life that does have a ripple effect on your business and your life and your mindset. So thank you so much for coming on.

Abby Martinez: Yes. Thank you, Dolly, so much for having me on. This is so great, to chat about this. And yeah, I love how you just wrapped that up. It’s like a nice little workflow for your personal

Dolly DeLong: life.

Yeah. And that’s what I want. I want the listeners here to not only see workflows and systems and automations, all these things to benefit their business, but also to benefit their life. And so there’s a balance. And so Abby. before we end things, how can people find you, work with you, connect with you, and get to know you?

Abby Martinez: you can find me on Instagram so you can find the growth journal at the growth journal co and also online at www.thegrowthjournal.co you can also find me, at Abby Martinez co for my other business, my agency.

Dolly DeLong: So well, thank you so much. And, for those of you who are listening in just as a reminder, there will be resources and notes in the show notes of this podcast and also the blog version of this podcast.

So don’t worry. I have you covered so you can get in touch with Abby and until then. Next time. I hope you all have a streamlined and amazing week. You amazing muggle you. I hope you do take some time to journal this week or find a new system to slow down and reflect and see how far you’ve come in business and in life.

So until next time, have a good week. Bye.

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