Famous Journals - Thomas Edison

If Edison’s journals are anything to go by you can easily tell that he most definitely is one of the most productive inventors of all time. On top of all his inventing and experimentation Edison consistently journaled. He used this not only to write notes upon notes of his findings but to also clear his brain, show his mind at work. Throughout his life he managed to fill over 3,500 journals, equating to over 5 million pages. It seems that Edison’s journaling processes help him with his productivity as well as his success.

Looking at Edison’s journals we can see that he was a man of his word, especially when it came to his perseverance and work ethic. There is an incredible focus on output, he would aim for 1 minor invention every 10 days and then a major invention every 6 months. This being said Edison made sure that he had balance between work and pleasure. This can be seen from a few different processes that Edison used.

Edison kept plenty to-do lists, some more extensive than others but they helped him to stay organised as well as motivated as he would have been able to see all the different tasks building up and once complete creating a bigger sense of achievement. That being said, if he didn’t meet a goal he never looked at it as a failure, he chose to use them as lessons to help push him towards meeting his goals. 

Thomas Edison was a man that was very complex but at the same time quite simple. He captured this in a few of his entries where he speaks of both sides of his brain; his quick, emotional, and not at all rational side against his slow, effortful, and rational side. The entries in his journal that relate back to this show that he often would reflect on his decisions, right down to the source to see how many of these thoughts and decisions were being made on a subconscious level. After doing this he analysed the two sides and often went with the more rational and thought out option. Instead of acting on his impulse he would often think of a much better approach to take.

The contents of his journals may be the reason he was so consistent with his journaling as it really was creating something that was an extension of himself and his thoughts. His journals are also prized artefacts due to how in depth each of Edison’s entries are in terms of not only his work but the way he thought and processed stuff. His journals give incredible insight into the character that he was.

Edison’s travel journal is a journal that shows more about the man than the work he completed or focused on. He had entries that included some of his bad habits such as smoking and the anxieties it gave him, showing more of his personal side rather than solely professional.

Many of the processes Edison used while writing in his journals could be beneficial to so many people who are driven and wanting to amp their productivity. He was a man of many talents, journaling just happened to be one of them.