Do you want to be more organized and get more done during the day? Or, you probably have troubles to keep a track on your tasks and accomplishments. Or, there is something that is eating you inside, you need to make an important decision, or that colleague really pissed you off at the office?A productivity diary is a simple and convenient way to share your thoughts, vent out the stress, track your progress and your life decisions.
How to free your mind?
The therapeutic effect of keeping a diary.
In this post, I will give you a few good reasons why you should start a productivity diary and how can it help you to be more organized, productive and fulfilled.
Contrary to the popular belief, keeping a diary isn’t just for the teenagers – this can be a very useful tool for people of any age. In fact, one of the best uses of a diary is as a way of expressing your thoughts and boosting your productivity. The simple act of putting your thoughts and ideas down on paper (or on screen if you are into digital) is a brilliant way to focus and decide what steps and decisions you need to take both in your personal and professional life.
How to Keep a Journal to Improve Your Personal Productivity?
Some people say that keeping a diary has changed their life. Others say that it helps them keep the stress levels low and vent out on paper instead of their partner. Whether you are skeptic about the idea or not, however, I suggest you consider the benefits that keeping a journal could bring to your productivity and efficiency because they really are worth it.
A diary is a place to keep your thoughts, your ideas, feelings, emotions of the day, worries and anything that disturbs or excites you. Not only it can help you to unwind and vent, but also can be incredibly helpful when it comes to setting your goals, defining your challenges, and result dramatically in improving your productive mindset.
Does this sound like something you want? Well, here’s everything you need to start:
♦Be Honest with Yourself♦
Use journaling to open up, especially on your tough days. Get those 100 thoughts spinning around your brain out and recognize and reflect on your struggles. You will be amazed how much of clarity this can provide.
Allow yourself to be brutally honest, vulnerable, and express your emotions. Do scribbles, capital letters, marks and anything you feel like. Honest journaling can help you reflect what’s happening now so that you can better understand it and know how to deal with it.
There will be days when you won’t feel like writing. Yes, you may feel like you don’t have anything to write about. And that’s okay. Just write that nothing practically eventful happened that day. I personally find journaling before bed very therapeutic. I reflect not just on the end of the workday, but at the end of my entire day where, sometimes, there’s so much to reflect on outside of work.
Not sure where to start? I suggest have a conversation with yourself.
“Hi, how was your day?” What will be your answer? Did you first refer to work, relationships, health, personal development or other factors? You can ask yourself how you feel physically, mentally, emotionally. Did you learn something new? Did you hear a joke or an inspiring phrase? What did you struggle with today? And what do you think you can do to improve tomorrow?
If you had a great day, celebrate it with some little reward. If your day felt like crap and you can’t wait for it to be over, try to reflect on what made it challenging. Be specific as much as you can and try to put things in perspective where you can take practical actions.
For me, one of the best ways to improve your productivity is to analyze your performance on a daily or weekly basis. Keeping track on them in a journal will help you to congratulate yourself on the things you’ve done well and point out areas where you’re not happy with yourself. You can ask yourself questions like:
- What did I do today?
- What could I improve tomorrow?
- Should I quit this job?
- Should I end up this relationship?
- Am I getting enough sleep?
- What I ate today?
And since the way you treat your body reflects on how productive you are, a daily journal is a great way to track how much water you’re drinking, what kind of diet you’re consuming, what is your energy level and your sleeping patterns.
Honestly, these are just guidelines but there’s no right way to journal. The good thing is you can customize this practice in a way that’s meaningful to you and where you want to go.
In her book The Upside of Stress, Psychologist Kelly McGonigal describes the remarkable benefits of journaling like this:
“In the short term, writing about personal values makes people feel more powerful, in control, proud, and strong. It also makes them feel more loving, connected, and empathetic toward others. It increases pain tolerance, enhances self-control, and reduces unhelpful rumination after a stressful experience.
In the long term, writing about values has been shown to boost GPAs, reduce doctor visits, improve mental health, and help with everything from weight loss to quitting smoking and reducing drinking.”
So what you can use your journal for?
- Write To Do lists
- Collect ideas and brainstorm
- Set goals
- Release stress and worries
- Inspire and motivate yourself
- Criticize yourself in a way that you can get more productive
♦Starting Your Journal♦
Now, you might be thinking, “these are all good points that I like to try, but where should I start with something like this?” Well, go and get yourself a journal, my friend. You can pick one with a locker, so nobody can read your musings or just a nice notebook with a pen.
If you are the digital type of person, you can use your computer or your tablet. You can even use voice notes to record your thoughts if you feel like. However, the old-fashioned writing with a pen on paper can provide some rather therapeutic effects.
Don’t bother to make it sound good. Your journal is the place where you express yourself and isn’t meant for anyone else. Of course, if you are crafty and want to make it a masterpiece you can, But the point is to make it useful for yourself and just write down what is in your mind, without worrying on how it looks, if it is readable or not.
Here are a few more ideas on approaches to try:
This is probably the easiest and most impactful way to start keeping a journal – just start writing about something that you’re grateful for. Here you can focus on what makes you happy and the people that you have in your life.
This is a daily practice of writing, the idea of which is to put down whatever thoughts you have on paper in order to start your morning with a clean slate.
The Goal Journal
You can use this method to list your goals or hopes and everything you’re working toward.
Look in the future and list things you want to do in the long run such as routines, habits, accomplishments, anything.
- Look to the past: Instead of creating a to-do list, you can create a got-done list to reflect on what you have achieved so far.
- Reflect on what stands on your way between your goals and you.
- Write your Progress – describe the steps you’re making and the stage of your goals you’re getting to.
This approach to journaling can help you connect your daily events to your personal values. It can also be a powerful way to improve relationships and communication, reduce stress, and feel more confident. You can start with identifying your personal values and then write about how the events of your day connect back to them.
Okay, I love this one because I often come across interesting things and new ideas throughout the day. So, I have this habit of keeping a small notebook and a pen with me and jot down those flashes of inspiration or thoughts that come to my mind. This helps me a lot to get them out of my head and come back to them when I feel like.
- At the end of the day, I just review what I’ve written throughout the day and start reflecting on them. Is there a thought or idea that is particularly interesting? Can there be any relation to the things I wrote? Do they connect back to other problems or ideas that have been on my head?
- If something strikes you, take a page or two to further explore those ideas draw deeper insights, discover new connections, and reach more creative solutions.
Are there things that you want to learn more about? Are there questions in your head that strike curiosity in you? Similarly to the Gratitude Journal, the Curiosity Journal can help you write down your questions and find out why they are important to you. Or maybe just make you explore more on things that you never thought would interest you and discover some new aspects of your personality or come to conclusions that define your perception about life.
Whichever method you choose, start today. Productivity begins with actions. And actions begin with you.