Top 8 Reasons Why Using a Diary Will Revolutionise Your Productivity & Motivation

5th June 2024

Forgetting scheduled meetings, missing important deadlines and underperforming on work projects. Feeling like time is running away with you and like there aren’t enough hours in the day. If this sounds something like you, introducing a diary to your toolbelt could be the key to revolutionising your productivity and work performance.

From creating mental clarity to enabling you to structure your day strategically and make the best use of your time, the benefits of using a diary are endless. Here are some of the most significant changes you’ll see in your first few weeks with your new diary.

8. Mind Over Matter: Tackle Tasks with Confidence

Much of the time, what stands in the way of us and completing our tasks is a messy, laborious or otherwise unappealing process. Replying to a long backlog of emails, for instance, can feel overwhelming, but having a clear process in place for tackling this kind of task can really take the pressure off. That’s where a diary comes in: helping you to split the task up into smaller chunks, categorise your emails by urgency and tackle them one at a time.

The reward of completing a difficult or draining task and ticking it off a physical to do list in your diary can create a satisfying boost of dopamine. These happy hormones are key to maintaining a good mood and keeping us feeling encouraged and motivated to tackle the workday ahead.

7. Clear Your Mind and Get It All Out on Paper

Everybody can relate to having a hundred different thoughts bouncing around in your head all at once, bumping into each other and knocking things over. As much as we convince ourselves it’s sustainable, something important is bound to slip eventually and inevitably cause some kind of unneeded chaos in our lives.

A diary can help with this state of overwhelm. Having a dedicated vessel for all these varying priorities and responsibilities – rewrite slide 7 of the May report, email John about that newly-acquired client, book the boardroom for the team meeting on Friday – can be truly freeing. Now, you can use all that valuable spare brain space to focus properly on working through the to do list in your diary!

6. Keep All Your Thoughts in One Convenient Place

Writing down your thoughts and information on spare bits of paper or random post-it notes is a step in the right direction, but this doesn’t compare to having everything in one convenient place. Make sure those important telephone numbers and email addresses don’t go missing by saying adieu to the days of frantic scrawling on receipt-backs and scrap envelopes. Instead, keep everything safe and sound in the pages of your diary.

5. Increase Your Focus by Setting a Finite Task List

A lot of modern diaries come fitted with ready-made templates to help you structure your day. This can include a to do list, hourly schedule and dedicated section to list your day’s top three priorities. Filling this in can be instrumental in spending your time mindfully and focusing your approach on the important tasks that really matter.

Sometimes our to do list can grow as long as our arm. The disheartening feeling this produces can lead to productivity plummeting. By choosing just three things from your master list and putting these in the spotlight in your diary, you can alleviate the pressure of fighting the whole beast and instead feel confident and determined to achieve this smaller, more manageable number of daily goals.

4. Plan Your Day Strategically to Avoid Burnout

A diary can be a great way of structuring the workday and staying aware of the progress we’re making. We can also learn a lot about ourselves and the ways we work best by reading back through our diary to see which tasks we gravitated towards first, what the tasks consisted of and how long they took to complete.

As human beings, we are naturally more drawn to certain kinds of tasks based on our strengths and personality. Taking what we learn about ourselves from our diaries, we can make more informed decisions moving forward about what kind of tasks to complete at what times of day and how long to set aside to complete them.

Planning out your day strategically in your diary based on your propensity for certain tasks and how time consuming they are can enable you to unlock a new level of productivity and pack more into your workday than ever before.

3. Easily Track Your Progress and Deadlines

When we’re working towards a big deadline or contributing to a large project, keeping track of progress is essential. Avoid missing steps or forgetting key components of your project by writing down all the steps in your diary and keeping track of where abouts you are in your journey towards completion.

Without a written record of what we’ve been working on day to day, it can be easy to overlook the strides we’re making towards our big goals and how hard we’re working. By keeping track of your workflow in your diary, all your achievements will be right there in front of you when you need a boost of motivation or a reminder of what a great job you’re doing!

2. Manage Your Time Efficiently

Without setting out a clear plan for the day in your diary, time may sometimes run away with you or be used inefficiently. Knowing how long tasks take, clearly identifying which parts of your to do list are the priority and understanding what times of day you are best at performing certain types of tasks can be instrumental in enabling you to manage your time efficiently.

Efficient time management creates much more space in your day, enabling you to take more small coffee breaks, eliminate time wasting and lower your stress levels. Adding a diary into your routine will make you feel more in control, allowing for a calmer working day.

1. Maintain an Effective Schedule

Humans are creatures of nature; we crave and strive for routine. It makes us feel happy and secure when we know what our day is going to hold. This is why having a clear schedule for each day written down in your diary is so important: not just for your to do list, but for your mental health.

However, it’s important not to allow deviation from the schedule to get you down. To avoid this, try not to plan too rigidly or underestimate how long tasks will take you. Allow some breathing room in your diary by planning in short breaks between each task and accept that sometimes your schedule may need to move around slightly for unexpected meetings or other red herrings.

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