Note: This post is written by Laura Jonson

Keeping a diary isn’t just for expressing teenage angst – it can prove to be a useful tool for people of any age. And one of the best uses of a diary is as a way of boosting your productivity. Putting your thoughts and ideas down on paper – or on screen if you prefer a virtual version – is a brilliant way of focusing your thoughts and establishing what steps you need to take.

How does it work? Here are seven ways keeping a diary can boost your productivity.

1. It serves as a reminder.

Noting down tasks and things you have to do allows you to keep track; otherwise it’s all too easy to get distracted and forget about the tasks you need to deal with. When it’s there in your diary in black and white, you can easily see what needs to be done.

If you’ve always thought that making lists is silly, try it – you’ll be surprised how it helps you to focus and work through your ‘to do’ list methodically.

2. It awakens your creativity.

If you need to use your creative side, keeping a journal is invaluable. You can use it to note down anything that comes into your head; even the smallest comment or observation can be used later on. It’s amazing what ideas can be sparked off later on by something you’ve noted in your diary.

3. It teaches you self-discipline.

If you find it difficult to get on with things you need to do, or make your mind focus, try making regular entries in your diary. This helps to train your mind in being self-disciplined. Sit down and write in your diary at the same time every day, or set yourself the task of writing a certain number of pages each day.

Whatever you choose, the important thing is that you get into the habit of writing in your diary – this will help you apply the same self-discipline to other matters.

4. It allows you to find solutions.

If you’re stuck with something and just can’t see the answer, try writing your thoughts in your diary. The solution may be there in your subconscious, and you just need to access it. Noting down possibilities may help you work out what you need to do.

You can also rule out what won’t work, or what you don’t want to do; although this may not seem very productive, it will actually help you narrow down the possibilities.

5. It lets you identify what is important to you.

You might think you know yourself pretty well, and what is important to you. But people change, and you may not realize that you’ve moved on.

Keeping a diary can allow you to acknowledge changes in your perspective and therefore move on to a new phase in your life. It can also help you identify what path you would like to go down, for example what career change you could make if you want a different job.

6. It shows what’s on your mind.

Writing in a diary can help you express what’s on your mind; maybe even things that you weren’t aware of. Problems and worries can often hold us back and prevent us from achieving what we want to achieve and what we are capable of. But when we write down our thoughts and examine what we’ve written, it can make our worries seem less important or make us resolve to do something about them, rather than just fretting about them.

7. It frees up mental energy.

How much time do you give to thinking about things that don’t really matter, or that you should let go of and stop worrying about? Keeping a diary can really free up a lot of mental energy that you’re wasting on irrelevant or unimportant things, and devote that energy to more productive things that will lead you somewhere.

Laura is a creative regular writer for the assignmentmasters.co.uk writing team. She is also a prolific blogger and is well known in the online community for her passion for writing and English literature. She also has a growing social media presence.

Photo by Christopher Michel

Categories: Thinking, Working

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Lea says:

    Hi Donald and Laura,

    I have to agree with freeing up the mental space. Typically I have a very good memory, because of that I wouldn’t write things down. But as you get older and have more responsibilities it became hard and hard to remember things even in the short term.

    Writing things down not only helped with getting them done but made the whole process less stressful. No more worrying about trying to remember something and getting frustrated when I later realized I forgot.

    Writing stuff down is so helpful, I can’t even tell you!

    ~Lea

    • I completely agree, Lea. I first learned that concept from Getting Things Done by David Allen. By writing things down and not having to remember them, we free up our mind for more creative thinking.