Here is an interesting way to maintain a journal that makes you more productive as well. Journal means different things to different people and what I mean here is recording everything that you do in your day. Not exciting? Hear me out!
First and foremost (as you would expect me to say this), it should be digital. It should be maintained in spreadsheet App, like Excel, as to me journal is tabular data then a series data. A row represents a day and a column represents a track or a role that you play. Typically, you will have four columns in your journal, namely, Job track, Vocation track, Reading/Learning track and Personal/family track. See the picture.
You should record all that you do on a day, in one of the tracks, in the corresponding cell. Record all that which took your significant time and also something that was important although took just a little time. Ideally, you should record the work as soon as you finish it and end of the day should be the good time to complete it fully for the day. Color the week-end rows in red to create boundaries for work weeks.
You will also realize that, the journaling is mostly copy-paste from mails that you sent or other sources. So, one thing that you will find handy is to enable large Microsoft Office clipboard to retain your copied stuff for longer or to to bulk copy-paste.
Let’s see the benefits:
Reflection and completion: When you record a task in your journal, it prompts you to reflect on it, identify any loose ends, and gives you an opportunity to complete the task thoroughly. This reflective process is invaluable.
Personal reward system: A journal acts as a visual representation of your hard work. There’s nothing more satisfying than looking at a row filled with interesting tasks across all your tracks. Take a moment to acknowledge your achievements!
Chronological reference: One minor yet interesting benefit of journaling is having a clear record of when you completed specific tasks.
Report generation: You can extract any track from your journal to create regular weekly reports. These reports can then be folded into monthly, quarterly, and yearly reports. With this data, updating your career documents, self-appraisal, profiles, and resumes becomes not only incidental but also exciting. Our brains naturally enjoy constructing stories when the necessary points are available, and a journal provides those points.
Balanced attention: By reviewing individual columns across multiple days, you can easily identify if any specific track is receiving less attention. This allows you to adjust and prioritize your focus accordingly.
Productivity monitoring: Journaling provides a simple and effective way to record and monitor your productivity. It’s much easier and less time-consuming than tracking hours and minutes.
You have to be regular with it though. Initially to get into habit you should set some reminders for yourselves. New year is round the corner and if you are looking for some resolutions, try this one.