A productivity journal is a great tool to help you stay organized, set and define goals, store important information, and track your progress. Writing things down is like a commitment you make to yourself – it prompts you to choose a specific goal and accomplish it, and it holds you accountable. It also helps you organize and analyze your thoughts in a way that would be difficult – if not impossible – to do if you were just thinking or dreaming about it.
Writing things down helps you put your thoughts together in a coherent, structured, and systematic way. It is also a wonderful tool to help you understand your priorities, your emotions, where you are and where you want to go. This understanding that comes with writing things down may give you a feeling of control and enables you to recognize that it is in your power to transform yourself and to work toward achieving your goals. Besides, it will increase your belief in your ability to complete tasks and reach goals, and it will boost your confidence.
Also, it is important to include all aspects of your life in your productivity journal, because productivity isn’t only about work. It is about acknowledging what you did well – professionally and personally. Moreover, it has been proven that taking 15 minutes at the end of the day to reflect on your day helps you perform better and sets you up for success.
I’ve been trying to find a productivity journal that will make it easier for me to keep track of all of my tasks, goals, and appointments. I’ve tried using different notebooks and different apps. I love using pen and paper, but somehow I find it easier to use a digital calendar because I can move around tasks I haven’t finished and easily re-schedule events. I finally decided that using Google Calendar and Google Drive makes my life much easier. Google Calendar is the place where I keep track of my tasks by days, and Google Drive is the place that hosts my lists and my drafts. You can use an old fashioned paper notebook that you like or a fancy planner, or simply use a digital software like Evernote, Microsoft Word, or Google Calendar.
Here are some ideas I have discovered in my search for the perfect productivity journal:
PLAN YOUR DAY:
- Start with keeping a master to-do list for all the things you want to accomplish now and in the future.
- Plan your day using time chucks, or break up your day into morning, afternoon and evening. Keep track of the way you spend your day and see where you waste your time. Record everything and prioritize your tasks.
- Write down a daily positive affirmation.
- Choose 3 most important tasks for the day. Make sure you really stick to the 3 things a day.
- At the end of the day, review your day, write down 3 positive things that happened to you, and add your hopes for tomorrow.
PLAN YOUR WEEK:
- Plan your weekly tasks by days – meetings, appointments, chores, errands to run, phone calls to make, email to answer to.
- Choose the 3 most important tasks of the week and for each of them write down the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals.
- Choose 3 other less important tasks and organize them by days.
- Review your week every Saturday or Sunday. Write down 3 positive things – the highlights – about the week that just ended. Describe your week in 3 words and think about what you would like to improve next week.
- Reflect, re-evaluate, re-arrange and transfer undone tasks. See what worked and what didn’t work, and why.
PLAN YOUR MONTH AHEAD:
- Set intention of the month – gratitude, productivity, mindfulness, patience, courage, exploration, self care – and hold yourself accountable for living mindfully and intentionally. At the end of each month, reflect on your month and on how you accomplished your goals.
- Describe your month in 3 words (ex: busy, productive, fast). Write down 3 happy memories, 3 things you are grateful for, and 3 accomplishments – things you did well and made you feel proud. In addition to that, think about 1 hard lesson you learned or something you would like to improve.
- Evaluate your happiness, health, and energy levels.
KEEP LISTS WITH THINGS AND HABITS THAT WOULD HELP YOU IMPROVE. WRITE DOWN:
- Goals and action steps
- Habits you want to add to your routine or habits you want to improve, like: wake up earlier, start exercising, stay positive, meditate, spend more time with your kids or spouse, or be a better listener. Add no more than one new habit each month. Use a daily habit tracker.
- New things you want to learn, like cooking, painting, or playing the piano.
- Bad habits you want to give up, things you should stop doing or stop saying.
- Ways you can improve and things you want to get better at.
- Ways you can help others.
- Events or things you are looking forward to.
- Positive affirmations – quotes from books you liked or people you admire.
- Books you want to read.
- Important lessons you learned throughout the day or from the books you read.
THESE ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF KEEPING A PRODUCTIVITY JOURNAL:
- Writing things down and keeping track of your progress will help you understand yourself and your dreams better.
- Keeping a productivity journal makes it easier for you to see what tasks you accomplish and how much time you spend on each of them.
- It boosts your creativity and your motivation, and it makes you happier.
- You become more introspective and more honest with yourself.
- You discover what part of the day you are most productive, what stresses you out, what slows you down, and what you keep postponing.
- It teaches you to prioritize.
- You learn about yourself and your abilities.
- It makes it easier for you to document what you’ve accomplished and to celebrate your successes.
Write regularly to document your progress. Keep track of your daily, weekly, monthly highlights – good things, successes, accomplishments. Think about your journaling as a way to enjoy your journey toward your best self and a celebration of your successes. It’s a great way to train your brain to focus on progress and on what is positive. It will make you feel stronger and more confident, and it will take your productivity to the next level.
Please, keep in mind that everyone is different and these are my tips. What works best for me might not work for you, but hopefully you will be able to find something here that will be beneficial and help you accomplish your goals.
Do you keep a journal to improve your productivity? Let me know in the comments below!
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For more tools and resources on productivity check out my Resources page.