Why and How to Use a Work Diary

One day you will look up and say – Hey, where did the time go? What did I do with my precious time? Not every body can answer quickly with great accomplishment. The people who can, have at least one thing in common: Focus. But being clear about short-, medium- and long-term goals is not enough. Getting feedback by reviewing your progress helps adjusting and optimizing your way of attacking goals.

One technique I discovered being useful is keeping a work diary. Personalities like Ben Franklin, John Adams, Andy Warhol and many others recounted at the end of each day what worked, what didn’t and some other random things that happened during the day. Reflecting your day will benefit your focus and patience and can help you to personal growth. You start to recognize trends in your work style habits and the factors that will lead to success or failure. Success is never triggered from a single event and a work diary can help to specify more clearly the reasons underlying its positive outcome.

There are no special rules for keeping track of your daily business, but I collected some useful tips:

  • SWOT: focus on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your day
  • KISS: Keep it short and simple
  • Be honest with you. Failure is the key to success
  • Keep a positive mindset
  • Never delete what was once written

Therein is “growth power”, if pursued accordingly. It’s the trip afterall that gets us there not the beginning or the end. We first identify the goal but then we lay out the path and take the steps learning along the way by interacting and communicating in a positive way. If you face failure, take time to focus on what you can learn from those setbacks. Try to reinterpret those into something positive like learnings, practical experience or challenges. Setbacks are inevitable in complex work, so we should try to learn from them.

Existing cloud storage tools like Dropbox, Evernote and Google Docs (my choice) can help you accessing and writing your daily report from practically everywhere. Don’t forget to set your privacy status to private.

Image courtesy of Flickrcentellanta

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