There are few things more satisfying than the end of a productive day. A day where you have finished everything you had to and can go to bed with a clear conscience. For most people, this feeling is rare. They lack planning and the knowledge of how to be productive consistently. There are different ways people can learn this skill. One of them is with a productivity journal.
Let’s have a look at what a productivity journal is, the benefits, the different types, and how you can use a journal to increase productivity.
What is a productivity journal?
A journal Is a private place for you to note your experiences, feelings, and thoughts. A productivity journal is the same but with a focus on your productivity and how to use time effectively.
It’s a tool intended to help you increase your productivity. It does so by helping you plan ahead and creating accountability. It can help you discover what changes you can make to your workflow or lifestyle to increase your output.
What are the benefits to journaling for productivity?
The obvious benefit is increased productivity, a larger output, and more effective use of your time. But it isn’t the only one. The following is a list of some of the possible benefits you’ll see from productivity journaling:
As you increase your ability to get things done in one area of your life, you’ll notice that it gets easier all around. This can decrease procrastination.
Related: How one habit can change your life
Leaving things unfinished is a major stressor. When you increase productivity, your stress levels might decrease.
Related: journaling for stress and anxiety
Better mood and self-confidence
When you work on your goals, and you feel progress, you’ll feel better about yourself.
Increased chances of reaching your goals
An increase in productivity doesn’t ensure that you’ll reach your goals, but it’ll increase the likelihood. The more you work towards it, the more likely it becomes. And one day, you might even reach them.
Types of journals for productivity
There are many types of journaling specifically intended to increase productivity. The following are two simple yet effective types.
Today and tomorrow (Reflect and plan)
The Today and Tomorrow journal helps increase productivity by creating accountability. Here’s how it works.
You start the journal by stating what you’re going to do tomorrow. Start with “Tomorrow I’m going to..” and continue with your productivity goals. Be as specific as possible. It’s crucial you use words such as going to and will instead of should or could, as this increases accountability in the statement.
The following day, you’ll begin the journal writing about how your plans went. Did you do everything you agreed you would, or did you miss something? If you did it, reflect on how much time you spent, if you can improve anything for next time, and congratulate yourself. If you didn’t, reflect on what went wrong and how to make up for it. From here, you’ll continue to plan the following day.
Once the journal is started, it can be done in two steps every day.
- Did you follow the plan? Why, why not?
- Plan your next day
This type of journaling should be done at the end of your day. What you define as the end, is up to you.
Self-evaluation and optimization
The self-evaluation and optimization journal are focused on the bigger picture. With this journal, the objective isn’t to do certain tasks or meet milestones but to increase your future potential for an effective output.
In this journal, you reflect on when and how you are truly productive, your lifestyle, and other relevant factors. To ensure you ask yourself the right questions, you can find 8 prompts for this type of productivity journaling below.
- How do you define being productive?
- What circumstances increases your productivity?
- What decreases it?
- What time of the day are you the most productive?
- What time are you the least?
- Are you eating well? Should you decrease or increase anything?
- Are you getting enough quality sleep?
- Are you stressed? If yes, what’s causing it?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can finish by summarizing your points. What can you do better, and what should you avoid? Use it to optimize and create the perfect conditions for you to be productive.
Unlike the today and tomorrow journal, you don’t have to write in this type every day. Once a week, or even once a month, will be enough to see progress if you take it seriously and apply the newfound realizations.
How to journal for productivity
Now that the basics are settled, it’s time to have a look at how to journal for productivity. The following are 4 tips to help you get started.
Pick the right type(s)
Depending on your starting point and current habits, you might find that using just one of the productivity journals is enough. However, for most people, using a combination of both will yield the best results.
Make productivity journaling a habit
You won’t benefit much from a productivity journal unless you do it consistently. The easiest way to ensure consistency is to make it a habit.
There are several techniques and approaches to building habits. The most effective depends on your current situation and routines. You can read more about how to make journaling a habit here.
Related: What happens if you miss a day?
Aim for good enough, not perfect
Your productivity journal doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be good enough. Don’t waste your time worrying about spelling or grammatical mistakes, how your writing looks, or phrasing.
Trying to make it perfect might give you a sense of satisfaction, but it can easily remove focus from the main point. Increasing productivity. It might even make consistency more difficult.
Remember, nobody but you have to see it. So why would it matter if it contains spelling mistakes or wrong formatting?
Increasing productivity is a gradual process. Slowly as you practice and use the journal, you’ll get better, but it won’t necessarily be fast.
Your daily average output might not increase much day to day. But when it accumulates over weeks and months, it’ll be significant.
Be patient and stay consistent. Soon, the results will follow.
Related: What happens if you miss a day?
A productivity journal is one of the few tools that can give you more time in your day. Not because you get more hours, but because you’ll be better at using them.
You might not get the results you want from day one, but with patience and consistency, you will.
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