Benefits of Keeping a Work Diary: Phil Gregory, Peak District SEO.
I have kept a work diary for a long time, though I’ll admit, not always consistently. It all started years ago after my friends’ grandma gave me a copy of Samuel Pepys Diary. I was in my early 20s and was fascinated with the book. A personal diary that was written hundreds of years ago which painted such a vivid and relatable picture of a mans’ life.
Pepys Diary is a great read. It illustrates the actual work that Pepys was doing for the English Navy board in the 1660s. Not only that, it reveals the intricacies of his working relationships.
A Work Journal is a Good Habit.
We all have habits and one of the secrets to running a good business is standardisation and the adoption of standard systems. By making notes of your working week you can begin to see patterns. Also, it provides a great reminder of your successes and mistakes.
Running your own business can be a hectic process, and to stay focused many of us keep pushing forward, never looking back. Whilst it’s certainly positive to keep moving forward, we must learn from our mistakes, and revisit techniques that worked well for us.
A Powerful Written Legacy
Whether your business was set up to create a job and income for yourself, or whether you had loftier ideas about growing it into a local, national or International brand.
A written journal will leave a legacy of the business’s progression, as well as a record of your own personal and professional development. Of course, it all depends on how honest you are when writing it.
Benefits of Keeping A Work Diary
- Time management
- A record of progress / Show your wins and losses
- Helps you to improve and refine your skills and methods
- Nurtures self-discipline and builds self-confidence
- Helps with goal setting and job performance
- Reminds you of what makes you happy in your work
- Reminds you of what makes you angry about your work
- Mental health benefits of self-reflection
- Stimulates creativity development
If you use your diary to set the next day’s tasks it can help you to see whether you are managing your time well, perhaps you’re biting off more than you can chew, or maybe you’re coasting?
A record of progress
It’s all too easy to sail along, nose to the grindstone. The days, weeks and months pass by and we forget the work we’ve done, we forget our epic wins, and also our massive cockups. By writing these things down, you can set targets and goals to replicate the wins and avoid the failures.
Helps you to improve and refine your skills and methods
Some working practices take time to stick. if you record what happens in your work life you’ll see patterns start to emerge, you’ll be able to refine what you do leading you away from failure and towards success every time.
Nurtures self-discipline and builds self-confidence
By being regular with your diary, you force yourself to create a record. Almost like a social media schedule or a blog schedule, you force yourself to improve. As you improve you’ll become confident that you can consistently deliver on a difficult target.
Helps with Goal Setting
The very act of creating the diary is hitting a target. Your increased self-confidence becomes a transferable skill that you carry forward into other areas of your work. Remember it’s impossible to hit your goals if you’re not setting them.
Reminds you of what makes you happy in your work
This is really important. If you can identify the things that made you happy, included and proud in your work, then you can take steps to make sure that those feelings occur more often.
Reminds you of what makes you angry about your work
This is equally important. If you can identify the things that made you cross, excluded and deflated about your work, then you can take steps to make sure that those feelings occur less often. It’s about avoiding negativity.
Mental health benefits
We all get caught up in little dramas. It’s what makes us human. Being able to look back at what happened, after the fact can help us get things in perspective. Like, “oh jeez, why was I so upset about that thing”, or “ooh, they were really mean to me there, and I didn’t see it at the time”.
Looking back on a work diary can help you to realise that your place of work, colleagues, rules are totally terrible, or it can hold the mirror up and show that YOU were totally terrible. Either way, it helps you to grow.
This is a nice side effect, because the more we write the more creative we become, our speed, lucid thinking and creative language expands. Furthermore, you’re creating some fantastic content for your blog, social media, presentations and white papers.
It’s a win-win situation.
Ways To Keep Your Work Diary
There are plenty of ways to keep your work diary.
Traditional note pad.
This is easy but not recommended. If you leave it lying around or drops from your bag, people may look at it. That could create issues if you’ve been more candid than tactful.
I personally find this is the easiest way to keep a work diary. It can be done on your laptop, phone or tablet. Use the cloud to sync your files and you can update the diary from anywhere and on any device.
As A Blog / Vlog
As a blog/vlog, your diary can be used for the good of the team or the whole company. Obviously, it will need some additional thought and editing if other people are going to be reading/watching it.
Audio notes are simply the new dictaphone. The added benefit of audio notes is that they will help to add another dimension when listening back to them. You’ll be able to better gauge your mood by the tone of your voice.
Note: Think about who might hear your recordings. Audio files are incriminating evidence, so if you’re being negative, having a pop at the boss, customers or workmates make sure your device has a strong passcode.
If you’re artistic you could always illustrate your diary with sketches. Satire is a great way, to sum up, annoying or humorous moments in your work life. Again, beware, not everyone will share your sense of humour, and be kind with the drawings, nobody likes a bully.
Do you keep a Work Diary?
I’d love to hear from you if you do, did I miss anything? Tell me about the benefits of keeping a work journal does for you.
Phil Gregory, Digital Marketing Consultant and founder of Peak District SEO. He helps businesses make more money, using traditional Search engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media, and paid advertising (PPC). Phil loves Real Ale & Fell Running.