Can a Work Diary Help You be More Productive?

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What do John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Any Warhol have in common?  They all kept diaries or journals and recorded the events of their day.  While these journals are fascinating for us to read, the benefit they gave to the writers was immensely greater.

Even though journaling is not typically associated as a work strategy, writing is a powerful tool for stress management and personal growth—it forces you to think deeper and put your thoughts onto paper.  Keeping a work diary can also increase productivity.  Here are a few of the most important reasons you should consider journaling about your workday.

The release.
Sometimes it just feels good to unwind and recount the day’s events.  If you had a challenging day, it may be tempting to vent to a colleague.  However, if you do that more than a few times, you risk developing a reputation for being a complainer.  Journaling is a great way to release your frustrations without risking your reputation.  On the other hand, if you have had a great day, a jotting it down in your journal is a good way to capture the memory.  It also helps you answer the “Where did the day go?” question.

Helps give an honest overview.
We all have days where we start out with 10 items on the to do list and end up with 9.  How do you explain that to your boss?  Journaling can help you recall all the day to day things you did that weren’t on the list. It can also help you keep track of conversations you had throughout the day. This can be helpful when trying to remember the details of an assignment, a discussion you had with your team about a project, or a list of requests from a client. We all deal with a multitude of things throughout the day, keeping notes can help track the specifics in a manageable way.

Improves time management.
Journaling your daily activities and tasks can also help with time management. If you notice that you are not checking off as many tasks as you intended to, maybe you need to look back at how you are spending your time. Are you working on the most urgent and important tasks? Are you wasting time on things that aren’t driving business? Have you set deadlines to motivate you to work more efficiently? A journal could help you notice productivity wasters in your day and help you minimize misspent time.

Highlights the wins.
Studies have shown that we learned at an early age that what we do is not as important as what did not get accomplished.  This is because what doesn’t get done often elicits a greater response or impact in both social settings and work.  Therefore, we often fret about the undone while shoving the stuff we did do to the back of our mind.  However, if you journal at the end of every day, it helps you recognize everything you have accomplished.  You will go to bed feeling more motivated and come in to the office the next morning ready to have a productive day.

Helps you learn from mistakes.
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  The same goes for running through the motions each workday and expecting things to improve.  By forcing yourself to reflect on your more challenging days, you will be able to identify ways mistakes could have been avoided.  By starting with what went wrong and working backwards, you can help ensure that it does not happen again.

Keeping a work diary will help you gain a new perspective on yourself and your job.  It will boost your confidence, pinpoint the changes that need to be made, and increase overall productivity.

If keeping a work diary makes you realize it is time to find your next career opportunity in the architecture, engineering, or construction sectors, let the recruiters at RealStreet Staffing help.  We can place you in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct-hire assignments with top employers in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas as well as throughout the U.S.  Contact us today and you’ll be on you way to your next job in no time!

A career in construction administration and management can be (and for me has been) one of constant transition. It’s rather common that employment with a given company starts and finishes with each successive project; you’re a new hire as it’s just getting “out of the ground,” then finished and looking for a new project (and Read More…

Greg Wangler, Pentagon Construction Management Division

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