5 Solid Reasons to Keep a Work Diary

The art of journaling, known as “keeping a diary,” is not new. Many of us would have done it in our school/college days. Some chose to keep a diary to log in everyday activities, while others may write it to release the emotional stress.

Many choose to create and use diaries for various reasons. People keep journals because they feel that there is something important enough in their lives to keep track of.

However, one's definition may differ from another's perspective. Although many diaries are for personal satisfaction, others use them for business purposes, to maintain a historical record for posterity. Below is a list of reasons people may choose to keep a diary and why you should.

But keeping a work diary may seem a little “extra” for some. But keeping an old-school paper calendar or diary to track your professional activities and insights is a vital tool for both long-term and short-term planning at work.

A work diary can help you see where your time went, help track progress on your goals, and become an incredible tool when it comes time to prepare for your annual review.

Work diary

1. Deepen Self-Reflection

Writing and nurturing a work diary is akin to meditation. You reflect on past mistakes to avoid repeating them in the future. Many find this type of reflection to be helpful in my personal life. People often reflect on the mistakes that they made when dealing with circumstances, situations, and people.

Sometimes they see journaling as an honest written self-assessment of situations known as alternative assessment, for anything you may have been involved in. This includes the problems you encountered and the steps you took to solve them.

It is often used in the workplace so that the incoming replacement will have an excellent idea of what to expect during job performance.

2. See Where Your Time Went

You know those days – you reach the office to find out three meetings lined up – all flooded with interruptions followed by a team lunch, an emergency client email to respond to… and suddenly it's 6 o’clock. Or maybe you have a month like that. Wondering where your precious time went?

An active practice of timekeeping in your work diary will help you see what you did with those 40+ hours each week. It gives you valuable insights on how you can improve and streamline going forward.

To do this successfully and efficiently, it is recommended to grab a diary with daily pages that are divided up by the hour. This will help you write as you go about the day exactly what you are working on or what meeting you are attending by the hour.

Keeping a log of working time

3. Negotiate Raise Much Better

Your work diary will help you negotiate that next raise, promotion, or lucrative opportunity with ease. One of the most challenging and anxiety-provoking things about preparing for your annual review is the effort it takes to reflect on your past year and gather all relevant evidence before the meeting.

But with a daily diary chock-a-block full of the projects, you've worked on, the people you've trained, or the times when you went above and beyond the scope of your essential job duties, you've just cut your time preparing in half.

By keeping detailed records throughout the year, you won't have to stress so much - you'll only need to sit down with a glass of wine, your diary, and your computer to start compiling a solid list of why you rocked it in the previous year.

Another great bonus of keeping a work diary – you'll never stress about forgetting a project, a detail, or an accomplishment. If you've kept detailed notes and a steady record, you'll find everything you will want to discuss with your boss in between the cover of your diary.

4. Improve Time Off Management

This applies to those who are in charge of the organization and looking to create a friendly workplace. One way to do so involves providing flexible work timing, staying open to remote working options, creating nap rooms, setting up indoor sports centers, etc.

While these options might not be feasible for every company, one trick will work for every organization out there: time off.

Millennials value their time off, so proper time off management will be an easy way to attract and retain them and using technology like time off management software is the best way to achieve this.

Keeping a work diary can work as a boon for implementing a time off tracker that allows every stakeholder to be involved in the process. When applied in combination with your work diary, such a time off management app can help you reap a range of benefits:

  • It helps you see when it’s the right time to take vacation and plan your days off in advance.
  • It eliminates unnecessary back and forth communication during the time off management process, making it streamlined and quick.
  • As the stressful hassle of time off planning and requesting decreases, your job satisfaction is going to improve.
  • Plus, a web-based time off tracker is bound to boost management efficiency and reduce administration costs.
Automated leave management

5. Stay Prepared for Prospective Interviews

In addition to discussing your job duties as listed on your freshly updated resume, the chances are that you'll encounter some behavioral questions during an interview process. There are questions like, "Tell me about a time you showed leadership in a group setting," or "Give me an example of a time you failed and how you addressed it." You're going to need specific anecdotes, and if you're anything like me, being put on the spot makes your mind immediately flush itself of anything useful.

Keeping a work diary can abate this problem scanning it before an interview will remind you of specific examples that you can arm yourself with before heading into an interview, where preparation and confidence go hand in hand.

Key Takeaway

Some professionals choose to maintain audio recordings of their activities, while many others will use social media such as Facebook. Moreover, several people are switching to online journaling apps like Lugelo for cohesive log management that blends text, images, audio, and videos.

The benefits of having a dedicated work diary offer an array of benefits ranging from pragmatic (increased organization and a sense of order) to the financial (helping you negotiate a pay raise with ease) to even personal growth.

The year 2021 has just begun, and it is never too late to start something good. Pick up your favorite style – digital or physical and start journaling the professional work and experience the difference.

This post is contributed to actiPLANS by Musa Mawanda, Ph. D – the Founder and CEO of Lugelo, Inc., a mobile and web app for private journals, scrapbooks, biographies, and storybooks.

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