03 Oct How to get the most out of your paper diary
The epitome of lifestyle organisation, it has been said that keeping a paper diary makes you more productive, more goal-orientated and can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Now couldn’t we all do with a bit more of that!
In this post, I give seven tips to help you obtain these mythical benefits and get the most out of a paper diary.
Whether you are drowning in tasks and to-do’s and looking for a way organise your life, you have just bought a paper diary and don’t know where to start filling it in, or you are a paper diary pro looking for new ideas, read on for a more productive, ambitious, and serene you.
Firstly, get a diary you can actually write in
Not ‘can’ as in physically, but mentally. Yes, it may look pretty on the outside, but if the inside layout fills you with horror then it ain’t the diary for you.
I have hundreds of beautiful diaries which – due to the layout- I have never been able to use to organise myself; too many lines feel restrictive but too few are paralysing, having a week across four pages is irritating but not having enough writing space is arguably worse.
Therefore, alongside the ‘Oooh, amazing colour’, or ‘Oooh, fab quote on the front’, think also about the inside design of the diary.
For me Moleskine diaries work perfectly; just the right amount of lines and enough space to write a beloved list, but make sure you browse a few before taking the plunge. Take a look at how I organise myself here
Use it in the way that your brain works
Once you have a diary you are happy with, get that pen to the paper.
Whilst there are thousands of picture-perfect journal posts, don’t feel that your diary has to ‘look’ a certain way. Your diary is for you and you should use it in a way that your brain works. If you love sequence and process but try organising yourself via a spider diagram layout that you saw online, you are not going to get anywhere. Same applies if your thoughts play out as pictures and you start trying to write out your to-do’s in neat little lists.
You may pass through a few variations before hitting the winning formula, but go with what feels right and you will get there.
Set aside time to plan the week ahead
Setting aside time to plan the week ahead- around 15-30 minutes on a Sunday evening or a Monday morning- is a sure-fire route to seven days of the awesomely productive, positive, goal-smashing variety.
During this time, ensure all engagements are recorded with times and locations. If not, write them in! You sure don’t want to forget a meeting with a friend that took 732 attempts to arrange.
Next, write down all of your to-do’s for the week. Make appointments with yourself to complete important tasks as for some reason this makes a tough task much more difficult to wriggle out of!
Finally, reflect on what you want to achieve in the next three/six/twelve months and note down three concrete steps you will take in the next week to help you realise these dreams.
Look at your diary every day
In addition to weekly planning, take five minutes each day- either before bed or in the morning- to look at the day ahead. Remind yourself of what appointments and engagements you have, and then decide the tasks you will tackle over its course.
Think about the sequencing of your day to really make it as productive as possible; tag one job onto another if your already in that part of town or group similar tasks together to avoid getting in and out of the zone 65 times a day and you will save light-years.
Remember to tick stuff off!
Part of the joy of writing down a to-do, is ticking it off! Remembering to do this will make you feel super pleased with yourself and will help to create a positive cycle which encourages you to tackle the next task on the list. Hello double productivity.
When you have large tasks to complete; such as planning a big party or decluttering your dreaded wardrobe, break these down into smaller sub-tasks so the little highs that you get from completing each stage of the process power you through completing the whole job. I use this technique a lot and find it makes daunting tasks, -or things you feel anxious about- much more manageable.
Create some inspiration pages
Outside of your daily/weekly pages, it is also a good idea to have some space- at the back or the front of your diary-for when inspiration strikes.
Having somewhere to scribble down that gift idea, that new restaurant to try or that new place to visit will really save you time. When you are wracking your brain for what to buy your dad for his birthday, flick to the page and pat last week’s you on the back for having a fabulous idea and just get it bought. You have just saved yourself hours trawling the internet for ‘a non-naff dad gift’.
Take it everywhere with you!
Your diary should be the one place where you put all your thoughts, ideas, tasks and to-do’s. To this end, keep it close; in your bag with your phone, money and keys, on your desk at work, or next to your bedside if that’s when inspiration strikes. Do not go far without it.
Whilst it is another item in your probably cavernous handbag, carrying your diary with you allows you to jot things down as soon as you think of them, and means that you can confirm engagements as soon as they are suggested; no time wasted trying to remember the stroke of genius you had three hours ago and no need to ride the mental merry-go-round of saying yes to events that you already know you can’t go to. Hurrah.
So hopefully, reading this, and taking the seven small steps detailed above will have you more productive, more positive and smashing those goals in a way that only us ladies know how.
If you have enjoyed this article, share it with your friends and colleagues. Stay tuned for more blogs with tips on how to plan the perfect party and how to declutter that wardrobe once and for all. If this is not enough and you need some more dedicated assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch, Organising Claudia is here to help YOU!
Have a fabulous week all and I can’t wait to hear how awesome it has been!