How Journaling Can Help Improve Time Management

This is a guest post from James Frankton of Why am I Lazy?

Managing your time effectively can be a challenging proposition. With so much to do in every day it can sometimes seem like an impossible task to get it all finished.

Add a little procrastination into the mix (perhaps because you’re just too overwhelmed to know where to start) and it’s little wonder why entire days can simply slip away without enough productive work having been completed.

The good news is that journaling can help you to improve your time management abilities and overcome procrastination more effectively. By recording what you do in each day you’ll be able to become more productive and efficient with your time.

If you’ve never written a journal before, then now is a great time to start. You can use the old school pen and paper method, or take a step into the modern age and deploy an app like LeafOut to help make the whole process easier.

If you’re already journaling, then the next logical step is to actually start recording the amount of time you spend on each task. This will allow you to add up the amount of time you spend daily on things such as work, meal breaks, socialising, sport/gym, and the dreaded “wasted time” of procrastination.

When you journal, you record how your time is being used. Consistent journaling empowers you to take a “helicopter view” (excuse the corporate jargon) of the average amount of time you spend on any type of task on the typical day.

After a few days of consistent journaling, you can start to draw conclusions about where you are devoting time on a more macro level. For example, you might find that on average you spend two hours each day watching TV. At the same time, you’ve noted in your journal that you’re struggling to find enough time to go to the gym. The solution is simple – redirect some of that time you would otherwise have spent watching TV, and head down the gym or out on the streets for a run instead.

I believe there are three main benefits for time management when you engage in thorough journaling:

  • Accountability – Journaling helps with time management by keeping you accountable for your actions. If you don’t get something completed, then there will be no hiding from it as your journal will not lie. When you’re accountable to yourself for your performance, you will find it easier to manage your time effectively.
  • Vision – Maintaining a detailed journal will help you build a personal vision of where you see your life headed. This vision, in turn, will keep you motivated and make taking action easier. When you procrastinate less, you automatically manage your time in a more effective manner.
  • Planning – By keeping a journal of how you’ve spent your time, as well as a to-do list of how you want to spend time in the future, you will find it much easier to plan your days. A detailed journal will allow you to make more accurate guesstimates of the amount of time it will take you to complete any given task. In turn, this will reduce the risk of you “blowing out” your time plans and to-do lists.

There you have it; one of the most effective ways to stop procrastinating and improve your time management is through the use of journaling.

This simple practice helps you to understand where your time is being used effectively, and where it is being wasted. Armed with this knowledge, you can reflect on how you use your time, as well as the ways you can start managing it better.

James Frankton

James Frankton writes about time management and personal development at Why Am I Lazy?

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