Benefits of keeping a productivity journal

If you’re like me, you often look back on the week and think to yourself: what on earth did I actually get done this week? Did I actually do anything I needed to do? It’s really easy to feel productive without ever really being productive, and it’s even easier to forget if anything you did actually moved you towards your goals.

I was introduced to the idea of a productivity journal a few weeks ago, and have really grown to love it. The idea is really simple, but incredibly effective. Each night before I sleep, I write down 3 things that I want to get done the next day, usually in the order that I’ll actually accomplish it. The first is usually one of the bigger tasks, and then the other two are somewhat easier to do, but still important.

The next day, right after I go through my morning routine, I sit down and work on finishing the first task. When I’m done with it, I immediately check it off my list, and go on to items two and three. When I’m done for the day, I just repeat the whole process, writing down three more things that I need to do tomorrow.

The beauty of this is that at the end of the week, I can now easily look back through my journal and see all the stuff I’ve accomplished. I can know exactly what I’ve done and whether or not it was really productive (it usually is, since I put thought into what needed to be done every day, rather than just doing random things).

The other benefit is that every single day that I check off the items, I’m creating a smaller ‘success’ for that day. I always get a great little boost of happiness whenever I check off an item, and it keeps me going to finish the other items.

There are of course days that I might not be able to complete all 3 tasks, and that’s okay. Usually I roll over that task into the next day. If I still never do it, I stop and consider if it’s really a task that needs to be done— if it’s so easy to keep pushing back, why am I pushing it back? Is it not that important, or is there someone else that can help, or should do it? The answer might just be that I’m being lazy, which is fine— the key thing is that you are now aware that you keep pushing back a task, and you should probably do something about it.

These are just some of the benefits of a productivity journal. If you want to start your own, I recommend getting a notebook to do it in, or writing out "1), 2), and 3)" next to each day in a physical calendar. You can also always just use a Notes app or todo app. If you do use a Todo app, make sure that you truly stick to the 3 things a day— it can be really tempting to add tons of items, and overwhelm yourself, and want to just quit the whole system.