How to use a Journal to Manage Time Effectively

If you’re talking about procrastination, I should probably be crowned queen by now. Every year, I tell myself that I’ll do better and admittedly I have improved over the years but not to optimum levels. That is, till I discovered journaling.

I cannot even begin to explain the importance of a journal. I used to keep one but just for writing my day-to-day happenings, mostly as a diary I read as a teenager, but I made a friend who literally forced me to use one and even went all the way to buy one for me, now I am so grateful. As good as it sounds, a journal can still be misused, so here’s how to use it;

  • Record your thoughts and conversations for a week when you start. This gives you an idea on what you actually spend your time on.


    This might be difficult at first but just hang in there.

  • Next, decide what is relevant to what you should be doing in your life and cut the unnecessary out (keep them in mind).
  • Use the information to write a to-do list. Write the list for each day the day before or wake up early and spend 30 minutes planning the day, then write it down. Only write down the high priority tasks.
  • Now, for the unnecessary items, use them to form your NOT to-do list. This will  be a list, as the name implies, of things you shouldn’t be doing. You could write a new one each day because things change. For example, you might not want to watch TV during the week, but you might want one hour of TV time on the weekends.
  • Keep time for interruptions, unplanned events and unforeseen circumstances. Life is not perfect and will not always go according to plan., so plan for the unexpected.
  • At the end of each day, take out time to look at the list and tick off all you’ve accomplished and give yourself a score. Be as brutal as possible. Halfway done is undone.
  • Watch your scores and try to score as high as possible. Remember to edit the journal to show your life as time passes.

Here are a few tips also worthy of mention:

  • Learn to turn of your devices while trying to be productive.
  • Reduce distractions as much as possible. Not every phone call and text message is worth picking. Learn to ignore but don’t be rude. Get back to them as soon as possible.
  • If possible, allocate special time to social media. I have a lecturer that reads his mail and all social media twice a day. 6a.m and 6p.m
  • Remember that it is always possible to get work done even when you’re behind schedule. However, don’t be obsessed with numbers, try to enjoy the process and little victories.
  • In the end, just make sure you’re at least 50% productive each day, then work your way up from there.

I’d love to hear your experience with this. Have fun journaling.


  1. I keep hearing about more and more people journaling to keep track of things. It sounds like a great idea.

  2. I love this list! There’s so much more to journaling than just keeping a diary, and so many people don’t realize how truly powerful a well-used journal can be.

    That being said – I really need to revamp mine and start using it again. I miss the sense of accomplishment I felt at the end of each day.

  3. I have done some journaling, but I have a hard time using it to make scheduling decisions before. i can see why it would be a good thing though. Maybe I will give it another go.

  4. Sometimes it’s hard to be as productive as I want to be. I’ll start a project and get sucked into it for hours, but not all the time will be well spent at the end of the day. I need to figure out how to get out of things that are sucking my time and ‘feeling’ productive.

  5. I love this idea and need to look into doing this. I could always use more help in this area since I tend to unintentionally waste a lot of time.

  6. this is a great idea! I love journals but I barely write on it. Time management is really hard for me, lots of unexpected events for me. But I would love to be more productive 🙂

  7. I love writing on my journal although I’ve never thought about using it this way. I think it’s going to really help you manage your time.

  8. I need to start doing this. My sister journals daily and makes a to do list. Every single day. She also completes each list and has always done that from an early age.

  9. I have tons of journals at home from the PR friends and i havent used them yet. Just my instagram accessories 🙂 they are si cute to scribble on, but i think its time for them to use it properly.

  10. Very nicely written and well presented. I am not so good in time management, so this was an amazing read for me. Loved it.

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