• Julia

One Simple Diary Management Technique For Keeping Motivated

A open diary with floral background. Across the two pages is the month February. On the diary a pink marker and a pen are placed. Next to the diary there is a pair of earphones, two pens, a roll of tape, and a bright pink highlighter.

Keeping motivated can be a challenge. This lack of motivation is counter-productive: it hinders the individuals from working on the tasks at hand, and it wastes and drains their energy on dealing with shaking it off. I realised the only way dealing with such a depressing situation is by breaking the cycle.

For me the issues of the absence of motivation and lack of plan and feeling lost go hand in hand together. They have common grounds: they all lack telos and endpoint, a point to move towards. So to break the cycle, I find it helpful to set goals and tasks and commit to them. But when it comes to setting up goals, my main struggle for a while was with what a goal was. Confusing life goals with goals was the main cause behind my depression and lack of motivation. One doesn't have to look far into the future to find a point to drive at, instead, one can have many points, scattered throughout the near future, and reach them one by one. I found that most happy people don't have life-goals but they have everyday tasks. So it's all about setting up tasks and things to do. It's not the destination that matters, but the journey! The technique below is what I found very helpful for keeping me motivated and giving my life meaning and aim, even after using it one time. I hope it helps you keep motivated as well.

Screenshot of Android lock screen, showing the calendar's notification alerting about today's task, 'New blog post, at 1.00pm.

The main problem, the most agonising one, is to wake up without knowing what to do. This is the moment where this temporary lack of motivation kicks in and is extrapolated and extended to the future. Therefore life seems without aim and meaning at that moment. This simple discovery changed my life: it is best to plan your day before going to bed rather than wake up to a day without any plans. So before going to bed, or when tucked in warm in bed, open your physical diary or calendar app and plan your tomorrow. The only reason I would recommend using a calendar app is the notification function (as it pushes and encourages me to do things). But if you are going to use a physical diary please make sure it is regularly revisited rather than letting it sit on your bedside table and be forgotten.

The whole point is to fill up your diary as much as you can. If there's not much going on in your life then simply add walking in the park or going to the shops to buy the trousers you always wanted in your calendar. If you are meeting with a friend for tea add this to your diary so when you wake up and check your diary you are faced with tasks to do. You should also add your self-care plans to your calendar such as wearing a facial mask, dying your hair, meditating, or playing ukulele. Even if there is a ten-minute task, such as emailing a friend, include this in your calendar. And don't forget to add planning the next day in your diary as well. This will give you orientation and a sense of purpose. Additionally when you get into the habit of filling up your calendar you will be automatically seeking tasks and events to add to it—and the cycle is finally broken! When you get used to this technique, one night you will plan not only your next day but your days to come as well. But I still recommend reviewing the upcoming events and making sure that you are committed to carrying them out or attending them.

This time management technique hopefully will help you keep motivated the way I did. It will take some time to get used to this method and there will be perhaps so many times that you will abandon it. But with commitment to setting up tasks and carrying them out, soon you will feel motivated and your life will be more organised and purposeful.

Person, sitting outside in a sunny meadow, holding a diary in her hand.