I stumbled across this post by Megan Hicks entitled “How Writing a Journal Helps Increase Personal Productivity” and was intrigued. She suggests the following ways a journal could be used as a productivity tool:
- Keeping track of goals
- Keeping to-do lists
- Self analysis
- Collecting inspiration
- A reference to your past self to gauge progress
While I do use my journal for many of these things, I would not call it my main productivity tool. For that I need something “on the go” so I started carrying around a little leather note book with a replaceable notepaper inserts. This was small enough to be slipped into my back pocket with a pen tucked between the pages (but not so small that if it fell out, I wouldn’t notice…RIP first little notebook, wherever you are!). Whenever I needed to remember something, I would take out my notebook and pen and jot it down (for those familiar with David Allen’s Getting Things Done, this would be my “inbox”).
I do not consider my notebook a sketchbook or a journal. It is definitely more of a tool for keeping my life organized. My notebook does have drawings and thoughts in it because I am a compulsive doodler and note taker, but its main function is to collect the little things I want or need to remember each day.
Conversely, my journals have to do lists and quotes in them, but their main function is contemplative. I capture moments with both writing and art in them. Some of my entries are to keep track of my goals. This would be too “big” for my little carry around notebook. Others of my little captures in my journal are definitely things that should go in my ‘inbox’ notebook. I act on them quickly, or at least transfer them to my notebook (or phone app) to address later as it may be a while before I get back to my journal!
Finally, my sketchbooks are mainly for practicing art. Trying out new styles or perfecting techniques in pages and pages of drawing exercises and notes.
I think if I were a more busy person, using one book like Megan Hicks suggests in her article would be ideal. However for me, I am keeping my productivity notes and my journal separate (for now).